Queue jumpers beware as FIA sets out new rule for ‘fast lane’ driver etiquette

Michelle Foster
A crowded pit exit in Monaco

A crowded pit exit in Monaco

The Formula 1 drivers have been warned that to slip into a pit lane queue in qualifying, they have to be able to get “all of a tyre” into the fast lane.

Barging into the queue will no longer be tolerated, said FIA race director Niels Wittich.

FIA sets out new fast lane rule for qualifying

With Formula 1 clamping down on drivers pausing in the pit lane to build a gap to the car ahead, the sport has seen an increase in drivers forcing their way into the line.

This has become a big issue, especially in the latter part of the qualifying segments and with those closest to the pit exit, as the drivers don’t want be the last out in fear they won’t have time to complete a final flying lap.

It could be an even bigger problem this weekend in Monaco, given the propensity for crashes and red flags.

Wittich, though, has taken steps to avoid drama by announcing a new regulation that stipulates a driver must be able to get his full leading wheel into the fast lane to be considered part of the queue.

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“It is noted that a car will be considered to be ‘in the fast lane’ when a tyre has crossed the solid [yellow] line separating the fast lane from the inner lane, in this context crossing means that all of a tyre should be beyond the far side, with respect to the garages, of the line separating the fast lane from the inner lane,” he wrote in his updated notes.

“Thus, after the start or re-start of a free practice session, qualifying session, or sprint qualifying session, if there is a suitable gap in a queue of cars in the fast lane, such that a driver can blend into the fast lane safely and without unnecessarily impeding cars already in the fast lane, they are free to do so.”

Added to that, Wittich also set the maximum lap time at 1:24.0 for qualifying in Monaco.

“In order to ensure that cars are not driven unnecessarily slowly on any laps during and after the end of qualifying or during reconnaissance laps when the pit exit is opened for the race, drivers must stay below 1:24.0 between the Safety Car lines shown on the pit lane drawing.”

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