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F1 stewards slam FIA’s “inability” to enforce track limits in Haas US GP hearing

Formula 1 stewards have called out the FIA’s “inability” to properly enforce track limits as being “completely unsatisfactory” and are urging for a solution to be rapidly rolled out.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23 Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

This damning verdict from the stewards follows an investigation into the results of the recent United States Grand Prix after a right of review protest was launched by the Haas team.

Haas might have elevated its driver Nico Hulkenberg into the points after drawing attention to cases of Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant, Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll exceeding the Austin track limits at Turn 6 which were not identified by the stewards during the race.

While the protest has been thrown out since Haas’ case relied on onboard footage that was available at the time, so did not satisfy the criteria for “significant” and “relevant” new evidence, the FIA has acknowledged failings surrounding the policing of track limits.

In the stewards’ verdict pertaining to the Haas protest, they acknowledge an “inability” from the FIA to uniformly uphold the current standards to which track limits should be enforced.

They therefore recommend the rapid deployment of a solution for this “complete unsatisfactory” handling.

The stewards determined: “Given that, notwithstanding the formal outcome of this [Haas] decision, the stewards have seen individual pieces of evidence that show what appear to be potential track limit breaches at the apex of Turn 6, they find their inability to properly enforce the current standard for track limits for all competitors completely unsatisfactory and therefore strongly recommend to all concerned that a solution to prevent further reoccurrences of this widespread problem be rapidly deployed.”

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Logan Sargeant, Williams Racing FW45

Photo by: Williams

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Logan Sargeant, Williams Racing FW45

It transpires that the CCTV camera at Turn 6 at the Circuit of The Americas, which was used in conjunction with onboard footage to monitor possible track limit breaches, did not have a clear view of the corner apex.

The issue of track limits has reared its head throughout the season. The FIA identified more than 1200 possible cases of cars exceeding the painted white lines with all four wheels during the Austrian GP.

Resultingly, gravel traps that were recommended by the governing body previously but turned down by Red Bull Ring organisers will now be installed in time for the race in 2024.

Then in Qatar, the round immediately prior to the US GP, the white lines were painted thicker at some corners overnight to give drivers more room for error as part of a temporary solution following multiple offences during FP1 and Friday qualifying.

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The stewards conditioned: “Whether the problem is properly addressed by better technology solutions, track modifications, a combination thereof, or a different regulation and enforcement standard, the stewards leave to those better positioned to make such assessments.

“However, based on the timing of this decision, it is clear that a complete solution cannot, as a matter of practicality, happen this year.

“But given the number of different circuits where significant track limit issues arose this season, acknowledging that the FIA in conjunction with the circuits have already made significant strides, further solutions should be found before the start of the 2024 season.”

The FIA establishing a Remote Operations Centre in Geneva has sped up the track limits identification and response procedure, while the number of personnel monitoring possible breaches in an F1 race has been increased.

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