MONZA CONTROVERSY: Some F1 drivers have praised the decision to tar part of the famous Parabolica corner gravel trap at the Monza circuit. Image: Twitter
MONZA, Italy - Charlie Whiting has defended the controversial asphalting of part of the gravel trap alongside Monza's iconic Parabolica curve.
A cry of outrage spread around the world during the 2014 Formula 1 summer break when it emerged that some of the famous gravel trap at the Italian GP venue's high-speed final bend had been covered with tarmac.
Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok said at the time that it was "another great corner that will lose its challenge" but International Automobile Federation's Charlie Whiting defended the move, saying only 35% of the gravel had been replaced.
It had, he said, been done on safety grounds after consultation with drivers. Indeed, two active F1 drivers have applauded the move.
Lotus' Pastor Maldonado said: "I think this is good from a safety point of view because it is a quick corner with not that much room on the outside. The approach will be the same, which is to take it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
"Of course there is the obvious safety element which means that you have less risk if you go off."
Team mate Romain Grosjean agreed. "Parabolica is a very challenging and quick corner so from a safety point of view it is a good thing to have some more margin for the drivers.
"I remember sometimes coming into the corner and knowing that if I braked even a little too late then I could be straight into the gravel and then straight into the wall - at high speed."