Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Turn four kerb changes could solve track limits problem, says Bahrain track boss

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

The track limits row which marred the conclusion of Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix could be avoided in future through alterations to the kerb configuration at turn four.

The chief executive of the Bahrain International Circuit, Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, told RaceFans they could change the corner to discourage drivers from running wide to gain an advantage.

Drivers were told last weekend they would be penalised if they went beyond the red and white kerb on the outside of the corner in qualifying, but not in the race.

However during the race Mercedes told Lewis Hamilton they were “getting warnings about track limits at turn four”, after he repeatedly ran wide at the corner. This prompted Hamilton to claim race control “changed their minds” during the race about policing track limits at the corner, an accusation race director Michael Masi denied.

The corner became a further focus of dispute when Max Verstappen ran off-track while overtaking Hamilton for the lead, then had to give the place back to his rival.

Asked whether the corner exit could be modified to discourage drivers from running wide in the first place, the circuit executive said there were options to change the run-off in that area.

“As a venue, obviously we follow the homologation of the FIA and what they need,” he explained in an exclusive interview for RaceFans. “You can add an extra kerb in [turn] four, we have the the red and white kerbs.

“The idea is obviously to keep them on the track and what can you do so that there’s no advantage going out.”

Bahrain International Circuit track map, 2017
Track data: Bahrain International Circuit
Al Khalifa took part in the Porsche support races at the circuit during last weekend’s event. “If I go around BIC there’s certain places where that happens [drivers running wide], there’s certain places where it doesn’t because there’s no advantage.

“So the idea is to work with the FIA and maybe extending the kerbs a bit like having a double layer or something that could limit that.”

“As long as there’s no advantage, then people won’t use it,” he added.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2021 F1 season articles, F1 newsTags , , ,

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 85 comments on “Turn four kerb changes could solve track limits problem, says Bahrain track boss”

    1. How about this thing called gravel?

      Reply moderated
      1. Slow puncture brass tacks. (joke)

      2. There is gravel on the outside of turn 4 when they use that layout. It’s more on the exit of the corner than mid-corner, but it is there.

    2. Turn four kerb changes could solve track limits problem, says Bahrain track boss

      This is not rocket science either make leaving the track so costly time wise and damage wise or track the cars electronically and automatically issue a 10 second penalty each and every time they take all four wheels across the white line.
      Problem solved.

      1. Ultimately, this is something we’ve all been talking about for the best part of a decade and they’ve failed to come up with a consistent approach to it so far so I have no faith that they will do in future. It’s incredible really that in a sport full of so many clever people that they are unable to solve such a simple problem and we’re now relying on dangerous sausage kerbs or kerbs that will damage cars and could lead to a big incident further around the track.

          1. Grass would work fine in this instance but if you look at the last turn in Austria as an example, it creates a much bigger risk – if you go wide, you could have a pretty big crash if you slide on the grass and it could easily happen if you lock up on entry. If they put grass there because they are incapable of policing track limits and someone got serious hurt because of it, the blame would lay with the FIA.

            The rules need to be simple – if you’re off the track enough that an overtake would be deemed illegal and you weren’t pushed off or clearly made a mistake and lost time, you get a warning. After x amounts of warnings, you are given a drive-through. This should apply at every corner of every track.

            1. Jonathan Parkin
              30th March 2021, 16:12

              But this is the problem. We have an issue with track limits and the best way to solve them is grass and gravel.

              I don’t want drivers seriously injured or killed, but it’s clear the current system just isn’t working. We go through several complicated methods of making sure drivers stay properly on the track but we aren’t using the right method because of the safety argument. Yes the car can dig into the gravel and flip over. But that is why we have crash tests and all the other safety devices on the cars

            2. Jonathon Parkin – F1 doesn’t have a system now, that’s the problem.
              They keep nullifying the actual system as written in the regulations with their own “We will not be monitoring track limits at Turn X”
              That’s why it doesn’t work.
              If they enforced track limits (the white lines) they would have a system that works.

