The FIA has clarified the rule on exceeding track limits, telling drivers in their Friday briefing that it was okay to have all four wheels over the track limits in qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix but in the race, rules will be tightened.
Drivers used the entire circuit and quite a bit more during qualifying. It has emerged that FIA race director Charlie Whiting said in the drivers briefing on Friday that crossing the while line on the track exit would be permitted in qualifying but not in the race.
The likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Romain Grosjean have been penalised in recent races for gaining positions by exceeding track limits. It was allowed in qualifying due to the difficulty of driving a lap of the Buddh International Circuit with complete accuracy – due to a number of blind corners – and that taking to the kerbs and artificial grass is actually a slower line, so drivers gain no advantage from it.
Romain Grosjean explained the situation to AUTOSPORT after qualifying: “Qualifying was free to use whatever we wanted to – it has been like that for the last three years here. There are modern circuits where you can go very wide, and it is not an advantage to go on the kerb and the AstroTurf, as you just slide.”
However, if drivers go wide during the race they could be struck with a penalty. Grosjean added: “In the race, as long as you don’t gain an advantage, going wide is fine. But, if you gain a position by cutting the chicane [for example], you will get a penalty.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic