Q: “I have seen on some racetracks sometimes driver skip the apex ‘kerb.’ I mean they do not go for those red and white kerb. Instead, they turn far away from the apex and quickly back to straight line. Does this supposed save time and make the car go faster? I have seen it in Formula One sometime as well. It might be in Hungary Grand Prix. Could you please clear the idea for me? Is it always necessary to touch the kerb in the middle of a corner (apex)?”
A: Clipping or driving right over the apex curbing (kerb) is a method of straightening the corner out as much as possible, making the radius as large as possible. The larger the radius of the line you drive through a corner, the faster you can go. That’s simple physics.
The tradeoff is that the curbing can upset the car, and cause it to have less grip. Less grip means you have to drive slower. So, there is a balance or compromise between maximizing the radius of the corners by driving over the curbs versus the curb upsetting the balance of the car. That’s why you’ll see some drivers running over some curbs, but not others. They’ve tested out which curbs can be used, and which ones can’t. Of course, a curb might be okay for one car with suspension that is more compliant, whereas another car with a stiffer setup might lose too much grip by driving over the same curb. So, it’s car-dependent.