Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Inconsistent track limits rules confusing for fans, say drivers

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 drivers have questioned the decision to impose different rules regarding track limits for the race and qualifying in Bahrain.

The policing of track limits at turn four was a topic of debate throughout the weekend. Drivers were told their lap times would be deleted if they went behind the red and white kerb at the exit of the corner during qualifying. However in the race drivers were advised the same limit would not be imposed.

Charles Leclerc said that while the rule was clear, he was puzzled by the decision to use different standards for difference sessions.

“I have to be honest, I don’t really understand why it has been changed [between qualifying and the race],” he said.

“The rule was clear, though, for us, for the race, that we could go out, but not if it was for overtaking or something like that. But I didn’t really understand why it changed from [Saturday]. I think it would have probably been more straightforward to just keep the rules as [they were].”

The battle for the lead was decided by a call regarding track limits. Max Verstappen was advised to let Lewis Hamilton overtake him after passing the Mercedes driver while running off the track at turn four.

Carlos Sainz Jnr agreed the rule was clear as far as overtaking was concerned but he also expressed misgivings about the inconsistent standards applied and potential for confusion it created.

“For me as a driver, it was clear what we was allowed to do today and what not it was allowed. What I really don’t understand is why it’s changing day to day.

“Obviously for the fans and everyone back at home, I guess it’s also difficult to keep up to date with all these changes and know exactly what’s going on.

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“But for the drivers at least, I knew that if I were to do someone using the track limits, I would be having to let the other car by, so at least that was clear.”

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who fell foul of the rules in qualifying, said it was harder to stay within track limits while completing an overtaking move.

“It’s a weird corner because it is so open,” he said. “But you know where the line is and you just got to try and stay inside.

“I went off in Q2, and I knew I went off, so I wasn’t surprised to hear the penalty, or my lap time deleted. So it was clear.

“But I guess when you’re racing side by side, it’s hard to know where the hard limit is.”

The issue was complicated further when Hamilton was warned about the line he was taking at the corner during the race, despite drivers being told track limits would not be monitored at that point on the track at that time. Race director Michael Masi denied the interpretation of the rules did not change mid-race.

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  • 68 comments on “Inconsistent track limits rules confusing for fans, say drivers”

    1. I am alright with zero tolerance in qualifying. How about let’s do like F1 2020 eh? 3 extended track limits or corner cuts and you get a 3 second time penalty lol. That way let’s see how good they are haha

      1. @krichelle The F1 games sometimes give a time penalty even when corner-cutting or going off the first time, not always after doing it three times. For example, if you straight-cut Mexico’s T1-3 runoff area a la two drivers in 2016, LOL.

      2. It sort of is like F1 2020 now, because they normally get three warnings and then a five second penalty. And lap times are deleted in qualifying for exceeding track limits. The main difference is that F1 has a less strict interpretation of what is ‘exceeding track limits.’

        1. @f1frog Indeed because the games most of the time invalidate lap times for the sake of it, even though invalidation should only happen if going off is advantageous, not when the opposite.

          1. Jockey Ewing
            2nd April 2021, 23:49

            At RaceRoom, I think it is possible to do a shorter off track excursion without the laptime being invalidated (going wide and loosing a lot of momentum). Although typically going off is loosing the laptime.

            I think the 4 wheels off the “track” policy is at about right, if that means being inside ot outside of the white line. And is right because a 3wheels-off would likely harder to be percieved by the driver (than 4), while 2 wheels-off are happening too often. I think a very strictly, and everywhere enforced 4 wheels-off policy would be nice, as it is about the agility of the driver in the end. The first wheels off and still no invalidation is happening here because of the high grip, sometimes they are still able to save it.

            So I think the 4wheels outside, enforced everywhere, with some computerized checking for the lines, and gain calculation, supervised by the stewards, and with minor penalties for the smallest cuts (takeing away very small percenteges of power in a safe way at straights, until the driver looses those tenths gained by the cut, or a bit more as solely nullifying might encourage carelessness I guess), would not be so bad, and would not change the landscape too much or negatively.

            To me, the current state, admittedly only enforcing cut rules at a few corners is not as serious as it should be at high levels of motorsport.

