Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2016

Drivers get ‘three strikes’ rule for turn one track limits

2016 German Grand Prix

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Formula One drivers have been told not to repeatedly run wide at the Hockenheimring’s turn one, despite plans to relax restrictions on track limits

Many drivers were observed running wide at Hockenheim’s first corner during the first practice session earlier today. Race director Charlie Whiting has therefore decided to impose a ‘three-strikes’ limit for this corner.

“During P1 many drivers appeared to make little or no effort to stay on the track on the exit of turn one,” Whiting told the teams in an official note. “In fact, one driver left the track 14 times.”

“Therefore, for P2 and P3 any driver who is judged to have left the track three times at turn one will be reported to the stewards for not having made every reasonable effort to use the track.”

“However, if we are satisfied that a driver left the track at this point for reasons beyond his control such a crossing will not be counted towards his total in the session.”

2016 German Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 37 comments on “Drivers get ‘three strikes’ rule for turn one track limits”

    1. Did they just take a simple rule and make it more complex and more subjective to interpretation for the stewards? Please say it isn’t so.

      1. sunny stivala
        29th July 2016, 16:36

        “lots of talk about track limits being abandoned but Charlie Whiting tells me nothing has changed so far re qualy/race sensor outside T1 here” Brundle 10:47am.

    2. i dont agree that penalties could be dished out during PRACTICE sessions :(

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        29th July 2016, 13:49

        track limit penalties during P2/P3; WTPh?

        I want drivers to test the limits of their car – and therefore go over the limit at times – during practice.

    3. “any driver who is judged to have”

      “for reasons beyond his control”

      The ambiguity just makes it so difficult to implement/enforce these rules.

      1. Exactly. My problem with their rules is the wording. It leaves their rules open to corrupt interpretations. Interestingly, it seems that they have decided to red flag double yellows.
        Since they understand the gravity of double yellows, why therefore did they allow a driver who has precedents of getting away with major rule infractions to once more get away with double yellows? From running Alonso and Hamilton off track in 2012, parking in Monaco, slap on the wrist radio rules infraction and to setting purple sectors under double yellows, to mention a few, the door keeps getting slammed shut after Nico. They obviously are aware that he is breaking rules.

        1. Tata… My thoughts exactly, regarding the double yellows > red flagging. It just comes across as obvious that the stewards, the race director, and indeed the FIA are reluctant (for whatever reasons) to ‘adequately’ penalize Rosberg for what are appearing to be increasing rules infractions. It is obvious that the situation in Hungary was serious enough to warrant this rule change, but again no consequences for the driver that caused it.

          So why exactly have rules, if any time a rule is broken, all that happens is the rule is changed, effective going forward?

          Makes no sense!

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            29th July 2016, 14:41

            you guys should start a club!

            1. We could call it The Cold Fly Club!

            2. – you guys should start a club!

              Says the person who defends Nico as fervently as anyone, no matter what.

    4. I am sick and tired of all the track limit abuse issues every single weekend.
      Can’t they just install the sensors that they used in Hungary at every single corner, on every single track and then give them three strikes for each session. I am sure they will figure it out fairly quickly, and there will be no need for weekly clarifications on the matter.

      1. But then, Charlie Whiting wouldn’t get his face on the TV every week…….

    5. I have never known a sport to change the rules of competition every weekend in the manner that Formula One seems to in recent years… and it’s only getting worse! While I can occasionally sniff the hint of a good intention behind a rule (either safety, listening to the fans, spicing up the racing etc.), they just seem to go about it in entirely the wrong way.

      I long for the days of vague technical regulations leaving technical directors free to innovate, for gravel traps, for unlimited testing and for the Monday morning back pages to be about the fastest car/driver combination that weekend rather than some ridiculous controversy about breaking a rule that shouldn’t even exist. The sport doesn’t need page upon page of complex rules (some of them there to cover other unnecessary rules!).

      1. Well said, @ben-n.

    6. I’m sick of hearing about Charlie. It’s as though he deliberately makes these ambiguous statements so that we have to go to him for clarification.

      A referee is going a great job when you notice him – as soon as the match/race/competition becomes about the officials, something has gone wrong….. When was the last GP weekend when Charlie Whiting wasn’t right at the center of things!?

      1. Tommy Scragend
        29th July 2016, 14:40

        A referee is doing a great job when you *don’t* notice him.

        Think that was what you meant ;-)

        1. Yep. Thanks :)

    7. Name another sport where no one cares if a team plays from out of the playing surface and no one cares? The track is banded by the white line that’s the limit of the track, if they can’t stay inside it why have the line and the rule? Can not understand why Rosberg gets ripped a new one when he was running as the flags were clearing and it’s the worst violation ever. But everyone goes wide and it’s, well i guess that’s OK. Yes, in practice there should be a different standard to allow drivers to test the grip but always swinging wide? And is not like going wide is EVER to not gain an advantage or drivers wouldn’t do it, barring debris, car, object avoidance.

      1. Because my friend the white line IS NOT the limit of the track, further the kerbs are equally PARTS OF THE TRACK.

        It just astounding how many of the armchair enthusiasts fail to understand these simple facts.

        This is not tennis or football and a few years ago there were no white lines at all!

        Look I don’t know why people get so wound up about this I really don’t (probably because I used to race) but the bottom line is there is a little advantage here and there and nothing but disadvantage elsewhere. It evens out in the end. However these are fragile vehicles and the risk is to DNF should you try too much. However we seem to be screaming they are not driving hard enough and then screaming when they explore the limits. These circuits have to make money. That means they must suit other series that do not rip them off.

        If we keep going this way there will be no classic circuits left because they simply cannot accommodate all the gravel/Astro you lot want and still run the series that actually allow them to host F1!!

