F1 track limit penalty controversy has now been a major topic of discussion at all four of the most recent Formula One Grand Prix.
Formula One controversies are not rare. F1 is undeniably the highest level of international racing for open-wheel formula racing cars as sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. The FIA Formula One World Championship is considered the ultimate prize in sports for many worldwide, so the competition is understandably fierce.
So it is unsurprising that F1 controversies often dominate headlines, sometimes overtaking race results. For the fans of F1 racing, there have certainly been their share of controversies in 2023. Although the season is not over yet, conversations about track limits are dominating any discussion of the sport currently.
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F1 Track Limit Penalty Controversy In Austria
The F1 track limit penalty controversy really took hold, beginning with the Austrian Grand Prix. Simply put, there were so many infringements of track limits during the race that the stewards were utterly overwhelmed.
Provisional results are posted as drivers cross the finish line. However, a big part of the F1 track limit penalty controversy in Austria was that the actual final results weren’t released until five hours after the was over. In the end, after Aston Martin lodged a formal protest, the stewards kept working and delivered an astonishing 12 extra penalties to eight drivers.
Fans of the sport, especially those who pay large sums of money to attend the events live, are generally not happy when race results change after they have been celebrated. Considering the F1 track limit penalty controversy in Austria saw more than two-thirds of the drivers having their positions changed five hours later, people were still talking about it at the start of the next race, the Qatar Grand Prix.
F1 Track Limit Penalty Controversy In Qatar
‘Track limits’ are easily defined in the sport of motor racing. They mean that all drivers must keep all four wheels within the lines during qualifying laps and races. Teams are notified when the limits have been exceeded, and drivers are issued a warning the third time it happens. On the fourth and every other consecutive time the limits are crossed, a time penalty is given to the driver.
In Qatar, the F1 track limit penalty controversy continued with a total of 51 laps being deleted for violations, and the time penalties added up quickly. Three time penalties were doled out to both Sergio Perez and Pierre Gasly, while Alex Albon and Lance Stroll each received two penalties and had five laps deleted.
F1 Track Limit Penalty Controversy US Grand Prix
As the penalties for track limits seem to be a never-ending part of Formula One weekend, even the best drivers were in for surprises at the Circuit of the Americas. The F1 track limit penalty controversy was front and center during the quailing laps.
Initially, it looked like Max Verstappen had secured another pole position in Austin until his lap time was deleted for violating track limits, which resulted in a drop to a P6 position on the starting grid for the US Grand Prix. For fans of the sport, having the current world champion starting in sixth position made for an exhilarating race, and Verstappen still finished in first place.
However, not everyone was pleased with the calls made and not made by the stewards in Austin. During the race, several drivers took to reporting other drivers ahead of them exceeding track limits that the stewards were not noting. Also, after several cars were examined post-race, fan favorites Charles LeClerc and Lewis Hamilton were disqualified from the race for exceeding the limitations of technical regulations.
Haas Requests Review Of F1 Track Limit Penalty Controversy
Before the start of the Brazil Grand Prix, the Haas team formally stated they were initiating their Right of Review concerning track limit infringements during the Austin race. According to officials, a two-part hearing will begin on Wednesday to see if there is enough evidence to warrant additional penalties, change the race results, and potentially change the team standings for the Constructor’s Cup.
Perhaps Marc Priestly, a former McLaren mechanic, summed up the F1 track limit penalty controversy the best in his comment posted to Twitter, which read, “I’m at a total loss as to why the most tech advanced sport in the world can’t have a tech solution with sensors and transponders so that no one needs to review anything,”
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