Fresh Formula 1 rules are only good for the trash can. Well, very strange decisions of the judges

Dmitry Zakharchenko

Dmitry Zakharchenko

Overtaking in Formula 1

It’s amazing: pushing an opponent off the track is more profitable than just wagging in front of him. How so?

After the finish of the Canadian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso received a five-second penalty for repeatedly changing the trajectory while defending a position – it is prohibited by paragraph b of the second article of the fourth section of Appendix L to the FIA ​​​​international sports code.

Fernando’s maneuvers obviously violated the requirements of the FIA ​​rules, although, for example, in IndyCar and even more so NASCAR races, such protection would not look like a violation today. The law is strong, but it’s law.

Overtaking in Formula 1

Overtaking in Formula 1

Photo: Alfa Romeo / Florent Gooden, DPPI

However, at the same time on the eve of the start of the season – March 19 – the FIA ​​published a “driving standards manual”, which described how the riders should fight each other. And for some reason, the stewards follow it not at all as clearly as in the case of paragraph b of the second article of the fourth section of Appendix L …


There are no methods against steel Verstappen!  Max is even closer to the second championship in a row
There are no methods against steel Verstappen! Max is even closer to the second championship in a row

The pilots asked – the pilots answered

The “guidelines”, according to the FIA, were published in response to a request from Formula 1 drivers who wanted clarification on exactly how stewards reason when making decisions. And among them, for example, there is such a moment: “overtaking on the inside trajectory must be completed in a controlled and safe manner, while the overtaken car must be left enough space to clearly fit within the boundaries of the track.”

However, for some reason this item is not considered mandatory. For example, on the 40th lap of the Australian Grand Prix of the current season, Lance Stroll squeezed Valtteri Bottas off the track in the third turn, because of which he lost momentum and missed not only Aston Martin, but also Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri.

Bottas and Stroll wrestling in Australia

Bottas and Stroll wrestling in Australia

Photo: Frame from the broadcast

Stroll later received a five-second penalty, not for this moment, but for repeatedly changing direction while defending in a later episode. The judges did not begin to analyze the episode on the 40th lap at all – despite the fact that both Bottas and his entire team tried to draw their attention to the episode.

The record clearly shows that Stroll did not leave the Alpha Tauri and Bottas had no chance of staying within the track. Moreover, because of this maneuver, Valtteri lost two positions at once. “We were sure he would get a fine – what Stroll did was not polite at all, but there was no punishment,” Hevi Pujolar, Alfa Romeo’s lead race engineer, later said.

Squeezing is better than wagging

Based on the decisions made by the race management, it turns out that when defending, it is more profitable for the rider to squeeze the opponent off the track than to try to repel the attack before braking. Probably let Alonso off the gas pedal to let Bottas catch up, and squeeze him into the grass in the next turn, there would be no penalty, and so the Spaniard was slapped for five seconds.

The “Guide” from the FIA ​​did not appear out of nowhere – last year a lot of questions arose for the race directorate. So, in Brazil, when Verstappen, while defending from Hamilton’s attacks, flew off the track himself and took the opponent there, no sanctions were applied to the Dutchman – they didn’t even investigate the episode. But in exactly the same – according to Max himself – episode in Jeddah, he was punished.

New F1 Racing Director Nils Wittich

New F1 Racing Director Nils Wittich

Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

“Management” was supposed to dot the i, but the judges do not follow this document. But they strictly follow the wobbles of the pilots on the straight line – this is much more dangerous and unsportsmanlike! It can be argued that “management” is of much less importance to judges than the sports code, but then why is it needed? And how exactly to understand which FIA documents are important, and which ones can be immediately thrown into the trash and not read?

Last year, in the fight between Verstappen and Hamilton, more than once provoked controversial situations, and the championship ended in a scandal. If Charles can still impose a fight on Max this season, there will be even more of these situations, but there are still no clear rules by which to judge them. And if the 2022 season ends in scandal again, the FIA ​​will be to blame.


The fight for the health of F-1 drivers will decide the fate of the title?  Scandals are almost inevitable
The fight for the health of F-1 drivers will decide the fate of the title? Scandals are almost inevitable

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here