      3. I’m not sure if that would work. Then the drivers would kinda have “3 free passes” to shortcut or to ignore track limits whenever they want.
        Or they could add gravel or something else to those cornes to slow them down? Still that would create some other problems.

        1. Seeing drivers beached in gravel is not ideal for a spectator sport. It would also lead to a lot more safety cars and red flags.

    2. Consistency indeed is important. An all-or-nothing approach should be the one, something Masi, for example, didn’t do in Abu Dhabi either, but differently.

    3. The battle for the lead was decided by a call regarding track limits. Max Verstappen was advised to let Lewis Hamilton overtake him after passing the Mercedes driver while running off the track at turn four.

      As a fan watching on TV, track limits mean little to me other than I expect every driver to obey the rules. When I see the front wheels go over that white line I expect a penalty to be given to that driver. If the Stewards believe it is okay to go over the white line then shift it to a place where driving in that place will be considered an offence.
      To me it is sad, and even a travesty, when the winner of the race won because they were flouting the track limits and that the second placed person had to concede the leading spot because they’d only gone over the white line once.
      Maybe if this were two drivers competing for second to last place then I’d happily ignore the problem, but this was two drivers competing for First Place. As I see it, there wasn’t any reason why Lewis needed to go beyond the track limits, but he was doing that frequently. There wasn’t any reason why the Stewards couldn’t have complained to Mercedes about this, but they didn’t.
      Then, after Max overtook Lewis and suddenly track limits became an issue. Maybe there was justification in this, but it would have been much more clear to everyone if all the drivers had to follow the same rules from the start of Final Practice 1, not halfway through the actual race.

      1. overtaking off track (what Max did) has always been illegal e.g. Verstappen USA 2017. Track limits during a normal lap in the race is a different/separate thing entirely. Also, as per the pre-race notes, drivers were told they could run wide at turn 4 i.e. no policing

        1. So effectively, when two drivers are in a battle, the driver in front is allowed to go off-track to maintain position, while the driver behind can not use that part of the track to overtake? The car behind is only allowed to follow the ideal off-track line behind the first car. This means by having this rule, a potential corner for overtakes is removed from the track.

        2. Max first past Lewis and when he head a total car length in front, he had oversteer and left the track. He did not leave the track while he was overtaking.
          The call should have been:” Will be investigated after the race”
          Max would have won the race and after analysis he couldn’t have been blamed for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.
          I follow the analysis of Norris in this matter.

        3. Race regulation already limits to the white line. That it was not ‘monitored’ has been replaced with ‘allowed’ by the Merc / ham plan to ruin the race with fraud 29 laps times .2 seconds.

          Hamilton fraudently stated the rules were unclear. Clear to all, but one.

          Hamilton and Wolff should learn to behave, and a penalty would have been the correct mechanism.

          The sport was robbed in Bahrein.

          Reply moderated
    4. Drive through penalty for anyone abusing the track limits. I don’t like timed penalties as it could be very complex very quickly. Just get it sorted F1, it’s not hard.

      1. I prefer the MotoGP long lap penalty.

    5. According to the Bahrain stewards, the racing line is off-limits for overtaking. This situation was created by the inconsistent interpretation of what “lasting advantage” means. In my opinion, a driver taking a certain racing line that is outside of track limits, is doing that because it gives hem a lasting advantage.

      1. This. We don’t need any penalties. If you exceed track limits to gain a position or time, you need to give it back. Slow down to give the position back or to make your lap time slower.

    6. Inconsistent track limits rules confusing for drivers, say fans.

      These young guys have to red the rule book.

    7. There seem to be a lot more amateurish issues since Masi is in charge.
      Maybe that’s where change should come first.

      1. @coldfly I think I mentioned this before, he is ex V8 supercars things were done to artificially add excitement to races. Also many of the races were held on narrow street circuits, so it may not have been an issue he needed to deal with so much.

        1. Track limits have always been consistent in Supercars in the 35 years I’ve been watching.
          The tracks do tend to be predominantly street courses or have grass verges, though.
          That isn’t always practical or possible in F1, so there is a white line that defines the track limit – and it needs to enforced consistently.

          1. S

            so there is a white line that defines the track limit – and it needs to enforced consistently.

