Wolff: Track limit rules can't be "a Shakespeare novel"

Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff has urged the FIA to clear up its track limits approach after fresh controversy in the Bahrain Grand Prix, saying the rules need to be "sacred" and not a "Shakespeare novel".

Wolff: Track limit rules can't be "a Shakespeare novel"
Listen to this article

Track limits played a pivotal role in the outcome of F1's entertaining 2021 season opener.

With four laps to go, Red Bull's Max Verstappen overtook erstwhile leader Lewis Hamilton at Turn 4 but had to hand the position back to the world champion after leaving the track.

In qualifying, track limit transgressions at Turn 4 led to deleted laptimes, but for Sunday's race drivers were initially cleared to cross the kerbs without consequence.

Only after several off-track excursions, Hamilton was told by his team to stay within the white lines after a warning from race control, an apparent mid-race clampdown which ironically turned into the Briton's favour in his fight with Verstappen.

Race control's intervention led to fresh confusion over how track limits are enforced, with Mercedes chief Wolff urging the FIA to be clearer and more consistent in the future.

"I'm equally confused like you," Wolff said. "At the beginning of the race it was said track limits in Turn 4 wouldn't be sanctioned and 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.

"And then at the end that decision actually made us win the race. Max ran wide in the definition of the race director, gaining an advantage, he had to give back the position and that saved our victory.

"So we need to be consistent in which messages are being given. They need to be clear, they need to be sacred and not a Shakespeare novel that leaves interpretation."

Read Also:

Wolff revealed he and Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows were in contact with FIA race director Michael Masi during the race to seek clarification.

"The message that reached the drivers was that very simply track limits in Turn 4 wouldn't be sanctioned in the race," Wolff added.

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

"I think the learning of this is it 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. "

shares
comments

Related video

Horner: Verstappen letting Hamilton past was "the right thing"
Previous article

Horner: Verstappen letting Hamilton past was "the right thing"

Next article

Hamilton: Final few laps of Bahrain GP were "horrifying"

Hamilton: Final few laps of Bahrain GP were "horrifying"
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022