        For goodness sake stop moaning before we get another ‘radio’ fiasco and end up racing in the Middle East where there is no blasted grass!

        1. Except my friend, that the rulebook clearly stated the white line is indeed the limit of the track, and kerbs is not part of the track. However, the definition of leaving the track is all 4 wheels is outside the white line at the same time, which is why kerb riding is normal and permitted as long as you have at least 1 wheel still within the white line.

          1. Michael Brown (@)
            29th July 2016, 19:57

            To be clear, the kerbs are used as a reference for the edge of the track if no white lines exist.

            1. @mbr-9 White lines always exists though, it could painted touching the base of the kerbs so you wont see it from TV shots, but it always exists.

            2. Michael Brown (@)
              30th July 2016, 13:03

              @sonicslv I was wrong on that, I couldn’t find a mention in the regs that the kerbs are the limit of the track. In fact, they say that they are not.
              Monaco does not always have white lines. Look at the inside of the hairpin.

            3. @mbr-9 Hmm interesting, I just noticed that. In fact, Monaco doesn’t seem to have any white lines for track limit except on the 1st corner, chicane and swimming pool enter/exit. Also most kerbs are placed inside the track (outer part of the kerb is lined with track limit instead of the inner part), including on the hairpin. Probably because it’s Monaco, not the first time they need special exception to the rule ;)

        2. Actually, my friend, the white line defines the edge of the racing surface, so therefore IS the limit of the track. Kerbs are not part of the racing surface. When I was racing karts 20+ years ago they would constantly reinforce this during driver briefings, it’s nothing new!

          Remember, all this really came about from the Indian Grand Prix at Buddh where drivers were constantly using the asphalt run-offs as part of the circuit. I seem to recall a lot of people complaining about it at the time. Now more and more circuits are using low, almost non-existent, kerbs it’s becoming more commonplace. But now the FIA want to seriously clamp down on it (and, in my opinion, it’s long overdue they did), all these so-called ‘fans’ are moaning the drivers can’t ‘use all the circuit’, which is complete nonsense. The biggest problem is the FIA have let drivers get away with this for far too long.

          At Hockenheim in an F1 car, there’s at least two corners where you can run off the track and gain an advantage. In a GT car there’s probably four or five corners where you can. But you can’t have one rule for one series and not for another, it has to be consistent across all disciplines. Hence why the white line rule exists for all forms of motor sport. Anyone who saw the nonsense at Paul Ricard last year in the Blancpain series will know what I mean. The stewards gave up policing the rule in the end and the drivers were using the run off areas as they pleased, as part of the racing line. It made for ludicrous spectating, frankly, and surely threw up a safety issue, as cars were travelling off the circuit at a faster speed than they would have been had they stuck to the circuit proper.

          All this surely throws up a question. If people are so concerned about the so-called disobeying of yellow flags, and setting a bad example to junior drivers, then how is constantly driving outside the white lines any better? After all, as a young karter, I was constantly told not to do that also…

    8. I don’t get why the whole “stay between the white lines” thing. Let them use the everything and more, if they really don’t want them there make kerbs, slippery asphalt or something that makes it slower – then they wont go there – else just let them find the fastest way round.

    9. Here’s a crazy idea, put gravel and sand where the asphalt is, PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    10. That’s a joke. If you give 3 strikes, the drivers are going to take them. If I am a team boss, and one of my drivers don’t have 3 warnings at the end of the race, I will question him why are he not maximizing his options.

      10 years ago, if you had a track and the drivers find a place where they can take advantage, you need to put something in this place. A kerb. Grass. A higher kerb. A bollard. Now we get sensors.

      I think F1 driving it’s much about precission at high speeds. I want a driver spinning or losing the car if he exceeds the track limits, not a 5 second penalty to add at the end of the race. For me it’s clear that passive security is the issue where they must focus. But we need a debate between FIA, FOM and the drivers to make clear when it’s necessary the active security, and in what amount.

      I hope made myself clear. I think F1 need to avoid hard crashes with big consequences, but I think that if you don’t get a big penalty for not being precise in your driving, you are killing a big part of the sport.

      1. It’s like boxing if you’re guaranteed not to be hit. You’d just throw constant punches with no fear of getting hit yourself. There is no need to keep yourself covered – just throw punch after punch and hope one lands. If it doesn’t, you look a bit silly but that’s it.

      2. @esmiz When the last time they tried to put high kerbs to discourage abusing track limit? Oh right, Austria 2016 and look what people said!

        1. People said many things. I heard people saying it was dangerous and blablabla. But I´m not the only one who was OK with that kerbs.

          I think there is a need to talk between FIA, FOM and drivers (NOT THE TEAMS PLEASE) and make a clear rule about it.

    11. How about something simple, unambiguous, inexpensive, passive, and self-enforcing. Gravel!

    12. FIA; where a sensible decision has to be replaced by an insane one, the very day.

    13. I am all for enforcing the track limits but I don’t see the need for the rule to policed during the practice sessions. If it was a matter of safety I could understand why they have suddenly decided to do this but I have not seen this given as a reason.

    14. Why do I get the impression that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing?

    15. Michael Brown (@)
      29th July 2016, 20:05

      Give me a break. Penalties for leaving the track in practice? Just delete the lap time, you dummies. Practice is just that: practice. How can you push the boundaries if the boundaries are barbed wire?

      Here’s a radical thought for the FIA: The white line defines the edge of the track. Don’t give me this 20 centimetres nonsense where the limit of the track is not the white line which is what it’s supposed to do!

    16. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
      31st July 2016, 9:32

      Three strikes like YouTube account strikes.

    Comments are closed.