Following the track limits controversy that marred the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend, Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin says drivers shouldn’t be forced to “tiptoe” around circuits.
In Spielberg, the stewards enforced strict track limits during the race.
A number of in-race time penalties were handed out as drivers struggled to stay within the white lines, particularly at the final two corners.
However, eight drivers were punished post-race as the stewards were forced to analyse laps that went undetected during the grand prix.
One of those drivers was Lewis Hamilton, who dropped from seventh to eighth in the final classification.
“It’s clear what the rules were, and it was clear that Lewis on a number of occasions had not kept one of his wheels on the track,” Shovlin said.
“That was why we were accumulating those penalties.”
Shovlin revealed that the breaches were occurring across the grid so often that it wasn’t able to inform Hamilton quickly enough regarding his own driving violations.
“The issue was though, so many drivers were accumulating them early in the race that the messages weren’t coming up on the FIA’s messaging system quick enough for us to be able to inform Lewis,” he said.
“By the time those messages were actually clear, and we were relaying them to him, he had actually got enough incidents to be able to be given that five-second penalty that he served in the pit stop.
“And then the added issue when there was the protest and they reviewed it, was that there were further ones.
“On the later ones the penalty keeps going up and up which meant that he had to take that 10-second penalty in the final race result. It is a situation that should be looked at.”
The FIA has asserted that it has previously sought a solution from the event promoter in Austria to avoid such a situation.
“It was too much of a feature of the race there and it is a great circuit that the drivers enjoy driving,” Shovlin added.
“They shouldn’t feel that they are having to tiptoe around without making a single mistake.
“It is something that we will look at but as a team we are very happy to get involved in the conversations there, hopefully finding a better solution for the future races.”