The FIA vows to get tougher on track limits

2015 F1 season

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The FIA has toughened up the rules regarding track limits and told drivers they must stay within the confines of the circuit at all times.

Following today’s meeting of the World Motor Sport Council the FIA issued revised guidance on track limits.

“Sporting Regulations regarding track limits have been clarified and specify that drivers ‘must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not deliberately leave the track without a justifiable reason'”, the FIA stated.

“Penalties will still be allocated based on whether a driver is judged to have gained an advantage,” it added.

The FIA Drivers Commission had urged for a tougher line to be taken on the abuse of track limits.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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47 comments on “The FIA vows to get tougher on track limits”

  1. What’s the point, its still full fluff and grey areas.

    ‘Driver must take every reasonable effort’

    ‘Judged to have gained an advantage’

    Perhaps they will only endeavour to put the rules in.

    If they want to stop track abuse then take a zero tolerance approach.

    4 wheels off the track = 5 sec penalty at pit stop.

    1. Indeed. The FIA hasn’t ‘vowed’ anything. The change makes not difference.

    2. @Thedonz I agree with you 1000%. The track limits thing is easily solved if you dole out the penalties. There is no need for these grey areas at all. There’s the line. If you stay this side of it, you’re fine. If you go *that* side of it, there’s a 5 second penalty. End of story. This will never happen though….

      1. only way to eliminate it is placing special tarmac/run off area that punishes drivers, like slowing them or keeping them there, than problem solved…

      2. How about……
        Copper wire around the track on both sides.
        Transponder mounted in the centre of the floor of the car.
        If the driver lets the centre of the car go over the track limit 5 times they get a drive thru.
        Let a computer tally the exceeding of limits, have the number appear on the drivers dash.
        Problem solved……?

    3. If they want to stop track abuse they should stop replacing gravel traps with giant runoff areas.

      1. Fully and wholeheartedly 100% agree with all comments above. Zero tolerance is the only way and if you do this with technology is even better. The run off area’s are created for the SAFETY of the drivers themselves – not to gain an advantage. They are clever enough to keep within the track – but as always – they push the limits to the absolute extreme until they have to be told off. They would not like it if they went back to gravel everywhere – and they get stuck and could no longer race. Go and toughen these boys up please and make them stay within limits at all times – even if they try to make the car go above what it can do – they must get penalties for that too. The track is where you race guys!!!!!!

    4. So you make a mistake, leave the track and you get a 5-second penalty?

  2. I know, how about they stop replacing everything off track with tarmac! Put me in charge, watch them try and cut the track when I lay grass and put sand traps everywhere. Job done, easy.

  3. Will you just put grass next to the track already? Kvyat tried it and found it to be quite punishing. And, wonder of wonders, after that everybody somehow managed to stay in between the white lines! For a whole race distance that is!

  4. A hawk eye system at certain corners would solve this. 2 strikes = drive thru.

    1. This seems to me like a great idea. Safe and no doubt effective. Depends on the availability of the technology, I suppose.

      1. That’s easily done and already used in many other championship (football, tennis,…)

  5. The way to stop this is stop having kerbs with miles of tarmac beyond them, look at the photo in the OP the kerb is almost as wide as the F1 car & then there is a huge area of that grass carpet stuff, there should be a thin kerb no more than 300mm wide & then on the outside of that there should be a yellow continuous line all around the track that is 100mm wide & if either both front wheels or both rear wheels (or all the wheels) go over this yellow live anywhere on the track the driver receives a drive through penalty (if this if happens within the last few laps then a drive through penalty time is added to the finish time), if a driver goes over the line a second time in a single race they get a stop go penalty & a third time the driver/car is black flagged.

    1. Curb idea is good, make them a special angled/height in one end, and people will try not to drop off it to damage under tray/body…

  6. They’ve said this before. They then forget about it in a race or two. I’m trying not to be cynical, but when they keep on doing the same thing and then forgetting about it immediately, its hard not to be.

  7. Exactly what they promised ahead of the Spa race and only Kvyat was warned.

    Hopefully they will finally extend “gaining an advantage” to include gaining a tenth or two in lap time instead of only penalizing overtakes after going off-track.

    I remember a years ago Vettel and Massa being told to respect the track limits. No penalties or nothing needed, but just tell em to knock it off “or else”. Back then they had a: “Go off-track 3 times and we have to suspect that you don’t have the car under control” rule. Why not do that again?

  8. The FIA is a bunch of men sitting in room with nothing else to do but justify their huge pay packets. So every few weeks they come out with nonsense just to appear to be doing something. Anyone know how I can get a job there?

    1. I know how you can get a job there, but fair warning, it involves 3 tonnes of maple syrup, a banana and being locked in a room with Bernie for 6 hours.

  9. The FIA behave as if there’s some mystical force, insidious conspiracy, or thick necked bully which up until this point prevented them from implementing their own rules.

    They announce this stuff as though it’s an astonishing prize worthy breakthrough. Just read your own rules and use the 400,000 odd sensors on the cars, track, and 90 screens in the race control centre to enforce them, for #!*& sake.

  10. Makes no difference. It’s still subjective, based on the appreciation by stewards and also drivers.

    It has to be clear: black or white, not grey. 2 complete wheels out of the white line and that’s over the limit. Penalty. Right there.

    It’d still be as hard to control as this vague rule FIA has now, but at least the interpretation is clear cut and decisions do not need to be discussed so extensively.

  11. “Listen guys, I know we said we were serious before but now we’re for real-reals serious. Just you watch! We’re totes cracking down. I promise.”

