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"

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"
Load comments
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Prime

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer Prime

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months.

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Prime

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. Oleg Karpov asks if any of these goals are achievable…

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021