Why Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll’s ‘ears were bleeding’

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack has called for consistency in the FIA’s approach to track limits after the debacle in Austria.

At the end of the Austrian Grand Prix, Aston Martin lodged a post-race protest against the provisional result, shedding light on the contentious issue of track limits. 

This move prompted the stewards to confirm that multiple drivers had escaped penalties for track limit violations. 

Aston Martin’s successful appeal marked the second time this season that the team, led by Sporting Director Andy Stevenson, had achieved such a feat, following a similar occurrence in Jeddah.

Reflecting on the team’s operational strategy and their ability to challenge penalties, Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack playfully remarked that Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll’s “ears were bleeding” due to the constant radio warnings about track limits. 

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When asked about the team’s approach, Krack emphasised that they didn’t do anything differently from other teams and attributed their success to thorough preparation. 

He stated, “It is just a matter of preparation. It is part of the race, to look at that after a race or if you are protesting, or if something is not the way you think it has to be” 

The issue of track limits has been a recurring concern in Formula 1. 

Drivers who exceed the limits three times receive a black and white driving standards flag, with a fourth violation resulting in a penalty. 

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Krack humorously stated, “Our drivers were instructed that we had the penalty last year, I think their ears were bleeding from us telling them what the penalty will be.”

Aston Martin’s protest stemmed from their observation that numerous drivers had neither received driving standards flags nor subsequent penalties during the race. 

Krack explained their decision, stating, “We saw that not all the infringements were penalised in the race. 

“When we got the provisional race classification and we saw that it was still not done, then we decided to protest.”

The FIA acknowledged that an overwhelming number of reports created an “unprecedented situation” that prevented them from reviewing all potential track limits infringements. 

As a result, 12 penalties were issued four hours after the race concluded, altering the final classification.

Krack attributed Aston Martin’s successful protests to the collaborative efforts of the team at the track and those reviewing the footage at the factory. 

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He highlighted the strength of their cohesive approach, stating, “We have a strong team at home and we have a strong team at the track that is preparing [for] such situations, and I think this has helped us in these two occasions to be successful with our points”

While the controversy surrounding track limits persists, Krack remained hopeful that drivers could adhere to the boundaries set by the FIA. 

He emphasised that Aston Martin’s drivers managed to stay on track, along with seven others, suggesting that staying within the prescribed limits was indeed possible.