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Track limits to be enforced at three corners at Imola

NEWS STORY
15/04/2021

Following the track limits controversy in Bahrain, officials will be cracking down on drivers exceeding track limits at three corners at Imola this weekend.

Not for the first time, track limits dominated the headlines following the season opener in Bahrain.

Having initially said that track limits would not be enforced at Bahrain's notorious Turn 4, following the opening practice session, race director, Michael Masi had a change of heart and decided that they would be enforced.

During the course of the race a number of drivers had their lap times deleted for exceeding the limits at the infamous corner, none more so than Valtteri Bottas who had his time deleted on no less than five occasions, while teammate Lewis Hamilton, Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon and Mick Schumacher each transgressed once.

While a number of drivers ran wide without penalty, it was when Max Verstappen exceeded the limits in passing Hamilton for the lead, and was subsequently forced to hand back the position that all hell broke loose.

Both versions of the race notes sent out by Masi included the vital note that "in all cases during the race, Drivers are reminded of the provisions of Article 27.3 of the Sporting Regulations".

Article 27.3 of said regulations states that drivers "must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times… and should a car leave the track the driver may re-join, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage."

"If an overtake takes place with a car off track and gains an advantage, a lasting advantage, I will go on the radio and suggest to the team that they immediately relinquish that position, and that was made very clear," explained Masi at race end. "With regard to tolerance given with people running outside of the track limits during the race it was mentioned very clearly in the meeting (drivers briefing on Friday) and the notes that it would not be monitored with regard to setting the lap time, so to speak, but it will always be monitored in according with the Sporting Regulations that a lasting advantage overall must not be gained.

Referring to a radio exchange between Hamilton and his race engineer, Pete Bonnington, during the race, when, advised not to continue exceeding the track limits, the world champion queried whether the rule had been changed during the course of the race, Masi said that "nothing" had changed.

"We had two people that were looking in that area at every car at every lap," he said, "and pretty much every car bar one was doing the right thing within what we expected in a general sequence.

"There was the occasional car that had a bit of a moment or went out there but it wasn’t a constant thing."

The race notes issued ahead of this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix note that lap times achieved during any practice session or the race by leaving the track on the exit of Turn 9, the apex of Turn 13 or the exit of Turn 15, will result in that lap time being invalidated.

Each time any car fails to negotiate Turn 9's exit, Turn 13's apex or Turn 15's exit by using the track as described, the driver's team will be informed via the official messaging system.

On the third occasion of a driver failing to negotiate one of the three corners by using the track during the race, he will be shown a black and white flag, and any further cutting will then be reported to the stewards.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Imola, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by equator180, 16/04/2021 4:45

"Verstappen, 100% correct, raise the curb or put in a wide patch of gravel, no interruption of rules or bias judgement involved, pay outside the track limit and pay the price, case closed."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Wokingchap, 15/04/2021 20:20

"I don't think Mr.Massi is up to the job and needs replacing."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by kenji, 15/04/2021 14:44

"These changes for each and every race are simply stupid. I cannot for the life of me understand why it has to be so hard. Stay within the white lines. Two wheels over the white lines, anywhere on the track, more than an arbitrary number of times [ 3 ] will incur a 5 sec time penalty for each and every subsequent time."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Tardis40, 15/04/2021 14:19

"An advantage occurs whether or not there is also an overtake. Either enforce it or let it go. Don't pick and choose."

Rating: Positive (5)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Roli, 15/04/2021 12:58

"Hells bells! Masi is at it again, even before the event starts. Why not just make it so that if you go off you damage the car, much like Monaco. Let have a race and not bring these idiotic rules onto the sport"

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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