Track Limits: Issues First in Austria, Then in Qatar
The matter of track limits has once again become a topic of discussion, both in the recent Qatar Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix. In these events, drivers committed numerous infractions by not adhering to the track boundaries during all sessions at the Lusail and Austin circuits. This resulted in lap times being invalidated and penalties imposed. A controversial aspect that had previously been witnessed in Austria, where a situation of similar gravity to that which occurred in Qatar and Texas was first observed.
Red Bull Ring’s World Championship Status at Risk?
In response to these incidents, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem directly addressed the organizers of the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, warning them to improve the conditions, lest the Austrian Grand Prix be removed from the Formula 1 world championship in the coming years. His admonition was not only related to the track limits issues themselves but also to the delayed communication of penalties to the drivers. Mohammed Ben Sulayem stated, “The solution is to improve the tracks. We had the same problem in Austria, where there were 1,200 infractions. I know some are reluctant to do it, but honestly, if they don’t improve, there will be no race. It’s straightforward: we can’t afford it.” – he explained.
Few Concerns from Organizers
However, the FIA’s message and the potential removal of the Austrian Grand Prix from the world championship do not seem to concern the event’s organizers. A spokesperson for the Red Bull Ring confirmed this by stating to the Speedweek website that “we are in constructive communication with the FIA and FIM (MotoGP), and we constantly work to meet all requirements.”
Current Interventions Insufficient
In an effort to resolve the issues as quickly as possible, Auto Motor und Sport reported that the number of officials monitoring track limits has been doubled. Additionally, new software has been introduced to better analyze the curves and curbs considered more sensitive, thus avoiding delayed notifications to the FIA for infractions. Mohammed Ben Sulayem commented, “I must congratulate the stewards for identifying the problem, but is this the solution? No.” – he clearly pointed out.
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