Formula 1 | F1 changes rule for latecomers to avoid Abu Dhabi ‘bis’
The FIA has amended the Formula 1 sporting regulations to clarify one of the rules which proved controversial during the restart of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year.
The sporting regulations had already been changed to include an accelerated safety car restart process, the elimination of the Q2 starting tire rule for those in the top 10 and also measures to prevent a repeat of the farcical Belgian Grand Prix from last year.
But a new set of sporting regulations have been released today which include, among various adjustments, a one-word change to article 55.13 which deals with stragglers allowed to split under the safety car.
This is the replacement of the words « any car » by « all cars »which would prevent a repeat of the FIA race director’s decision to let five drivers – Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel – split, without doing so for the other three – Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Mick Schumacher.
The paragraph now reads: « If the Clerk of the Course considers it prudent to do so, and the message ‘CARS WITH ONE TURN MAY NOW PASS’ has been sent to all competitors using the official messaging system, ALL cars that have been overtaken by the leader will have to overtake the cars on the leading lap and the safety car”.
Mercedes had protested the Abu Dhabi result on the grounds that the safety car restart protocol had not been followed correctly, although this was rejected by the FIA stewards.
This change means that there is no more possible ambiguity in this regulation, because even if it suggested that it should apply to all cars, it was possible to challenge it because the wording could be double senses.