Following the departure of the amicable F1 race director, the drivers have been engaged in a season long row with the FIA. During the early races certain teams and drivers were heavily critical of the new car design regulations that have made it much easier to follow and overtake but resulted in some F1 car designs bouncing excessively.
Whilst the bouncing row has died down, other contentious issues have arisen, the latest being the management of the Austrian GP race.
There were 43 breaches of track limits during the race and most of the drivers received a warning. Lando Norris, Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gaasley and Yuki Tsunoda all received 5 second time penalties for repeated offences, while Lewis Hamilton was shown the black and white flag and Charles Leclerc & Max Verstappen both had two breaches to their credit.
Max Verstappen commented on the FIA’s race management in the press conference following the chequered flag.
“Of course everyone has their own opinions about certain things,” he said, “but like track limits, I think track limits debate this weekend has been a bit of a joke. Not only in F1 but in F2 and F3.”
Track limits has always been more of an issue at the Red Bull Ring than elsewhere and part of the reason is due to the number of blind corners around the circuit.
“It’s easy to say from the outside, yeah,” Verstappen continued. “but you have to just stay within the white lines. It sounds very easy, but it’s not because when you go that quick through a corner and some of them are a bit blind, if you have a bit more understeer, tyres are wearing, it’s easy to just go over the white line.
“But do we actually gain time? Maybe yes, maybe not, and to be honest, there’s only two or three corners where you can really just go a bit wider.”
Over the past 20 years F1 track designer Hermann Tilke designed new circuits with huge car park like tarmac run off areas. The theory being that the gravel traps were dangerous.
Charlie Whiting then added to the issue insisting that circuits like Monza remove the gravel traps and pave the famous Parabolica corner. Verstappen thinks F1 may have made a mistake.
“I don’t think we should have this value on one mill over that’s a penalty or whatever. Just add a wall or put some gravel back where we… like Turn 6 on the exit. I think that’s great because there is gravel, you punish yourself if you go wide”, said Verstappen.
“These are things where we have to look into how we can make it better because also for the stewards and just the people involved with checking these track limits, I mean it’s almost impossible to check these kind of things because you need what… almost like one guy on one car the whole race to check the whole lap if he’s not going outside of the white line, where on this track, at least, in some places, you get naturally penalised if you just you know go a bit wider and you touch the gravel.”
The sheer number of track limits warnings created a story which in previous years may have provided some interest during what has been a processional race. Yet the new car design saw exciting racing up and down the field as teams are now prepared to try less conservative tyre strategies because track position is now less vital as the cars can overtake.
Verstappen concludes the FIA need to look at how they manage the races. ”These kind of things, I think it just doesn’t look good for the sport as well and this is just one thing. Then the other thing is racing incidents and stuff. Yeah for sure we can do better. I think we will work on it we’ll try to make it better.”
During the driver briefing on Friday, the FIA were criticised heavily fore their inconsistent approach to race control, such that Sebastian Vettel stormed out of the mandatory meeting and received a 25,000 euro fine.
The war of words between the drivers and the FIA rumbles on as F1’s governing body released a statement late in the evening after the Austrian GP.
“The monitoring of track limits during the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix has been consistent with all previous events this year,” it said in a brief statement.
“At each circuit, the white line is used as the defined limit of the track, and this has been implemented following discussions with the drivers and teams to improve consistency and clarity for the competitors and fans.
“The number of penalties today is proportional to the number of infringements of Article 33.3 of the Sporting Regulations, with drivers during the race given two ‘strikes’ for crossing the white line with all four wheels, followed by a black and white flag for the third infringement, and referral to the stewards for each subsequent infringement.”
READ MORE: “Scandel” in Austria as Hamilton gets angry
Yes Verstappen. The blame lies on the shoulders of Hamilton and Wolf. The crying twins insisted on Massi being fired. I’m starting to lose interest in watching F1
Yes you should go
Well that’s great coming from someone who sounds like there from Holland,at the end of last year Hamilton was robbed we all know that ,even redbull fans deep down do,the inconsistency of the Stewards is unbelievable especially with the redbull twins being bullies,and pushing any driver of the course to gain an advantage ,look at Sunday Pereze trying to bully Russell off track getting him a 5second penalty and himself finishing up the race in the pits (Calma is a bitch )
Sir Hamilton and Wolf don’t make FIA rules. Surely you also don’t know what you are saying
This headline could (or should, if things were equal) have read “RED BULL: FIA RACE CONTROL ‘A JOKE’
For Red Bull Ring, gaining time via off-track excursion is only possible on the last two corners.
Invalidating lap times or penalizing by five seconds for driving over gravel or grass is redundant as driving over these is automatically slower than staying on track, so Max’s point on clamping down places drivers get naturally penalized anyway is spot-on.
The same with other physical deterrents like sausage curb, for example, at Niki Lauda Curve, bumps, or slippery surface material that automatically kill acceleration speed.
It’s now blatantly obvious too all who have given up on F1 and surely many others who said they would give it one last chance that the FIA and owners of F1 decide who is going to win races and ultimately championships ! Last year the whole season was orchestrated to give a final race showdown, it wasn’t going the way they hoped then came the chance to mix things up with a last lap winner takes all. It was so blatant the world title for last year will always be tainted whoever won! Now they are at it again, so glad I decided to not watch anymore! Looks like my decision will be a longterm one and F1 isn’t a competition anymore, it’s the car racing version of WWE.