Verstappen, Norris and Russell slam 'stupid' F1 track limit penalties after Austrian GP

By Sports Desk July 12, 2022

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris have hit out at the "stupid" track limits penalties dished out at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend, while George Russell has suggested F1 should revert to a single race director.

The sport has strict rules this season regarding exceeding the borders of the circuit, with 43 offences notched for crossing the white line during Sunday's race, won by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull racer and incumbent world champion Verstappen came home second while Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was third, but the former admitted that events felt somewhat overshadowed by the stringent enforcement.

"I think the track limits debate this weekend has been a bit of a joke," Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.

"I don't think we should have this value on one millimetre over, that's a penalty or whatever. Then just add a wall or put some gravel back. I think that's great because there is gravel, you punish yourself if you go wide.

"These kind of things, I think it just doesn't look good for the sport."

McLaren's Norris, who was hit with a five-second penalty for repeat abuse, was also frustrated by the rules, adding: "You can't see the white lines. It's just guessing and I'm obviously not good enough at guessing.

"But I got a warning from Turn 1, and it was just a complete mistake. I lost time, so when you look at it that way, I can say it's a bit stupid. This was just me making mistakes. So I don't feel like I should be punished for it."

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Russell meanwhile questioned whether the application of the rules was down to F1's revolving cast of race directors this season.

The sport has utilised multiple directors after Michael Masi's infamous handling of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of last season, which ultimately helped hand Verstappen the world title at Hamilton's expense.

"We don't want to be dishing out penalties left, right and centre but there needs to be an element of consistency somewhere and I think we need to look at the root cause of the issues," Russell added.

"I do agree that we need to stick to one race director. We need to have a bit more consistency with the stewarding.

"We come to the following event and often the steward in the previous event is not there. There's no accountability, no explanations of decisions. It is tricky. Everybody's got their own interpretations."

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