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Mercedes

Wolff: Track limits rules can't be like a Shakespeare novel

Mercedes' Toto Wolff has called on the FIA to ensure that track limits are made completely clear in future, saying the inconsistent rules on Sunday were 'like Shakespeare'.

Article
To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes' Toto Wolff has urged the FIA to ensure track limits are as clearly defined as possible in future, after Race Control appeared to change their minds on track limits during the Grand Prix.

Heading into the race, the rules were that track limits would not be enforced at Turn 4 'for the purposes of laptime'. However, having ran out wide consistently during the first half of the race, Hamilton was told to stop doing so under threat of being penalised.

The situation led to more confusion as a result of Max Verstappen being denied victory after running wide at the same corner while passing Hamilton, with Red Bull forced to yield for overtaking while off the track.

"I'm equally confused like you, at the beginning of the race it was said track limits in Turn 4 wouldn't be sanctioned," a puzzled Wolff explained afterwards to media, including RacingNews365.

"Then, in the race, suddenly we heard that if you would continue to run wide, it would be seen as an advantage and could cause a potential penalty which we debated with the race director.

"But there's nothing we could have done if he makes that call then that's it. At the end, that decision actually made us win the race. Max ran wide in the definition of the race director, gained an advantage, had to give back the position.

"That then saved our victory so we need to be consistent in which messages are being given. They need to be clear, they need to be simple, and not a Shakespeare novel that leaves interpretation. The message that reached the drivers was that, very simply, track limits at Turn 4 wouldn't be sanctioned in the race.

"From speaking to Michael Masi during the race, Michael referred to the note saying that, 'Yes, but only if you're not gaining an advantage'. And that was in the notes, I haven't seen them.

"So I think the learning of this needs to be simple. So everybody can understand it. And they don't need to carry the document in the car to read it and remind themselves what actually is allowed and what not."

Speaking after the race, Race Director Michael Masi explained that the track limits had not changed over the course of the Grand Prix.

"No, nothing changed at all. We had two people that were looking in that area [Turn 4], every car every lap, and pretty much every car, bar one, was doing the right thing within what we expected in a general sequence.

"With regard to the tolerance given to people running outside of the track limits during the race, it was mentioned very clearly in the Friday driver's meeting in the notes that it would not be monitored with regards to setting the lap time, so to speak.

"However, it will always be monitored in accordance with the sporting regulations being a lasting advantage must not be gained."

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

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