Racing rules clarification issued to F1 drivers post-Abu Dhabi published in full

2022 F1 Season

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The FIA has published the updated Formula 1 driving standards guidelines which were issued ahead of the 2022 season.

The 2021 season saw a series of controversies over stewards’ decisions to penalise, not penalise or not investigate a series of incidents. It left many drivers wanting greater insight into the rationale behind stewards’ decisions.

Michael Masi was relieved of his duties as FIA F1 race director following an investigation into the finish of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The FIA subsequently installed a new, expanded race direction team and issued guidelines to all 10 teams to help explain the rationale that would be applied by stewards when considering incidents during races.

The guidelines, which have been in force throughout the opening three rounds of the F1 season, have been published in full for the first time today. They were shared with Formula 3 teams and race stewards ahead of their second round at Imola this weekend, supporting the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

The guidelines cover the rules and requirements covering incidents during attempted overtakes, gaining a lasting advantage by leaving the track and more:

FIA Formula 1 Driving Standards Guidelines

Issued March 19, 2022

These guidelines are being issued by the FIA in response to a request from Formula 1 drivers for the FIA to confirm the factors that may be taken into account by the FIA Stewards, when decisions are made in relation to certain repeated infringements that occur in the course of a season.

For avoidance of doubt, these are merely guidelines to assist the stewards in their decision making and are non-binding.

All stewards’ decisions will be made pursuant to the FIA International Sporting Code read in conjunction with all relevant regulations applicable to Formula 1.

Guidelines for overtaking on the inside of a corner:

“In order for a car being overtaken to be required to give sufficient room to an overtaking car, the overtaking car needs to have a significant portion of the car alongside the car being overtaken and the overtaking manoeuvre must be done in a safe and controlled manner, while enabling the car to clearly remain within the limits of the track.

When considering what is a ‘significant portion’ for an overtaking on the inside of a corner, among the various factors that will be looked at by the stewards when exercising their discretion, the stewards will consider if the overtaking car’s front tyres are alongside the other car by no later than the apex of the corner.

Guidelines for overtaking on the outside of a corner:

“In order for a car being overtaken to be required to give sufficient room to an overtaking car, the overtaking car needs to have a significant portion of the car alongside the car being overtaken and the overtaking manoeuvre must be done in a safe and controlled manner, while enabling the car to clearly remain within the limits of the track.

When considering what is a ‘significant portion’, for an overtaking on the outside of a corner, among the various factors that will be looked at by the stewards when exercising their discretion, the stewards will consider if the overtaking car is ahead of the other car from the apex of the corner. The car being overtaken must be capable of making the corner while remaining within the limits of the track.”

Guidelines for chicanes and s-bends:

The above guidelines would apply similarly for each corner.

In addition to the guidelines above, we remind all concerned about the existing regulations covering the following issues:

Track Limits:

Requirements of Article 27.3 of the F1 Sporting Regulations will be strictly enforced, with infringements appropriately penalised:

“For the avoidance of doubt, the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track, but the kerbs are not. Should a car leave the track for any reason, the driver may re-join. However, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage. A driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track.”

Impeding:

Requirements of Article 27.4 of the F1 Sporting Regulations will be strictly enforced, with infringements appropriately penalised:

“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”

Giving back a lasting advantage:

Procedure set out in Article 27.3 will be strictly followed:

“Should a car leave the track the driver may re-join, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage. At the absolute discretion of the Race Director a driver may be given the opportunity to give back the whole of any advantage he gained by leaving the track.”

If a driver, for example, short-cuts a chicane or a corner, it is his or her responsibility to clearly give back the advantage he or she gained. This may include giving back the timing advantage up to drop back a position behind the relevant driver.

Respect of Flags:

All competitors are required to respect all flags displayed for the orderly conduct of the Event, strictly in accordance with the regulations. Infringements will be appropriately penalised.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 34 comments on “Racing rules clarification issued to F1 drivers post-Abu Dhabi published in full”

    1. Clear as mud

    2. They should basically call them the Verstappen clarification rules because it’s exactly what Verstappen didn’t do… well, never while being overtaken or overtaking Hamilton in the notable races of 2021.

    3. If a driver, for example, short-cuts a chicane or a corner, it is his or her responsibility to clearly give back the advantage he or she gained. This may include giving back the timing advantage up to drop back a position behind the relevant driver.

      (1) Overtake car by cutting the track.

      (2) Then give back arbitrary “time” to CYA re:lasting advantage.

      (3) Profit.

      The Underpants Gnomes rejoice!

    4. Martin Elliott
      21st April 2022, 21:02

      And where is the link to the FIA website to show these are finally properly published for all to read and understand, and not just another ‘Press Release’

      Does it also link to the next part of the Stewards job. eg, given a more detailed offence beyond ‘causing a collision’ in the ISC, how the level of penalty as listed in SR is awarded. Severity of offence, not consequences of offence, or maybe potential consequences, is it spelt out somewhere?

    5. And where is the link to the FIA website to show these are finally properly published for all to read and understand, and not just another ‘Press Release’

      Let me google that for you https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=fia+sporting+regulations
      first link: https://www.fia.com/regulation/category/110

      Admittedly, I did have to make a major effort and type three words into the google search bar.

      1. To be fair, two of those words were more than three letters long. Quite hard to keep attention for t

        1. Beautiful, absolutely stunning!

      2. Also to be fair, the last update to the Sporting Regulations at the link in question was on March 15.

        Either this update is more than a month old, or this has not been properly published in the regulations and is merely another press release.

