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How FIA doubling its observe limits policing meant no post-Qatar GP penalties saga

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At July’s Austrian Grand Prix, eight drivers were penalised (Alpine’s Esteban Ocon four separate times) post-race after the FIA had sifted by 1200 potential observe limits transgressions. 

Though the Qatar occasion included an analogous heavy give attention to the variety of observe limits infractions the drivers had been accruing in the event won by Max Verstappen, the necessity for post-race investigations didn’t happen after the FIA had labored to enhance its soccer VAR-like system. 

As was the case for the Austria race, Autosport understands {that a} workforce of officers was manning screens within the FIA’s Distant Operations Centre (ROC) that confirmed solely the corners of the Losail observe the place observe limits had been a selected drawback all weekend. 

Again in July, every time a driver went off observe, these officers needed to zoom in on a potential offence clocked by automated methods throughout the cameras monitoring sure corners, to then flag it to a different official working in race management. 

The second official then assessed whether or not a penalty, both one of many allowed ‘strikes’ or the sanctions that adopted drivers exhausting that tolerance, was vital for the place the automotive in query was positioned.  

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This led to prolonged delays between drivers even being flagged for going over observe limits on the Crimson Bull Ring and groups being unable to warn them they had been near risking penalties, which then constructed up considerably because the race wore on and dragged on as soon as the occasion had concluded. 

Sergio Perez, Crimson Bull Racing RB19

Picture by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

For the Qatar race, the system was refined in order that the ROC officers solely needed to rapidly flag {that a} potential violation had been detected by the automated methods, with that data then being assessed by a bigger workforce of observe limits-focused officers in race management – understood to be twice the overall quantity engaged on this factor for the Austrian occasion.

In complete, the FIA estimated that almost all of observe limits violations within the Qatar race had been assessed inside a lap of the offence occurring.  


The governing physique had additionally in-built a contingency coverage in time for the Qatar occasion that may have knowledgeable the groups it was behind on assessing observe limits incidents by way of F1’s official timing pages, which then would have allowed the groups to warn their drivers usually to cease abusing observe limits additional. 

In complete, 51 laps had been deleted within the Qatar race, following 83 in Austria.

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