Following quite a lot of incidents at races final 12 months regarding observe limits, new F1 race administrators Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas adopted a stricter method for 2022, defining the sting of the observe as being the white line and sanctioning any breaches accordingly.
The Pink Bull Ring in Austria usually sees drivers operating huge at quite a lot of corners on account of its structure, together with the 2 right-handers at Turns 9 and 10 to complete the lap, making observe limits some extent of focus.
Throughout Sunday’s race, the stewards deleted a lap time following 43 separate observe limits breaches, and handed five-second time penalties to 4 drivers – Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and Zhou Guanyu – for exceeding the three permitted breaches.
However amid the talk concerning the consistency of race officiating, quite a lot of drivers expressed their frustration over how observe limits had been dealt with over the weekend.
“The observe limits debate this weekend has been a little bit of a joke, not solely in F1 however in F2 and F3,” mentioned Pink Bull driver Max Verstappen.
“It’s simple to say from the skin, yeah, however you simply have to remain inside the white strains. It sounds very simple, however it’s not, as a result of if you go that fast by means of a nook and a few of them are a bit blind, you could have a bit extra understeer, tyres are sporting, and it’s simple to go over the white line.
“However do you really acquire time? Perhaps sure, perhaps not. To be sincere, it’s solely like two or three corners the place you possibly can go a bit wider.
“I don’t assume we must always have this, ah you went 1mm over, that’s a penalty or no matter. Then simply add a wall or carry some gravel again.”
Verstappen added he thought it “doesn’t look good for the game as properly” to clamp down on areas the place drivers could be “naturally penalised” by operating huge.
Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22, Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, Sergio Perez, Pink Bull Racing RB18
Photograph by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Norris acquired his five-second time penalty when he exceeded observe limits after already receiving a black-and-white flag warning for his third breach.
The McLaren driver mentioned that whereas he can “fully perceive” the explanation to ping drivers for the ultimate two corners, he was pissed off the stewards had been pinging drivers for going off at Flip 1 the place they’d lose time anyway.
“I had one in Flip 1 or wherever my penalty was, Flip 1, and I similar to locked up the entrance tyre, I hit the sausage [kerb], I’ve misplaced like a second up the hill – after which I simply get observe limits for that,” Norris mentioned.
“I’ve been punished sufficient, as a result of I’ve misplaced one second. It’s a bit silly, a few of them. And it’s life and it’s the identical for everybody, and we wish consistency and so forth.
“We’ve argued it, we’ve additionally mentioned that we wish it to be strict since final 12 months, and we wish it to be the identical each time and so forth. Us drivers all the time need one thing completely different and one thing higher and so forth, so we’ll see.
“It’s a troublesome observe to evaluate the boundaries so finely on.”
Mick Schumacher acknowledged that observe limits had been “a really huge drawback” throughout his time in Components 2, however thought it was nonetheless “one thing to be mentioned” after Austria.
“It does look a bit foolish if for going a centimetre of observe you get a penalty of 5 seconds, and more often than not if you go off you don’t acquire any lap time, which is worse,” Schumacher mentioned.
“It’s one thing to be mentioned, one thing to see if we are able to enhance it for the subsequent occasion as a result of I feel in Paul Ricard particularly it will likely be an enormous concern.”
Within the aftermath of the race, the FIA despatched out a reminder that the white line’s utilization as the sting of the circuit “has been applied following discussions with the drivers and groups to enhance consistency and readability for the rivals and followers” concerning observe limits.
The FIA added: “The variety of penalties at this time is proportional to the variety of infringements of Article 33.3 of the Sporting Laws, with drivers in the course of the race given two ‘strikes’ for crossing the white line with all 4 wheels, adopted by a black and white flag for the third infringement, and referral to the stewards for every subsequent infringement.”