Formula 1 teams have decided to form a working group to address the issue of F1’s track limits problems.
Over the first three races of the season, some disputes over track limits caused a series of controversies. Red bull driver Max Verstappen was at the heart of the most notable case.
The Dutchman threw away his lead at the Bahrain Grand Prix to title rival Lewis Hamilton after he passed him off-track. He also lost his bonus point for the fastest lap at the Portuguese Grand Prix after a similar violation.
However, at the Spanish Grand Prix, there were some track limits infringements. The grass and gravel marks on the edges of the track prevented drivers from gaining an advantage by driving wide.
This was praised by Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, who called the Circuit de Catalunya a good example of boundary enforcement.
“Obviously it wasn’t an issue at this track because of the layout,” he said. “I think that tells you something, doesn’t it? So why wasn’t it an issue here and it is at other venues? It won’t be a problem next race either and probably not the one after that.”
Horner announced that constructors discussed the ongoing issues, and decided to form a new body to tackle the issue.
“There’s been some healthy discussion, there’s a working group being created,” said Horner. “We just need to come up with something that’s simple, clear and understandable for drivers, fans, teams, et cetera. It shouldn’t be that difficult.”
Seal of approval
F1 race director Michael Masi said he would be happy to incorporate better boundaries. But he suggested it wasn’t always possible at every track.
“Ideally we would love to have a hard limit everywhere,” he said. “But the facts are with the circuits that it’s been an ongoing evolution process.
“There’s some places that are track limit issues one year, aren’t the next and vice-versa. So it’s an ongoing evolution that we’re working together with each of the circuits. Obviously it requires significant investment from them from that perspective.”
Masi thinks the upcoming two races won’t see a repeat of what happened at Bahrain, Imola and Algarve.
“In one sense it would be lovely to have walls everywhere, as we’ll see in a couple of weeks time in Monaco or in Baku. But obviously we’re racing at different types of circuits all the time, when we look at everything from a safety perspective, we need to find the best balance of everything in each and every situation. And each corner’s different, each circuit’s different.”