The F1 Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring witnessed a dominant performance by Max Verstappen, who secured victory ahead of Charles Leclerc from Ferrari and his teammate Sergio Perez. However, the initial race result faced uncertainty due to several incidents of track limit violations.
Aston Martin lodged a protest highlighting the inadequate identification and penalization of track limit breaches, specifically at Turns 9 and 10.
Subsequently, the FIA acknowledged their failure to review over 1200 reported instances of drivers crossing the painted white lines with all four wheels during the 71-lap race.
The stewards received a compilation of deleted lap times from race control, revealing additional infringements that had previously gone unnoticed. These infractions were duly reviewed, resulting in the imposition of 12 penalties according to the following criteria:
- Three infractions warranted a black-and-white warning flag.
- Four infractions incurred a five-second penalty.
- Five infractions resulted in a ten-second penalty.
- Following an “excessive number of infringements,” a “reset” was implemented, meaning an additional five-second penalty for every four subsequent fouls.
As a consequence of the complete review, Carlos Sainz dropped two places, finishing in sixth position in the final classification. Initially serving a five-second penalty at his second pitstop, Sainz’s penalty was increased to ten seconds.
Consequently, Sainz falls behind McLaren driver Lando Norris and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in the final standings.
Similarly, Lewis Hamilton, driving for Mercedes, was downgraded from a five-second penalty to a ten-second penalty, resulting in him falling one place behind his teammate George Russell in eighth position.
Esteban Ocon suffered the most severe consequences due to the new evidence presented to the stewards. He received four separate penalties, culminating in a 30-second time penalty. As a result, his 12th-place finish was revised to 14th.
Other penalized drivers include Pierre Gasly, who now occupies 10th place in the final results, as well as Williams duo Alex Albon (11th), Logan Sargeant (13th), and AlphaTauri drivers Nyck de Vries (17th) and Yuki Tsunoda (19th).
Teams have the option to appeal these recent decisions within a specified timeframe.
Teams expressed frustration over the delayed enforcement of track limits, as they could have otherwise warned their drivers after receiving a black-and-white flag, indicating they were one violation away from a five-second penalty.
The stewards strongly recommended finding a solution to address the track limits issue.
Previously, the FIA had urged Red Bull Ring management to install gravel traps at the exit of Turns 9 and 10, similar to the setup at the slower Turn 4. However, this proposal did not materialize due to the circuit’s hosting of motorcycle championship events, including MotoGP.
Revised Classification for the Austrian GP:
- Max Verstappen – Red Bull/Honda RBPT
- Charles Leclerc – Ferrari
- Sergio Perez – Red Bull/Honda RBPT
- Lando Norris – McLaren/Mercedes
- Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin/Mercedes
- Carlos Sainz – Ferrari
- George Russell – Mercedes
- Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
- Lance Stroll – Aston Martin/Mercedes
- Pierre Gasly – Alpine/Renault
- Alexander Albon – Williams/Mercedes
- Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo/Ferrari
- Logan Sargeant – Williams/Mercedes
- Esteban Ocon – Alpine/Renault
- Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo/Ferrari
- Oscar Piastri – McLaren/Mercedes
- Nyck de Vries – AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT
- Kevin Magnussen – Haas/Ferrari
- Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT
- Nico Hülkenberg – Haas/Ferrari
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about track limit penalties
What penalties were given for track limit offences after the F1 Austrian GP?
The FIA handed out a total of 12 penalties for track limit offences following the F1 Austrian GP. The penalties were awarded based on the number of infringements, ranging from black-and-white warning flags to five-second and ten-second penalties. There was also a provision for an additional five-second penalty for every four subsequent fouls due to the excessive number of infringements.
How did the penalties affect the final race classification?
The penalties resulted in changes to the final race classification. Carlos Sainz dropped two places, finishing in sixth position, while Lewis Hamilton fell one place behind his teammate George Russell to eighth. Esteban Ocon was the most affected, receiving four separate penalties and dropping from 12th to 14th place. Other penalized drivers, such as Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant, Nyck de Vries, and Yuki Tsunoda, also saw adjustments in their final positions.
Can the teams appeal against these penalties?
Yes, the teams have the right to appeal against these penalties within a specific time frame. If they believe that there were errors or discrepancies in the penalty decisions, they can submit an appeal to contest the penalties imposed on their drivers.
Why were there delays in policing the track limits during the race?
Teams expressed frustration over the delayed policing of track limits during the race. The primary issue was the lack of timely identification and penalization of track limit breaches, particularly at Turns 9 and 10. This delay prevented teams from warning their drivers after receiving black-and-white warning flags, which would have indicated that they were close to incurring a five-second penalty.
What recommendation did the stewards make regarding track limits?
The stewards “very strongly recommend” finding a solution to address the track limits issue. They highlighted the need for a resolution to ensure accurate identification and penalization of track limit violations. The FIA had previously urged Red Bull Ring management to install gravel traps at Turns 9 and 10, similar to those at Turn 4, but this proposal was not implemented due to the circuit’s hosting of motorcycle championship events, including MotoGP.