The debate surrounding the enforcement of the track edges has been rumbling on throughout the season so far, with different corners at different circuits being treated on an individual basis – causing confusion among drivers and fans alike.
Max Verstappen in particular has been affected by this more than most, losing out on qualifying lap times at Imola and Portimao that would have been fast enough for pole position, but dipped a tyre the wrong side of the line and the Dutchman had his times deleted.
F1 CEO and former Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali says the sport’s governing body is working towards finding a new, consistent approach to enforcing the limits, however.
Leclerc and Sainz have both weighed in, with the pair calling for a one-size-fits-all answer to an issue that has been a big part of the wider conversation in the paddock at the start of the 2021 season.
“Of course I can only speak for myself. Personally I would like the kerb to be the track limit, because in the car you feel the vibrations of the kerbstone,” Leclerc told Motorsport.com.
“We are very low in the car, so it is very difficult to know if you are on the white line or two centimetres off. I prefer kerbs. But whatever it is, it has to be consistent.
“We all agree on that as drivers – we just want something that is consistently enforced and the same for everyone. Regardless of whether that’s a white line, a kerb or whatever.”
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 14, 2021
“Personally, I prefer to see a gravel trap next to the kerb,” Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Sainz added. “If you make a mistake then it’s done. The FIA and everyone else realises the road modern circuits have taken is not ideal for track limits. It makes their lives incredibly difficult.
“So yes, with due consideration for safety, I would prefer to see gravel or grass next to the kerb. Then this whole discussion would not exist. If there is tarmac, I agree with Charles – I prefer kerbs to the white line. Indeed, we can’t see it.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the teams would also like to have clarity and consistency, calling on the FIA to come up with a universal solution.
“It was discussed [in Spain] with the team bosses and F1,” Binotto said. “Apart from what the drivers said, which requires changes to the circuits, which can’t be done directly, I think we need to come up with something that is easier for the fans to understand.
“Keep it simple, that’s what it’s all about.”