It’s a thorny issue that has plagued Formula 1 for years. And what seems to have gotten worse this season: track limit violations. It took hours at the Austrian Grand Prix for the race result to become official. Because the track limits were exceeded so many times during the race that the race management could no longer keep up with the count. Many sins cannot be discovered until later.
In Qatar, fans were also upset about track limits. A total of 127 road limit violations were counted there. 22 in qualifying, 31 in the shootout, 23 in the race and 51 during the Grand Prix. At least the perpetrators have been caught more quickly since then, which must be credited to the regulatory authorities. The FIA has been upgraded since the disaster in Austria. Whether on a technical level or on a personal level.
At the control center in Geneva, twice as many employees checked the road limits. Suspected cases were referred to the race administration and examined in detail. New software helped evaluate accidents on individual curves. Since then, data has generally been transmitted without any delay.
Perez is on the right of the line
In the United States, discussions about the limits of the path continued. Max Verstappen lost his pole position because he crossed the finish line in the penultimate corner. It’s just black or white here: whoever is wrong is unlucky, even if the drivers have a hard time. They are buried deep in their cockpit and have limited forward visibility. The race administration canceled 35 sessions of the race. There were eight crime scenes. Race management noted Turns 1, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 19 and 20 in its track limits protocol.
15 drivers on the list: Albon (6x), Magnussen (4x), Leclerc (4x), Hamilton (3x), Sargent (3x), Tsunoda (2x), Alonso (2x), Hulkenberg (2x), Russell (2x). ), Norris (2x), Ocon (1x), Gasly (1x), Stroll (1x), Sainz (1x) and Perez (1x). The fact that the latter has only been included once could lead to controversy.
Because obviously the control wasn’t smooth. However, this is what the photos that emerged after the USA Grand Prix and available to Auto Motor und Sport indicate. You can see Sergio Perez driving to the right of the white line several times in Turn 6. The Mexican sometimes exceeds the track limits in his Red Bull by single-digit centimetres. Sometimes he places his car between the sidewalk and the grass, about 20 centimeters away.
Perez repeatedly in turn 6
Turn 6 marks the end of the high-speed lap in Sector 1, reminiscent of Silverstone and Suzuka. It is a long right turn in which drivers execute first in order to cut through the barriers in the second segment – so that they then have the correct angle at turns 7, 8 and 9. Pilots usually take the curb between the axles at the exit of the curve. He was seen this way on Charles Leclerc’s lap (In the video at minute 00:30) Seems like Perez meant a bit too well by taking the shortcuts. He does this over and over again, because the on-board recordings show he does it on medium and hard tires.
With this line, Peres may have bought time in each case. And as you can hear, the Mexican wasn’t the only driver who chose at least a strange line here. The rule regarding path boundaries is clear and is also established in the event notes under point 17). White lines define the edges of the path. A vehicle is not allowed to place all four wheels to the right of the white line at this point either. Otherwise the tour will be cancelled.
If there are too many violations, the athletic commissioners will impose a penalty. Why wasn’t Perez charged? A surveillance camera was active in affected curve No. 6, but it did not indicate the exact affected area. This can be seen from another document.
The sporting commissioners had conducted an investigation against Albon, which was recorded in Document No. 59 of the event. It is noteworthy that the charges against the Williams driver were dropped. There may have been “some indications of possible lane boundary violations in Turn 6”. However, “the evidence is insufficient to accurately and permanently determine that there has indeed been a violation of the rules.” That is why the stewards acquitted Albon in this case.
A CCTV camera was incorrectly placed in Turn 6
Now here’s the gist of it: The document says: “Based on available video footage (which did not include CCTV video surveillance)…” By CCTV we mean trail cameras. Maybe you remember. The first practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix was cancelled, and for this reason the pilots were not allowed to drive. We learned that in this case the CCTV camera was not pointed at the top of the curve. Maybe because internally they didn’t expect such a shortcut could be made here. Therefore, the recordings were unusable.
We hear some drivers have now caught on to Perez’s strange racing line at least into Turn 6. They should have been surprised that no action was taken here. To put it mildly. The issue could become a topic at the next drivers’ meeting on Friday before the Mexican Grand Prix. Some say it will be very stressful.
The FIA told us upon request: “Post-race analysis showed that several drivers may have exceeded the lane limit inside Turn 6. In line with the decisions of the stewards (Document 59) regarding the alleged violation of the rules inside the curve, noting that “existing evidence “The FIA will update its monitoring infrastructure to ensure better coverage so that potential violations can be reliably detected during racing in the future.”
In other words: the FIA is working to solve the problem. When in doubt, decide for the defendant. Because on-board recordings do not always solve the situation 100 percent. But in the case of Perez, the situation is quite clear.
This article may contain links to service providers from whom auto motor und sport may receive a commission (so-called “affiliate links”). More information here.
“Creator. Troublemaker. Reader. Tv nerd. Proud beer advocate. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Introvert. Certified zombie practitioner. Thinker.”