Christian Horner has warned the French Grand Prix will likely face a track limits “issue” just two weeks on from a range of complaints about how the FIA handled problems in Austria. The Red Bull boss said the nature of the Paul Ricard track used in France would “invite” drivers to run wide and gain time next weekend.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were among the drivers to slam the FIA over tough track limits at the Austrian Grand Prix. Speaking in Austria, Horner said: “I think the problem is the nature of the circuit invites the drivers to use the track limits.
“And of course, there were many, many drivers that were infringing that over the weekend. I think my concern isn’t so much here, I think Ricard will be a bigger issue in that there is a genuine time gain to be had.
“And obviously, you’ve got acres of tarmac there, so it’s just inviting you to run offline.”
Mick Schumacher also backed Horner’s worries, claiming track limits violations will be a “big concern” at Paul Ricard. He called for the officials to look at ways to “improve” track limits issues ahead of the event to avoid issues.
Hamilton swiped back at stand-in race engineer Marcus Dudley when he was issued a warning for track limits during last week’s race. The Mercedes star said he didn’t even run wide and questioned whether he was the only one to be penalised.
When told about his warning, Hamilton said: “That’s BS. I didn’t go wide.” Dudley replied: “A-firm, we will have a look Lewis.” Hamilton responded “Are other people getting it? There’s loads of people going off.”
Verstappen also hit back against the penalties, claiming the FIA’s stance had been a “joke”. He also admitted it was not easy to stay inside the white lines at high-speed and revealed drivers did not always gain time from running wide.
However, the FIA defended their actions after the weekend, claiming the number of penalties was proportionate. They wrote: “The monitoring of track limits during the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix has been consistent with all previous events this year.
“At each circuit, the white line is used as the defined limit of the track, and this has been implemented following discussions with the drivers and teams to improve consistency and clarity for the competitors and fans.”