Perez escaped several track limits penalties in F1 US GP due to badly positioned CCTV camera

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Onboard footage from Sergio Perez’s car shows he clearly exceeded track limits several times during last week’s United States GP, but was able to escape without a penalty due to a badly positioned CCTV camera in turn six, which meant the FIA had “insufficient” proof of the violations, despite them being very clear from the available evidence.

Photo Credits: Red Bull Content Pool

The footage on the official stream of the 2023 United States GP on F1TV on the Mexican driver’s perspective shows he went off the boundaries at the inside of turn six – the final part of the esses in the first sector – several times, but wasn’t even noted for the incidents which happened an unbelievable 28 times during the course of the race.

The lack of action from the FIA can be explained by a rather bizarre incident: the positioning of the CCTV cameras, which cover the race track around the area of turn six, was in the incorrect angle, which meant the stewards couldn’t properly determine if any drivers had indeed gone beyond the white lines at that corner.

The matter was firstly addressed in Document 59, which was an investigation into Alex Albon “leaving the track” multiple times at turn six, but no further action was taken as “based on the video footage available (which did not include CCTV), the Stewards determine, whilst there might be some indication for possible track limit infringements in Turn 6, the evidence at hand is not sufficient to accurately and consistently conclude that any breaches occurred,” the document noted.

But days after the race, some suspicions were raised also for Sergio Perez’s rather different route through turn six for several laps, with the Mexican completely cutting the corner in what is a clear-cut onboard footage which shows him far, far off the white lines -and that was not even investigated for the same reason that Albon’s infringements also got away with no action.

Whilst on some occasions it is not clear from the onboard footage whether the Red Bull driver did or did not cross over the white lines with all four wheels, there are several laps which show him completely to the right of the track edge, almost going into the grass, so far off he was.

An FIA spokesperson told German outlet Auto Motor und Sport that the “monitoring infrastructure” will be improved going forward, following the issues with the placement of the turn six camera at the Circuit of the Americas:

“During the post-race analysis, it was found that several drivers may have exceeded the track limit on the inside of Turn 6.

“In line with the stewards’ decisions (Document 59) in relation to an alleged rule breach on the inside of the corner, which stated that ‘the evidence available is insufficient to accurately and consistently infer infringements’, the FIA will update the monitoring infrastructure to ensure better coverage so that possible infringements can be reliably detected during the race in the future,” the statement read.

This is not the first time this season that track limits prove to be a controversial talking point. As recently as the Qatar GP in early October, George Russell got away without a penalty in Lusail despite going off-track at least four times – and in that occasion there wasn’t any issues reported with the CCTV footage at the corner, it was just completely missed by race control.

Going back to Perez, a lack of action from other drivers and teams may be related to some of them also exploiting similar routes to that of Perez – but according to AMuS, there is discomfort between the drivers and the topic is set to be discussed on the drivers’ briefing after Friday practice at the Mexico City GP.