FIA clarify rules on dangerous driving
F1’s ruling body has clarified the rules on dangerous racing moves by drivers defending a position in the heat of a race.
The ruling comes after several controversial incidents this year in which drivers have vigorously defended their positions and in some cases forced challenging rivals off the circuit.
One of the most publicised of these cases came at the Bahrain Grand Prix when Nico Rosberg, of Mercedes, robustly defended his position from attacks, or attempts to pass, by Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and then Fernando Alonso (Ferrari).
Both challenging drivers felt aggrieved at the way in which Rosberg moved his car to defend his position, forcing them to run wide and in Hamilton’s case off the circuit completely.
The race stewards investigated the incidents at the time and took no action because it was said that no “significant part” of either Hamilton or Alonso’s cars was alongside Rosberg at the time.
The incidents created some uproar, however, and many drivers called for a clearer explanation of what might be considered to be a “significant part” of a car.
Charlie Whiting, the race director of the FIA has now made clear that “any driver defending his position on a straight, and before any braking area, may use the full width of the track during his first move provided no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his.
“Whilst defending in this way, the driver may not leave the track without justifiable reason,” Whiting pointed out.