            Yes I’ve said that a few times but some argue against it. From my other post from yesterday.

            Listening to the drivers I would think that most if not all would be happy to comply knowing it would be the same race to race driver to driver.

    8. I think the FIA/Liberty are caught up in the ‘let them race’ mentality thinking it will heighten the excitement, well it did but not in the way they intended. Leclerc is correct the rules are clear but their is a allowance for the stewards to ‘interperate’ them and for me that’s the issue. On very narrow restricted circuits like Monaco I don’t remember things like track limits being discussed because the walls and armco take care of it.
      So my thinking is that no matter which track the white line would be enforced and once all four wheels crossed the line that’s it, a ten second penalty would apply during the race, for qualy the lap time deleted. That’s still giving the drivers far more Leniency than a concrete wall or armco fencing.
      Listening to the drivers I would think that most if not all would be happy to comply knowing it would be the same race to race driver to driver.

      1. And to build on your Monaco example, @JohnRKH.
        To improve safety FIA is (rightly) taking many natural barriers away which would allow ‘let them race’.
        The natural barriers/obstacles are now merely a safe stripe of white paint.

        That only works if you have very clear rules and super consistent enforcement.

        1. @coldfly

          That only works if you have very clear rules and super consistent enforcement.

          Yep that would be what I meant in my last sentence.

      2. @johnrkh Leclerc doesn’t say there is an allowance for the stewards to ‘interperate’ the rules. He says he doesn’t understand why the specific requirements for qualifying were dropped for the race.

        Exact same for Sainz.

        1. @f1osaurus Yeah could have been a little clearer on that, Leclerc was only referring to the written rules.

    9. 2 issues here:
      a) The change from session to session. Stop it. The rules are the rules, and should be the same every time.
      b) The conflicts arising from the Race Director’s notes. You can’t realistically put one note in saying you’re not monitoring track limits with the next note pointing straight to Article 27 which clearly states that all competitors must stay within the white lines. If there’s a track limit (and there always is) then it must be enforced everywhere consistently, just like every other rule.

      Confusion and inconsistency is clearly the FIA’s goal here.

      1. Great point.

        The whole idea of picking a bunch of corners where the track limits will not be enforced is just beyond me. Ok, I get the initial thinking perhaps, but it’s quite hard to believe that such a short-sighted decision can be taken by a bunch or very smart people. Until I remember it’s still f1, the sport I love :)

      2. If FIA/Masi believed that a) was the right decision, then they should have painted the white line there, @S.

        Then no stopping drivers mid race using that bit of the track, and allowing overtaking there as well.

        It is not that difficult as long as you’re decisive and consistent.
        (See my comment above).

        1. If they had moved the line, they would have exceeded it over there too. It’s easier just to pretend there are no lines at all. Until someone takes it to the extreme, of course. Which they usually do in F1.

          1. S @coldfly Yeah in a way I can see why they wanted to delete times in qualifying, perhaps the thinking being that it would then be equal for everyone as to what constituted a good lap vs one that carried an advantage. Strange that they were doing this during practice though, but perhaps that was so the drivers could practice staying within what was acceptable, lol. And I can see why they would lighten up on this for the race, as then they would appear too ‘policey’ and be deciding the race all day in the stewards office, given the nature of that specific corner and the the tendency for it to draw cars out there.

            For me it is a no-brainer for everyone that one cannot pass a car like Max did and retain that pass for that would be considered a lasting advantage. I’ve poured over Masi’s quotes several times and to me his only definition for lasting advantage is by that which Max did. Fair enough.

            So for me the real issue is when it became apparent mid-race that drivers and teams were still confused, yet Masi seems to be saying it was clear as a bell. It obviously wasn’t clear as a bell, when suddenly we heard Max being told to go ahead and go wide there because LH has been doing it all day, then suddenly Max is told no don’t do that because now LH is being told not to. If there was this kind of confusion for the very teams and drivers, never mind the fans, then that is on Masi. They should not need a bank of lawyers to pour over his Friday notes to understand what they were to do on Sunday, albeit, yes the passing like Max did was never a go, and was always understood.

