Alpine calls for rethink over F1 grid box rules
In both cases, the drivers were accused of placing their cars too far to the side of their starting pits at the start, both of which subsequently faced penalties.
The stewards’ decisions were based on an amendment to the International Sporting Code introduced for 2022, which states that a car “must be standing at its assigned starting box without any part of the contact patch of its front tires lying outside the lines (front and sides) at the time of the.” start signal”.
Whilst the ISC applies to F1, the same wording has been retrospectively included in the FIA Sporting Regulations for 2023 and as a result the matter has come under closer scrutiny this season.
The problem drivers have is that they have limited vision when approaching their starting points, and while they can judge where to stop by looking for references from the side of the cockpit, it’s easy to find something to be too far left or right.
There is no specific regulation regarding the width, although race director Niels Wittich is known to have informed teams that he is introducing a standard width this season.
“I think what seems a bit draconian is this new rule where the car has to stop at the start box,” said Permane.
“Nobody has an advantage if they are 10 centimeters above them on one side or the other. I don’t really understand why.
“And they’re free to paint the lattice boxes as wide as they want, there doesn’t seem to be a rule for that.
“I don’t know if that gets checked, but giving people penalties if they have their wheels in a car where the drivers can’t see those lines – they can see them when they come up and then when they go approach they just disappear – it feels harsh, it feels unnecessary.
Mechanics make final preparations at the start before the start
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
“Esteban today, he’s obviously been focused on that all week. He said he got on the starting lineup today and had no idea where he was. He said you can’t see it, you don’t know at all. It is strange. “
Permane expects the issue to be discussed at the next meeting of F1’s Sport Advisory Council.
“I’m sure we will do that, we have a meeting later this week, we can address it.”
Some observers have questioned why Ocon received a second penalty in Bahrain for starting work on the car too quickly after taking his original penalty, while Alonso’s first penalty – for a jack that touched the car – was ultimately repealed.
However, Permane said Alpine did not appeal the Ocon ruling.
“Ours was a fair cop last week, we took four tenths fast so no argument from us at all.”