F1 preview: A lap of the French Grand Prix
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Formula 1 star Mick Schumacher has called for talks on track limits to be had ahead of the French Grand Prix, after outlining a number of ‘silly’ incidents. The track limit issue was clear to see at the Austrian Grand Prix, forcing the discussion to be raised by Schumacher.
There were 43 separate track limit violations in Austria, as Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel and Zhou Guanyu were all hit with five-second penalties. Sergio Perez also felt the force of the punishments, after his best Q2 time was deleted, alongside all of his Q3 laps.
This saw the Red Bull star drop from fourth to 13th on the grid for the Saturday sprint. In the wake of the controversies in Austria, Schumacher has raised the debate on the issue. He said: “It does look a bit silly if, for going a centimetre of track, you get a penalty of five seconds, and most of the time when you go off you don’t gain any lap time, which is worse.”
Following the chaos surrounding track limits at the Red Bull Ring, the German star believes this week’s race in France could be even more of a struggle. He said: “It’s something to be discussed, something to see if we can improve it for the next event because I think in Paul Ricard especially it will be a big concern.”
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Schumacher has joined a long list of drivers unhappy with the limits, with world champion Max Verstappen sharing similar thoughts following the race in Austria. Verstappen described the limits discussion as a ‘joke’, and believes the penalties are too harsh.
He commented: “I think the track limits debate this weekend has been a bit of a joke, not only in F1 but in F2, and F3. It’s easy to say from the outside that you have to just stay within the white lines. It sounds very easy, but it’s not.
“When you go that quick through a corner and some of them are a bit blind, if you have a bit more understeer, tyres are wearing, it’s easy to just go over the white line, but do we actually gain time?
“Maybe yes, maybe not. I don’t think we should have this value on one [millimetre] over [being] a penalty, or whatever. Then just add a wall or put some gravel back, like Turn 6 on the exit. I think that’s great, because if there is gravel, you punish yourself if you go wide.”
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