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Verstappen hits out over track limits


Following 47 violations of the track limits during qualifying, Max Verstappen claims that the rule makes drivers look amateur.

With the weekend's sole free practice session seeing the drivers free to basically do as they wished, many appeared to be lulled into a false sense of security, for once officials started monitoring track limits during qualifying there were no less than 47 violations.

As a result a number of star names fell victim including Sergio Perez, who as a result of the clampdown failed to set a representative time, meaning that for the fourth successive race the Mexican failed to make it out of Q2.

Even the crème de la creme were penalised as Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen both fell foul of the rule which has been in place since last year and now sees the white lines at the edge of the track as the limit. Prior to this, the rules appeared to differ from track to track, with the white lines and even kerbs marking the limit.

Adding to the mayhem was the fact that while the stewards at the track picked up on some of the violations, others were picked up back at the FIA's monitoring station in Geneva, often several minutes later.

"I think today looked very silly," said Verstappen, "it almost looked like we were amateurs out there, the amount lap times that were getting deleted.

"Also some of them were so marginal," he continued, "we spoke about it in the briefing before, when it's very marginal, it's impossible to judge if it's out or in. But they were still getting deleted. I don't think it was a good look today.

"Of course people can say 'yeah, well, then you stay within the white lines'. Well if it was that easy, then you can take my car and try, but probably you won't even get up to speed in time.

"It can be easily solved by just putting gravel next to the kerbs," said Verstappen, "but the bikes don't want that. If you saw the amount of lap times that were getting deleted today by the amount of drivers, it's clearly not that easy. I don't think we're all idiots out there. Normally we're quite good on how to judge what the limit is.

"Most tracks, I think it's fine how we operate it, but some tracks we might need to look into. But at the moment also, no real answers of how to do that. I think we've already tried on some tracks to paint a bit of a wider white line, which I thought helped a bit.

"Because the white line in some places is quite narrow with the high speeds we are achieving in that particular corner. This is maybe something we can look into."

"I agree with everything," said Charles Leclerc, who joins the Dutchman on the front row on Sunday. "This track is particularly tricky, especially Turn 10, because the nature of the corner is the car is getting lighter in the middle of the corner, because there is this drop in the track. And however the car is positioned there, it has a big influence on the exit, and from where we are, so low in the car, we cannot see anything.

"The helmet cam is very representative of what we are seeing, and we are not seeing at all the white lines. Hopefully in the future in tracks like this, we can have a bit more margin, and that they understand that from the car it's impossible to judge.

"My personal preference would be to use the red-and-white curb," he admitted. "I think that's what we did some years here, and this is working well, because at least we can feel where the limit of the track is whenever you are on that red and white curb, you can feel that you are on it. And this was a good reference.

"The white line is only visual, and as we said earlier, we cannot see it. It's very easy to be five centimetres out of the white line, whereas a curb, you can feel where you are, and it's easier to judge."

As was the case last year, the stewards were pretty much indifferent to the pleas of the drivers.

"Clearly this is something that we are very focused on and have a lot of resource deployed both in race control and at the FIA Remote Operations Centre to flag and review potential infringements," said an FIA spokesperson. "This review process has been a significant step forward in terms of efficiency compared to previous seasons, although naturally when there are a lot of things to review happening simultaneously, this takes time.

"In an ideal scenario in places where we can improve the situation for the drivers by asking the circuits to put gravel traps closer to the edge of the track we are doing this, this was done at Parabolica in Monza and has eliminated the track limits issue there, however in some places such as the Red Bull Ring this is not possible as it would create a safety issue for other categories racing here.

"We always give the benefit of the doubt to the drivers in marginal cases."

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 02/07/2023 10:58

"@spindoctor - correction - in MotoGP it's a matter of keeping off the green-painted areas, not within white lines as such."

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 02/07/2023 10:56

"I don't really understand why F1 drivers are making such a meal of this. Track limits have been rigorously enforced in MotoGP for years and although the riders are sometimes annoyed when they fall foul, they generally mange to keep within the white lines. I suspect managing this on a bike with 260BHP on tap is every bit as difficult as driving an F1 car with similar accuracy.

In MotoGP (according to FIM) "...Track limits are monitored by dedicated cameras with image recognition software and multiple operators...." From yesterday's shenanigans it seems F1 isn't using such a sophisticated system, or if it is, they're less competent at using it.

I 'm afraid that assuming F1 has a decent, efficient & (importantly) fast system of identifying & penalising infringements, the Drivers need to stop moaning & learn to keep within the white lines."

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3. Posted by Cobra Driver, 01/07/2023 11:07

"It wouldn't be Max if he could not moan about something."

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4. Posted by Burton, 01/07/2023 10:43

"Fully agreed with Pavlo, the driver's job is to be fast inside the racing circuit, not an ideal line inside their heads."

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5. Posted by Pavlo, 01/07/2023 9:10

"They are not being honest here, are they? I did drive on RedBullRing and it’s totally possible to stay within the lines. Yes I was slower, but that’s why I am software developer and not an F1 driver with the salary in millions. Instead I pay my euros to see them mastering it on high speed.
The only reason why they cross the line is because being wide gives advantage in speed. The person who gets closer to the line but doesn’t cross it, wins it. That’s the sport!
And judges did a perfect job this time. The moment they would think about a margin it would be totally unfair - where the margin is, what is allowed?
This time it was all clear and precise - cross the line, lap is deleted, simple and fair."

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