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F2 CEO: “Something wrong” with extreme track limits penalties in series

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Formula 2 CEO Bruno Michel says there is a “need to address” the penalisation of track limits violations in the series after it contributed to drivers receiving race bans.

Campos Racing’s Olli Caldwell was handed seven penalty points, several time penalties and a drive-through penalty during the first feature race of the season at Bahrain for exceeding track limits on six occasions in 32 laps.

Several other penalties later in the year meant he had accumulated 12 penalty points after 10 rounds, automatically earning him a race ban for the next event at Spa-Francorchamps.

Van Amersfoort Racing’s Amaury Cordeel earned five penalty points for an identical breaking of the rules at Imola, and reached his race ban after completing just five rounds.

The impact of track limits offences on the penalty points being racked up by drivers this year was put to Michel in a media session, particularly the matter of whether bans should be issued when track limits has been a major contributor to a driver’s points.

“I think there are absolutely clear reasons for which a driver needs to be penalised, if they do something dangerous or if they’re not applying the regulations,” Michel said.

“Track limits of course is something that needs to be looked at, and there’s no doubt about that. But we had some situations where I think out of track limits a driver got six penalty points over the same race or something like this. And obviously there’s something wrong with that.

“So, yes, that’s something that we need to address with the FIA, because they are the regulators, to see that this can be applied with common sense. Because track limits are very important, but on the other hand having a race ban because of track limits is a little bit too harsh.”

In total 33 penalty points were given to 13 drivers across the course of the season for track limits violations alone. Stewards penalised drivers for that 24 times, three more than the next most common penalised offence which was causing a collision with another car.

DAMS’ Roy Nissany had avoided a track limits penalty in the first 12 rounds but still picked up 13 penalty points in that time and was banned from the penultimate event. On his return in the Abu Dhabi finale he then got a time penalty and a penalty point for abusing track limits on four occasions.

Penalty points for track limits abuse
Points Driver
8 Caldwell
6 Cordeel
4 Vesti
3 Doohan, Lawson
2 Merhi
1 Armstrong, Hauger, Iwasa, Nissany, Sato, Williams & Zendeli