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Featured F1: Resolution sought on track limit abuse

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Chris, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium

    The FIA, in conjunction with F1 teams, are looking at finding a new way of deterring the drivers from exceeding track limits and potentially gaining an advantage.

    The issue of track limits in Formula One has yet again been thrust into the media headlines after Round 11 at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, when drivers were seen to be regularly exceeding the track limits of the circuit. Pirelli stated that this was part of the reason why several tyre failures occurred over the weekend of the Belgian Grand Prix.

    The track limits debate has been one of frustration as the FIA seem to have rather inconsistent policing on the rule as most drivers have been seen to have exceeded track limits and not been penalised. Article 20.2 of the FIA Sporting Regulations state that:

    "Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of doubt, the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track, but the kerbs are not. A driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track. Should a car leave the track the driver may re-join, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage."​

    Here at RaceDepartment we take track limit abuses very seriously and enforcement of these rules are a vitally important aspect in maintaining clean and fair driving etiquette in our clubs and leagues. Our league regulations surrounding track limits state that:

    "Drivers must always, whilst being in control of the car, remain within the track edges and thus over the track surface with at least two wheels. When a driver takes a shorter, off-track, route through a corner, the move is considered as cutting. Cutting is forbidden at all times."​

    Before the first Friday running at Spa, the FIA decided to place a flattened sausage kerb along the top of Raidillon in an attempt to dissuade the drivers from taking liberties with the track limits in order to get the best possible run down the Kemmel straight. However, this kerb was removed after drivers raised safety concerns about the potential to be launched and perhaps create an even bigger accident. However, this appeared to be a mistake as in the third practice session, drivers quickly began exceeding track limits at Radillon and this time with zero consequences.

    Romain Grosjean breaking the rules and not being penalised.

    Drivers are competitive animals, hardwired to grab a mile after being given an inch. This often means that they're driving illegally by exceeding track limits as they attempt to make the race track as straight a line as possible. In my view, this needs to be cracked down upon because cutting the race track is a choice, not a mistake. When a car is exceeding track limits, it's usually because the driver is choosing to drive harder than the car can legally take a corner. Unless it is blatantly clear that a driver has lost control of the vehicle, then they should be penalised in some form.

    Various methods have been proposed, such as a "strike system", whereby the drivers are allowed a certain number of warnings before they're either given a penalty or thrown out, however, this can be tactically used by the teams and drivers by saving them for the end of a race if they're being pressured from behind, which will also come with a fair amount of hysteria if a driver is disadvantaged because of another drivers cutting.

    In years gone by, drivers were unable to exceed track limits because a gravel trap would be waiting for them if they did. At the majority of circuits, this is no longer the case as vast expanses of tarmac run-off are present at almost every corner, meaning the drivers can exceed the track without any consequences. Take last weekends Italian Grand Prix for example, several drivers were seen to be running wide at Parabolica after the FIA decided to pave over most of the gravel trap on the exit of the corner.

    In my opinion, the FIA has the rule stated clearly enough, they're just not enforcing it consistently. If they had gravel traps at every circuit, then they wouldn't need to enforce it as the gravel traps themselves would do the enforcement. However, safety concerns have been raised surround cars potentially rolling over after digging into the gravel, and this does have some merit, however, now that most gravel traps are resting in peace under a thick layer of asphalt, the FIA needs to take a more authoritative approach to enforcing the limits of the race track, else drivers will continue to take liberties.

    Do you think the FIA need to address the track limits more vociferously? And what measures would you take to ensure that drivers were driving legally within the track limits?
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
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  2. Flammenjc

    Nitor Velox Gaming Premium

    Vettel is actually THE worst offender but some how nobody picks up on it.
    • Agree Agree x 7
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  3. Matheus Machado

    Matheus Machado
    Talking Door Racing Premium

    In my opinion, discouraging and not allowing aggressive usage of kerbs and run off areas (even if that means putting the whole car over them) just takes away aggression from the drivers, as they are forced to stay on the safe limits of the car, having room to get away with it when something goes wrong.
    Of course I'm not supporting a slalom through the straight on buzz stop chicanes like Monza and Daytona, but I think the use of kerbs allow the drivers to reach the maximum limits of the cars, where one mistake can send them flying away.
  4. put grass back on outside of the track! if you run wide you lose many seconds or you spin and lose more.
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  5. Milos

    Had things gone my way, who knows..

    I don't see it.
    Back in the day of gravel traps, what was the chance of rolling?
    It's more likely that a car will maybe lose the brakes, suspension (like it happened to that Toro Rosso in China 2010), and head at a really high speed into the barrier.

    so yes, I think they should put back gravel traps.
    • Agree Agree x 5
  6. kedy89


    Unless they go ahead and actually penalize every driver who exceeds track limits (which would be pretty much everyone) things won't change. That's a similar situation to the double yellow, which also is constantly ignored by drivers, yet not penalized.

