Drivers react to Ben Sulayem's track limits comment


Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc have reacted to the FIA president's claim that the ongoing track limits fiasco is mainly down to the circuits.

In the wake of a controversial weekend in Qatar, which, among other things, saw a repeat of the sort of track limits bonanza witnessed in Austria, Mohammed ben Sulayem said: "We had the same issue in Austria... it was 1200 (violations). And I have to say, congratulations to the stewards because they spotted it.

"But is that the solution? No," he continued. "The solution is to improve the track itself. I know some are resistant to it, but to tell you the truth, if they don't, there is no race. It is as simple as this. We can't afford this.

"We have to work on a solution," she insisted. "One of the solutions is to make it slippery when they go off. Nobody can stop the drivers except the drivers themselves.

"We can think of the height," he said if the kerbs. "Does it damage the cars? Or maybe there is a possibility of putting some gravel, but with gravel, we have to be very careful. How deep is the gravel? Because you don't want anyone to get stuck. And how big is the gravel? because you don't want the car to be damaged. It is a balance.

"It's not a matter of 'Do we do it?'" he warned. "We have to do it. And we have to listen to the drivers mainly, to the feedback from them. We cannot afford for it to continue, especially where we see it all the time."

As the COTA weekend got underway, the world champion was only too happy to give his feedback.

"I will happily let anyone else drive my car, to see if they can do better with track limits," he said. "Some tracks, yeah, just a lot of runoff, so naturally you are a bit... you find probably the limits a bit easier because we never really talk about track limits, for example, in Suzuka and that's probably a bit more of an old school track.

"So, for sure, yeah, the latest kind of track standards, they have a thing to do with it and it's a bit of a shame - because I feel like with some of these new tracks that you're more focused on a Qualifying lap to not go over a white line than actually finding the limit or just the pure enjoyment of pushing.

"It's more like you're looking at: 'did I make it or not?' Oh, yeah, I made it. It's a bit odd. We need to do a better job because I think this weekend will be the same story."

"Very similar thinking," added Charles Leclerc. "I think there are some tracks that are much more difficult to manage than others. I think Qatar was one of those. I think here will be one of those too.

"I've always preferred, in the past, to use the red and white kerb because this is a reference that we can actually feel inside the car, whereas the white line... we are so low in the car that it's very difficult to see exactly where we are. If we are two centimetres out or exactly on the line is very difficult, whereas with the kerb, you can feel it much more what's going on and it's a better reference.

"But yeah, now it's been quite a long time that we are staying on the white line and is the way it is at the moment. We just need to try and find a way, especially with the way the kerbs are done and the tracks are made, in order to help each other, for it to become less of an issue in the future."

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Published: 20/10/2023
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