World Motor Sport Council clarifies rules after Schumacher and Hamilton incidents

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Repeats of Hamilton's Montreal stunt will not be allowed
Repeats of Hamilton's Montreal stunt will not be allowed

The FIA’s World Motor Sports Council has announced a series of changes to the rules.

These including clarifying the rule regarding the safety car which Michael Schumacher ran afoul of in the Monaco Grand Prix.

And drivers will no longer be able to stop on the track after qualifying to preserve their fuel loads, as Lewis Hamilton did in Canada.

Here are the full details of the changes the FIA has announced today:

Safety Car

The FIA has clarified the rule which caught Michael Schumacher out at Monaco, stating drivers may not overtake after the safety car line on the final lap:

With immediate effect, no car may overtake until it has passed the first safety car line for the first time when the safety car is returning to the pits. However, if the safety car is still deployed at the beginning of the last lap, or is deployed during the last lap, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.

General safety

There will also be no more drivers stopping to save fuel after qualifying, as Lewis Hamilton did at Montreal:

With immediate effect, any car being driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically, or which is deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers, will be reported to the stewards. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.

In order to ensure cars are not driven unnecessarily slowly on in-laps during qualifying or reconnaissance laps when the pit exit is opened for the race, drivers must stay below the maximum time set by the FIA between the safety car line after the pit exit and safety car line before the pit entry. The maximum time will be determined by the race director at each event prior to the first day of practice, but may be amended during the event if necessary.

With immediate effect, if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.

Adjustable rear wings

As revealed here earlier adjustable rear wings will be introduced in 2011.

Vote on what you think of the change here: Adjustable rear wings confirmed for 2011 ?ǣ but only for overtaking (Poll)

From 2011, adjustable bodywork may be activated by the driver at any time prior to the start of the race and, for the sole purpose of improving overtaking opportunities during the race, after the driver has completed two laps.

The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit.

The system will be disabled the first time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated. The FIA may, after consulting all the competitors, adjust the time proximity in order to ensure the purpose of the adjustable bodywork is met.

With the exception of the parts necessary for the driver adjustable bodywork, any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited from 2011.


The minimum weight limit has been increased from 620kg to 640kg. This is most likely to encourage more teams to use Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems. The minimum weight was also increased at the start of this year:

From 2011, the minimum weight of the car must not be less than 640 kg at all times during the event.

Driving conduct

F1 drivers will be strongly encouraged not to get into any trouble on public roads, as happened to Hamilton at Melbourne earlier this year:

The FIA, both in its motor sport and mobility roles, has a strong interest in promoting road safety. Competitors at FIA events must act as ambassadors for the sport, be aware their conduct on the road must be exemplary and respect road safety rules. The World Council agreed that the International Sporting Code be examined to ensure the Federation?s overall objectives and, in particular, its commitment to road safety, are upheld.

Ho-Pin Tung

Interestingly, Renault Development Driver Ho-Pin Tung has been granted a probationary superlicence, suggesting his team requested he be considered for one. The Chinese driver did demonstration laps in a Renault R29 at Magny-Cours last weekend:

Based on his career r??sum?? and comparative F1 testing times, the World Council has approved the granting of a four-race probationary super license to Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung.

There has been no word from the council on any action against US F1 or a rumoured name change for Sauber to drop ‘BMW’ from their official title.

Read more: F1 2011 Season

72 comments on “World Motor Sport Council clarifies rules after Schumacher and Hamilton incidents”

  1. “The system will be disabled the first time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated”

    So f1 finally has air brakes!

    1. Really?
      Won’t that negate the low drag advantage down the straights by having not having the high drag to help them stop…

      1. We might see accidents, if drivers don’t manage to change the wings back to standart position before their braking point!
        Or will the system return to a standard setting / a couple of degrees back automatically under braking?

        This seems so complicated and hard to police, now i see safety concerns as well.

    2. this is getting confuse how are we spectators going to know when and where are drivers using this new stuff

      1. I think you can safely say they will use it when they can.

        @plushpile – I would expect the lack of rear downforce would affect the braking stability too (I guess the drivers would just have to send the bias foreward).

        1. What I love is the line

          “With the exception of the parts necessary for the driver adjustable bodywork, any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited from 2011.”

          So will their heads be fixed in position? This is a perfect example of why the FIA should give up making rules and get someone else more intelligent to do it. Also driver adjustable bodywork suggests that an entire car could change shape not just the rear wing.

          1. Here here. Well said.

          2. In the same vain as Lee’s comment, this seems like one giant band aid. I don’t know about you, but I find band aids peel off eventually.

