Red Bull is committed to finding a much-needed “solution” to address the ongoing issue of repeated track limits violations, which has been dubbed a “farce,” at the Austrian Grand Prix.
During the qualifying day at the iconic Red Bull Ring on Saturday, a staggering 47 lap times were deleted by the FIA due to track limit infringements. This has raised concerns and prompted discussions about the effectiveness of current regulations in ensuring fair competition.
“My teammate had 22 track limit infringements in free practice,” Formula 3 driver Sophia Florsch told Sky Deutschland. “I think there were a total of 240 altogether with our 30 drivers.
“Complete chaos,” she added.
The highest profile casualty in Formula 1 was Sergio Perez, whose repeated track limits infringements on Saturday leave him stranded in 15th – his fourth consecutive failure to reach Q3.
Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, however, sounded quite forgiving.
“There were the track limits,” he said, “but the speed was there.
“You sit low in the car and don’t see if you’re over the line. It’s going to be difficult for him from 15th,” Marko told ORF.
“We told Max to do a safe lap but of course it wasn’t just Sergio.”
But even Max Verstappen said the issue made all the drivers look like “idiots”, while Perez himself declared: “The system is wrong.”
The problem was worsened by the delay between each infraction and the FIA actually deleting the offending lap.
“The regret is the delay between exceeding the limit and the decision,” agreed Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur.
“We sent Carlos Sainz on track and burned a set of tyres for nothing because we weren’t sure about the lap before,” he told RTBF. “But that’s how it is.
“If you put in gravel, we complain about that. If we put up crash barriers, we’ll complaint about that.
“I don’t think there’s a good solution,” Vasseur also told Sky Deutschland.
Verstappen’s solution is that the white delineating lines be made thicker, while Charles Leclerc said bumpy red and white kerbs would dissuade the drivers from pushing the limits.
“It can be easily solved by just putting gravel next to the kerbs,” added Verstappen, “but they don’t want that for the bikes.”
Marko, though, said the Red Bull Ring management should overlook the effect that a good solution for Formula 1 would have on the MotoGP event.
“It’s not up to us but we’re doing everything we can to solve the problem,” he insisted. “In my opinion, a gravel trap would be the best.
“We need a solution. We have to do something about it. Either you put a gravel trap or you raise the kerbstones. Because the whole atmosphere is ruined like this.”
As for the effect it would have on MotoGP, the 80-year-old added: “Formula 1 has priority. We have to find a good compromise, because like this it’s a farce.”
Marko also urged the FIA to be more lenient in the races, “otherwise the race will be over”.