Pierre Gasly channels Jose Mourinho as track limits debate rages on

Michelle Foster
Pierre Gasly with Esteban Ocon and a cameraman in the background. Britain July 2023

Pierre Gasly with his Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon and a cameraman in the background. Britain July 2023

One of nine drivers hit with a track limits violation penalty after the Austrian Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly had opted to keep his thoughts to himself rather than risk “big trouble”.

Gasly brought his Alpine home in eighth place at the Red Bull Ring but a post-race protest from Aston Martin saw the stewards spend the next few hours going over footage of more than 1,200 laps.

The end result was nine drivers were penalised for exceeding the track limits including  Gasly, the Frenchman slapped with a 10-second penalty that saw him demoted from eighth to P9.

Pierre Gasly would ‘prefer not to speak’

Asked for his thoughts on that, Gasly bit his tongue as he channelled his inner Jose Mourinho, the football manager often saying he won’t speak because then he’d find himself in “big trouble”.

“I prefer not to speak because otherwise I’ll be in big trouble so I’ll not comment anything,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.

His rivals, however, weren’t afraid to give their view points on the matter with Carlos Sainz, one of the drivers hit with a post-race penalty, saying Formula 1 has dillydallied for too long and that a solution is urgently required.

“There has been offered so many solutions and, for some reason, we keep postponing,” said the Ferrari driver.

“It’s like an alarm: postpone, postpone, instead of acting on finding solutions for these kinds of circuits.

“For me, it is a time to act whatever they want to do. I would be even happy if you leave the rule the same and you put a [detection] loop, because at least the loop is telling me immediately if I’ve done a track limit and I know I can correct it.”

He added: “I try to help as much as I can F1 and FIA to find solutions. We need to, because I think this sport cannot allow itself another weekend like that, because it really doesn’t look good, and it is not good as a driver and not good as a team.”

‘It just takes the joy away from what it is that we do’

Lewis Hamilton was another driver who fell foul of the track limits rule with the Mercedes driver slapped with a 10-second post-race penalty.

That relegated him from seventh to eighth with the Briton saying track limits takes the joy out of driving.

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“Before we didn’t use track limits in Austria and it wasn’t a problem,” Hamilton said.

“But the last few races since they’ve brought in that rule have been just insane – people just getting all these time penalties and track limits, and it just takes the joy away from what it is that we do.

“We’re not doing it deliberately, we’re driving at crazy speeds. You’re trying to be millimetre perfect, but it’s… ultimately, we need to abandon the track limits situation because it just did not look good.

“We need to look at what other solutions there could be. The excuses always are that because MotoGP want run-off areas, they don’t want gravel, so we have to accommodate for more than one series.

“But you can’t do that, you can’t be having that. I can’t imagine how that was for people watching, but for me it was frustrating in the car.

“But if the rumble strips were more dangerous and damaged the car, no one would go over there. There obviously needs to be more of a price to pay, not in penalties, but in terms of how it affects you speed-wise.”

Read next: Aston Martin’s blunt but ‘simple’ solution to F1’s track limits problem after protest