            3. You’d also think that besides plain gravel and grass, they could come up with some surface that both slows down a car significantly, while not making it flip over. Maybe by combining grass and gravel, or by creating some sort of concrete surface with a specifically roughed-up surface?

          2. Tricky.

            The world authority in grass might not supply it’s product to some of the countries F1 plans to do business in.

            https://www.dw.com/en/turf-war-grass-company-boycotts-qatar-world-cup/av-56852185

      2. This is not rocket science either make leaving the track so costly time wise and damage wise or track the cars electronically and automatically issue a 10 second penalty each and every time they take all four wheels across the white line.
        Problem solved.

        I would not even go that far, @johnrkh.
        Just take away the MGU-K boost for a couple of seconds, every time a driver goes beyond the white lines.

        There is nothing wrong with the rules (27.3) but merely with the enforcement of those rules.

        1. Until it creates a rear-ender at 200kph…
          Vettel and Hamilton know what it’s like when the leading car fails to accelerate out of a corner, much to the surprise of the following car.

          Perhaps apply it in the following acceleration zone, after 5 seconds of flashy rain light notification to the following driver.

          Seems a bit like a computer-gamey style of penalty to me, though. Like something Formula E would do.

          1. Until it creates a rear-ender at 200kph…

            a. if it’s a rear ender then the following car has left the track as well, and has nog MGU-K deployment.
            b. how much of a speed difference does switching off the MGU-K (120kW) for 5s in a 752+kg car which can still use its 800HP ICU?
            c. there are rules in place to make sure drivers rejoin the track safely.

            It’s better to do it automatic and immediately.
            It’s like hitting gravel or grass and needing 5s to get out of it.

            1. @coldfly Coming out of turn 4 and suddenly dropping power would almost certainly create some hairy moments.
              If the car is 10 meters out of bounds then that’s fair enough – but if they were 10cm out, there will quite likely be another car behind them and the follower wouldn’t necessarily know that the leading car in front was out.

            2. A. It’s not “suddenly dropping power” as they aren’t full throttle through that corner; it’s like following last years Ferrari powered cars, which simply cannot accelerate as fast. It happens all the time.

              B. I honestly don’t understand (especially in F1) why people want to put wiggle room on formal restrictions. If you want your 10cm then paint the white line 10cm out.

            3. They are full throttle at the exit of turn 4, and that is where they are exceeding the track limit.

              B? Huh? I’m saying there should be no wiggle room. If the car is 10m, 10cm or 10mm out, it is out and deserves the same punishment.
              I was referencing clarity of how far is out – 10m is easy to spot. 10cm is difficult, but it still out.
              It’s not easy to spot the car ahead being 10cm out of bounds at speed. If the following driver doesn’t see it and the leading car slows, there may well be contact.

              Whatever, I don’t think suddenly dropping power is a sufficiently ‘safe’ punishment in modern F1.

            4. No it’s not. A huge part of controlling the car is the throttle application, by suddenly removing power from the car you’re creating a potentially dangerous situation and risking drivers losing control.

              Plus – how would it handle someone getting pushed off the track through no fault of their own? If it’s an automatic system that is immediately applied you’re penalizing the driver twice

        2. So how many people watching 20 cars going past 15 separate corners do you need to report each offence, and how many decisions are needed to decide whether its justified or not. Or do you penalise a driver for spinning off, taking avoiding action, getting pushed off, pulling to the side of the track with a problem that rights itself?

          1. If they don’t need to be off the track, a penalty of some variety is justified. They are usually pretty easy to spot, and they wont happen at every corner.
            Obviously a car spinning off, avoiding contact, getting pushed off or pulling off the track with a mechanical/electrical issue has a reason to be off the track. They won’t be going any faster or gaining any kind of advantage whatsoever by doing any of those things – and if they do gain an advantage (eg coming out infront of their prior position) then there are clear rules surrounding that.

            It almost sounds as though you are advocating for removing the proper application of the regulations because it’s too hard to enforce them with a bit of common sense….

            1. Then taking away 5percent of power only at the main straight until a few seconds of penalty gets served in case of a not so minor cut?

