Track apps

FIA sticks to track limits sanctions

In a day that saw 43 track limit violations, the FIA ​​insists its crackdown on the practice was fully justified.

Besides reliability, tire puncture and the possibility of being hit by a rival, another factor the drivers had to deal with during the Austrian Grand Prix was the track limitations.

Almost no one escaped the attention of stewards, who reported a total of 43 infractions.

Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel and Yuki Tsunoda all received 5-second time penalties for repeated infractions, while Lewis Hamilton received the black and white flag and Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen both had two infractions at their asset.

Before the weekend, it was made clear to the drivers that, as has been the practice all season, the white lines define the edge of the track.

At the end of a race which threatened to be compromised by the number of infringements, especially if one of the leaders was concerned, the FIA ​​maintained the crackdown.

“Track limit monitoring during the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix has been consistent with all previous events this year,” he said in a brief statement.

“At each circuit, the white line is used as the defined limit of the track, and this has been put in place following discussions with drivers and teams to improve consistency and clarity for competitors and fans.

“The number of penalties today is proportional to the number of breaches of Article 33.3 of the Sporting Regulations, with drivers during the race receiving two ‘strikes’ for crossing the white line with all four wheels, followed by a black and white flag for the third offence, and referral to the stewards for each subsequent offence.”

The policing of these rules has come in for much criticism of late, with drivers unhappy with the lack of consistency in the application of the rules, a factor that Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director George Russell, attributed to the fact that there are now two race directors.

His frustration was such that Sebastian Vettel left the driver briefing without permission on Friday, a breach in itself of the regulations which earned him a suspended €25,000 fine.

Speaking at the post-race press conference, Verstappen was asked about Russell’s comment, and the Dutchman used the crackdown on track limits as an example of why drivers are unhappy.

“Of course everyone has their own opinion on certain things,” he said, “but like track limits, I think the debate over track limits this weekend has been a bit of a joke Not only in F1 but in F2 and F3.

“It’s easy to say from the outside, yeah, but you just have to stay in the white lines. It looks very easy, but it’s not because when you go so fast in a corner and some of them are a little blind, if you have a little more understeer, the tires wear out, it’s easy to overshoot the white line.

“But are we actually gaining time? Maybe yes, maybe not, and to be honest there are only two or three corners where you can really go a little further.

“I don’t think we should have that value on a mill over a penalty or whatever. Just add a wall or put some gravel back in where we… like turn 6 on the exit. I think that’s great because there is gravel, you punish yourself if you go wide.

“These are things where we have to look at how we can improve it because also for the marshals and just the people involved in checking those track limits, I mean it’s almost impossible to check that kind of things because you need what…almost like a guy on a car the whole race to check all the lap if he doesn’t go off the white line, where on this track, at least in some places you are naturally penalized if you just know how to go a little wider and you hit the gravel.

“Those kinds of things I think don’t look good for the sport either and that’s just one thing. Then the other thing is racing incidents and all that. Yeah, for sure we can do better. I think we’ll work on that, we’ll try to improve it.”

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