Max Verstappen has criticised the FIA's interpretation of track limits during the Austrian Grand Prix, after a flurry of penalties were issued over the course of the weekend.
No fewer than 43 separate track limits violations were recorded by stewards during Sunday's Grand Prix, with Lando Norris, Zhou Guanyu, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel all hit with five-second penalties for repeated offences.
In addition, each of those four drivers has been given a penalty point on their Super Licence for the usual 12-month period.
Before the Grand Prix, Sergio Perez was a high-profile victim of the track limits, with his transgression seeing him drop from fourth to 13th on the grid for Saturday's Sprint race.
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Verstappen calls Austria track limits "a joke"
Speaking after finishing second in Sunday's Grand Prix, Verstappen voiced his opposition to the way the track limits were policed at the Red Bull Ring.
"I think the track limits debate this weekend has been a bit of a joke, not only in F1 but in F2, and F3," Verstappen told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"It's easy to say from the outside that you have to just stay within the white lines.
"It sounds very easy, but it's not, because when you go that quick through a corner and some of them are a bit blind, if you have a bit more understeer, tyres are wearing, it's easy to just go over the white line, but do we actually gain time? Maybe yes, maybe not.
"I don't think we should have this value on one [millimetre] over [being] a penalty, or whatever.
"Then just add a wall or put some gravel back, like Turn 6 on the exit.
"I think that's great, because if there is gravel, you punish yourself if you go wide."
FIA says rules have been consistently applied
Following criticism over the excessive number of violations in Austria, an FIA spokesperson emphasised that the monitoring of track limits during the Grand Prix had been consistent with previous races this year.
The spokesperson added that the white line bordering the tarmac is used as the defined limit of the track, and cited Article 33.3 of the Sporting Regulations, which states that drivers are given two 'strikes' for crossing the white line with all four wheels.
This is followed by a black and white flag for the third infringement, and referral to the stewards for each subsequent infringement.
F1's interpretation of track limits for 2022 is stricter than it was last year, when different rules and instructions were applied to different corners.
Leclerc keen on one Race Director
F1 also has two new Race Directors for 2022, in Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, who have jointly replaced Michael Masi after the Australian was obliged to step down following his role in the controversial ending to the 2021 season.
Freitas and Wittich are rotating in their role from race to race, and Charles Leclerc believes that having more than one Race Director is negatively affecting the policing of F1's rules and regulations.
"Consistency has always been a thing that we've searched for and you can always be better," said Leclerc.
"Obviously, two Race Directors, it makes it probably a bit more difficult.
"Whether it's impossible to achieve a good level of consistency, I don't think so.
"I do believe that probably with one Race Director, it might be a little bit easier to manage."
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