Multiple drivers have called for track limits reform following a number of violations in yesterday’s Formula 1 Sprint at The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Modern Formula 1 circuits seldom offer the peril of a gravel trap to punish drivers for exceeding track limits.

In the present moment, white lines around the track perimeter are all that separate drivers from error, but there’s a problem.

The lack of a physical deterrent sees countless track limits breaches from session to session and race to race – in FP1 at Austin, there were other seventy breaches, prompting a thickening of the white lines at Turns 9, 12 and 19, but several laps were deleted in the 19-Lap Sprint on Saturday, prompting a response from drivers.

 “It makes it slightly easier,” said Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas of the thickened white lines.

“There’s just a bit more flexibility on the line.

“But still, the issue is it is a track that there’s multiple corners where if you go wide, you gain an advantage, and everyone is pushing the limit.

“So there needs to be a hard limit, whether it’s a gravel strip, or whether it’s a sausage kerb.

“It’s the issue with the track.”

But, given drivers know breaches result in penalties, should they be more disciplined?

“That’s been a big discussion point and was in the drivers’ meeting,” Bottas said.

“For now, the FIA stands firm for the white line rule that is everywhere.

“In the end, there needs to be a hard limit – for example in Austria, where they added gravel, it just fixes the issue.”

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was also vocal about redefining track limits, particularly how and when drivers are punished for breaches.

“Still I saw just briefly a few occasions where drivers should be punished and they didn’t,” he said.

“Still we are not able to find any consistency there… whatever I say is not going to change anything.”

Alpine’s Pierre Gasly also had his say on the issue, calling for a more permanent fix than simply amending white lines between sessions.

“Long term, we’ve got to find a solution because it was never so great,” he said.

“But we are all working on it, trying to improve it for next year.”

Russell’s five-second time penalty was also cause for debate –, EMail: © Copyright: Rew / XPB Images

Bottas’ notion of reintroducing gravel traps would not only punish drivers instantly for breaking tack limits, but it would also put a stop to drivers going beyond track limits to pass rivals.

George Russell made such a move on Oscar Piastri on Lap three of yesterday’s Sprint to take sixth place, but he was handed a five-second time penalty for going off-tack to make the manoeuver stick.

Yet despite the penalty, Russell still finished ahead of Piastri, with Williams’ Alex Albon finishing between the eighth and tenth-placed men.

Albon also made a pass on Piastri that saw him escape punishment after an investigation into whether he’d made an illegal move, just as Russell had one prior.

The Williams driver was unpunished, but vocal on the application of the time-penalty ruling, saying it punishes the victim more than the guilty party.

“The penalty isn’t big enough,” he said about Russell’s punishment.

“It’s a silly penalty, I’ve talked about it a few times before, it punishes a slower car and it helps a quicker car.

“I’m sure George knew he was off track, but he thought I can afford these five seconds quicker than being stuck behind him [Piastri].

“So that’s how it is.”

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