Haas driver Mick Schumacher says that the track limit penalties in Austria were a “silly” look for Formula 1, so he has suggested finding a way of enforcing them more leniently.
Over 40 track limit violations took place in F1 over the course of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, and plenty more could be found in Formula 2 and Formula 3 as the stewards clamped down on cars going over the white line.
Sergio Perez was caught out in qualifying as he was forced to start 13th for the sprint, while Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel all picked up five-second penalties in the race for venturing off four times.
The Circuit Paul Ricard has an obscene amount of run-off, giving the drivers plenty of opportunity to explore and gain time so, if Spielberg was bad, France could – provided the stewards are consistent – prove to be even worse for lap deletions and penalties.
The drivers are pushing to the limit every lap in these cars, and finding an inch perfect line at such speed is incredibly tough, so constant penalties for going marginally off track is not a sustainable framework as far as Schumacher is concerned.
“It does look a bit silly if, for going a centimetre of track, you get a penalty of five seconds, and most of the time when you go off you don’t gain any lap time, which is worse,” he said.
“It’s something to be discussed, something to see if we can improve it for the next event because I think in Paul Ricard especially it will be a big concern.”
George Russell said after finishing fourth in the sprint in Styria that knowing exactly where the line is while driving at over 150mph is not an easy task.
“It’s so difficult on a circuit like this,” he told Sky Sports.
“You’re going through the corners at 160mph, and as a driver you feel the edge of a kerb but you don’t feel the edge of a white line.
“The car’s laterally rolling through the corners with the G-Force and you can’t really judge where that line is.
“When you can use all of that kerb and more, and you barely feel that in the cars, it makes it really tricky for us to judge when you’re talking about centimetres.”
Schumacher grabbed his best-ever result of sixth in the main race, while Russell recovered to fourth behind Mercedes team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton after contact with Sergio Perez on the opening lap sent him down the order.