Verstappen wants talks over FIA’s ‘messy’ F1 track limits policing

Max Verstappen believes the FIA’s policing of Formula 1 track limits in Bahrain three weeks ago was “messy”, and wants talks to ensure guidelines do not change mid-race again.

Verstappen wants talks over FIA’s ‘messy’ F1 track limits policing

Red Bull driver Verstappen was engaged in a close fight with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton throughout the season-opening grand prix in Bahrain that was settled in controversial fashion.

Verstappen overtook Hamilton around the outside of Turn 4 with four laps to go, but exceeded track limits when doing so, meaning he had to give the position back. Hamilton was then able to hold on for victory by 0.7 seconds.

Hamilton had been regularly running wide at Turn 4 throughout the race after FIA race director Michael Masi wrote in his event notes that track limits would not be policed there as they were in practice and qualifying.

But a query from Red Bull about how often Hamilton was running wide prompted race control to warn Mercedes that he was gaining an advantage by running off-track, suggesting a change in policy mid-race.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff both questioned the approach to track limits after the race. Horner said that track limits should not be “shades of grey”, while Wolff also called for greater clarity.

Verstappen said he did not think it was correct that the guidelines were changed during the race, having stuck to a different line to Hamilton at Turn 4 for the most part.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“Things can be easily resolved if you just put a wall there or gravel, it would help a lot,” Verstappen said.

“In qualifying we had to stay on the kerb, so that is also what I was doing in the race, to be clean, but then I heard that Lewis was just going wide, so I did it for two laps, but then I was not allowed to do it any more.

“I don’t think you should be able to change it through the race. Either you can go wide, or not. I can understand of course with my overtake outside of the track limits that that’s not allowed, so that’s fine.

“But if you cannot gain an advantage by going wide overtaking, why are you allowed to do it on your own? That is what I think is not correct.”

Masi claimed after the race that he had not changed the guidelines during the race, saying Hamilton was at risk of breaching the sporting regulations over gaining a lasting advantage.

But Verstappen said he wanted to discuss the matter during the drivers’ briefing on Friday.

“We will talk about that with the drivers and also with Michael about it, and we’ll see what comes out of it,” Verstappen said.

“I think it was a little bit messy in the race. I think everything before that was very strict, and I think good, how we handled everything.

“But definitely in the race, I think for 30 laps or something, Lewis was going wide, and you gain time there. I tried it for two laps, and then they told me not to, so it’s a bit odd.

“About my overtake and whatever, I think yeah, that was fully understandable.”

shares
comments

Related video

Perez: Red Bull must keep taking F1 qualifying strategy risks

Previous article

Perez: Red Bull must keep taking F1 qualifying strategy risks

Next article

Alonso unsure if he'll race in the Indy 500 again

Alonso unsure if he'll race in the Indy 500 again
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Luke Smith
How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1 Plus

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1

Continuing to be socially acceptable as public views shift globally is vitally important to the future of motor racing, says PAT SYMONDS - especially in Formula 1, the championship that represents the technological peak

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen Plus

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one big encouraging sign for Red Bull. The trouble is, it looks like making good on that gain will require its superstar driver to avoid repeating a mistake made today that left him well down the FP2 order

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory Plus

How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021