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Track limits “less of a struggle this year,” says Campos’ Goethe

Written by Sean McKean

This weekend, the FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships will head to Spielberg, Austria to take on the Red Bull Ring. While this track is a favourite amongst race fans and drivers alike, penalties for track limits – for those who dip all four wheels outside the lines – can completely shake up qualifying and race results.

For Formula 1, race control had over 1,200 violations to review post-race in 2023 – resulting in eight drivers receiving 12 total penalties that shook up the points-paying results. However, the greatest example of complete shake-ups from track limits came in the 2022 F2 feature race.

Richard Verschoor initially crossed the line to take victory ahead of Roberto Merhi and Jehan Daruvala. However, Verschoor was disqualified for providing an insufficient fuel sample, and further penalties for track limits for Merhi and Daruvala meant the podium completely changed. Post-race, Logan Sargeant inherited victory followed by Enzo Fittipaldi and the provisional runner-up Merhi.

According to some F3 drivers, specifically sixth-placed Oliver Goethe, track limits will not be as much of an issue this time around.

“We did the track walk today, and they’ve made some changes to all the corners pretty much where you could’ve done track limits,” he said. “So now there’s actually gravel on the exit of Turn 9 and the exit of Turn 10, so the last two corners.”

“Also, in T7, they made the curb shorter on the exit, so there’s actually not as much room to do track limits.”

What Goethe is speaking on are the changes to a few corners by track management. In Turns 9 and 10, the FIA have placed a 2.5-metre gravel strip on the corner exits. Furthermore, the exit of Turn 7 has a shorter curb so that – if you happen to run wide – the gravel and grass will serve to punish you in a more natural manner.

These changes, in Goethe’s eyes, make the experience much less of a headache compared to previous years.

“For me, every driver is going to be a little more cautious there because if you do track limits, you’ll be a bit in the gravel, and yeah, so I think this year will be not as bad as previous years,” the Red Bull junior said.

“It’ll be less of a struggle this year to stay within track limits, but still something to be cautious about because it’s high-speed corners. I think drivers will naturally be careful because if you go off track you’ll lose time.”

Other drivers around Oliver – such as Hitech’s Luke Browning – echoed this sentiment in a succinct manner. 

“There’s been some big changes to track limits this year. Naturally, I think the room for margin is smaller. You go to the gravel now instead of the white line.”

Mirroring the previous sentiments, championship leader Leonardo Fornaroli speaks on it as well.

“I think track limits will not be an issue like last year, but still will have to be careful because there’s gravel now, so if you go wide there, you can also damage the car,” the Trident driver said.

These three will take on the high-speed Red Bull Ring, starting tomorrow with qualifying at 14:00 local time (13:00 UK). 


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