              Yes, I also thought that it could be indicated to the followers via a yet not used color of flashing light. If they would use RGB leds then many kinds of colors could be mixed.

              But imo even if the cuts would be policed via a GPS system attached to the cars, the judging of the exceptions where it is about avoidig some kind of danger at wheel to wheel racing would not be easy to automatized at all. that would be the task for a well done AI, based on deep learning and history, and such systems are often still only used for not more than hinting human supervisors. Although in simple cases the hint can be instant and strong.

              When it is about cutting relatively unbothered by someone else, I would be happy with a minor slowdown-like penalty served on long straights, the length of it calculated by a system. It would be the best to penalize even the smallest cuts this way, because then the slowest cuts would worth something like a 0.01s slowdown penalty, and noone would be really bothered whether it is about only hundredths of a second (small cut vs very small cut), while it would encourage the drivers to avoid bigger cuts, because they would be caught all of the time.

            2. Haha: “slowest cuts”. -> smallest cuts

            3. The positive side of my idea would be:
              It could be applied even at qualifying, in the case of the smallest cuts the calculated penalty (of course it is the gain compared to the avergae pace the entrant showed before) could be added to the laptime.
              Although then of course calculating the gain would likely take the pace of some sections after rejoining the track as well.

          2. So how many people watching 20 cars going past 15 separate corners do you need to report each offence, and how many decisions are needed to decide whether its justified or not.

            Zero!
            All automatic, and for all drives in all instances. Just like gravel or grass, but a bit ‘computer-gamey style’ ;)
            @ian dearing

        3. There is an issue with an automatic performance penalty as you’re suggesting – why should a driver be punished if he didn’t go off-track on purpose?

          What if he locks-up and overshoots the corner? There’s a big enough penalty there without actually punishing the driver.

          What if the driver goes off-track to avoid a collision with another car?

          What if the driver if forced wide in a battle with another driver?

          I would prefer to see an automatic time penalty, with each penalty being reviewed by the stewards to judge if it was inadvertent.

          1. There is an issue with an automatic performance penalty as you’re suggesting – why should a driver be punished if he didn’t go off-track on purpose?

            Same (poor) reason as why a driver gets punished when hitting gravel/sand when ‘he didn’t go off-track on purpose’.
            @scbriml

          2. @scbriml

            It’s exactly those kind of nonsensical complaints (combined with incompetent stewards) that keep F1 from fixing this. Gravel, grass and wall don’t care whether it is fair that you go into/over/in them, either. F1 is way too forgiving of errors as it is.

            If a driver locks up and get a penalty, then that is good! Drivers should suffer the consequences for driver errors.

            If a driver gets a penalty while overtaking, they only have themselves to blame. It will automatically solve the ‘give the place back’ penalties.

            If another driver breaks the rules and forces someone off the road, then the rule-breaking can just be punished by the stewards. This is fairly rare and is something the stewards already have to penalize right now when the track punishes the driver that goes off.

            1. F1 has become “too forgiving” for a number of reason:

              Safety would be argued to be number one. Gravel traps proved to be useless at stopping a high speed car (see Schumacher at Silverstone) and over time were replaced with tarmac or concrete which allowed the cars to slow and possibly the drivers to recover control if mechanically OK.

              If you put gravel traps back, every time a car goes off and gets stuck, you’ll inevitably have five or six laps of safety car while it’s being recovered.

              Why should a driver be punished for going off-track to avoid an accident?

              Running wide after locking up is normally punishment enough – lost time and probably damaged tyres, no need to penalise it as well.

              In the era of just 20 cars, I don’t want to pay hundreds of pounds to go to a race that finishes with 10 cars because the rest got stuck.

    3. Put real gravel on the outside of such a corner

      1. The outside of corner 4 is where the outer loop of the track connects though Louis, Jonathan Parkin. They cannot just cut the tarmac away there and put grass or gravel there.

