Former Formula One driver Martin Brundle says he was not impressed with how track limits were policed during last weekend’s United States Grand Prix.
The 56-lap contest in Austin saw a number of drivers run wide, with some even using the extra room to make an overtaking manoeuvre stick.
Although the stewards penalised Renault’s Kevin Magnussen for his overtake on Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, Brundle feels the overall permissiveness on track limits has been dumbing down the challenge of grand prix racing.
“I think they have to change the name of the venue from COTA (Circuit of the Americas) to ZOTA because the F1 drivers treated it more like a zone than a circuit, helping themselves to any bit of hard standing which suited their progress,” the star TV pundit wrote in his latest Sky Sports column.
“It’s like allowing footballers to move elasticated white lines, or cricketers to move the boundary or crease as they see fit. Or permitting boxers to throw punches from outside the ring.
“It’s fundamental to pretty much any sport that you have a clearly defined sporting arena and discipline, which is then refereed to a set of rules. Words fail me on this aspect in F1, it’s authorised cheating.”
Track limits have been a hot topic in recent years, with revamped kerbs and electronic sensors installed in several circuits this season. Brundle claims it would not be difficult to see such control systems being implemented at all F1 venues.
“At the recent World Sportscar race in Austin the administration were brutal with track limits in qualifying and the race, using cameras to nail down any track limits abuse among the 100 drivers in a six-hour race.
So we ought to be able to control 22 drivers during a 100-minute race. Such technology using pressure pad detection, GPS and automatic cameras are already used in UK national racing. It looked frankly ridiculous as drivers made up time or completed overtakes way off the track.”
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