“So Much Nonsense”: F1’s Track-Limits Drama Bashed After Haas’ Failed US GP Appeal

Published 11/12/2023, 7:36 AM EST

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The 2023 Austin GP was a sight to behold! From Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc tumbling down the order to Lando Norris breaking through the pressure from Piastri, the Circuit of the Americas was filled with twists and turns that fans were not expecting! But we were not the only ones baffled by what went down with the FIA in Austin, Guenther Steiner and Haas were equally confused.

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When the American outfit lost out to Yuki Tsunoda and Williams at COTA and finished just outside some crucial point-scoring positions, they brought the driver’s exploitation of turn 6 to light, hoping that the FIA would penalize Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant, Sergio Perez, and Lance Stroll for exceeding track limits on multiple laps. However, things have not gone the way Guenther Steiner wanted, with the FIA rejecting their appeal for a right to review.

Even though Haas’ US GP appeal has failed, it raises serious concerns for the FIA

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The main reason why their appeal failed was that it was a right to review a decision, but the FIA had never taken a decision owing to turn 6 violations, on the other hand, Haas also failed to provide new evidence and could only present the on-board footage which was already available, ultimately leading to the rejection of the appeal. However, the FIA addressed the elephant in the room in their summary.

Speaking on the Unlapped Podcast, Laurence Edmondson shared, “A very good point that came out of it, right last paragraph of the stewards’ summation of the whole thing was that F1 and the FIA really need to find a solution for track limits. You can’t have a turn like turn 6. They basically admitted that there were probably was some violations there but there was no way that we could have said certainly that there was at the time or now”  referring to the inability on behalf of the FIA to accurately figure out whether violations were truly taking place.

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Ultimately, the blame for the failure to enforce rules fell on the stewards, who still need to figure out how to limit the chance of an unfair advantage, even after decades of them occurring. He added, “So what the FIA needs to come up with is either absolutely, completely concrete, solid way of monitoring who goes off the track or circuits that just don’t allow for track limits violations because they are like Suzuka and the minute your four wheels are over the line, you are also in a gravel trap.” 

“That’s something which the rest of the Formula One community has been crying out for because we’ve had so much nonsense about track limits we wish it will stop. I don’t really think it’s fitting of the top series in motorsport to have those kinds of changes after the flag.” Concluding with the harsh reality that the biggest losers in all of this were the fans, who were deprived of stability when their favorite drivers would get a penalty post-race for track limits.

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Haas’ appeal was rejected ultimately, but the bigger issue is within the FIA’s inability to figure out a consistent solution to track limits which are not just a track’s gravel traps. They need to find a more permanent solution, but in the meanwhile, it has cost Guenther Steiner and Haas dearly!

Could Guenther Steiner have saved millions if the FIA enforced track limits better?

Even though the F1 community is the one suffering the most in terms of pure chaos and unpredictability, and not in the on-track wheel-to-wheel way that we would want, the American F1 team has suffered equally and could potentially lose out on tens of millions of dollars because of these track limit issues.

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During the US GP weekend, Haas lost out on a lot of points to Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant, and Yuki Tsunoda, the drivers who pose the biggest threat to Haas’ hopes of finishing eighth in the constructor’s standings.

However, if Haas’ right to review had gone through and penalized the suspects, Nico Hulkenberg would have gotten seventh, and Kevin Magnussen would have been 10th, which meant that the American outfit would have scored seven crucial points that would have placed them in a much better position going into the last two races.

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WATCH THIS STORY | Mercedes React to FIA’s admission of “Human Error” in the Verstappen-Hamilton Scandal

For a team like Haas, finishing in tenth and eighth could be the difference between life and death. When such a big result can be influenced by the failure to analyze track violations, it raises serious questions about the sport’s regulations, and there needs to be a major change soon!

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Written by:

Kabir Bajaj Ahmed

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Kabir Bajaj Ahmed is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. As a child, it was the Top Gear Ayrton Senna tribute that drew him into the world of motorsports. While obtaining his Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication, his passion for motorsport grew.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar

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