Drivers welcome new illegal overtake guidelines

Michelle Foster
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz tails Lewis Hamilton. Bahrain March 2022.

Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz run in close proximity during pre-season testing. Bahrain March 2022.

Carlos Sainz has applauded F1’s new race directors for laying out the guidelines of what is, and is not, permitted in battle.

But, he says, more clarification is still needed.

Last time out in Bahrain, Formula 1’s new race directors issued new guidelines to the drivers governing what they can, and cannot do, during wheel-to-wheel racing.

Last season many of the drivers – and fans – were left confused by what they saw a lack of consistency from the race director and the stewards.

Drivers were penalised in Austria for running one another off the track, then Max Verstappen wasn’t when he did that to Lewis Hamilton in Brazil, and then he was two races later in Qatar.

As such F1’s new race directors, Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, have explained to the drivers exactly what is permitted.

The list ranges from leaving “sufficient room” when overtaking, and also when being overtaken, to making the pass in a “safe and controlled manner, while enabling the car to remain within the limits of the track”.

Drivers were also reminded that “more than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted” and that “manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited.”

As for what happens if a driver breaks any of the rules, if they don’t hand back the position, they’ll be referred to the stewards.

“If a driver, for example, short-cuts a chicane or a corner, it is their responsibility to clearly give back the advantage gained,” state the guidelines.

“This may include giving back the timing advantage to drop back a position behind the relevant driver.”

Ferrari driver Sainz has welcomed the guidelines, but feels more clarity – such as the timing of returning that position – needs to be laid out.

“I think it is the right approach because it’s more real racing,” the Ferrari driver said according to Autosport. “There is no five-second penalty and it can happen more immediately.”

In fact he says it should, and that’s the part he still wants set out in the guidelines.


“But,” he continued, “it needs to happen immediately, if not you cannot lose three or four laps then have to give back to a position.

“That’s why there was the rulebook, it needs to be super clear and needs to be applied in a moment that there’s an infraction, you need to lose a position and then see.”

Kevin Magnussen, however, says there are still times race control will need to get involved as the drivers don’t always agree that they are at fault.

“I still think they will tell the drivers to give it back,” said the Haas driver.

“I think they are expecting more from the drivers in terms of giving back a position if you’ve gained an advantage.

“But there’s going to be cases where it’s like one guy will feel he got pushed off, the other one will feel he got the track. And so there’ll be some discussions there.”


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