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How did the charade of the Austrian F1 Grand Prix become possible? Nobody cares about image and common sense

Date: June 19, 2024 Time: 14:25:39

Once again in Formula 1 history, race results changed after the checkered flag was waved. We sympathize with those cases where the judges are long studying a racing incident or a controversial situation on the track, and the technical stewards find that the car does not meet the rules. But this time, the position of the riders from fourth to tenth place has changed because the direction of the race and the stewards simply did not have time to consider all the infractions during the race. The situation is ridiculous and unacceptable. And the F-1 caused it itself. We will analyze the details and what needs to be done at least now.

What happened at the Austrian Grand Prix?

The Red Bull Ring circuit is famous for its ninth and tenth turns, where it is very difficult for drivers to respect the limits of the track. Every year, drivers break the rules many times and are fined for it: they lose laps in qualifying, in the race they earn penalty seconds if they go to the side of the road four times.

In general, there is no news about the abundance of rapes in Austria. But this time the situation turned out to be even worse than usual: during the race, the drivers performed more than 1,200 situations when sensors on the curbs alerted the race management to a possible violation of the track limits.

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As a result, management simply stopped having time to watch each episode to confirm the rider’s misconduct. Meanwhile, the fact of the violation is not confirmed, the management cannot notify the teams that their driver may be fined, and the judges that the number of violations has reached four and that the time has come to issue the first five seconds. penalty fee.

Thus ended the race, and the unfortunate FIA ​​workers continued to watch the controversial episodes. Well, at least the federation assured us. We do not know if the racing management was going to somehow correct the results, if not for the protest of Aston Martin: they officially demanded that the judges carefully study absolutely all controversial episodes, since the British believed that some drivers received less punishment. .

One of the many faults of Sergio Pérez

Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Of course, Aston was interested in those drivers who finished ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, and the request from the Stroll Sr. team was not in vain. With additional penalties, Fernando and Lance each regained one place and gave the team an additional three points, while Ferrari’s competitors lost four.

The funniest thing happened with Esteban Okon: in the race he avoided fines for breaking the edges, but after the finish he received four penalties and a 30-second penalty in one go. However, the Frenchman was not in the show zone in any case.

Here’s how the results changed after penalties:

Austrian Grand Prix results update: Sainz loses two places, Hamilton trails Russell

What caused such a situation?

As we have already said, breaking the limits of the Red Bull Ring is not something new for the World Cup. But the fact is that in Formula 1, for the second year, there is a new technical regulation with ground effect, which allows drivers to take corners even faster than before. And the more you attack, the greater the chance to miss a bit and go too wide.

In addition, the authors of the rules did not fully justify the calculations that now the cars will not suffer from the flow of dirty air from the car in front. The cars still lose downforce significantly, which also leads to spin-offs.

Finally, compared to 2022, cars have gotten faster and drivers have adapted to them better, hence the higher increase in speeds and errors.

The parade of penalties began in qualifying:

The collapse of the Red Bull driver in the F-1 classification: he managed to break the rules three times in a row

What needs to be changed?

You can ask two logical questions: why can’t 20 high-class pilots ride more accurately, and why can’t they be taken after the previous Grand Prix? Now we are going to answer.

The arrangement of today’s F-1 cars is such that the drivers simply don’t see the limits of the track, the very white line on which at least one wheel must remain. In F-1, scoring is in the thousandths, so you can’t just go and fly “clean” because you’ll start to lag behind the pack.

As for the conclusions of the previous Grand Prix, everything is complicated here. It is difficult, and even strange, to change the configuration of the corners of an already long track: the end of the circle suits the general character of the Red Bull Ring.

If so, it is necessary to take care of the curbs and exit areas. Now in the ninth and tenth turns there are wide curbs, over which the F-1 cars climb in full and do not damage the bottom. And besides – paved safety zones.

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The fans will be cheering you on, so narrow the curbs and take back the gravel drop zones! So, even in case of ignoring the limits of the route, nobody will have to be punished, because the violator of the limits will simply lose a lot of time. An alternative option is to put so-called sausage curbs, which can only slightly damage the cars or at least disturb the stability of the turn.

But there are problems with both options. As for the sausages, their use is recognized as dangerous: F-1 and junior series cars bounce dangerously on them, after which the cars fly to the stop, and the racers treat spinal injuries. As for gravel, the Red Bull Ring is also actively used for motorcycle races, and there the asphalt starting area is much more preferable, because riders do not fall on it.

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This is how track representatives responded to previous proposals by the FIA ​​to do something to solve problems with endless fines. But it is already obvious that after the circus completion of the Austrian Grand Prix – 2023 F-1 and the federation will not lag behind the Austrians and will force them to take action. There are enough options.

Firstly, we do not think that it is very expensive and technically unrealistic before the F-1 stage to dismantle the outer part of the curbs and pour sand, and then, at the MotoGP stage, return everything back. This year, the Austrian motorcycle Grand Prix will take place from August 18 to 20; there is a feeling that there is more than enough time. It’s not about building the whole track, like in Monaco or Melbourne.

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Secondly, you can take an example from the Paul Ricard track, where the asphalt starting area is painted with a special abrasive coating that slows down the cars and spoils the rubber a little; this option is also not terrible for MotoGP.

Thirdly, you can tritely reconsider the approach to the limits of the route in these two turns. Maybe let the pilots go as they want, if the previous two points are difficult to implement? Yes, it will be weird and bad if, on all tracks, drivers start to ignore track limits and drive the way they like: this can lead to crazy chops. But specifically for two turns, an exception can be made, especially since there the pilots expand the trajectory, and not narrow it.

I am sure that these are not the only options that can be offered: the FIA ​​has a lot of experience and hundreds of tracks whose ideas can be explored. By 2024, they’ll probably come up with something, but one question remains: why haven’t the organizers done anything since 2014, when Red Bull Ring returned to the calendar and almost immediately exposed the border issue? Why was it necessary to wait for the race, when F-1 will be truly disgraced, and only then take action?

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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