F1 should ‘build a wall’ to avoid track limits debate – Marko

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Verstappen was engaged in a close battle with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton throughout the F1 season opener in Bahrain which was settled in the finals.

Verstappen passed Hamilton with four laps to circle the outside of Turn 4, but was forced to surrender the position after officials decided he had passed off track.

Hamilton then managed to fend off Verstappen in the remaining laps, retaining the 0.7 second victory.

Prior to Verstappen’s move, Hamilton was shown to be racing regularly at Turn 4 after FIA race director Michael Masi said there would be no track boundary control.

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Hamilton was then forced to change his line after race control informed Mercedes that he was going to reduce the track limits at Turn 4 midway through the race following a request for clarification from Red Bull.

“We interpreted it too strictly,” Marko told TBEN’s sister publication Formel1.de in an exclusive interview.

“Then we asked the race control:” Hello, the Mercedes is always driving [track limits] and save two tenths of time – can we do that too?

“And then we got a vague answer, ‘Actually, no.’ And then there was also the issue of the black and white flag for Hamilton, because he was flying more often.

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Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

But Marko admitted that the debate over track limits in Bahrain was now “pointless” and wondered why there was so much clearance at the exit of the turn that encouraged the drivers to go so far.

“It happened, and it’s completely unnecessary,” Marko said.

“There is enough space there. Let’s put up a wall and that’s it. If you crash into the wall, you’ve damaged your vehicle.

“I don’t know why we have so many runoff areas on the tracks, and why we don’t put a wall there.”

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The wall of Turn 4 sits beyond a clearance area and a gravel trap, and ended Sakhir de Verstappen’s Grand Prix last December when F1 raced the outer loop route following an incident with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez.

Verstappen was overheard on team radio after the race telling Red Bull that he preferred not to have surrendered the position and instead accepted a time penalty.

But Marko felt that Verstappen would have received an adjusted penalty to ensure the victory went to Hamilton.

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