Verstappen and Leclerc clash over new 2024 Austrian GP track limits

The 2023 Austrian GP became a bit of a gimmick with 1200 reports, so the FIA has stepped in

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Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc were split in their opinions of new 2024 Austrian GP track limits as the FIA introduces gravel traps in a bid to counter the fiasco from last year’s race at the Red Bull Ring, with the Ferrari ace a fan of the change whilst the defending champion took a cautious but hopeful approach.

The 2023 Austrian GP was marred and overshadowed by a comical amount of track limits violations through the two qualifying sessions and the two races, with Sunday’s event resulting in post-race penalties being handed out to eight drivers.

Notably, Esteban Ocon got 30 seconds added whilst Logan Sargeant and Yuki Tsunoda collected 15-second penalties as part of 1200 reported breaches with the bulk of them occurring at Turns 9 and 10, the final two corners of the short lap in Spielberg.

In the wake of that controversy, which saw the race results protested by Aston Martin and the on-fly creation of a system to quickly select which reports were worth chasing down, the FIA has decided to act by putting gravel at the exit kerbs to leave no uncertainty about if someone goes off and no advantage gained if they do.

But two of the leading drivers of the sport, Verstappen and Leclerc, clashed in their thoughts of the change as the Red Bull star suggested it could be a negative whilst the Monegasque racer was all for it as drivers were grilled on the changes for the 2024 Austrian GP.

“It’s interesting, I’ve seen pictures,” Leclerc told media at the Red Bull Ring, including Total-Motorsport.com. “These two corners were quite tricky already before the gravel trap that we have now, in those corners into nine and 10.

“I guess that now it’s pretty clear where the track limit is and we won’t have these types of problems anymore, which is a good thing. I’ve still got to drive the track to tell you exactly what I think of it, but on paper it looks it looks positive.”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz of Ferrari during 2023 Austrian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen highlights Austrian GP track limits

Meanwhile, Verstappen warned of the risks of the new 2024 Austrian GP track limits and suggested that whilst it could be a benefit to drivers to avoid time penalties, there is still no clear one-solution-for-all approach to the question.

“We’re always talking about track limits and it’s a bit of a problem throughout the lap,” Verstappen told the media. “The tyres are overheating, and the front tyres are getting really hot, so you naturally just understeer wide.

“Sometimes it happens already on the entry of the corner and the outcome on the exit is one of the few millimetres, which then gives you a track penalty for a track limit violation and I just hope maybe with the gravel that it will stop that a little bit.

“You have to be a bit more careful and be a bit more precise. So, we’ll see if it’s the right way. I mean we also try that no one has a clear solution at the moment of what is best.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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