    6. the stewards will consider if the overtaking car’s front tires are alongside the other car by no later than the apex of the corner

      So stupidly aggressive lunatic lunges are still permitted? Asking for a vriend.

      1. That’s what I thought, too. Given the visibility in the cars and the fact that adjusting your speed from what you’d planned mid corner is very difficult, surely you should need to at least have your don’t wheels alongside by the turn in point on the normal racing line. After that, the driver ahead is going to have a really tough time seeing that someone is attempting a pass and adjusting their line accordingly.

        If the car attempting an overtake only just gets their front wheels alongside at the apex, the other car is likely to already have closed up any gap at the apex and wouldn’t be able to leave space.

    7. Still don’t understand why they let this go for an entire season….

      1. Anon A. Mouse
        21st April 2022, 22:09

        Because The Spectacle™ was put ahead of the sport.

    8. So the clarification is: here are the regulations you’ve effectively had for years. Now we’re going to follow them instead of making it up as we’ve been doing for years.

      Good one F1… The only thing they’re clarifying here is how incompetent they’ve been.

      1. Exactly this, with the 2021 season being the pinnacle of the farce.

      2. Exactly this. I understand the sentiment of the focus on the last race, but it was only the result of a very very questionable year and possibly the most scripted one in history. A total farce of a season it was.

      3. @skipgamer
        That’s what it looks like but right at the points where it matters, it’s “up to the stewards discression”. So I conclude nothing was actually clarified and nothing has changed… It’s just words on a paper. What they do with it is what matters. Until we see a string of proper sensible decisions being made. Confidence in the stewards will take some time to grow…

        1. nothing was actually clarified and nothing has changed… It’s just words on a paper.

          This is the truth.
          This release doesn’t mean anything will change at all.

          I’ve seen these rules broken many times already this season without so much as being noted, and I don’t expect anything to change from here on either.
          Discretion is the FIA’s way of maintaining the level of control that they want.

    9. Nice try

    10. The Dolphins
      22nd April 2022, 0:59

      The alongside clarifications seem overly complicated. Alongside can be simplified in all cases to mean that if the driver who is “ahead” were to cut in front of the driver “behind” and make contact with their vehicle then it is considered alongside.

      1. Indeed or identify a point on the car being overtaken that the front wheels of the overtaking car has to be at to be considered “alongside”.

    11. Masi took the fall for Abu Dhabi but do we know what happened to the stewards who upheld his version if the regs?

      Genuine question

      1. Nothing happened to the stewards.
        Nothing should have happened to Masi either – the system is broken, not the individuals within in.

        1. Masi and his god complex were a huge part of the problem. Not saying there aren’t other things wrong too but Masi was absolutely responsible for the farce that happened in the last race and for that alone he should have been sacked let alone all the other incidents he presided over too.

          1. Masi was absolutely responsible for the farce that happened in the last race

            I completely disagree.
            He was partially responsible, but ultimately there were a lot of agreements and other conditions behind his tenure – both from within the FIA itself and throughout F1 and the teams.

            Whatever – you’ve clearly made up your mind and no amount of correcting you with the truth will change it.

    12. Timing advantage is an interesting term choice – more like a position advantage since the position is more relevant than time in these instances.

      1. Time can be very important, @jerejj.
        Gaining a couple of seconds could be worth more than outright track position. Especially with how easy it can be to pull off a DRS overtake these days.

    13. I don’t understand why they are so imprecise. “if the overtaking car’s front tyres are alongside the other car by no later than the apex of the corner.” What means “alongside” here? Alongside the rear of the car? is considered alongside if only a portion of the tyre is alongside? Or have to be all the tyre? The same for the outside passes. “if the overtaking car is ahead of the other car from the apex of the corner” What means “Ahead” here? To have the whole the car in front of the other?Half car? A portion?

      Unnecessary imprecission, in my opinion, it can easily be better formulated

      1. If they were super precise, it would lead to even more problems, @esmiz.

        Other series have tried to be that precise and quickly dropped it because it doesn’t work in reality. There were more arguments and incorrect penalties than there were with discretionary judgements.

    14. “the stewards will consider if the overtaking car’s front tyres are alongside the other car by no later than the apex of the corner.”

      Does this imply that where this occurs ‘prior’ to the apex, then this must remain the case at the apex.

      If so, shouldn’t it just say “at the apex of the corner”, otherwise it implies they can be alongside prior to, but not ‘at’ the apex, and in that case there is no clear definition of the point at which this measurement starts to take effect.

      To clarify. If a car is in this position 20 meters before the apex but drops back, I would assume it is not considered to qualify for sufficient room to be given. And in this case the more specific definition of “at” the apex would be more clearly applicable.

      1. And that’s why they allow some space to use their discretion @cairnsfella.
        Every event is unique and has its own set of conditions.

      2. There has to be some flexibility unless you start putting markers on the track for what you consider “the apex”. The apex of a corner can be in slightly different places for drivers depending on driving style and if they’re defending/attacking. I don’t think any of us really want regulation to state a driver can’t have a bit of a lunge if they’re on the limit on the brakes either.

        I don’t think there was much wrong in the regulations last year, just the stewards were too gutless to enforce them. The stupid let them race philosophy which seems to translate as “let us cheat” is the problem, not the regulations imo.

        1. I don’t think there was much wrong in the regulations last year, just the stewards were too gutless to enforce them.

          Now THIS I can agree with.

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