Sunday, July 14, 2024

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FIA risks 'boring' F1 races if track limits remain unchanged

Lando Norris has warned Formula 1 bosses they risk making racing “boring” if drivers proceed to be penalised for running wide after making mistakes within the battle for position.
In the warmth of the moment following Norris' collision with Max Verstappen in Austria last weekend, the indisputable fact that the McLaren driver was handed a five-second penalty for running wide after failing to pass his Red Bull rival a couple of laps earlier was almost completely lost.

Norris had already been penalised for 3 track limit breaches, and locking his wheels and running into the corner at Turn 3 was such as a five-second penalty.

Norris believes common sense must be exercised in this case if we are not looking for drivers to be discouraged from overtaking.

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“It’s pretty stupid, to be honest,” Norris said of the track limit situation. “I attempted to pass, I blocked the automotive, I went off the track after which I attempted to avoid the sausage kerb.

“Then I immediately gave the position to Max, so I probably lost a second and a half on that. It's clearly not a penalty. I lost it by doing something like that.

“That kind of thing will keep people from racing. If you don't want us to race and you don't want me to try to overtake and have a boring race, then you can have those rules.”

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team

Photo: Simon Galloway / Motorsports images

With the problem of track restrictions prone to be discussed at team and driver meetings at Silverstone this weekend, Norris is hopeful that enough unanimity has been reached to alter the regulations.

“I’m sure this has been covered before, because there’s a difference between going off beam and gaining a bonus, and going off beam since you made a silly mistake and didn’t judge something perfectly.

“The fact that you get penalized for that, especially in a racing situation, especially when I put even more time into it, just doesn't make sense. So I hope they fix it quickly.”

Norris found allies within the view that receiving a track limits penalty for making a mistake while fighting for position was unfair.

RB's Yuki Tsunoda said he was stopped for the same offence on the Spanish Grand Prix, which left him very upset.

The Japanese said: “In Barcelona, ​​I believe I went wide in Turn 1 and since I used to be fighting with one other automotive, I forced myself to go wide. Of course, I took the fitting [escape] strategy to rejoin the track next to the cone and I followed the principles but they treated it as exceeding the track restrictions [penalty].

“I mean I didn't gain anything. Of course I let the automotive pass and eventually I joined the automotive behind me. I had two possibilities [already and] considered these to be track limitations.

“I don't understand why we use this as a track limit. It's just ridiculous, this rule.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, battle for the lead

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, battle for the lead

Photo: Andy Hone / Motorsports images

Explanation of police actions

Norris's penalty in Austria wasn't the one controversy linked to trace restrictions. His team-mate Oscar Piastri continues to be unhappy about features of him losing his best lap in qualifying after it was deemed he made a poor exit at Turn 6.

While there isn’t a longer a basis to debate this particular incident with the FIA, the Australian believes there are issues that should be addressed in the longer term.

“I think for me there are two points,” he said. “I believe the primary one is that if there’s a spot for a automotive to depart, we monitor that in a good way.

“The evidence that led to my lap being removed was from a helicopter that was just on me during that lap, which is a little bit painful when there are other people who potentially flew off as well who didn't have the helicopter on them. So I think it's a very fine line.”

“Then we need to have some discussions” [about solutions]”But the easiest way to get rid of this problem is to widen the white line by 20 cm and we won't have to worry about it at all.”

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