The FIA have performed another dramatic U-turn this weekend, as track limits for turn one at Hockenheim get changed once again.
Drivers and their teams were critical of the track limit rule applied during Friday’s two practice sessions.
After Thursday’s strategy group meeting, discussions took place to abolish the track limit rule altogether, in the hope that racing may be more spectacular. Charlie whiting however saw this differently, and ruled such a move as impractical.
Race director Whiting was of the opinion that if there are no track limits, the drivers would consistently run wide everywhere. Striving to better their lap time by exceeding track limits would result in a different track.
Charlie then got tough with turn one, as drivers continued to push the limits there. With the use of an electric sensor (the same sensor that was used in Budapest), drivers wee issued a “three strikes and you’re out” warning over the track limits there.
The FIA’s decision prompted some questions from the strategy group members who later went to vent their frustrations with none other than Bernie Ecclestone. The strategy group asked “why have our thoughts on track limits been ignored?”
Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene had said: “We discussed [in the Strategy Group] that we will try to have a ‘wild’ weekend because this track has adequate run off areas.
“But then they ended up recording everyone who went over the white lines as if we hadn’t agreed anything yesterday. So we have gone to Bernie.”
The matter was brought up again during the drivers briefing on Friday night, resulting in the FIA moving the “control area” wider of the track at turn one.
The drivers can now use the full width of the kerb, rather than being forced to keep two wheels on the inside of the tracks white line.
In a memo sent to all the teams on Saturday morning, Charlie Whiting said: “Based upon our observations of the way in which the new kerb on the exit of Turn 12 is used, and the comments made in the meeting yesterday evening, we feel that the usable track limit at Turn 1 should be the outer edge of the kerb, i.e. the edge furthest from the track.
“The performance of any driver going beyond this point, with any part of the car, will be examined in order to establish whether or not an advantage was gained by exceeding this limit.”
Hopefully we can move on from this to enjoy an action packed qualifying session.