            Masi should have just said for Sunday you can put all four wheels over the line, unlike practice and qualifying, but you just can’t pass someone and retain that position by doing so. He could have and should have been much much clearer. It remains a mystery to me why LH was told to stop doing what he was doing. Was it because he was the one driver who one time went a little wider than even the wideness that he himself was doing countless times? That seems ridiculous.

            I’ve never been one for laser eye monitoring for this kind of stuff as I think it doesn’t lend itself to the pinnacle of racing and the reality of drivers out their doing their thing and finding ways to race. It seems too restrictive and ‘courtroom’ for me. Tennis and soccer are for me not comparable. But at the same time Masi could have been much much more clear and as I said it is on him that the drivers and teams were still confused mid-race. Max did something wrong that is clear as a bell, but Masi made the rest of the issue very very muddy when we learned that RBR et al thought one thing, while LH was doing another, time and time again, and was then told not to anymore.

            I remain a fan of no laser eyes, and not walls, and not time penalties, but rather real deterrents like an aggressive curb or grass or gravel, for corners where they deem it prudent to not have drivers go wide for a lasting advantage, so that way the drivers have to police themselves out there and will penalize themselves and their team if they go wide, and which also takes it out of the stewards’ and Masi’s hands.

    10. Start putting big inflatable/foam blocks with sponsorship on them at the points in the track where track limits are being abused. Touch one and it’s an automatic penalty. Shouldn’t be too much of a safety risk, but drivers will be naturally averse to hitting them. They would rather take avoiding action which scrubs off speed.

      1. @davids That idea is good, sensible and efficient. So it will never happen.

    11. Chris Horton
      2nd April 2021, 9:51

      What I struggle with is the drivers seemingly calling the shots. When track limits are defined before the weekend, once on track the drivers just bleet that “it’s too hard” or repeatedly have lap times deleted (a la Bottas /Bahrain)

      Stay on the track. They don’t repeatedly crash at Monaco where track limits are defined by walls.

      As far as I’m concerned, they’re too lenient anyway, it shouldn’t be permitted to have any portion of tyre still touching the kerb rendering you ‘in bounds’, it should be any portion of your tyre BEYOND the red/white kerb is ‘OUT of bounds’

      As it stands, 3/4 of the can be completely off the circuit, if the rule above was used, 3/4 of the car would have to remain on the circuit at all times.

      Reply moderated
    12. Maybe I missing something but the driver’s quotes above & what I saw post race didn’t identify a problem with the race interpretation. Hamilton got called out for taking liberties and was promptly stopped. No-one that I take seriously proposed that Max’s overtake was kosher when they saw all wheels off track – only should he have handed back when/where/at all.
      So it boils down to that drivers & commentators apparently didn’t know the reasoning behind why it changed between sessions not even was it was a bad idea to have it tight in qually. In the scheme of things, a pretty small issue.
      Re comments, consider why drivers briefings are held and that solutions shouldn’t be worse than problems.

      1. Hamilton got called out for taking liberties and was promptly stopped.

        he was allowed to do it 29 times getting a FIA bonus of approx 6 secondes.
        That is a lasting advantage.

        1. why did Max not have the smarts to similar? The drivers were told in the pre race notes going wide at turn 4 wouldn’t be punished

          1. edit: smarts to do similar

    13. I honestly don’t get why they even bother painting those white line and name them “track limits” when the actual purpose seem more or less ornamental. Just call them something else. Tracks like Monaco proves that F1 drivers are perfectly capable of keeping the car within certain boundaries as long as they are enough motivated.

      Imagine this discussion football:

      – Yes the ball was clearly over the side line but the stewards have reviewed the situation and conclude that the attacking team didn’t gain a lasting advantage. But we told them really harshly that they shouldn’t do it again.

      – Yeah, so for this game we really only going to enforce the rules if the ball goes over the end lines. Teams can just ignore all the the other while lines we painted on there. It’s the same for both teams so… meh.

      – Yes! It was a physical foul inside the penalty area but for this match, we decided to be a bit lax on that rule in the first half and see what happens. The players was told before the game so it’s beyond us that anyone in the audience would see this as confusing.

