George Russell believes that a return of gravel traps lining circuits would go a long way to solving track limits confusion over one lap and during races.
No fewer than 43 separate track limits violations were recorded by
stewards during the Austrian Grand Prix, with Lando Norris, Zhou Guanyu, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel all hit with five-second penalties for repeated offences.
Prior to this, Sergio Perez was hit with a delayed penalty for a track limits violation in qualifying, costing the Mexican his best time from Q2 and all of his Q3 laps – dropping him from fourth to 13th on the grid for the Sprint.
Several drivers, including reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, expressed their frustration over how track limits were managed, though the FIA insisted that their approach was consistent with previous races.
Russell: You can't treat it as black and white
In terms of wheel-to-wheel combat, Alex Albon also voiced his confusion at where the line is being drawn, after he was penalised for forcing Lando Norris off the track in the Sprint.
Albon felt his penalty was "unfair" when compared to the battles witnessed at the end of the British Grand Prix, and Russell admitted the situation is "getting out of hand".
"I mean, there is a sort of 'black and white' of what you can and can't do, but there's never a black and white when you race, because every single incident is different," Russell told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"It's such a difficult position for everyone involved, but it's just getting a bit out of hand."
Russell then suggested a possible solution, saying: "It goes back to the root cause. If there was a gravel trap there, probably both the drivers would have treated that differently, the outcome would have been different, the penalty may have been different...
"We need to – instead of going around in circles and trying to find the best compromise – solve the root cause. [Then] we won't be in this situation."
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Russell wants the FIA to avoid constant rule changes
Russell compared the "pain" drivers felt in Austria to the situation that was experienced in Spain earlier this season.
"It's so difficult for us drivers at the moment, judging a white line, as you can't feel a white line," he continued.
"Racing side-by-side, if you get pushed off, you're gonna keep your foot in to try and attack again at the next corner, but if there's a gravel trap there, or something else that will penalise you, both drivers will approach it differently."
Asked if the FIA are paying attention to the drivers' concerns, Russell added: "I think we do feel listened to, but they can't just change the rules week in, week out when one driver pipes up and says, 'I think this, I think that'.
"They do need to stick to their guns, but it just needs to be enforced consistently and it needs to be clear to all of us.
"I think the penalties need to be a bit more consistent and that will only come if there's consistency from the people policing the regulations."
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