    As others have said: put grass, put gravel, put SOMETHING that actually makes it physically undesirable to put your car there. Otherwise, this is going to be a pointless battle from here to eternity. As it is, the only way you could police drivers going off is if you developed an automated system that detects a car leaving the boundaries and automatically requires them to lift or SOMETHING that would put some pain into it. This “gained an advantage” crap seems dependent on actually improving the lap time and frankly, if they’re using the run-off to continue on in the lap, then isn’t it just as unfair if your lap time stays the same?

    It’d be like if in basketball they just decided if you dribbled out of bounds by whether or not you scored a basket because of it. You’re out of bounds, that’s all that matters.

    1. The problem with grass are crashes like the one kvyat had. Tarmac is safer and i think that is the way forward, there should be easier ways to get drivers to stay within the track limits.

  12. Why don’t they just cover the run-off areas with artificial grass? I’ts the only artificial thing I would put in the sport.

  13. The sport is now officially in crisis, and the Power that B is throwing chaff against the missiles: No more corner cutting, no more efficient sounding engines, no more watching Mercs running at the front on t.v…
    I am starting to feel motion sickness from all of the spinning of the situation. Bernie needs to step aside for the good of the “sport”.

  14. I think the standard excuse for no gravel/abrasive surface is “because motorbikes”.
    I’d advocate for narrow kerbs and something low-grip on the other side of them – make the drivers actually have to use the circuit!

  15. Using cameras, GPS or any other detection system to enforce track limits will be a sad day for the sport. And unfortunately that day is very close.

    It would completely de-risk the skill of driving a car to the limit. And risk is an essential part of both driving a racing car, and admiring those who do. I do not consider a time-penalty for crossing what is in effect a virtual line, an adequate risk to challenge an F1 driver, or excite the fans.

    This comment is not alluding to the risk of injury or death.

    As a sim racer myself, the risk of injury is non-existent, however driving circuits that pose a virtual risk (ie wall, gravel, grass, etc) are infinitely more challenging, enjoyable and exciting than those that don’t (ie almost every FIA Grade 1 circuit in the world). A solution has to be developed that provides a challenging and exciting balance between acceptable risk and reward. Modern GP circuits have this balance all wrong. Off-track detection won’t fix that.

    1. I didn’t see your post before posting myself.
      I 100% agree with you. The “all safety madness” is killing motorsport. In a not too distant future, maybe we’ll see a split in motor-racing:
      – On one side “soft racing”, on Tilke dromes, with electric/quiet engines, rules and penalties that prevent close racing (you know, when a small mistake and racing incident is put under investigation and results in a 10s stop&go). Like F1 today.
      – On the other side “hard racing”, on untouched natural tracks like Suzuka or Road America, roaming engines, wheel to wheel racing. Like Nascar. Or Irish road racing / Isle of Man TT in bikes.

  16. This is definitely the F1 version of the ‘War on drugs’: ‘War on track limits’!

    1. Nancy.. “When it comes to kerbs and runoffs…..just say no”

  17. This is simple. Bring back ground effect, the stiffer suspension will stop the drivers running over the curbs and allow them to run closer without losing downforce.

  18. Any time driver is reported offtrack add 5s if sector time is within 1 s of previus time.

  19. Just bring back gravel traps ! Enough with tarmac runoffs and stupid penalties.
    I may shock some people, but too much safety is killing sport. I love motorsport because drivers take some risks, and I admire their courage. If they don’t, then le’ts put them on a video game, it will be the same.

    More: tarmac runoffs are not always safe. Imagine a “crazy” car, with no brakes. It will not be slowed down with tarmac, it will with gravel traps.

  20. Grass, grass, grass, grass, grass.

    1. @davidnotcoulthard
      But how much? This is not a trivial question!

      1. @nase As much as in Suzuka would be OK (though the ashpalt part of the run-off should be painted like in Brasil).

  21. Put a 1 meter grass line around the track outside of the track and keep the asphalt runoffs on the outside. It’s so annoying to see drivers systematically use runoffs as a part of the track. It needs to be consequences, not big ones, but still a loss in time

    1. Didn’t see this earlier comment, exactly my point. Glad to see people with the same idea. Hope the FIA will take notice ’cause this nonsense needs to stop.

    2. @tequesta
      I argued for not 1, but two metres of grass. Can we be on the same team until we win our fight, and only then wage war on each other because of our unsurmountable differences?

      1. Depends on the corner and the amount of run-off. Corners like Parabolica or 130R would be better off with 1 meter so it doesn’t unsettle the car too much at such high speeds. That way it’ll still be safe. Slower corners could have 2 meter or even more.

        1. Die heretic!

          Seriously, though: You have a point.

      2. @nase Deal! When is best for you to go an nock on Bernie’s door?

  22. The easiest solution would be 2 metres of grass on either side of the track, without exceptions (but the pit entry and exit). They can have as much tarmac run-off as they want beyond that for safety reasons, as longs as there’s an immediate disadvantage when a car leaves the track. From then on, there would be no need to check whether all cars are within the white lines at all times. It simply wouldn’t matter anymore. In you go off and spin, that’s too bad for you, but if you go off and manage to keep running without losing too much time, that’s good for you. The only point where track limits should matter to the stewards are chicanes. Other than that, leave it to natural selection.

  23. Here’s my idea: Why won’t they just put one or two meters of grass on the outside of the track? The rest of the tarmac can stay. Drivers won’t go over the limits because it’ll punish them, but their safety isn’t at risk either because there’s enough tarmac after the grass to slow the car down.

    1. @joshdejager
      Hi, @tequesta argued for 1, my humble self for 2. You’re saying “one or two”. Whose side are you really on?

  24. It’s the annual “FIA gets tougher for one race” promise.

  25. under next years rules, Hamilton’s pole lap he did this year would be cancelled, as he ran right off the track in atleast 2 places. others did it too. next year will be better, I hate drivers taking short cuts up eu rouge at Spa

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