      1. @eriktorsner – Yes I know Man Utd kept picking up the ball in their hands and running with it but they didn’t score so there’s no lasting advantage. We disallowed Man City’s goal because it brushed the players hand on the way in so they got a lasting advantage.

        And of course……

        Going forward, we will have a coin toss to decide which end of the pitch the players start at and we will then have a 30 minute match. Whoever wins that gets to decide who plays at which end they start at for the real match. We’ll still give points for the smaller match but it’s not a real match – it’s a super coin-toss.

        1. @petebaldwin, super coin-toss is just too much! Thanks for that laugh.

    14. True, that’s all it is. The drivers know perfectly well what the rules are. The stewards do. There is no confusion or inconsistent stewarding at all.

      It’s only a part of the fans that don’t get it. Usually the fans of a specific driver somehow “wronged” by the perceived inconsistency.

      At best you could argue that it would have been better to put a more strict enforcement on turn 4 track limits for the race also, but it’s quite clear why the specific rules for practice sessions was not applied to the race.

      There really is no point in invalidating a lap time during the race. That only makes sense in quali really and I guess they felt it good to apply that same requirement in free practice sessions.

      It’s the same with all other kinds of stewarding decisions. Like when two drivers clash during the race. There are always people who don’t understand the rules regarding who is at fault for an incident resulting from an overtake. Especially the difference between breaking zone into the turn, the racing line, exit out of the turn and on straights. All of those are regarded differently by the stewards for such incidents. For example, drivers don’t have to leave space on the racing line, but they do nee to leave space for a driver “next to them” in the braking zone.

      1. For all of us who aren’t you, please tell us why it is so clear that the rule was changed between sessions. I’d love to hear it, because nobody here or anywhere else either ‘gets it’ or supports it.

        And please also elaborate on how this ‘perceived inconsistency’ is all in the minds of ‘fans of a specific driver’ when the interpretation DID ACTUALLY CHANGE during the race. Hamilton exceeded track limits 29 times, at which point race control issued an instruction to Mercedes to tell Hamilton to stop it.

        And while we are here… Seeing as Article 27.3 was specifically noted in the Race Directors notes (race drivers must make every possible attempt to stay within the white lines at all times) – did Hamilton not breach the regulations?

        1. Copied that for you:

          There really is no point in invalidating a lap time during the race. That only makes sense in quali really and I guess they felt it good to apply that same requirement in free practice sessions.

          And the interpretation did NOT change during the race. They just failed to notice something was going wrong. If that happens teams rat each other out all the time and then the stewards react.

          1. It’s not about lap time during a race, it’s about gaining an advantage – lap time isn’t the only advantage.
            Even if they didn’t see every time Hamilton went out to gain his 29 advantages, they at least knew he’d been out enough times to warrant a talking to. Therefore deserving of a black&white flag, if not a 5 second penalty.

            At least you’ve acknowledged that the FIA are incompetent.
            The part they ‘failed to notice going wrong’ was that they encouraged it to happen in the first place by changing the rules and then their application of them.
            At least the other 19 drivers remembered article 27.3 (paragraph 2) during the race, which was specifically noted in the Race Directors notes – even though it always applies anyway.

    15. Although in the ‘overtaking problem’ I believe that the problem lies in the cars and not in the tracks… in this problem I think that the problem lies in the tracks themselves.

      At no point in a circuit should going off to the run-off area be a faster way to lap around the circuit!
      And that’s usually the case, as in 95% of the occasions when a driver goes in the run-off area, he loses time, hence he’s naturally penalised. The problem lies in the other 5%, as every other weekend we hear “track limits will be enforced this way at Bahrain’s Turn 4… or at the exit of Parabolica… or Austin’s Turn 19…”.
      So instead of going on a route of saying « in the race a driver has 1-3-5 strikes on track limits at corner X, then he’ll get a 5-10sec. penalty » and then spend all the post-race arguing whether the penalties were fair or unfair… just put some detterents on those problematic corners like gravel, astroturf, bollards, large foam signs like in Monza’s Turn 1… anything that will make going off to the run-off area time consuming, and just let the drivers race!!!

