Video: Does F1 need greater clarity over track limits rules?

Track limits became the talking point of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Does F1 need to set a precedent for the matter moving forwards? We discuss exactly that in our latest video...
Video: Does F1 need greater clarity over track limits rules?

Track limits became the talk of the Formula 1 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, overshadowing a brilliant duel for the lead in the closing stages.

The defining moment of the race occurred on Lap 53 when Max Verstappen pulled off an overtake on Lewis Hamilton around the outside at Turn 4, only for the Red Bull driver to be instructed to hand the lead back due to having all four of his wheels outside of the white line on the exit of the corner.

The incident prompted confusion and calls for clarity over track limits after Hamilton was allowed to get away with abusing track limits at Turn 4 throughout the race, with footage showing the Mercedes driver straying behind the extremities of the circuit no fewer than 29 times before Mercedes relayed a warning from race control to tell him to stop.

In an attempt to clear the matter up, F1 race director Michael Masi insisted that the track limits policy did not change during the race, but that did not stop the topic from becoming the main talking point of the opening round of 2021.

So does F1 need to address this issue moving forwards? Check out our latest video to see our take on the situation…

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What was said about track limits in Bahrain?

Lewis Hamilton:

“I think it is very confusing. There are most tracks we’re not allowed to put four wheels outside the white line, but this weekend and that particular corner, we weren’t allowed to on Friday. In actual fact, you could go two wheels outside the line, but you can’t go past the blue and white kerb. But in the race you can, and that was what had been written.

“So when we go into the race, then you can. But it’s quite a different corner when you have to do one or the other in terms of approach. And it is faster when you can go out. But then where is the boundary when you are overtaking? You are not allowed to overtake off-track.

“Halfway through the race they basically changed their minds and all of a sudden you’re not allowed to go outside that white line. Which is fine for me, it’s actually I think faster in the end for me, and helped me look after my tyres, actually. So I’m grateful for the call.”

Max Verstappen:

“Throughout the race I was told that people were going wide, so they told me to do the same because you do gain lap time doing it. So I did. And at one point they told me not to do it any more. So I don’t know.

“In qualifying, of course, it was not allowed, your lap time got deleted. And so I don’t know how it got to the point where people were doing it without getting warnings.

“But at the end of the day when I was fighting Lewis, I went outside of the track limits. I think quite quickly the race director was onto us to tell me to give the position back, so that’s exactly what I did.”

Christian Horner:

“It was frustrating, we could see as soon as Mercedes started to push they just used that part of the track. We questioned with race control ‘if that’s the case, can we do it?’ Because when you’re in a nip and tuck battle, there’s a two-tenth advantage using that part of the circuit. So they did it lap after lap.

“The race director then asked them to respect the limits otherwise they’d get a black and white flag. Obviously Max ran wide on the pass there. It had been made clear before the race that if someone got an advantage by going out there, they’d have to give it back.

"He did that immediately and the team instructed him to do it following race control instructing us. With these track limit things, they’re always going to be contentious but we do need to just have a consistent situation.

Toto Wolff:

"At the beginning of the race it was said track limits in Turn 4 wouldn't be sanctioned and then in the race suddenly we heard that if you would continue to run wide it would be seen as an advantage and could cause a potential penalty.

"And then at the end that decision actually made us win the race. Max ran wide in the definition of the race director, gaining an advantage, he had to give back the position and that saved our victory.

"So we need to be consistent in which messages are being given. They need to be clear, they need to be sacred and not a Shakespeare novel that leaves interpretation.”

Where do you stand on the track limits debate? Let us know in the comments below…

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