F1 venues may lose races over observe restrict issues, says Ben Sulayem


After a Qatar Grand Prix weekend that was beset by observe limits chaos, as grid positions have been shuffled round and a raft of in-race penalties handed out to vary the order, Ben Sulayem has made clear he thinks such conditions are unacceptable. 

He believes that the main target for change shouldn’t be by the FIA policing issues extra successfully to stamp out any offenders. 

As a substitute, he says circuits which have a transparent drawback with observe limits – resembling Qatar and Austria – should make circuit modifications to discourage drivers from being tempted to run large. 

Requested by Autosport what he was going to do in regards to the observe limits drawback after the generally farcical scenes in Qatar, Ben Sulayem mentioned: “You are completely proper about it, we had the identical concern in Austria, it was 1200 [offences there].  

“And I’ve to say, congratulations to the stewards as a result of they noticed it. However is that the answer? No.  

“The answer is to enhance the observe itself. I do know some are proof against it, however to let you know the reality, if they do not, there isn’t a race. It is so simple as this. We will not afford this.” 

Drivers abusing the kerbs a lot in Qatar proved to be one of many components within the tyre scenario that F1 confronted final weekend after sidewall separation was noticed on Pirelli rubber. 

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, battles with Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Picture by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

It prompted an 18-lap restrict on tyre life for the principle grand prix, which turned it right into a three-stop race. 

Ben Sulayem mentioned that venues the place observe limits are an issue should provide you with higher kerb designs. 

“We have now to work on an answer,” defined Ben Sulayem. “One of many options is to make it slippery once they go off. No one can cease the drivers besides the drivers themselves.  

“We are able to consider the peak [of the kerbs]. Does it harm the automobiles? Or perhaps there’s a risk of placing some gravel, however with gravel, we have now to be very cautious. 

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“How deep is the gravel? As a result of you don’t need anybody to get caught. And the way large is the gravel? As a result of you don’t need the automobile to be broken. It’s a steadiness. 

“However I consider now it’s not a matter of: ‘Oh, can we do it?’ We have now to do it. And we have now to take heed to the drivers primarily, to the suggestions from them.  

“I must make it urgently as a result of it must be carried out for subsequent yr. We can not afford [for it to continue], particularly the place we see it on a regular basis.”

F1 averted a repeat in Qatar of the late-night post-race observe limits dramas from the Austrian GP, the place it had taken a number of hours for stewards to work by way of potential breaches. 

The FIA avoided a repeat of the late-night post-race track limit delays from Austria

The FIA averted a repeat of the late-night post-race observe restrict delays from Austria

Picture by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

This was carried out by way of the FIA ramping up its stewarding and introducing higher processes at its Distant Operations Centre to make sure it was extra up to the mark. 

Ben Sulayem says that additional enhancements to raised management observe limits breaches are potential, particularly with new know-how, however he says that the FIA wants extra sources to have the ability to unleash it. 

“The usage of know-how must be there,” he mentioned. “It’s being utilized in quite a lot of areas, however the FIA wants extra sources to speculate again into the game.  

“I am not hiding right here: we want extra sources. I imply, it is a $20 billion operation right here and we can not run it on a shoestring.” 

Ben Sulayem means that a greater association is required with F1 to correctly fund the extent of funding the FIA must do its job extra successfully. 

“Our settlement must be higher,” he mentioned. “You must bear in mind one factor: we personal the championship. I signify the owner, and we lease it. Our mission is totally different to Liberty however we’re in the identical boat.” 

He added: “We shouldn’t be operating this large duty with a shoestring. We’re clear. 

“[We tell people] that is what it prices. Individuals are bragging about how a lot every F1 staff is value, however the FIA must be free and have the sources to run it in one of the best ways.  

“Each time we’re higher, we make the groups higher and we make the game higher.”

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