F1 setting up working group to look at track limits

Formula 1 teams are to continue pushing for better track limit rules in Formula 1, amid recent concerns about a lack of consistent application.

F1 setting up working group to look at track limits

The controversy surrounding a run of penalties that Max Verstappen has suffered this year for track limit breaches had prompted calls from Red Bull in particular for there to be a change of approach.

The matter was discussed during F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali’s regular get together with team principals over the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who had been vocal about the problem after Verstappen lost a race win in Bahrain, and a pole position and the fastest lap in Portugal because of track limit rules, said the hope was that the FIA initiative to create a working group would result in a solution that worked for teams, drivers and fans.

"I think there's been some healthy discussion, and 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, and teams. It shouldn't be that difficult."

It is unclear who will be part of the new group that Horner has suggested, but the FIA has had its own long-running track limits working group, that reports to the FIA’s circuits commission, and is focused on coming up with solutions that work across all motorsport categories – including MotoGP through input from the FIM.

Sparks kick up from the rear of Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Sparks kick up from the rear of Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The issue of track limits has been a hot topic throughout the 2021 season, with Red Bull in particular being on the receiving end of a number of sanctions.

There have been attempts over the years to try to come up with a consistent framework for track limits to be judged on, but one of the difficulties is that the behaviour of cars can change year to year.

So while an approach works perfectly well one year, a tweak to the technical regulations can mean that drivers are extracting performance in a different way and then abuse track limits in different places.

That was especially true in Portugal, for example, where policing at Turn 14 was not needed in 2020 because drivers were not running wide out there, but became necessary this year because the reduction in downforce for 2021 was washing them out.

F1 race director Michael Masi said that coming up with a hard solution that worked for all tracks was very difficult.

"I think ideally, we would love to have a hard limit everywhere,” he said. “But it's hard with the circuits.

"It's been an ongoing evolution process. In Portimao, there's some places that are track limit issues one year, and aren't the next. And vice versa.

"So it's an ongoing evolution that we're working together with each of the circuits. It obviously requires significant investment from them from that perspective.

"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.

"So when we look at everything from a safety perspective, we need to find the best balance of everything in each and every situation. Each corner is different, and each circuit is different.”

Read Also:

GPDA director George Russell said from his perspective he felt that the FIA was in a tricky spot when it came to juggling the many demands placed on it.

"Talking purely on behalf of George Russell the driver, rather than the director of the GPDA, it is very difficult and I do have sympathy for the FIA because ultimately they are just trying to make the circuits safer," he explained.

"That is obviously the number one priority, but it has come at a consequence of track limits over the last few seasons.

"But I think it goes further than Formula 1. Formula 1 can manage it well with cameras and sensors but filtering down the junior categories, they do not have the resources to do that.

"Fundamentally something needs to change globally with all of these circuits. I don’t have the solution, so that is why I sympathise."

shares
comments

Related video

FIA to introduce new tests to clamp down on 'bendy wings'

Previous article

FIA to introduce new tests to clamp down on 'bendy wings'

Next article

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight
Load comments
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021