        But they can put some kerbing in. And then either we get saugage kerbs that launch cars into the air, or we get complaints from drivers about “the car is damaged on the kerbing” and get lively discussions on who on earth thought it a good idea to put these abrasive kerbings at that point where cars “always tend to go wide”.

        Instead of just putting in transponders or something to automatically regist that any car has more than half the car outside the white lines, endure the whining for a race or 3-4 and then notice that miraculously all the drivers have gotten experts at keeping the car withing milimiters of having exaclty half the car on track.

        1. They don’t have to cut away the tarmac, just put it on top. Check Nürburgring final corner where the Nordschleife joins the GP circuit.

          3:52 min:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcqJMmt1b18

        2. @bascb I think they could have some gravel, even with the long loop i.e. either side of the track. Besides, Bahrain is not short of cash so I think they absolutely could cut the tarmac away for the grand prix and then replace it for whenever they use the long loop (does it ever get used for anything these days?).

    4. Sure, why not. It certainly detracts from the otherwise excellent racing to have this tedious discussion about how much leeway we give the drivers to break the “have to stay on track” rules during training and during the races. And what who said about that.

    5. Seriously, how many people have now come up with the glaringly obvious, and indeed cost-free answer?

      At least one wheel must be between the white lines throughout the entire lap. Should these limits be breached, either due to an error, or in the heat of battle then apply an incident point (e.g. in iRacing, called a 1x and applied regardless of fault).
      These are supposed to be the best drivers in the world…

      Penalty? At the end of a race, possibly deduct the incident points from the driver?

      Then we can have safer tracks and logical track limits.

    6. Set the rules, enforce the rules – there is no problem.

      1. @ahxshades Sounds easy, but they tried that a few times and it was an absolute disaster every time.

        1. Because they keep adding exceptions.
          The issues occur at the places where they say they are not monitoring track limits, or when they simply don’t apply the rules consistently.

          As @ahxshades says – set the rules and enforce them. Consistently at every corner of every event.

          1. Like I said, sounds easy, but they tried that a few times and it was an absolute disaster every time.

            1. Then they obviously do it properly.
              It sounds easy because it is easy, if they just took it seriously.

              A disaster is when the rules are so blatantly confusing and contradictory for both the competitors and the stewards. As they are right now.

            2. Obviously didn’t do it properly

    7. This is a joke, surely…
      There doesn’t need to be any additional kerbs or gravel traps or whatever. There are white lines that define the track limit.
      USE THEM!

      Give each car 3 strikes. If they are caught exceeding track limits 3 times in a race, they get a 5 second penalty. If they continue to do it, give them an additional 5 seconds or a drive-through penalty for each subsequent time.
      No ifs, buts or maybes. Provided this system is enforced consistently, they’ll stop exceeding track limits very soon.

      Penalties are awful and I don’t like them – but they are a better solution than just removing the rules altogether, which has effectively been F1’s solution for the last decade or so.
      This is beyond frustrating, it’s beyond embarrassing. It’s just pathetic now. The ‘pinnacle of motorsport’ can’t even get the drivers to obey the rules. Who is in charge here?

      1. Yeah, I dislike penalties. But surely, if the FIA shows a clear message and shows it means it, drivers will learn within a race or 2 and we won’t have any penalties anymore because they learn to drive millimetre perfect within the newly enforced boundaries.

        1. Absolutely. They ‘cheat’ the limits now because there’s no deterrent.

          Handing out loads of penalties is not what F1, FIA or Liberty want, obviously – but it wouldn’t take long for the drivers to ‘get it’ when they are receiving time or drive-through penalties repeatedly.

          When everyone is sacrificing corner speed in order to stay on the track, the racing can only improve too. It requires more skill to do so.

    8. Martin Elliott
      30th March 2021, 14:21

      The tarmac is there for the outer loop so difficult to make it removable.
      The track limit could ALWAYS be the 100mm white line.
      No dispensations for quali or race. Why have officials studying the monitors when the rule is qualitative not prescriptive.
      Maybe that can be used to debate the magnitude of the penalties.

      But if all wheels are outside the line – offence. End Of !

