The FIA President, Ben Sulayem, has left no doubts about the importance of resolving track limits issues in F1. After the Qatar GP, he explained that steps must be taken to prevent ambiguities from repeating in the future.
Alongside the physical demands of the Qatar GP, another topic captured the attention of fans and media. This was the problem of track limits, which proved significant throughout the race weekend.
Several laps were deleted during qualifying and the Sprint shootout, making it more difficult for fans to follow the events. Even the drivers were in the dark, with Oscar Piastri being informed during a post-qualifying interview about his penalisation.
This confusion also occurred earlier in the season at the Austrian GP in Spielberg. At a circuit notorious for track limit violations, the stewards handed out hundreds of warnings throughout the event.
Several drivers received penalties post-race, which saw the final results change several hours after the chequered flag.
In an interview after last weekend’s action, Ben Sulayem made clear these mishaps cannot continue:
“We had the same issue in Austria… I have to say congratulations to the stewards because they spotted it,” he told motorsport.com
“But is that the solution? No.
“The solution is to improve the track itself. I know some are resistant to it, but to tell you the truth, if they don’t [improve the track], there is no race.
“It is as simple as this: we can’t afford this [to happen]. We have to work on a solution.”
For several years now, different solutions have been offered to avoid these complicated scenarios. Until now, these ideas have either been unsuccessful or left on the drawing board.
However, the additional pressure applied by the FIA President could force changes to be implemented before 2024. As ever, time will tell whether the necessary precautions are taken.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang