French GP will be a ‘nightmare’ for race control

As part of the developing Formula One story that is pitting the FIA against the teams and drivers, it appears we are set for more penalties and controversies at the upcoming French GP at the Paul Ricard circuit. During the last racer in Austria no fewer than 43 cautions for track limits violations were issued by the race stewards. An unprecedented 4 drivers after 4 violations were given time penalties, being Lando Norris, Zhou Guanyu, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel’s was awarded following the chequered flag and it was left to Sky reporters Rachel Brooks to tell the 4 time German champion of his fate during the bull pen interviews.

These four drivers have also been issued with a penalty point against their license. 12 points in a calendar year sees the driver banned for one race.

There are circuits where the drivers find it more difficult to respect track limits due to the nature of the flat kerbs. The banked sedated kerbs allow the driver to feel the track limits and adjust his throttle input according.

However circuits like Austria in the quick corners have flatter circuit boundary kerbs and entice the driver to stray beyond the white line.



But Red Bull team principal Christian Horner fears the problem will only be worse when F1 returns to Paul Ricard next weekend.

Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner explains the difficulty. “The problem is the nature of the circuit [Red Bull Ring], it invites the drivers to use the track limits and of course, there were many, many drivers that were infringing that over the weekend [in Austria[,” explained Horner.

“My concern isn’t so much here. I think [Paul] Ricard will be a bigger issue.”

During the late 90’s and early 2020’s Formula One saw gravel traps removed and huge tarmac run off areas replace them for alleged safety reasons. Even the famous Monza parabolic has been emaciated so the drivers can now run off the circuit with impunity.



Horner explains why he feels Paul Ricard will see even more drivers punished for abuse of track limits.

“There is genuine time gain to be had and you’ve got acres of Tarmac there so it’s just inviting you to run offline.”

Of course this problem does not occur on street circuits where concrete walls await the driver should he stray, but there is a psychological difference between a wall and a corner where even the kerb fails to define the track limit.

GPFans ran a poll of their readers as to whether they thought track limits was overly policed in Austria. 84% agreed track limits should be enforced as they were.



However, it is the responsibility of the FIA to ensure that drivers have significant triggers to alert them in those split seconds they arrive at a high speed corner as to where the track limits are.

It would be ridiculous to just erect walls on circuits where the corner is open, yet by bringing back gravel traps – or more severe banked sedated edge kerbs would allow the F1 pilots half a chance to stay within the white lines

READ MORE: Perez calls on FIA to change the stewards

9 responses to “French GP will be a ‘nightmare’ for race control

  1. Leave it to the new and not improved FIA to mess up F1 racing. What is the difference between the racing rules of 2 or 3 years ago and today? The Stewards and Race Control staff.

    • 1. Monza parabolica
      2. “sedated curbs”? 🤭 I think you meant to say serrated curbs
      3. As an Englishman, curb should be kerb, but now I’m just being picky 😁

      • That’s the problem with our English language. You and I both know it’s kerb. But most non English speaking would probably never have seen it spelt that way. In saying that, I would be very limited in using French words or even spelling them correctly. At least they try

    • Typical dickhead comment just cause red bull can’t respect track boundary’s it’s Mercedes’ fault or someone else’s fault idiot

  2. Only T6 or Saint-Beaurne has really been problematic before or generally a corner where one could be faster via off-track excursion.
    The Mistral straight chicane has the same polystyrene block arrangement used for Monza’s opening chicane, while 2, 5, & last corner exits have small yellow bumps that kill off acceleration speed, so nothing to gain really by leaving the track & Beausset (11) has wider curbing + radius means drivers rarely go off track anyway.
    The same with the following corner & Signes.

  3. Maybe if Masi had not of made a mess of last season and especially the Abu Dhabi race. Then he would still be an acceptable controller. But he wasn’t and no one would still want him being in charge. Give the new team a little time ,plus we have a new chief in the FIA who seems to want changes. Either give time or depart from the FIA and have your own competition.

  4. That’s OK then. We can enjoy the sport of motor racing. Then, we can wait a week or ten days for the FIA to let us know who won after a scrutiny of the driving!

    • Try having a bet on it, you think you are on the winner and then they make a mess of safety car rules etc. So now I don’t bet on it, don’t see the point when the race controller picks the winner he wants for Netflix

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