After chaos in the Formula 2 and 3 qualifying on Friday, FIA race director Niels Wittich has revised Formula 1’s minimum lap time regulation to include “any laps”, not just in-laps, at Monza.
Traffic has long been a problem at the Monza circuit with the Formula 1 drivers tripping over one another during Friday’s practices, leaving several – including Max Verstappen – fuming.
Between their own experiences on Friday and the chaos that was the Formula 2 and 3 qualifying sessions, where drivers played a game of chicken as they waited for one driver to take the lead as they all wanted the tow, Lando Norris called for “harsh” penalties for anyone messing around during Formula 1’s qualifying.
Drivers call on the FIA to intervene amidst fears of ‘dangerous’ antics
He told the media including PlanetF1.com: “I think they just need to be harsh. If anyone does anything that’s dangerous, it should be a penalty straight away.
“It can be very dangerous around here with the speed differences, so if anyone does anything or just something dangerous, simple as that, it should be a penalty and I think they should be very strict on this.”
The drivers met on Friday evening to discuss this, and other issues, leading to a new directive from race director Wittich that was issued on Saturday morning.
He wrote in his updated event notes: “For the safe and orderly conduct of the Event, other than in exceptional circumstances accepted as such by the Stewards, any driver that exceeds 1min 41sec from the Second Safety Car Line to the First Safety Car Line on ANY lap during and after the end of the qualifying session, including in-laps and out-laps, may be deemed to be going unnecessarily slowly.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this does not supersede Art. 33.4 and Art. 37.5 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, which apply to the entire Circuit. Incidents will normally be investigated after the qualifying session.”
In the past, the FIA has clamped down on drivers driving too slowly on in-laps by imposing minimum times between the second and first Safety Car line.
Wittich’s update will be welcomed by Nico Hulkenberg, who says the traffic issues are “not pretty.
“Everyone slowed down, you know, in order to get a tow. It’s obviously pretty effective around here, but we’re just tripping over each other.
“It was getting close, you know, and other cars coming through at high speed – a bit dangerous at some points, too.”
He added: “With how the format is and everyone is looking for ultimate performance, you know, that’s what happens naturally.
“But of course, if we create dangerous situations with that, that’s not great. That’s not how it is intended, so that’s why I think we’ll have to look at it.”