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FIA president: 'Future of Austrian Grand Prix in doubt'

FIA president: 'Future of Austrian Grand Prix in doubt'

10-10-2023 14:25 Last update: 17:54

Ludo van Denderen

In Qatar, it was price again: 1,200 track limit violations were reported to the stewards. That was so many that a cartload of time penalties had to be handed out again. After the Qatar Grand Prix, the FIA was not exactly happy with the number of violations and is now making a clear appeal: if circuits do not get their act together on track limits, they could just lose their place on the F1 calendar.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the president of the FIA, believes that circuit owners should start ensuring that it becomes clearer to drivers - and thus stewards - where on a track the track limits are. Think of gravel bins, so that drivers already get it out of their heads to look for the absolute limit (and thus do not go over it). He is also thinking of smoother exit lanes, but Ben Sulayem points out that the FIA lacks the finances to shoulder such investments on its own.

In short, the solution has to come from the organisers of Grands Prix where there were many track limit violations. According to the FIA president, it is actually simple: If circuits do not prevent track limits-farce in advance, they will lose their place on the calendar in the worst case scenario. Ben Sulayem explicitly mentions the Qatar Grand Prix, but also the one in Austria at the Red Bull Ring. At the Austrian Grand Prix, there were so many infractions that it was only hours after the finish that it was clear (and taking into account the penalties still to be handed out) what the final result of the race was.

Clear language Ben Sulayem

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Ben Sulayem said of the future of the GPs in Qatar and Austria: "The solution is to improve the track itself. I know some are resistant to it, but to tell you the truth, if they don't, there is no race. It is as simple as this. We can't afford this." 

One 'problem' may be that Austria and Qatar also host MotoGP annually. It is precisely for motorbikes that the kerbs have been laid down that play into the track limit mess in Formula 1. Organisers may have to adjust their circuit according to the series that will race on it.