Track limits prompts latest disagreement between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner

Thomas Maher
Red Bul driver Sergio Perez battles with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023. Track limits

Red Bull's Sergio Perez battles with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023.

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner had different outlooks on the implementation of rules regarding track limits at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Seven drivers were hit with five-second time penalties during the Austrian Grand Prix, due to exceeding track limits on more than three occasions over the course of the 71-lap race.

Track limits were the topic on everyone’s lips during the weekend, due to the sheer volume of lap deletions encountered over the course of Friday’s qualifying, Saturday’s Sprint action, and Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Christian Horner: Track limits violations make us look amateurish

Following the Grand Prix, the results of which are under protest by Aston Martin due to how the track limits transgressions were addressed by the stewards after more than 100 lap time deletions during the race, Christian Horner said he’s keen to ensure a repeat of this weekend’s handling of track limits doesn’t happen next season.

“I think the track limits things need to be looked at because it makes us look a little bit amateurish,” he told Sky F1.

“With so many good drivers making those… breaking those limits, it’s just too easy.

“I think it’s something that needs to be looked at here for next year.

“Either the kerbs or maybe a bit of gravel on the other side of the kerb would just tidy that up but I think, with all those penalties coming through, it’s very tough for the drivers.” recommends

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Toto Wolff: The rules apply to everyone

At Mercedes, there were mixed fortunes for their two drivers in how they handled the track limits. While George Russell went without a single violation during the race, Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to fall foul of the black and white flag and a resulting five-second time penalty – much to his displeasure.

With Hamilton complaining throughout the race about the track limits and how the stewards were handing out penalties, triggering Wolff to get onto team radio in a bid to refocus his driver, the Austrian said the stewards hadn’t been over-zealous despite the volume of transgressions.

“I think, no, the stewards are doing their job. It’s what the rules say,” he said, matter-of-factly.

Wolff suggested that, if the rules for sections of track like the final corners of the Red Bull Ring are changed, some acceptance of the drawbacks will have to be made.

“I think we’ve either got to go back to the sausage kerb and take into consideration that teams and drivers shouldn’t complain if they break their cars because that’s clear,” he said.

“Or you’ve just gotta let everybody go where they want. That’s the other solution as they do in some of the races in the United States.”

McLaren’s Lando Norris was another to come out and speak his mind about the track limits, despite being another to escape the attention of the stewards.

“It just depends if you’re under pressure. When you’re under pressure, you’re pushing a little bit more, you have a little bit more of a slide,” he said.

“But that’s just like human error, but it’s also like that’s racing at the end of the day.

“It feels tough for some of the things that you feel like you shouldn’t be penalised for but, when it’s a rule, then it’s also a rule for everyone. So I guess that I didn’t.

“If you struggle, then you’ve just got to slow down. But you never want to do that when you’re a driver. So yeah, it’s complicated. It’s just not as easy as what it looks like on the outside.

“I can assure everyone of that so I don’t have sympathy for the people that did get it, in a way, but I also don’t!”