Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Hungaroring, 2016

FIA confirm track limits rules for qualifying and race

2016 Hungarian Grand Prix

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The FIA has confirmed the approach that its stewards will take to drivers exceeding track limits for the rest of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.

Race Director Charlie Whiting announced in a note to teams that he and the stewards will be taking a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude to drivers exceeding tracks limits in turns four and 11 in qualifying and will be adopting a four strikes rule during the race.

The stewards will make use of a sensor system installed on a number of corner exits to record drivers exceeding track limits, but have confirmed there will be a 20cm tolerance until drivers will be recorded as having exceeded the limits of the track. There will also be concessions made if drivers are forced off track for any reason outside of their control.

The full notice from Charlie Whiting to the teams is as follows:

Further to the discussion in the drivers meeting yesterday evening I would like to confirm that:

a) We will be adopting a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to cars leaving the track at turns four and 11 during qualifying. Please note that this will be judged by the use of timing loops in the kerbs and, to ensure that we see no false crossings, we would like to make it clear that the loops are set up to register a crossing when a car is approximately 20cm beyond the white line. Every lap time achieved by leaving the track will be deleted in accordance with Article 12.3.1d of the Sporting Code.

b) During the race, and in accordance with Article 27.4 of the Sporting Regulations, any driver who is judged to have left the track three times at these corners (when counted cumulatively) will be shown a black-and-white flag. One further crossing will result in a report being made to the stewards for not having made every reasonable effort to use the track. As discussed, this is likely to result in a driver-through penalty for any driver concerned.

However, if we are satisfied that a driver left the track at these points for reasons beyond his control – having been forced off the track, for example – lap times will not be deleted during qualifying, nor will such a crossing be counted towards a driver’s total in the race.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 9 comments on “FIA confirm track limits rules for qualifying and race”

    1. pastaman (@)
      23rd July 2016, 12:17

      So, a 20cm tolerance then….

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        24th July 2016, 9:59

        good one @pastaman.
        And “if we are satisfied that a driver left the track at these points for reasons beyond his control () lap times will not be deleted during qualifying”.
        I wonder if avoiding a Pokémon would be deemed “beyond his control” ;-)

    2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      23rd July 2016, 12:30

      I hate the way the FIA have handled this. It’s so simple, yet they’ve managed to make a complete meal of it. I’ve run several virtual racing series and the white line is always the limit. Simple. Black and white.

      Why on earth would they make it 20cm past the white line? What the hell is the point of having a white line in conjunction with the rule that “the track is defined by the white lines” if those white lines are then going to be completely ignored?

      They really don’t help themselves, do they?

      1. I’ve really never understood the issues with track limits.
        “gaining an advantage” and “Gaining a lasting advantage” is rubbish. Drivers wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t advantageous in some way.
        Attacking a corner and using more runoff on exit surely is an advantage as you are carrying more speed.

        As a compromise, if the centerline of the car crosses the white line, that could be classed as exceeding limits. This way sensors could be put along the centerline of the car and a loop run around the corners that the sensor pick up and then report to stewards.
        This way we get drivers attacking the corners but being penalised for attacking too much

    3. What is the purpose of the white line if you are going to put a virtual limit aprox 20cm from it????? Are they really this blunt???

    4. So there will be zero tolerance except 20cm tolerance because they use sensors to make sure noone exceeds track limits – this is brilliant!

    5. +1 to everybody

    6. Do we have any info on those sensors? That 20cm tolerance may well be a consequence of the precision of said sensors…

    7. Wow! The FIA really means business about respecting track limits: ZERO tolerance!
      1 – Except for turns 1 to 3, 5 to 10 and after 11;
      2 – A further 20cm beyond the white line will be tolerated;
      3 – And a driver can go beyond the track limits 3 times during the race without penalties; only doing it FOUR times is “LIKELY to result in a driver-through penalty”
      I only wish my wife had that kind of ZERO tolerance for my exceeding the track limits!

    Comments are closed.