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Bahrain Grand Prix 2022

F1's new Race Director gets feedback on track limits rules

Bahrain Grand Prix Race Director Niels Wittich has taken a straightforward approach to track limits for his first weekend in charge, but there was still some confusion in qualifying.

Ricciardo Bahrain
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

F1 drivers have been given a clear instruction regarding track limits at this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Unlike in recent years, where the limits at corners have differed from track to track, and sometimes session to session, the new Race Director opted for a no-nonsense approach.

Niels Wittich, one of two new appointees to the role of FIA Race Director for 2022, in place of the ousted Michael Masi, is in charge for the season opener in Bahrain, and outlined the track limits as being the white line at the edge of the tarmac.

If all four wheels cross over the line, the driver has exceeded track limits and will have their lap time deleted.

Was the process followed throughout qualifying?

However, the strictness with which the rules will be applied came under scrutiny almost immediately.

During the first part of qualifying, Red Bull's Sergio Perez visibly crossed the white line with all four wheels at the final corner. Despite this, his lap was not deleted, and he made it through into Q2 with that lap.

In contrast, during Q2, Alfa Romeo rookie Guanyu Zhou had his best lap deleted for exceeding track limits.

As a result, the top three drivers were asked what their understanding of the track limits is for the weekend.

"I don't know who you're talking about; who didn't get the lap deleted for exceeding the white line?" Sainz questioned to media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked whether he had any concerns about inconsistent rules being applied.

"If it was in Turn 4, then I'm surprised, because [at] Turn 4, it's been very clear to all of us that you cannot go over the white line.

"If it was somewhere else on track, I'm not sure they were monitoring us as precisely as Turn 4. That is the corner where you gain the most advantage by running wide.

"[If] there's been people not penalised for going wide, then maybe I'm a bit surprised."

Leclerc and Verstappen comfortable with the rules

Charles Leclerc, who claimed pole for Sunday's race, says the rules laid out by the Race Director are crystal clear to the drivers.

"Yes, yes, it has been very clear," Leclerc commented, giving his view on the situation.

"You just need to have one wheel within the white line, everywhere, which I think is good. I would maybe prefer to have the kerb, because you fill it a little bit more, but if it's consistent, the white line is great, too – and it was very clear for me."

Max Verstappen, sitting alongside Leclerc for the press conference, agreed with the Monegasque, saying: "Yeah, yeah, it was very clear."

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