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Vettel speaks out on track limits: We’re trying to go fast

Track limits penalties were a hot topic at the Austrian Grand Prix and are expected to haunt drivers once again in France.

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Sebastian Vettel had short shrift when questioned about his judgement of track limits ahead of the 2022 Formula 1 French Grand Prix.

The last round in Austria saw 43 track limits incidents in just the main race, which was branded a joke afterwards by reigning world champion Max Verstappen.

It’s expected to be a problem again at the Circuit Paul Ricard, although not to the same degree.

Vettel was given a 5-second penalty in Austria and a penalty point for multiple infringements, but wasn’t impressed when asked why it’s such a difficult task to stay on track.

“We’re trying to go as fast as possible. Is that not fair?”, Vettel said.

“If we were all taking it easy it’d be easy but we’re going as fast as we can and mistakes can happen, and it’s sometimes difficult to judge, judge 5, 10cm from the inside of the car where you don’t actually see the line.

“So given that we can’t see much, we’re doing pretty well and if we’re really out by a metre or more then something went wrong but if we’re out by a couple of centimetres, it’s still a very good judgement but obviously not good enough.”

Possible solutions

Nicholas Latifi said he found it easier to judge when there are gravel traps on the outside rather than tarmac runoff, but that has its own safety problems.

And championship challenger Charles Leclerc echoed the difficulty on making the judgment on flat lines.

“I think the best, me personally what I preferred was the kerb,” Leclerc said.

“Because the kerb you can feel it, last year sometimes we used the kerb as the reference for the track limits and there you can feel it so it’s much easier.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action at the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix REUTERS/Florion Goga

“With the white line we’re so low that 5cm out and you don’t really realise it as a driver but I think we just have to deal with it.”

Leclerc will have to get used to that straight away with the French Grand Prix featuring mostly tarmac runoff and flat kerbs.

Whilst there are fewer corners to benefit from running wide compared to Austria, in 2021 turn six was particularly problematic, with lap times being deleted due to indiscretions there on all three days.

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