    9. Leaving the track should result in a 5 second reverse-DRS penalty where rear wings go vertical automatically via sensors when both tires are outside limits. Sensors in all 4 tires. Right hand turns have monitors sensing right side tires. Left hand turns have monitors sensing left side tires. It would also be a safety device as it would trigger if a car leaves the track because there is an issue.

    10. The are no exceptions to the Formula One Technical Regulations. The size of the wings, length of the wheel-base, width of this, weight of that, etc, etc.
      If you are off by millimetres or grams, you are disqualified — track limits should be treated the same.

      1. Unless you are Ferrari, in which case you come to an undisclosed settlement.

        But you’re right. Teams don’t build illegal cars because the penalty for doing so is substantial.
        Drivers do breach track limits because the penalty is inconsequential or non-existent.

    11. Why not work out what the fastest line would be and then paint the line there? Extra space for overtaking too. I hate painted lines as artificial limits. Motor racing is about finding the fastest route (lines) from a to b. If you put a wall or grass there, it’s no longer the fastest. If you can’t do that, accept the fact the track is badly designed and adjust the line.

      1. Enough with this ‘badly designed track’ nonsense.
        The circuits are designed to be challenging. That’s why they aren’t just a circle or a long, continuous straight line.

        While I’m no fan of huge carpark style tarmac run-offs, they are there for safety and safety alone.
        They are not there to make it a little bit easier for the drivers.
        And in this case, much of it is there because it is the racing surface for a different layout.

        1. Not true in this case, the extra tarmac at turn 4 Bahrain is due to the outer circuit configuration, not just safety.

          1. So. it has a white line to define the edge of the circuit. There’s the limit that nobody should be allowed to exceed.

      2. Motor racing is about finding the fastest route (lines) from a to b.

        That would be a straight line. However, drag racers have a monopoly on that.

        Of course when a=b and you have to pass ‘a’ and then ‘b’ in the same direction, then the fastest route would be a circle.
        But I guess that spot has been taken by Indy.

        So you’re left with adding some curves, and a way to make clear where those are.
        A white line on black asphalt works well for that, plus a simple rule that you have to stay within those lines.

        1. So you’re left with adding some curves, and a way to make clear where those are.
          A white line on black asphalt works well for that, plus a simple rule that you have to stay within those lines

          Seems quite simple, right @coldfly

        2. @coldfly I agree with @david-br—ideally, you want a white line, plus some physical track limit, like grass or gravel. If we become overly reliant on white lines in place of physical limits, you’re just racing in a funny-shaped car park.

          Ideally, in fact, you don’t need a white line at all—rallying gets on just fine without them. The track “limits” are self-policing, and it’s up to you to find the quickest path to the next checkpoint. A proper, well-designed circuit should do the same (the checkpoint being the start/finish line).

          And that doesn’t mean making it simpler—it means working with the space you have and creating geometry so that abusing tarmac runoff isn’t faster. Maybe that means not letting runoff on the exit go on for too long, so that drivers have to take a tighter line to return to the track and lose time. Maybe you design corners that need runoff so that they’re followed by a corner in the opposite direction, because then the cars need to take a tighter line on exit to set up for the next corner—there’s nothing gained by abusing the runoff. Road America is a great example of a challenging track where runoff exists and is actually considered part of the useable circuit because the geometry of where it’s placed gives little to no advantage to using it.

          Obviously, in many cases is there to make it easier for the drivers—not for F1 drivers, but for the amateurs who actually fund the circuits by paying to rent them and don’t want to pay for repairs every time they have an off. If F1 really needed all that tarmac runoff, we’d never have street circuits like Baku and Singapore.

          1. you’re just racing in a funny-shaped car park.

            You can still leave all the other impediments, as long as you get rid of the inconsistent and slow to react ones (the stewards and directions from Masi).
            @markzastrow
            I agree that they should create exciting circuits with obstacles off the racing line (one Paul Ricard is already too many). But it seems too difficult to rely only on those obstacles.

