Formula 1

F1 News: FIA Implements Crucial Rule Change for Brazilian GP to Tackle Pitlane Impeding Issues

The FIA has implemented a new rule for the Brazilian Grand Prix, banning Formula 1 drivers from stopping in the pitlane’s fast lane during qualifying sessions. This decision follows the pitlane traffic problems that occurred during the Mexico GP’s qualifying round.

Key Takeaways:

  • New Pitlane Rule Enforced: In response to the recent traffic issues in the pitlane during the Mexican Grand Prix’s qualifying sessions, the FIA has prohibited Formula 1 drivers from stopping in the fast lane of the pits at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
  • Incidents Leading to the Change: The urgency of this rule change was highlighted by last weekend’s events, where Max Verstappen, George Russell, and Fernando Alonso were investigated for stopping at the pit exit in Q1, creating traffic and safety concerns.
  • Race Director’s Directive: F1 race director Niels Wittich has issued strict instructions to drivers for improving behavior in qualifying and Sprint shootout sessions. He has also outlined specific guidelines for creating gaps in the pitlane.

In a decisive move to enhance safety and fairness in Formula 1 races, the FIA has introduced a significant rule change ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix. This change aims to address the persistent problem of drivers impeding each other in the pitlane, an issue that came to a head during the qualifying session at the Mexican Grand Prix.

The new rule specifically targets the behavior of drivers in the pitlane. Previously, several instances had occurred where drivers either slowed down abruptly or completely halted at the pit exit. This behavior not only caused traffic congestion but also raised safety concerns. The situation reached a tipping point last weekend when Max Verstappen, George Russell, and Fernando Alonso were investigated for stopping in the pit exit during Q1. Though they were not penalized eventually, the incident sparked widespread calls for a more effective solution to this problem.

F1 race director Niels Wittich has taken a firm stance in resolving this issue. In his event notes sent to all teams, he emphasized the need for drivers to improve their behavior during the Grand Prix qualifying and Sprint shootout sessions. Wittich has laid out clear and strict guidelines to prevent similar incidents in the future. His directive states, “As per article 33.4 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, drivers are not allowed to go unnecessarily slow, that includes stopping a car in the fast lane of the pitlane.”

Moreover, Wittich addressed the practice of creating gaps during qualifying sessions. He instructed, “During Shootout and Qualifying, drivers may create a gap between the pit exit lights and the SC2 line. Any driver who wishes to do so must drive as far to the left as possible to allow other drivers to pass them on the right side of the pit exit road.” This clear guidance is aimed at ensuring smooth traffic flow in the pitlane while allowing drivers the necessary space to prepare for their laps.

This rule change is a testament to the FIA’s commitment to maintaining the integrity and safety of Formula 1 racing. By addressing the pitlane impeding problem with a specific and enforceable rule, the governing body is taking a significant step towards ensuring fair play and safety for all competitors. As the teams and drivers head to the Brazilian Grand Prix, it will be interesting to see how this new rule influences the dynamics of the qualifying sessions and the overall race strategy.

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