Talk about laying down the law! Ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, we’ve got a look at some of what the F1 drivers are and are not allowed to do when battling it out on track.
Last season saw several controversial stewards’ decisions that left the drivers scratching their heads wondering exactly what the rules now were. As a result, new ‘Driving Standards Guidelines’ were brought in before the 2022 season kicked off.
They were kept private, but a version was published for the F3 drivers this weekend. The Race believes the F1 document has more detail – and even some examples from 2021! – in it, but the F3 one gives us a very good hint of what the drivers are being told to do and not do.
Although these rules will be strictly enforced, they aren’t binding. Instead, they’re there to help the drivers understand the stewards’ decision-making.
In order for the car being overtaken to have to give the driver making the move up the inside of a corner “sufficient room”, they need to have a “significant portion” of their car alongside the car they’re making the move on.
The move has to be “done in a safe and controlled manner, while enabling the car to clearly remain within the limits of the track”.
So what does a “significant portion” mean? Well, the FIA haven’t given an exact definition but the stewards will consider whether the front tyres of the car trying to overtake are alongside their rival by no later than the corner’s apex.
It’s a similar situation when making a move around the outside of a corner. In that situation, the overtaking driver must be ahead from the apex of the corner, whilst the car being passed “must be capable of making the corner while remaining within the limits of the track”.
When it comes to chicanes and s-bends, these rules will be applied similarly to each corner rather than grouping them together.
Right time to settle the age-old question – what exactly counts as ‘the track’? So according to the FIA, the white lines are, but the kerbs are not. Drivers will be considered to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track. Simple right?
They’ve also reminded the drivers that they must only rejoin the track when it’s safe to do so and without gaining “any lasting advantage”, such as by short-cutting a corner.
In a change from Michael Masi’s era last year, the Race Director won’t be directly ordering drivers to give back their advantage. Instead, it’s on the drivers to “clearly give back” anything they’ve gained, either by slowing down or dropping behind another driver.
Lastly, the drivers have once again been warned that “at no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.”
A handy reminder given the challenging conditions the drivers are facing at Imola this weekend.
Does the FIA need to be clearer about the rules? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.