The FIA stewards at the Red Bull Ring were inundated with incidents to review after drivers continually abused track limits in Turns 9 and 10 during the Grand Prix. In total, over 1,200 potential transgressions had to be examined following the race on Sunday. This manual process took more than four hours to complete, resulting in a revised classification that saw drivers such as Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, and Pierre Gasly demoted from their original positions.
The outcome of the race sparked discussions about how the track design at the Spielberg circuit could be improved to prevent a repeat of the track limits issue. However, McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes that Formula 1 could also do a better job of responding to emerging problems over a race weekend. He pointed out that during Friday’s qualifying, 47 laps were deleted for exceeding track limits, serving as a clear warning that the issue could impact the race. Brown suggested that a temporary solution be implemented to address the way track limits are policed.
Brown emphasized the need for proactive measures to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. Referring to past incidents like the rain-soaked race at Spa in 2021 and the tire problems at Indianapolis in 2005, he highlighted the importance of being more proactive when issues are already evident during practice sessions. Brown criticized the inaction of the sport, stating that they often watch the problem unfold instead of taking immediate action.
However, Brown did commend the FIA for making the brave decision to count every track limits offense after the race, even if it caused significant controversy. The stewards eventually handed out 12 penalties for track limits violations to eight drivers, following a successful protest from Aston Martin to review the provisional result. Brown applauded the FIA‘s willingness to address the penalties and not shy away from the backlash.
Looking to the future, Brown stressed the urgency of exploring various technologies to address track limits abuse effectively. He pointed out that there were delays of up to seven laps in detecting violations, and on the final lap, it becomes increasingly difficult for technology to react quickly enough. Brown called for a thorough debrief and analysis to understand how such incidents can be prevented or handled differently in the future.
In conclusion, the track limits abuse at the Red Bull Ring highlighted the need for both circuit design improvements and more proactive measures from Formula 1. The extensive post-race review and revised classification prompted McLaren CEO Zak Brown to advocate for better reactions to emerging problems during race weekends. Brown acknowledged the FIA‘s courageous decision to address the penalties but stressed the importance of preventing similar controversies from occurring in the future through technological advancements and comprehensive debriefs.