Wolff: F1 track limit rules must be clear and not ‘a Shakespeare novel’

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has urged the FIA to clarify its track limit rules after Bahrain Grand Prix controversy and feels it must be "sacred" and not a "Shakespeare novel".

Wolff: F1 track limit rules must be clear and not ‘a Shakespeare novel’

Track limits played a pivotal role in the outcome of Formula 1's entertaining 2021 season opener, as with four laps to go Red Bull's Max Verstappen overtook erstwhile leader Lewis Hamilton at Turn 4 but had to hand the position back to the defending world champion after leaving the track.

In qualifying track limit transgressions in Turn 4 led to deleted lap times but for Sunday's race drivers were initially cleared to cross the kerbs without consequence.

Only after several off-track excursions Lewis Hamilton was told by his team to stay within the white lines after a warning from race control, an apparent mid-race clampdown which ironically turned into the Briton's favour in his fight with Verstappen.

Race control's intervention led to fresh confusion over how track limits are enforced, with Mercedes chief Wolff urging the FIA to be clearer and more consistent in the future.

"I'm equally confused like you," Wolff said. "At the beginning of the race it was said track limits in Turn 4 wouldn't be sanctioned and then in the race suddenly we heard that if you would continue to run wide it would be seen as an advantage and could cause a potential penalty.

"And then at the end that decision actually made us win the race. Max ran wide in the definition of the race director, gaining an advantage, he had to give back the position and that saved our victory.

"So we need to be consistent in which messages are being given. They need to be clear, they need to be sacred and not a Shakespeare novel that leaves interpretation."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Wolff revealed he and Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows were in contact with FIA race director Michael Masi during the race to seek clarification.

"The message that reached the drivers was that very simply track limits in Turn 4 wouldn't be sanctioned in the race," Wolff added.

Read Also:

"Ron and I were speaking to Michael [Masi] during the race. Michael referred to the note saying, 'Yes, but only if you're not gaining an advantage' and that was in the notes. I haven't seen them.

"I think the learning of this is it needs to be simple, so everybody can understand it and they don't need to carry the document in the car to read it and remind themselves what actually is allowed and what not."

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen explains inability to re-attack Hamilton in Bahrain F1 GP

Previous article

Verstappen explains inability to re-attack Hamilton in Bahrain F1 GP

Next article

The calls that decided Hamilton and Verstappen's Bahrain battle

The calls that decided Hamilton and Verstappen's Bahrain battle
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Teams Mercedes
Author Filip Cleeren
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021