      P.S.: Also maybe don’t overuse the 5sec. penalty in every incident. Verstappen overtook Hamilton off track and he was told to give the place back (as he should have done), but if he didn’t do that, the stewards would have given him a 5sec. penalty that if he managed to create a 5sec. buffer, it would have made the overtaking “legal”, as there wouldn’t be any consequence to overtaking off track and to ignoring the stewards’ order to give the place back.. and by Verstappen’s comments after the race, he would have tried to do that if the team didn’t order him to give the place back.
      If the stewards deem an overtake illegal, order the drivers to swap places again and if a driver doesn’t comply and wants to drive off to the distance, slap him with a drive-through penalty.

    16. This is like playing soccer / football and you can do anything from anywhere in the stadium all game except if you (arguably) score a goal it has to be from (arguably) inside the lines that mark the approximate field of play. Laughable.

      1. It’s more like a soccer player setting a foot outside the lines and they are not immediately benched. As they should be since they need to ask the referee to be allowed back on the pitch again.

    17. Having track limits for free practice proved there is something seriously wrong with the race director, but it’s the exact same situation with the stewards who don’t enforce a rule even after warning they will like in last race, and don’t have the slightest clue that there is lasting advantage to be had outside overtaking situations by cutting corners or otherwise going off the track.

      During the Mosley years, the ‘putting the sport in disrepute’ -line was brandished often, and I suggest bringing it back, because too many of these amateur rules and (non) rulings, eventually do.

    18. How about zero tolerance everywhere. If they can be precise in Monaco, they can apply being precise elsewhere…these are the best drivers in the world, after all.

    19. The race winner definitely cheated by going off track 29 times and gaining the ultimate advantage of finishing first. Michael Masi is clearly incompetent and unable to enforce the rules.

      1. The nature of F1 is to push every rule to the limit. MB interpreted from the race notes that it was OK to run wide at turn 4, as soon as that changed by the FIA (prompted by an RB radio message) MB stopped running wide. so I’m not sure you can say they definitely cheated as they complied with rules as they were issued.

    20. How about electronic detection with automated penalties. Surely they can do that easily.

    21. Who are these fans they all are talking about? Is it just a codeword that mean ‘I’?

    22. I’m still struggling to get my head around what happend. Maybe I missed something but my track limit summary is like this:

      Friday you were free to go wide. That was changed to stay within the white lines on Saturday and back to do whatever you like on Sunday. Unless you overtake. At least Mercedes understood it this way but midrace they were told that they were doing it wrong.
      To cap it up Masi declared after the race that at the same time Mercedes’ understanding of the rules was correct and the rules weren’t changed midrace.
      So either the stewards were giving Mercedes warnings on their own, ignoring what was agreed on in the drivers meeting or Mercedes misinterpreted something as a warning or the rules did change midrace…

      Confusing? Hell yeah!
      As a fan, I admit I am confused.
      But apparently the whole paddock is, too.

      I get it that everybody is unhappy about the track limit situation and as the tarmac runoffs will not go away, Masi, credit to him – is trying to come up with some smart solutions to enable good and fair racing.
      But micromanaging it track by track, corner by corner, session by session and even lap by lap is likely to cause more unclarity and frustration among fans, drivers and officials.

      At some point you have to clarify once and for all what is allowed and what not. Either be strictly or just let it go.
      If it’s for whatever reason not possible to build tracks that punish going off it’s limits, I’d prefer a rule that punishes corner cutting only. Otherwise (going wide, passing around the outside) let them race.

    23. I’m officially shocked at the number of people who think it’s okay that cars should be racing outside of the track limits.
      Maybe they should allow the teams to build cars that exceed the technical regs too, but only if they are slower?

      Every sport needs consistently enforced boundaries to ensure a fair and equal competition for all competitors. This has shown, yet again, that leaving things blurry and open for interpretation only creates controversy.
      Or is that the goal? To get F1 in the headlines again?

      1. S I’m surprised you’re shocked given that for decades we have seen ambiguity when it comes to some corners at some tracks. But I’d say quite consistently passing someone while off the track is never on, pardon the pun.

        Of course I get that confusion and controversy ensues when they aren’t consistent with when it is okay and when it isn’t, to put all 4 tires over a line, and I don’t know the answer as to why other than there is a time for them to be strict about it like quali and a time to just let them race and not make it too much about that.

