Wolff’s solution to ‘boring’ run-offs

Date published: August 7 2016

Toto Wolff says Formula 1 should do away with track limits in their entirety, saying only “the wall or the gravel bed” should dictate where drivers cannot go.

Track limits have become one of the hot topics in Formula 1 of late as the FIA has come in for criticism of their handling of it.

In Germany alone the rule was changed three times.

Ahead of the grand prix weekend the FIA declared that there would be no track limits but, after 93 incidents of drivers running wide in FP1, they went with a three-strike rule.

However, even that wasn’t set in a stone as they later tweaked the usable track limit at Turn 1.

Wolff says F1 should rather abolish it entirely.

He told Motorsport.com: “The tarmac run-off is so boring anyway that drivers are able to go off and rejoin.

“If I am reading on screen that car so and so has rejoined the track, I think ‘if you go off the track, you should be either in the wall or the gravel bed’.

“If it is tarmac, let them take the quickest line. What is the difference?

“We are having a million miles of run-off areas. It becomes less and less spectacular and we wonder why audiences are having less interest in what we do.

“My opinion is, leave [Silverstone corners] Copse and Club or whatever and let them drive the quickest line.

“If it is somewhere really unsafe because we are coming too close to the barriers or when you rejoin you are putting others in danger, then okay, look at the specifics of that one corner, but for the rest, just let them go. Let them drive. It is spectacular pictures.”

The Mercedes motorsport boss added that he is not in favour of policing track limits, something which could have cost Lewis Hamilton pole position at the British GP as the World Champ’s first time in Q3 was disallowed when he was deemed to have run wide.

“I think consistency in the rules is very important, because we are not changing the size of a football goal every game.

“If you start analysing white lines and whether a driver has put two centimetres of his tyre on a white line and his lap time is going away, nobody understands any more.

“This is not long jump where two centimetres make the jump invalid. This is a six-kilometre track and two centimetres should not be changing that. So we said: ‘Let’s leave the drivers alone and let them drive.’

“It will provide spectacular pictures over the kerbs – we have seen some great TV of cars entering the start-finish straight into the Motodrom [at Hockenheim]. I loved it! And the same in Turn 1 now. We have become reasonable on track limits and I hope it stays.”