At July’s Austrian Grand Prix, eight drivers were penalised (Alpine’s Esteban Ocon four separate times) post-race after the FIA had sifted through 1200 potential track limits transgressions.
Although the Qatar event included a similar heavy focus on the number of track limits infractions the drivers were accruing in the event won by Max Verstappen, the need for post-race investigations did not arise. This was thanks to the FIA doubling its efforts to police track limits during the race itself, creating a smoother and more efficient process overall.
The issue of track limits has been a contentious one in Formula 1, with many fans and drivers arguing that stricter enforcement is necessary to ensure fairness and consistency across the sport. In recent years, there have been numerous incidents where drivers have exceeded track limits during a race, gaining an advantage over their competitors.
To address these concerns, the FIA implemented a more rigorous approach to track limits policing at the Qatar Grand Prix. This involved increasing the number of stewards present at various points around the track, as well as using advanced technology to monitor driver behavior more closely.
Throughout the race weekend, drivers were constantly reminded of the importance of respecting track limits, and warned about the potential consequences of exceeding them. The FIA made it clear that any driver found to be repeatedly breaching track limits would face penalties, including time penalties, grid penalties, or even disqualification from the race.
By taking this proactive approach, the FIA was able to address track limits infringements in real-time, without the need for lengthy post-race investigations. This not only saved time but also ensured a fairer outcome for all competitors.
The success of this new system was evident at the Qatar Grand Prix, where there were no post-race penalties issued for track limits infringements. This was in stark contrast to the Austrian Grand Prix, where multiple drivers were penalized after the race for similar transgressions.
Looking ahead, it is likely that the FIA will continue this approach to track limits policing in future races. The positive results achieved in Qatar demonstrate the effectiveness of real-time enforcement and highlight the importance of fair competition in Formula 1.