        3. @coldfly Funny but you’re working back to front in the sense that Formula 1 has already been inspired by the classic road and street circuits, its best existing circuit, Spa, being precisely that still. So traditionally the ‘winding A to B’ route would have been ‘naturally’ determined by trees, ditches, walls, fences, houses, etc. The question is how that is imitated on modern, specially made circuits. When you’ve got undulating terrain, some ‘natural’ lines can be followed (or built) that match curves and inclination, but on flat, virtually 2D car park circuits, these questions of fastest lines always seem to crop up. My solution would be never to build Formula 1 circuits in these places to begin with. But if you going to, then places like Canada provide good examples with plenty of grass run offs. Again, though, a problem if it’s a hot dry climate. I mean, it’s no accident that the best ‘natural’ racing in such regions is actually long-distance rally dune racing with very different kinds of cars…

          But I don’t get why you discard the idea of simply redrawing the line to the fastest line and maybe making the track big enough for multiple angles through it, increasing the space for overtakes. Seems to me better than introducing potentially dangerous kerbs (airborne cars) or the monstrosity that is sensors.

          1. Clearly my comment eas very TiC, and you make a good point referring to classic tracks like Spa, @david-br

            But I don’t get why you discard the idea of simply redrawing the line to the fastest line and maybe making the track big enough for multiple angles through it

            I don’t discard it, but believe that even then there needs to be a boundary. F1 teams are too smart to find the loopholes.
            And there is another reason to limit finding faster ways through corners off (the original) track. A good track needs different corners, and some will be slower.
            We don’t want drivers to straighten part of the bus stop and final corner at Spa, or get a super fast wide turn around turn 1.

            1. @coldfly Sure, but part of the appeal of a flattish-track like Silverstone is its flow. So there’s something to be said about drivers being allowed to define that flow (working out the fastest line). But basically I’m against sensors or stewards observing and counting infringements. It’s just bad for the sport learning that a driver has been penalized for going marginally over a line n+ many times. That’s surely not how we want races to be decided. Corners should be ‘self-penalizing’ for infringements by causing a slower lap time or damage.

            2. @coldfly cc @david-br

              Yes, the bus stop chicane is one place where you still have to say, you can’t completely shortcut that large sausage curb. But the curb itself still acts as a semi-permeable physical boundary, in that if you try to take too much of it, you’ll lose time — which to me, is far preferable to simply painting a white line and saying don’t put your tyres over it. There’s nothing risked there; it’s an empty challenge to ask drivers to come as close as they dare to a painted line.

              The exit of La Source is one of those places I don’t for the life of me understand why any tarmac runoff is necessary. It’s the slowest corner on the track. At the entrance, yes, and on the outside of the corner, yes, of course tarmac is needed for cars that have an incident and are carrying dangerous amounts of forward momentum. But looking at the geometry of the corner on satellite imagery, and how the inside wall goes all the way to the edge of the track, I don’t see how a car carrying any amount of speed is going to need tarmac at the exit of that corner to slow down.

      3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        30th March 2021, 17:53

        @david-br I was thinking the same. There are loads of examples of how drivers cut corners at all sorts of circuits. At COTA as soon as they go into the switch-backs, they are literally driving over the apex of one of the corners. Just re-paint the track to match. Job done.

    12. Or reprofile the corner so that going back on throttle earlier would be doable without the risk of going wide, which is greater the tighter the turning angle.

      1. Why not remove all the other corners too, while we are at it?
        They are just so hard to drive around without slowing down.

        1. @S That part of the track has enough room for making the corner slighter and or widening the track at the exit by putting asphalt further forward or something. I didn’t imply my point the way you interpreted it, LOL.

          1. @jerejj I understood what you meant.
            You are advocating changing the track because the FIA chooses not to enforce the regulations.
            Doesn’t that seem a bit backwards?

