Max Verstappen is none too impressed with how track limits rules are currently being enforced by the stewards.
Verstappen was speaking in the wake of the latest furore regarding track limits, as Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez had a time deleted and reinstated during the course of Q2 during the Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying session.
Perez had a time deleted for an alleged track limits breach at Turn 5, only for the race stewards to reverse this decision minutes later and give the Mexican driver his time back after further checks.
Despite this, Perez failed to progress from Q2 as his second run was compromised by running slightly wide through Turn 2 as he negotiated his way past Haas’ Kevin Magnussen.
Perez’s track limits moment comes just a few weeks after an incident during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, in which he made it through to Q3 and qualified fourth, only to have all his times deleted from his final run in Q2 onward – this was due to a retrospective deletion of his final Q2 time for exceeding track limits.
For 2022, race directors Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas have implemented a firm stance on track limits, with the white line at the edge of the track delineating the circuit limits – regardless of the amount of kerbing and run-off installed by the circuits.
It’s led to plenty of seemingly harsh deletions, with the Austrian Grand Prix also resulting in several drivers being given five-second time penalties for exceeding limits during the race.
Verstappen revealed that, while drivers had asked for more clarity regarding track limits after a flexible approach was employed by former race director Michael Masi during 2021, the enforcement of the rules has now become too draconian.
“Last night [at the driver briefing], they started talking about Turn 13, the exit, the dotted line was the track edge,” Verstappen told media after qualifying, as quoted by F1i.com.
“There was a kerb and a white line next to it, which, for me personally, is the track edge. We have so many silly little things which make it also more difficult for them to police.
“I don’t know. As drivers, we always want to help and give our advice, but nothing was heard and for me, that’s extremely frustrating. I don’t want to fight with them, I want to just advise them, but it seems like they don’t really care.
“They actually, for my feeling, look at us a bit like we are amateurs. I don’t think that’s correct.”
Unsurprisingly, given Verstappen’s predilection for keeping racing simple, the Dutch driver suggested the old-school approach of just installing gravel as a means of enforcing the limits – meaning no more messing around with lines and camera angles to ensure drivers aren’t gaining potential advantages.
“I think we can do ourselves a favour and make it a lot easier by adding a bit of gravel on the exits or whatever,” Verstappen said.
“Austria, for example, why do we need track limits in Turn 4 and Turn 6? There’s naturally gravel, and even if you go out by this much, you will penalise yourself if you go wide, or even if you go wide, you will damage your floor anyway. Your car is going slower.
“They make it super hard for themselves. Of course, people say ‘yeah, just stay within the white line’, but that’s easier said than done.
“But then again, what I said about this dotted line as well, it’s just so confusing everything.”
Looking ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix
The Hungarian Grand Prix is the final race before Formula 1's summer break.