Sausage Kerbs in Sim Racing - Keep or Remove Them?

Formula Ultimate 22 F1 car with Valtteri Bottas Livery at Monza in Automobilista 2.png
Track limits and how to enforce them are an ongoing point of discussion in motorsport and sim racing alike. One way of doing so in recent years are sausage kerbs, which are intended to stop drivers from cutting corners or extending the track - but they have proven to be dangerous as well, launching cars into the air, hurting their drivers in numerous instances. As the debate is heating up yet again in the real paddocks, let us take at their role in sim racing.

Formula Regional driver Adam Fitzgerald is the latest to be added to the list of injured drivers thanks to sausage kerbs. The Irishman broke three vertebrae after being launched into the air at Tamburello. W Series driver Abbie Eaton suffered a similar injury at COTA in 2021, and Alex Peroni was lucky to break just one vertebra after hitting a sausage kerb on the outside of Monza's Parabolica, resulting in a spectacular airborne crash that ended with his car on top of the tire barrier.

Add in incidents that saw sausage kerbs launch cars into others, most notably Dennis Hauger taking off and hitting Roy Nissany (with the Halo undoubtedly saving the latter's life) and it is quite clear that these track limit enforcers may be effective in their primary purpose, but also extremely dangerous in some situations.

Effective in Sim Racing​

Luckily, hitting one of these at the wrong angle does not have the implications on anyone's physical wellbeing in sim racing. They can end a race in an instance just like at the real tracks, however, and this leads to the question of whether or not sausage kerbs are an effective method of enforcing track limits in sim racing.

They are arguably good at punishing any track limit violations where they are in place, bumping cars off their line and making them lose time. That alone serves as a deterrent to cutting too much of a corner or running wider than you should at its exit. In most cases, this works well and without damage to the car.

Sausage, Grass or Gravel?​

However, just like on real circuits, sausage kerbs can trigger enormous accidents in the virtual racing world, too. The opening laps are especially prone to this with packs of cars battling for position, often side by side. The downside of removing them would be the encouragement to cut and extend again - not an easy decision to make.

This goes for modern circuits, but those with a more old-school feel do not have this problem nearly as much: Grass or gravel are enough of a deterrent to keep racers from trying to driver where they should not. As long as sausage kerbs are present on real tracks, however, they will likely be there in their virtual versions as well. Sim racing is trying to represent its real counterpart as accurately as possible, after all.

Your Thoughts​

What is your stance on sausage kerbs? Let us know whether they should stay or go - or maybe you have a better solution to cut down the abuse of track limits. Would the return of grass or gravel to the edge of race tracks make more sense? Let us know in the comments!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

Premium
I think they should be banned. They are there to stop corner cutting etc as you say which to my mind is cheating anyway. No point having corners on a circuit unless drivers follow the track. I don't like them at all.
But I don't wish for any Driver or indeed anyone trackside to get hurt because of them.
Don't like the Kerbs... but I do like sausages. So does my dog.

Replace them with sand or gravel pits.
 
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Depends how track cut limits are implemented on the track in the sim. If it's well done and fair, I don't think sausage kerbs are needed.
Sausage kerbs came out because all kerbs around the world tended to flat through the years (maybe pushed by manufacturers developing aero and ground effect?) and naturally, drivers were more and more cutting the inside of turns, even going straight in chicanes.
At the time, they were a quicker and cheaper answer than slowing down drivers by a penalty, that requires a lot more stewards to spot all places and cars to detect the cuts.
For exemple, NASCAR experienced various issues with those kerbs those past years and chosen to remove some (Charlotte Roval's and Indy Road's in mind, second turn of chicane) and were stricter to enforce track limits (COTA even painted green and red parts beyond white line this year and they were a few drive-throughs distributed because of that)
However AI has been very far and could now helps and assists stewards to detect which cuts need to be sanctionned, hence removing those ugly pieces from real tracks then from our beloved sims
 
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Premium
Get rid of them, I find it annoying to flip the car onto it's roof simply because of a ill thought out safety measure.... remember the catch nets in the 80's the ones with wooden posts waiting to skewer and garrotte the unwary... these things are for damaging vehicles and spines alike.
 
Premium
In terms of real-world racing, Sausage Kerbs absolutely need to go. Yes gravel traps do sometimes kick cars up into the air as well but it has one advantage that Sausage Kerbs don't; deformability.
Because Gravel Traps are not a rigid structure affixed to the road surface, it absorbs the kinetic energy of a moving vehicle significantly better. If there was a sausage kerb on the outside of Abbey at Silverstone last year, I'm not sure if Guanyu Zhou would still be in his Alfa Romeo seat, given the severity of underside impacts from Sausage Kerbs in the lower formulae and that Zhou's roll-hoop failed before his car hit the gravel.
 
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Sausage kerbs are there for a specific reason: punish drivers who would otherwise intentionally cut a track to gain an advantage. And, it does the job at a very cheap financial cost.

However, they have two main issues: safety, and punishing drivers who come across it through no fault of their own. Given that we have the means to enforce track limits digitally, we can surgically punish drivers who break track limits without the two adverse effects.

But that's all for real-life motorsports. For sim racing, my answer is simple: if it's a digital rendition of a real track, well, there isn't any decision to be made; replicate what the actual track does.
 
Premium
IMO it depends on the sim and track. If it's a sim aiming for realism and has a track that's scanned that removed them, I would say remove them in sim, but have something else in place like a zone that slows the car down kinda like a gravel trap would without it actually being a gravel trap.. If it's something like Forza where corner cutting is rampant and (at least in 7 since 8 isn't out yet) I would say keep them and make them really upset the car (but not to the point you fly off into space, as funny as that is to watch).
 
