From Sergio Perez losing a Q3 spot to the McLaren team-mates being relegated, Lewis Hamilton and Helmut Marko agree Formula 1’s track limits rule is not working.
Friday night’s qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix saw several drivers fall foul of Formula 1’s hard and fast track limit violation regulation.
While Sergio Perez had a time that was fast enough to put him through into Q3 deleted, leaving him P13 on the grid, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri lost their second and fourth places.
Several drivers fell foul of track limit rules in Qatar
The Briton dropped down to P10 on the Losail grid for not one but two incidents of exceeding track limits while Piastri lost his P4 to sit sixth fastest.
Hamilton, who benefitted from the McLaren team-mates’ woes, feels it isn’t right given he cannot see how Norris gained time.
“It’s something that was brought in a couple of years ago and, yeah, Lando should be up here. When you go beyond the highest point of the kerb, you lose time so it shouldn’t be the white line necessarily,” he said.
“But, anyway, it’s not for me to decide.”
Marko meanwhile feels Formula 1 needs to find a better solution.
“In general, you have to do something with the track limits,” he told Sky Deutschland. “The result changes every few minutes.
“This is natural in qualifying but what do you do in the race? Do you punish it or not? I hope that there will be a better solution in the future.”
The motorsport boss, highlighting the same problem when F1 raced at the Red Bull Ring earlier this year, said F1 had rejected the solutions put forward.
As such he proposes “concrete slabs” to stop the drivers running wide.
“The first solution – rubber studs – was rejected. Now let’s think about concrete slabs with gravel. A permanent gravel bed is not possible because the Red Bull Ring is 90 percent full, even with amateur drivers. The effort involved with gravel would be too great,” he said.
“AVL is working on sensors in the car and track – but it’s not ready yet. The delay is still too long.”
But while Marko would like the tracks to put a solution in place, McLaren team boss Andrea Stella believes the onus lies with the drivers.
“The situation is unfortunate, it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride for us. At first it looked good, then all of a sudden the good starting positions were gone for us,” he said on Friday night.
“But in the end it’s very simple: you have to stay within the track limits. Both drivers didn’t do it.
“The result doesn’t show the potential that is in the car. But it’s still a long weekend. There are still plenty of opportunities to come back.”