    Bring back gravel traps!
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  7. Why not adding a small time penalty (say 0.5 s) to your pit stop or final race time each time you overstep? It will negate the advantage of cutting without crushing too much pilot aggression.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. There is a simple solution. Put. Grass. Behind. The. Curbs. And I do not mean that silly AstroTurf - This isn't the NFL.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    The problem with grass in circuits is about motorcycles. If it is a fast corner and the rider puts a wheel in the grass he will crash. And a motorcycle crash is always painful.
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  10. Aidan Keranen

    Aidan Keranen
    Play by Play LoL+RL Caster at AussieGamingTV Premium

    If that's true, then he fully deserved his puncture in Spa.
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  11. Jimlaad43

    Nice apex, I'll take it! Staff Premium

    In 2013, Jonathan Palmer, the guy who owns tracks like Brands Hatch and Snetterton, basically had had enough of having to replace grass with kerbing at his circuits where drivers ran off, and asked the MSA (British national version of the FIA) for a solution to the track limits thing.

    In 2014, a new ruling was brought in to sort out the (pretty enormous) problem of track limit abuse in the UK.

    This was the new ruling.

    The track and kerbs are considered acceptable, but as soon as One Wheel goes over them, the driver is reported.

    It has been a huge success, as the problem of drivers running off track in UK club races has dropped enormously, even the BTCC drivers are behaving themselves!

    This ruling should be adopted by the FIA and F1. Track limit abuse is getting worse, and the only way to stop it is to enforce a strict ruling like this at every corner of every circuit, not just at Copse.
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  12. It's simple, it doesn't take away anything from the racing by having these limits. It also increases safety as like we saw 2 year ago at silverstone it's a run and not a track which caused him to have a very big crash and was lucky to get away not injured.
    If the FIA want to go mad, make run offs have the Paul Riccard style colour exits as I watched something saying that the different colours really slow the car down as it's like sand paper.
    That's a simple and expensive way of fixing it but I think they should just enforce the rules.
    I seem to remember that the V8 Supercars on SuperPole laps have some corners with a sensor that recognises when the car goes wide? Ultimately taking their time away.
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  13. Tim Ling

    Tim Ling
    It's a million-to-1 chance, but it just might work Premium

    I'm pretty sure Brands Hatch has sensors at Graham Hill Bend at least. Both in the BTCC and other UK run races cars were warned/penalised for running wide there. More of the same for all motorsport please
  14. Milos

    Had things gone my way, who knows..

    you can just see from a slow motion replay if a car ran wide :D
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. I think they could surround white lines with a small line of REAL grass with REAL soil under.
    This would make them loose competitivity most of the time they touch it, while only rarely spin.
    In any case, if they spin, there's the "super safe" tarmac escape to save their life.
    So they would learn that "cut" is not profitable.
  16. Tal


    I wonder what the people who voted yes thought of Verstappens overtake in spa. He clearly gained an advantage by going off track at blanchemont. So he should've been penalised.
    But according to some he is already the "Overtake King".
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  17. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    I believe most people told that because it was a very brave move (not because it was a fair one)
    • Agree Agree x 3
  18. Automated time penalties are the solution really, because as we can see, people ie the stewards (FIA) are not competent enough to enforce them fairly, so I say automated. We live in a high tech time and it surely can not be a big problem to have sensors inside and outside corners at some of the world's biggest race circuits like Spa and Monza. I can have my dog wear a collar that zaps it when it goes over a wire in the ground so what the heck?
    I just wish they could apply it like in GRID Autosport, where if you gain an advantage, you are forced to slow down immediately. Could be done with the pit limiter I think? The pit limiter slows you down a bit if you accidentally turn it on and off again. GRID Autosport otherwise a horrible game but had a great penalty system. Anyways, it should be automated with sensors and have an automatic application, not like it is now, sometimes sensed and sometimes a penalty of random sort will be applied.
  19. The solution to this is simple: All four wheels past the white line in qualy: lap invalidated, whether an advantage is gained or not. All four wheels past the white line in race: two warnings and then a drive through penalty. All the drivers can keep two wheels on the track, they just choose not to because they are never punished. If the FIA actually does something noticeable the drivers won't cheat anymore. Simples.
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  20. I'd just give them a 0.5-1.0 second penalty every time they did it. Enough to dissuade them from doing it on purpose, but not overly harsh on mistakes.
    • Agree Agree x 2