    13. Yes and then someone breaks their back when they go flying over a bump. How about just stop complaining about it?

    14. In an ideal world, there shouldn’t be a discussion about track limits every single weekend. Nor there should be 100 5-second penalties every time a driver happens to leave the track during the race (like Hamilton during his 29 excursions out of Turn 4).
      At every track, even if there isn’t the threat of a penalty, there MUST NOT be a faster way to lap around the circuit if you leave the circuit. Usually there isn’t and when a driver goes out in the run-offs, he loses time (like Hamilton Turn 10 for example), but almost all tracks have a weak point, in Bahrain’s case it’s Turn 4. So every track must fix their weak points and just place a strip of: gravel / grass / astroturf / kerbs / another material that slows you down, at those weak points.

      Also after before we fix the tracks, we should also fix the stewards, because Masi seems to be completely incompetent to do his job. White lines define the track, not kerbs, not 1 meter after the kerbs, not anything else.. WHITE LINES.
      If a driver leaves all 4 wheels from the track during practice or quali, then his lap times should be deleted.
      If he overtakes someone the same way, then he should give the place back, or face serious penalty. No “i can overtake him and drive 5 seconds ahead so if they gime a 5-second penalty it won’t matter” way of thinking that Verstappen seemed to have.
      If a driver during the race leaves the track intentionally or not (with no overtaking involved), then see the paragraph above, he’ll be penalised anyway by the nature of the run-off.

      1. In an ideal world, drivers would be expected to stay on the track and penalised for going off it – regardless of where the track goes and how it is defined.
        That’s how every other sport works. Why doesn’t this one?

        1. I’m not sure how to answer your question other that bad stewardship and bad design of run-off areas.
          Other than that, I explained it to more detail in the comment above.
          Basically just ‘have’ the tracks do the penalising for the stewards, especially for the minor offences (like going of track during the race) and have the stewards write a simple black & white rule that says “if you leave the track during FP and Q, that lap time will not be counted and if you overtake while you leave the track, you’ll get a severe penalty”.

    15. Automate the detection. Automatically calculate the time the driver gained. With the technology available to F1, this should be doable within an acceptable margin of error.

      If a track limits infringement is detected, penalize the driver by taking the equivalent of double the time gained away from their ERS allotment the lap after the next lap.

      The driver’s team is allowed to unilaterally suspend this penalty if they think the driver was not at fault. They are allowed to do so 3 times per driver per race, and have time to make that decision until the lap on which penalty is enforced (so somewhere between 1-2 laps, depending on where on the circuit it happened).

      Race control reviews the penalty suspensions. If they agree with the team, the penalty is cleared. If they decide the penalty was justified, the ERS penalty is increased to triple the time gained. Any unresolved penalties left at the end of the race that are later found to be justified are added to the driver’s race time.

      As far as I can tell, that solves the problem and eliminates most ways of gaming the system.

    16. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      30th March 2021, 18:15

      Well this went nuts quickly. What exactly is the track? Purely between the white lines? Nope! Never has been either. Why for example is 3/4 of the car off the track and two wheels barely touching the outside of the white line considered “on track”? Both tennis and football have the same rule. The ball needs to touch the outside of the line to be in. So we already accept the fact that cars use the areas outside of the white line routinely to gain an advantage and so long as the front and back wheel touch the outside of the line it’s perfectly legal.

      So “the track” isn’t just the track. It’s the track and whatever bits on either side you can use to your advantage up to a point.

      Now, imagine if a digital penalty were applied and power reduced arbitrarily every time that was exceeded. A driver gets a corner wrong, runs wide and then can’t accelerate for a split second, like a de-rate. The result would be drivers wouldn’t push the limit and the racing and spectacle would be less interesting. No more lairy hairy squirming cars at the limit of traction because that would not be the fastest way around the track. Smooth risk free driving would likely dominate.

      I agree, certain tracks need better solutions and the best solutions are either match the track to the cars or make the run off slower or riskier not faster or smoother.

      Rumble strips are my choice. Teams will be jumping all over their drivers to stay off them as warnings start popping up in the telemetry from the serious vibrations lap after lap. It’s a self policing solution

      Any system that requires monitoring and penalties is not an effective system. Any system that results in self policing is an effective solution.

