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F1 needs better solution for track limits

Verstappen was left frustrated by F1’s track limits rules at the last race in Portugal after losing the fastest lap bonus point for allegedly going off track, breaking the guidelines issued by FIA race director Michael Masi.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko fumed over the ruling, saying the team had lost a race win, pole position and fastest lap over the opening three races of the season because of track limits rules.

Team principal Christian Horner said after the race in Portugal that he felt there had been “inconsistency” in the application of track limits rules after Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, believed he was overtaken off track early in the race.

Verstappen acknowledged that some tracks were “a bit more difficult” to judge due to the kerbs used to accommodate more series than just F1, but felt a middle ground had to be struck.

“I think we do need to find a solution,” Verstappen said. “Of course I understand, some tracks we race together on with MotoGP, and of course they want a bit different kerbs to what we like.

“But I think we still need to find a bit of, let’s say, middle way which works for both.

“With our cornering speeds, basically we can really abuse the whole track because of the grip we have with the cars, which just makes it really difficult sometimes to really judge proper track limits.

“But from my side, I think we should try and put a bit more gravel back in places. Of course it’s sometimes not what tracks want, because when you have track days and people go off, the gravel comes onto the track, they need to clean it, it all costs money to put it back in place.

“But I think it’s just sometimes a bit confusing, also from the outside where, you know some places you run onto a kerb, some places are policed with a white line.

“I think we can make it a lot better by making sure that there is a hard limit when you go off a kerb or whatever.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Verstappen was forced to hand the lead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix back to Lewis Hamilton after he was deemed to have overtaken the Mercedes off-track, and ended up losing the race.

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He then saw a lap good enough for pole position in Portugal get deleted due to a track limits breach before losing the fastest lap bonus point the next day.

But Verstappen did not feel he had to do any more work to get a better understanding of track limits, saying it reflected how hard he was pushing to beat Mercedes.

“I don’t think there’s anything to be done to be on top of it,” Verstappen said. “In Bahrain, there were some misunderstandings between teams and what was allowed and what wasn’t.

“But you can also see it differently. I’m just trying to get everything out of the car, when we are not on the same level as Mercedes.

“I always try to get the best possible result out of it. But yeah, I went twice basically outside of the track limits where it cost me basically a pole and a fastest lap.

“But it’s also because I don’t settle for second or third.”

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