🏎 Sit This One Out

Logan Sargeant forced to sit out from Australian GP and maybe more?

Good morning! 2024 is already off to an absolutely ridiculous start. If you had ‘discovering an old moonshine operation underneath the North Wilkesboro grandstands’ on your bingo card, you may have just hit the jackpot…

After investigating a sink hole underneath the grandstands, officials said they discovered a 700-square-foot cave that was believed to house a moonshine still. Which is just the most NASCAR thing ever.

Parker’s POV

Texas Sized Track Limits

Written by: Parker Kligerman

If you missed F1 and NASCAR this weekend and then only looked at the penalty reports, you would be forgiven for thinking the F1 World Championship had just run the USGP at COTA. But they weren’t; instead, they were on the exact opposite side of the world as NASCAR took on the 20-turn course that is the Circuit of the Americas. A tremendous circuit that was built just over a decade ago to host F1. Now, with Austin, TX being a hip and trendy tech hub and de-facto Bitcoin mining capital of America, it is an important market for NASCAR to be in.

So what a great opportunity to compare the world’s two biggest motorsport series… But not in performance; that would be ridiculous. No, let’s compare this term that is the biggest topic of discussion when any series races at this beautiful Texas 64-ounce steak of a road course - Track Limits!

Many of you will know I have become the poster child for the fight against track limits, which have overtaken motorsports in the last decade. To me, they are a track design issue and therefore have no place in motorsports. If you don’t want cars to use more asphalt than the track designer intended, don’t pave that area. It’s really that simple! How do I know this?

Well, NASCAR, which has basically the smallest conduct rulebook in all of global wheel-to-wheel motorsports, had more track limit violations than F1 in Australia. NASCAR also had the most in its entire 75-year history (no idea if this true but had to be close). But to be honest, NASCAR’s track limits at least make sense. F1 had fewer violations because the Albert Park circuit they raced at has almost no areas for drivers to run afoul of these social construct rule sets.

Yet in NASCAR, we essentially only had three corners that needed policing, as shortcutting these corners would effectively remove three corners from the track. NASCAR, in being reasonable, said, “Ok, you can’t cut those corners, but everywhere else, have at it.” And guess what, it works just fine. Sure, we run a bit wide in areas and can run in the grass in other areas, but that’s motorsport. Like the brave inventors of motor racing did in its glory days, where using grass was not a track limit violation, it was celebrated!

If you were in F1 and ran the COTA track like we do for one lap in NASCAR, they would probably have you executed by an FIA committee in white button-downs and full neck beards. The point being, that here are two series who couldn’t be further apart in their view on officiating, car design, and philosophy. Yet when either races at COTA, there is going to be a discussion about track limits.

That's a track problem.

One other thing—I think NASCAR's track limits rules are great. You cut a corner - you’re penalized. None of this F1 business about the exit portion of corners. Track limits should only be used to not allow you to make a track shorter, everything else is wrong. I think the only fallacy is in the draconian death-level penalty of simply having a tire too far over a line. There may not be many areas where you can receive this penalty, but when you do, it does seem a tad excessive.

I think a system like Supercars, where you have a strike limit and then get a penalty, would work and on restarts much like they do now, a bit of leniency for contact (which the officials did use for me on one occasion).

The point is that for all the people who want to make fun of how ridiculous cars look going outside some white painted lines, none of it looks as ridiculous as Max Verstappen being docked a qualifying lap because he put a tire over a white line at 150 MPH.

As long as we race COTA in its current form, there will be penalties, so if they have to penalize, let's make the penalty fit the crime.

📈 Trending 📈

Strategy Vs. Sacrifice

🔧 Williams' decisive swap at the Australian GP has the F1 world buzzing. The team gave Logan Sargeant's car to Alex Albon for the rest of the weekend after Albon's crash left his chassis unusable. A bold move that raises eyebrows about fairness in sports, but as James Vowles, Williams team principal, puts it, "Every point will make a difference" 🏁.

Vowles admitted, "It was one of the hardest decisions of his time at Williams," emphasizing performance over all. Albon's superior track record supports this tough call, having outqualified Sargeant in every race they've competed in together 📊. Yet, Vowles insists, "The fact I re-signed him (Sargeant for 2024) shows you I have faith in him." Sargeant's mature reaction to the news, focusing on team success over personal ambition, impressed Vowles 🌟.

However, the situation leaves Williams vulnerable until a third chassis is available, with Vowles highlighting the challenge: "We should never be in a situation in the top tier of motorsport where we're not able to produce two cars to go to the grid" 🛠️.

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