Le Mans slow zone approach concerns Davidson

Reigning WEC champion Anthony Davidson has expressed unease over the policing of the Le Mans 24 Hours slow zones that are set to be used this week.

Le Mans slow zone approach concerns Davidson
Toyota Racing: Anthony Davidson
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima and #2 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Alexander Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima, Kamui Kobayashi
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima, Kamui Kobayashi

Motorsport.com understands that Davidson has voiced apprehension over the slow zone procedure which is expected to be the preferred method of neutralisation for the race after incidents this year.

The slow zone initiative is implemented by dividing the La Sarthe track into 35 numbered zones, each of which corresponds to a main signalling post. Cars must slow down gradually in the slow zone and not run faster than 80km/h at the end of this sector.

The area for concern for Davidson and many other drivers is that there is currently no policing of the gradual process of deceleration up to the point of the beginning of the actual slow zone itself.

This means that cars approaching it are likely to wait until the last possible moment to hit the 80km/h.

There is currently nothing in the supplementary regulations concerning penalties for driver who do not obey the gradual slowing down stipulation.

"The fact is that we are not going to slow down in a progressive manner but only when we get to the board," Davidson told Motorsport.com

"This is what you have to do. It is not what we should do and I'm not comfortable doing it but I had asked about getting a penalty if we hit the 80km/h at the last minute," continued Davidson.

"The simple answer that I got (at the drivers briefing) was 'no' there are no plans to issue penalties. I think it could be dangerous and it is wrong because it forces drivers to not want to lose any time.

"It is uncomfortable in the same sense that you can't and shouldn't trust a driver to slow down in those situations. It is not a case of we enjoy taking that risk but it is a case of we cannot afford not to take that risk."

Toyota driver Davidson is understood to have raised the question at the drivers' briefing but faced a rebuttal from officials upon voicing concerns of the approach to the slow zones.

Motorsport.com understands from speaking to other LMP1 and LMP2 drivers that Davidson's concerns are broadly shared.

"If it is policed properly the concept of a slow zone is good but I am just not comfortable screaming up to the board and there are marshals close to the board. It could be perfected let's put it that way," concluded Davidson.

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