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FIA tweaks F1 pitlane exit rules following Verstappen controversy

In response to the Max Verstappen controversy at Monaco last year, the FIA ​​has made an effort to clarify the rules for Formula One drivers crossing the pit lane exit lines.

After Verstappen’s third place finish in Monte Carlo, as Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez triumphed, both drivers faced a Ferrari protest for crossing the pit lane exit line.

During an early tire change on the damp but drying track, both drivers swerved in the direction of the yellow pit exit line, which drivers are not allowed to cross, according to on-board recordings.

Following Ferrari’s complaints, the FIA ​​stewards investigated the matter after the race and eventually decided that neither driver had committed an offence.

While it was quickly revealed that Perez had not touched the line, Verstappen was given the all-clear despite not staying to one side of it – an infraction that had previously earned driver penalties.

The decision to vacate Verstappen was due to a change in wording in the FIA’s International Sporting Code for 2022, which mandated that a driver “must not cross” the line at pit exit.

The stewards said at the time: “In this case, the car did not “drive” across the finish line – it would have needed a full wheel to the left of the yellow line.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

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Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

The FIA’s interpretation of what ‘crossing’ the line meant caused some uneasiness among the drivers as it effectively gave them the green light to now drift a wheel well quite a way over the line if that is required to take positions To defend. This had potentially serious security implications.

To remedy the situation, the FIA ​​have held due talks over the winter and have now cleaned up the wording of their International Sporting Code on the matter.

These revisions were approved by the World Motor Sport Council this week and communicated to teams and drivers ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

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New wording has been added to the relevant annex of the ISC to clarify that the limit for crossing the line is now judged on the outer edge of the tyre.

The FIA ​​explains: “For the avoidance of doubt, crossing means that the outside of a tire in relation to the pit lane should not extend beyond the outside of the relevant line painted on the track.”

The relevant section has also been supplemented with the words regarding the entry lines into the pit lane, which drivers are also not allowed to cross.

To further emphasize what is considered acceptable, F1 Racing Director Niels Wittich submitted a drawing in his event notes ahead of the Bahrain race to illustrate where the new limits are. This can be seen below.

Limitation of the exit lines of the Radboxengasse

Photo by: FIA

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