Montoya: Track limits making F1 title battle "too controversial"

Formula 1's ongoing debate over track limits is making the title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen "too controversial", reckons former grand prix driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

Red Bull has been left annoyed that penalties have cost Verstappen a race win, a pole position and a fastest lap point so far this season.

The team's motorsport advisor Helmut Marko suggested after the Portuguese Grand Prix, when a wide moment for Verstappen saw his fastest lap time deleted, that F1 needs to change its approach to dealing with track limits.

Seven-time F1 winner Montoya says he joins fans in relishing the head-to-head contest between Hamilton and Verstappen this year, but says things are being overshadowed by the ever-present track limits debate.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.TV Live about the F1 title battle, Montoya said: "I think it's great. I think it's great for TV to have, especially two teams going at it.

"I think F1 in the last couple years was missing that a little bit. Having the two, Red Bull and Mercedes, go at it like that, it's been a lot of fun.

"But I would say it's been a little too controversial with the track limits. I know they're trying to make the tracks safer with runoffs and everything, but it's so hard to control, and [understand] why sometimes it's right and [sometimes] it is wrong.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"When it's a judgement call, it's very difficult. I don't envy the stewards of F1 dealing with this."

Montoya believes, however, that Red Bull's frustration at being on the receiving end of the track limit penalties is simply making the team ever more determined to beat Mercedes.

"I'm excited because I think it's just raising the anger level at Red Bull," he said. "They really want to beat Mercedes really, really bad, and that just makes it cool to watch.

"You know, Marko is not a guy with a lot of patience and I wouldn't think Max is either, so if they get a chance to go for it, they will."

However, Montoya believes that Hamilton's skills, allied to the kind of good fortune he had at Imola when a red flag saved him from being lapped after he ran off-track, will make him a tough prospect for Verstappen to beat.

"Look at Imola, he [Hamilton] made a huge mistake, and went off the racetrack," said the Colombian.

"And he is lucky enough that they red flag the race, he gets in the right position, and he takes advantage of those opportunities and finished second.

"So how do you beat Lewis when you have that amount of luck and talent? It is very difficult."

shares
comments
Seidl: Norris can break Mercedes/Red Bull championship lock-out
Previous article

Seidl: Norris can break Mercedes/Red Bull championship lock-out

Next article

Grosjean to test Mercedes title-winner at Paul Ricard in F1 comeback

Grosjean to test Mercedes title-winner at Paul Ricard in F1 comeback
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022