Cutting kerbs, and using them on entry or exit is a massive part of a driver's ability! I'll never forget how MSC was attacking the kerbs at Monza to win with that dog of a car in 1996 or how Vettel was using them on entry while at Red Bull.
Sausage kerbs are quite stupid & they were introduced mostly bcs old drivers were whining about how young drivers were using kerbs.
 
Depends how track cut limits are implemented on the track in the sim. If it's well done and fair, I don't think sausage kerbs are needed.
Sausage kerbs came out because all kerbs around the world tended to flat through the years (maybe pushed by manufacturers developing aero and ground effect?) and naturally, drivers were more and more cutting the inside of turns, even going straight in chicanes.
At the time, they were a quicker and cheaper answer than slowing down drivers by a penalty, that requires a lot more stewards to spot all places and cars to detect the cuts.
For exemple, NASCAR experienced various issues with those kerbs those past years and chosen to remove some (Charlotte Roval's and Indy Road's in mind, second turn of chicane) and were stricter to enforce track limits (COTA even painted green and red parts beyond white line this year and they were a few drive-throughs distributed because of that)
However AI has been very far and could now helps and assists stewards to detect which cuts need to be sanctionned, hence removing those ugly pieces from real tracks then from our beloved sims
Quite a bit of the push to flatten the more standard, pre-existing curbs came from the motorcycle side of things.
 
IMO it's called "simulation racing" for a reason. If there are sausage kerbs in real life, we should have them in sim. If not, we shouldn't.

Now, let's say real life series remove sausage kerbs (which I'd support for safety reasons). Sim developers should be able to take advantage of the electronic nature of sim racing to enforce track limits precisely and effectively. After all, we can see the driver's precise speed and inputs and the floating-point-number-by-floating-point-number position of each car on track.

(I suppose real series could in fact take inspiration from sim racing in their enforcement of track limits, given that they also have access to precise telemetry data)
 
I have decidedly less of an issue with them in sims than in reality.

Still, in reality, they created the issue by putting in all the paved run-off and verges. There should be something physical to arrest an errant vehicle, so that we don't need the stewards having to make 1,000 decisions on track limits every race/event.

Yes, tech exists to help, but all those computers, all that software, all the on-track sensors, and all the precise GPS transponders on the cars are expensive cumulatively. For most series (so not talking the top tiers), that's going to be exorbitant.

(Heck, even NASCAR doesn't have all that stuff.)

I'm very much in the grass and gravel camp when it comes to once you've left the racing surface. The rollbars should be sturdy enough not to fail, except in really extreme cases (thinking IndyCar at Las Vegas in 2011, for instance). Likewise, guardrails shouldn't fail in this day and age like the one did at Bahrain a few years back.

Also, flat-crossbar-type rollover structures aren't a great idea, either. Pretty much every case I'm aware of where an open-top car went over and then levered the nose into the ground had that flat crossbar to provide a stable fulcrum to do it.
 
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IMO it's called "simulation racing" for a reason. If there are sausage kerbs in real life, we should have them in sim. If not, we shouldn't.

Now, let's say real life series remove sausage kerbs (which I'd support for safety reasons). Sim developers should be able to take advantage of the electronic nature of sim racing to enforce track limits precisely and effectively. After all, we can see the driver's precise speed and inputs and the floating-point-number-by-floating-point-number position of each car on track.

(I suppose real series could in fact take inspiration from sim racing in their enforcement of track limits, given that they also have access to precise telemetry data)
The problem comes in situations where it's just become accepted in real life that certain spots are going to see "cutting", but the sim doesn't reflect this, and therefore, if you follow the actual racing line as seen in reality, the sim penalizes you anyway.

And of course, the standard you're proposing really only works with official content. You can't count on seeing it consistently followed with modded contnt. (We've seen issues with the hit boxes for the trackside rock face at Bannochbrae, for example.)
 
Solution: Allowance of much softer suspensions for the concerned racing cars. Suspension as in the good, old days.
Today's more and more fragile super-stiff body racing cars, especially modern top class single seaters, gradually can't stand just a tad bedated asphalt covered with patina and the ravages of time, without flying to the Moon.
This trend has now only gone one unfortunate direction; demand of curcuits with surface smooth as a baby's bum (and in addition acres of run off areas), this goes especially for the pinnacle class, F1.

The state of affairs should really be reset.
Eg. in F1 by replacing the Miami GP with Sebring on the calendar.
And then leave it free for the teams to accomodate obstacles on the track through race car design. That would change some things.

In historic days, the drivers still would loose time by hitting much higher curbs, but the cars typically survived, mainly through much softer suspension. And would survive modern day saussages.
This and more non-perfect surface tracks would leave more up to the driver and again worth watching for the viewers.
 
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as a driver who incorporates sophy's driving style from gt7, i can confirm that sausage kerbs need to be removed
 
I'd like to see is survivability of those curbs on contact and game engine to be adopted to punish abusers. I understand that this would require a lot of work from development team. Keeping in mind sim racing is an expensive hobby ( soft and hardware) Is it to much for us to expect a bit more from developers. Curbs are real life elements of racing so getting rid would go against realism (we don't need this conversation). I'm all for having the curbs just like laser scanned tracks they just need to be improved (vastly)
 
I don't really care if they're there or not. To me it's no different to any part of a track, a type of turn, conditions, surface, etc. If it's there, you deal with it, if it's not, you deal with it.

The driver's job is to get the car around the track as fast as possible over x amount of laps. Nothing else is of concern.

Real life may be a different story if accidentally going over a sausage kerb here or there can cause limited-budget teams a massive repair bill instead of just loosing time or getting a penalty but, then again, you can also say that about walls, tyre barriers, etc. so do we discuss removing those too?
 
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