      Stick a giant rumble patch all over the outside of turn 4. It’s safer as traction can be maintained but if the resonance is tuned correctly it would be a serious stressor on the car and drivers would not go there.

    17. Each time car goes 4-wheels off track (i.e. white line), offenders DRS and ERS is disabled for a lap. Do it while you serve the punishment = one more lap…
      That would be good deterrent.

    18. Grass/gravel/etc don’t work because 1) it’s less safe and 2) people will complain about cars getting taken out for minor mistakes and the fans not being able to watch their favorite driver. There was a logic and reasoning behind the switch to paved runoff areas.

      How about disabling the MGUs for a short time (say ~10-15 seconds) anytime a car has 4 wheels outside the white lines.

      1. While this would certainly work, it both conjures up a feeling of the enforcement in a Need for Speed game, and reminds me of a reverse “fan boost”, as discussed some years ago and thankfully buried.

        I’m really not in favor of more situational (electronic) governing of the car’s actual performance.

    19. Big wide serrated kerb would lower the grip & raise the risk of floor damage. No more advantage being out there. We move on.

    20. I’m disappointed – appalled even – that so many commenters here are rejecting the notion of simply enforcing the sporting regulations as they are already written.
      There’s absolutely no need to search for alternate solutions such as modifying the track or track furniture.
      The track is fine, F1 just needs to provide the appropriate incentive for all competitors to stay on it.

      1. It’s not about rejecting enforcement of the regulations, it’s that there are legitimate reasons why the drivers are allowed to go over the white lines. The rules are simply not as clear cut as you pretend.

        The real problem is commenters ridiculously oversimplifying the problem and then claiming there is an easy fix.

        What I don’t get is why you then don’t think 5 seconds further and realize if it was that easy, then why wasn’t this “fix” applied already? Or that when they did apply even a partial fix like that, they immediately stopped doing it the next race.

        Imagine the endless complaints about when a track limits penalty should or should not have been applied. Or the complaints about the race being more about track limits violations rather than actual racing.

        Is it really that bad that they go off now and then? They all know track limits are enforced when they overtake and that’s really the only time it actually matters.

        1. Please @f1osaurus give me some examples of when it’s okay to ignore track limits that aren’t covered in the sporting regulations.
          The Race Director’s notes explicitly state they won’t be monitoring track limits at a certain place – so what deterrent is there to exceeding them? Nothing.

          Why wasn’t this fix enacted already? F1 purists and marketers hate penalties being dished out. It’s not ‘pure’ enough, it looks (to some) as though there is too much interference from the stewards, and it comes across as amateurish and unprofessional – unbecoming of ‘the pinnacle of motorsport.’ It’s simply easier not to.
          It also upsets the big teams and manufacturers as they are the ones with the most attention on them, and so most likely to be under tighter scrutiny. They have the most to lose in such a scenario – and given that they are investing so heavily in this business, they demand the most favourable conditions in return.

          There would be no justifiable complaints about when track limits should be applied if it is known they are always being applied in a consistent manner.
          Races are about who crosses the finish line first, provided they obey all the rules. Track limits are rules, just the same as technical regulations governing the cars are rules. Break the rules, suffer consequences.

          Overtaking is not the only time that track limits matter. If that were the case, why do they bother following a track at all? Open the gates and let them go out in the desert in a free-for-all.

          Seriously, attitudes such as yours are exactly the reason that this is even an issue.

          1. Seriously, attitudes such as yours are exactly the reason that this is even an issue.

            It’s exactly the opposite, people who just insist on complaining about something are the reason this is even an issue.

            In fact it almost never is an issue until someone’s idol is affected by something track limits related.

            1. I’m complaining because the rules aren’t clear and consistent – not even to those inside race control. Of course it’s going to cause issues.

              I don’t care who wins. I’m here for a good, clean, fair race – and race control messed it up again with lazy, subjective interpretations of track limits, and to add even further complication, they changed their interpretation half way through the race.

              Is this what you expect from F1?
              Sadly, it is no surprise to me.

    21. inb4 launcher sausage kerbs

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
    If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.