Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Silverstone, 2016

Drivers support stewards’ track limits crackdown

2016 British Grand Prix

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Two of the drivers who were penalised for exceeding track limits during qualifying gave their backing to the tough stance taken by the stewards.

Lewis Hamilton, who lost his provisional pole position time in Q3 for running wide at Copse, said “the stewards did a great job” with the session.

Jenson Button, McLaren, Silverstone, 2016
British GP qualifying in pictures
Prior to qualifying drivers were warned the stewards would take a “zero tolerance” approach towards any who ran wide at Copse, Stowe or Club corners.

“Copse and Stowe are difficult ones, being that one of the great characteristics of this circuit is that it’s gusty and it’s constantly shifting,” Hamilton explained.

“One lap you go into Copse and you’ve got a massive headwind, another time it’s a crosswind. And so each time you go in, you don’t know until you get mid-corner, so you try to approach it the same each time.”

“Going in it was looking quite good, I noticed that when I got on power it was going to be on the edge and then it bottomed on the actual kerb and jumped over the other side of the line. I knew it was the case. I was expecting it.”

Nico Hulkenberg, who was relegated one place after losing his best time in Q3, also supported the stewards’ approach.

“Unfortunately my final lap in Q3 was deleted because I ran a little bit wide through Copse corner and couldn’t keep the car inside the track limits,” he said. “Without that, I would have been a place higher up.”

“I think the stewards are correct to insist on these track limits and it’s something we discussed yesterday in the drivers’ meeting, so you have to accept the penalty.”

Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer also had lap times deleted during qualifying for straying beyond the track limits.

2016 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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  • 11 comments on “Drivers support stewards’ track limits crackdown”

    1. It’s getting to the point were we’re close to the “Slow down, you’ve gained an advantage” things we see in video games.

      There has to be a way to impose proper penalties for those going wide. Not a decision by the stewards, and actual delay in the driver’s progress, as it happens when they hit the grass or gravel. If that’s not longer an option, and the Austrian sausages aren’t good either, they have to find another way.

      While it’s great that they are controlling this during qualy (not always), during the race it never happens. Remember Vettel and Alonso whining about each other 2 years ago? it disrupts racing too…

    2. Good to see that the drivers support being strict on the rules there. But really they should do it for all parts of the track and at all tracks to make that rule clear cut.

      I am sure that drivers will start to mind not going off track at every opportunity soon after they find that the rule actually is being policed.

    3. I hope it was Max and Kimi’s last lap they removed. U could see they clearly went over the white line with 4 wheels.

      1. No, because that did not happen at one if the three corners where track limits were policed.

    4. I just can’t wait for the next mindless, arbitrary rule from the stewards.
      Perhaps they should release a printable track map with all of the corners named and those where exceeding the track limits is not allowed marked in red. I don’t think requiring spectators to memorize the entire track and all of the corner names is appropriate.
      Also, corners are not always identifiable in camera shots; the TV crew even calls one out by mistake on occasion. So, now a viewer cannot always tell if a driver exceeds the track limits or not and quits looking for that.
      In case anyone didn’t notice, this interpretation is in violation of the track limit rule in the first place. If this is allowed to continue, the least they could do is direct the white line for the track limits so that it includes the respective curbs.

    5. Kimi clearly exceeded track limits in his last lap, which was the one to get him in to Q3. No penalty. No nothing, yet others are penalized for less egregious errors. Why have arbitrary rules, enforced for some, and ignored for others? Verstappen got the same beneficial treatment. F1 is a circus.

      1. Ah, yes. Never mind. I got clarification that it was only certain corners where the limits were being enforced.

    6. The stewards are still not going anywhere near far enough. You should be penalized in qualifying *any* time you exceed the track limits, and in the race any time it is not absolutely clear that you lost time by exceeding the limits. Not just on certain corners, not just when the stewards feel like it, not just when someone complains on another team, and not just when Charlie wants to add some artificial drama, but *every* *single* *time*. Why have a rule on the books if you are not going to enforce it consistently? Once again, Charlie Whiting does an absolutely awful job.

    7. I don’t get the negativity around the track limit rules this weekend.

      The drivers were told which corners they’d be penalised at if they exceeded track limits and the coverage I was watching (UK Channel 4) was very clear about it too. I had no problem understanding why any of the drivers had had their times deleted whilst other times stood.

      If there’s no significant advantage to be gained by running wide on the exit of Luffield, or any of the other corners they didn’t single out, then I don’t see the point of enforcing track limits there when (pretty much) every driver was doing it.

      What exactly to people want in these situations? Astroturf or grass is dangerous when wet (see Ericsson’s crash). Sausage curbs are worse, especially on a high speed corner where the wind direction can be the difference between a driver nailing it or running wide. Gravel traps might be sufficient a bit further away from the track, but not in such close proximity to claim every driver who just goes over track limits.

      Consistent, clear stewarding is the best option and I felt they handled it well yesterday. If the coverage you were watching left you confused then the blames lies with the commentary team and not the stewards.

      1. @sparkyamg – I can’t understand this concept of not gaining an advantage by going off the track….

        You have to find the limits of how hard you can push and if you push too hard and go off the track, you shouldn’t get away with it. There are drivers going at 100% and staying in the track limits. If you push 101% and go off, you have gained an advantage by not being punished!

      2. “The drivers were told which corners they’d be penalised at if they exceeded track limits and the coverage I was watching (UK Channel 4) was very clear about it too.”

        The channel I was watching (NBC Sports) pointed out that one of the penalties that was given for exceeding track limits was for an incident that was not at the corners drivers they were told they’d be penalized at. That makes a mockery of this excuse.

        “I don’t see the point of enforcing track limits there when (pretty much) every driver was doing it.”

        Well hey, we can just get rid of all the rules then. All we have to do is ensure everybody ignores them, and then the rules can be dropped altogether. Hey everyone, let’s all have unsafe pitlane releases, and then Charlie won’t penalize any of us for them.

        Oh, wait. That’s kind of what happened today, actually.

        Sorry, but this is a totally specious argument. The rules are the rules. They should *always* be enforced as written. It is the only fair and sporting thing to do. If you can’t enforce them as written, then rewrite them.

        If you don’t want the white line to be the track limit all of the time, then the rule should be rewritten to state that the track limit will only be enforced at corners chosen before the start of each weekend / session by the race director. Otherwise, if you want the track limit to vary, then the line should be ground off and repainted in the correct position. The *only* exception to this should be in the instance of unanimous agreement between the race director, promoter and all teams for a change that is being made solely in the interests of safety, and where there is not sufficient time for an alternative to be come up with that does not require the rules to be ignored.

        Otherwise, the rules are the rules. You enforce them equally and with 100% rigor, all of the time. As race director / steward, that is your job — not trying to spice up the show with endless inconsistent judgement calls made to ensure the desired individual profits from your decision.

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