        This time they weren’t clear enough to the drivers and teams and shouldn’t have mentioned anything to Merc about LH’s behaviour for it was obviously allowed, but Max’s type pass is never allowed. I think they often get this sort of thing right at most tracks. I personally would not want to see laser eye type strictness with line crossing as it would be too ‘policey’ imho, and doesn’t lend itself to car racing like it does to other sports.

        1. @robbie I’m not shocked that it happened last race, and I’m not shocked that it’s been happening for so long. This was exacerbated and then normalised throughout Whiting’s tenure.
          I’m shocked that people think this is acceptable and justifiable. Shouldn’t rules be clear and consistent at all times? Imagine if other sports were this flexible.

          There is indeed a time to be strict – when the cars are on the circuit. There is no time to be lax.
          They should be strict in qualifying – why? Because there is an advantage to being off the track. Going out of bounds and gaining an advantage in qualifying is no different to running the same line during the race.

          I disagree completely with your conclusion. It would take just one race with strict track limits enforcement (with penalties) for drivers to fully respect the track limits, and racing would certainly be cleaner and probably also closer as a result.
          It doesn’t need to be ‘laser’ perfect – but if a breach is noticed it should absolutely be acted upon. Much like the FIA’s car inspections now – just the threat of being caught and penalised should be sufficient incentive to stay within the rules.

          The imbalance between some rules and others is bizarre. The car needs to be technically perfect to within micrometers and milligrams, and yet the action of actually driving (the sporting part) is being encouraged to be lazy and messy – meters off the track is okay.
          Staying on the track and being fast is difficult – driving wherever you like and being fast is only half the challenge.

    24. What I find confusing is, there is a rule white lines are the track limit. But at every track for different corners there is always an exception, that is ambiguously worded, like “lasting advantage”, and the drama starts.

      Be consistent and apply the rules consistently. These are professional drivers, they can drive between the lines. If they can’t it seems the track design is wrong, and mistakes were made elsewhere by the FIA.

      This we change the rules adhoc, is 70s mentality that has no place in the 21st century.

      It is an indication the FIA can’t get the basics right and it is extremely frustrating for everyone involved!

      Reply moderated
    25. Of course they were inconsistent. Plus, they robbed VER of a legitimate win, he was already completely ahead of HAM when he went off-track.

    26. But he left the track to complete and maintain that pass.
      Therefore lasting advantage.

    27. Mabey if the cars had a GPS chip in center of the car, and no go zones around the track were coded in so if car goes off it notifys fia to investigate

    28. What I find confusing is, there is a rule white lines are the track limit. But at every track for different corners there is always an exception, that is ambiguously worded, like “lasting advantage”, and the drama starts.

      Be consistent and apply the rules consistently. These are professional drivers, they can drive between the lines. If they can’t it seems the track design is wrong, and mistakes were made elsewhere by the FIA.
      This “we change the rules adhoc”, is a 70s mentality that has no place in the 21st century. It is an indication the FIA can’t get the basics right and it is extremely frustrating for everyone involved!

      Reply moderated
    29. I suppose less stress on the tires (sorry, tyres) would not be considered a lasting advantage so it would not be part of this conversation.

      Reply moderated
    30. “Inconsistent track limits rules confusing for fans, say drivers”

      I’m surprised it’s been left for the drivers to state this, to be honest…

      Track limit statement should be made say on the Thursday of the event, with maximum of one revision only if needed on Friday – possibly between Practice 1 & 2

      Then stick to that – changed or not – on Friday, consistently, for the rest of the weekend. No ambiguity – ever

    31. AmericanRaceFan
      4th April 2021, 23:56

      Screw this track limits garbage and just let everyone have a proper race. If the determent has to be made by people playing God, then it is a joke.

      Reply moderated
    32. I don’t understand why they don’t just install track limit sensors and when a car triggers a sensor the engine power or cylinders are cut for a pre determined time, the harvesting light could come on to warn drivers behind, although if they saw them go off other drivers would know the car is about to slow anyway and will the retake the position. Thats a fair system which is instantly applied without having to wait for Stewards to make a decision and then the confusion of a post race or pit stop penalty.

      Reply moderated

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