F1 drivers reckon that the revised pitlane ruling made by the FIA to stop the on-track impeding scenario is not going to work.
The F1 2023 season is seeing a different problem where drivers are trying to fulfill the safety car lines delta time by generating gaps inside the pitlane. In doing so, they are either stopping in the fastlane or going slowly which is disrupting others.
Max Verstappen was guilty party in Singapore but escaped any penalty. The FIA stewards, though, later on admitted to have missed handing him a penalty. A subsequent repeat in US GP, forced the Race Director to come up with a rule revision.
For the Brazil GP weekend, the FIA note stated that drivers cannot stop once in the fastlane as it will be counted as impeding. The situation happened still as some drivers overtook the other cars while exiting and drivers were penalised for not giving way.
The FIA stewards handed grid drops to George Russell, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon for not leaving enough space to other drivers while exiting the pitlane, as the Race Director has tried to limit the repercussions by allowing overtakes on the fastlane.
Even with the penalties and a revised solution in place, F1 drivers are not convinced as this will create problems at certain tracks. The drivers were slowing in pitlane so that they don’t do so on track which is sure shot impeding.
But Sergio Perez felt the stewards finally stuck to the rules mentioned in the note and penalised as was deserved. Here’s what some F1 drivers thought of it –
Max Verstappen: “Absolutely terrible, I think, because on this track you have quite a long pit exit and there are some walls. But on some other tracks, if we implement this, you’re driving very slowly on to a straight where people are passing with 300+, and you are maybe driving 15/20 to make a gap, which is I think extremely dangerous. So for me, this doesn’t work at all, it just creates even more trouble. Look at what was happening yesterday, people going on the grass, including myself, to try and pass cars. It’s just a mess. Every single qualifying you have six to eight cars getting noted for driving too slow with the minimum time. I don’t know what we’re trying to achieve.”
Lando Norris: “I don’t mind, to be honest. Again, we have no say in these rules. They just get implemented no matter if we think it’s good or bad for the sport. Same with the minimum lap time stuff. I got a reprimand this morning for two cars ahead of me coming out of the pit lane, or one crossing over the Safety Car line, one coming out of pit lane at the same time. I can’t overtake, otherwise I’m going to be racing on a qualifying lap, which is stupid. So I have to back off, and therefore I’m below the minimum time and I get a reprimand for that. It’s just a silly thing. Not that the stewards made the wrong decision, it’s just a rule that shouldn’t be in my opinion, because I did absolutely nothing wrong. I didn’t block anyone. I didn’t get in anyone’s way.
“I’ve just not overtaken and caused a race in qualifying and I get a reprimand for that. So just silly things. And even with this, it’s a tough one. Of course, people do go slowly and things like that, but if you’re scared of it, just go out of the pit lane earlier and avoid all the queueing. It’s quite a simple one. The only point is when you have like four minutes left on the clock or two minutes left on the clock, and you’ve got a guy at the front of the queue who just waits 30 seconds, 20 seconds. Does a Fernando and Lewis, back in McLaren, and you kind of screw everyone over, so that’s the only probably unfair thing. But I think there’s just more and more rules for everything and it just causes more and more havoc for everyone.”
Sergio Perez: “I think this rule that was in place, we all knew the rule and I think the people that didn’t respect it got penalised with it and it’s how it should be. Whether it’s a good thing or not, it’s a rule and we have to stick to them. And we all knew the rules to follow from their preview notes, so I think it’s good, the stewards finally are sticking to the rules.”
Here’s Daniel Ricciardo on red flag rule
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