            Why can’t the rules be simple? It’s not difficult to do. The FIA patch up the patch ups, and in doing so open up new holes, so they patch the patches off the patches…

            It’s not a good system.

  2. Interesting. I think they’ll largely be good for the sport. But what I’m most interested in is the Coucil’s decision on whether or not to impose sanctions upon USF1.

    1. I don’t really see the reason for doing so. As the team went bust while not having any money, nor a finished car and the damage to the team management has already been done, why punish them even more?

      And with what? They can hardly try to forbid Anderson and co. to vistit FIA events (that one was clarified by Flav).

  3. The rear wing rules is ridiculous. I find it disgusting, frankly. It’s like the 80s game Pole Position where the cars ahead were slowed down by the computer automatically. No, it’s exactly the same. Why not just have the Control Electronics drag the rear brakes of the guy ahead at the “pre-determined” points on the track, or cut his ignition via the standard ECU? Instead we have the super expensive and convoluted method to improve the show. Is it because viewers will have a more robust illusion that the resulting theorectical pass will be result of “racing”—rather than direct, ad-hoc interference with car performance by officials via telemetry? This is no more legitimate than a “competition yellow” a la NASCAR.

    Why don’t they just slap a giant Handford Device on the back of the cars. That will be much cheaper and much more effective.

    1. I think they justify it by it being an attempt to eliminate the effect of dirty air. Certainly sees far too artificial. Perhaps a better way to negate the effects of dirty air would be to try and actively reduce dirty air with new (or at least adapted) regulations. At least KERS and adjustible front wings can be used at any time by any driver, so gives the oportunity to defend. I remember on mariocart when you only got lightning (which made everybody tiny so they were slower and flattenable) when you were at the back- fair enough in a video game, but do we want to see it in F1? Of course, there’s every chance it’ll actually make as little difference as the adjustable front wings have.

    2. Why don’t they just go the whole hog and introduce a handicap system like Horse Racing…

      …they could automatically adjust wing settings or max revs according to the car’s position in the race… those in front get handicapped the most… those behind get the most advantage…

      … hey wouldn’t that improve the show ?

      Pft…. I think the FIA have lost the plot in recent years about the concept of racing.

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        23rd June 2010, 19:35

        Let’s have no wings, eight litre engines, minimum weight of 1500 kg and a minimum frontal area the size of Yorkshire. That should settle the ‘dirty air’ problem.

    3. Lol all they`ve done is put “with no overtaking” at the end of the old reg, wonder how much that cost?
      And DaveW is right, why not have a button that realises a giant energy mushroom that disables the car in front and at the same time relises a oil slick in a Dick Dastardly fashion behind the car.

    4. “This is no more legitimate than a “competition yellow” a la NASCAR.”

      Actually, if one understands the ‘competition yellow’, it is quite legitimate.

      NASCAR uses the competition yellow as a safety measure, only in cases where the track conditions have changed sufficiently that it might increase tire wear, or in cases where practice/qualifying was rained out and the track is “green”. The teams then have the opportunity to check tire wear, even alter the car suspension setup if the wear is too heavy.

      It is also used if there is a heavy rain that washes the track clean of built-up rubber after qualifying, again so teams can monitor the tire wear.

      It is announced before the race start as to what lap the competition yellow will be shown, and no team is permitted to add fuel on any stop they may make prior to the competition yellow.

      The competition yellow is NEVER used unannounced, and NEVER used arbitrarily to close up the field for closer racing. It is not a tool to spice up the show. It is used from a valid safety standpoint.

  4. The adjustable rear wing seems a bit unnecessary and over-complicated. Perhaps a reduction of downforce to slightly decrease the amount of dirty air would be better.

    And I don’t see the issue of driving slowly after a qualifying lap if you’re the last guy on the track. And what about Vettel pulling over immediately after the race? He’d made it that far, so he could have easily got back to the pits. Why is that allowed?

    1. they’ll always find various ways with which to worsen the air coming off the cars

    2. Interesting about the actual wording is, there is not really a rear wing mentioned.

      The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics that it is enabled.

      So what bodywork will this be? Rear wings, front wings, engine covers, flaps, bargeboards, the floor going down, forming venturi tunnels, or the diffusor opening up, it could be everything?
      Anyone have a clue what the scope of the “adjustable bodywork” is and to what limits?

  5. So at Silverstone adjust rear wing coming out of Luffield (or maybe Woodcote) and it shouldn’t be reset until Stowe.
    Or an I reading this wrong.

  6. Find it very disgusting that Hamiltons last quali lap was allowed just to slam the gate on all others to do similar thing. So McLaren and Hamilton got unfair advantage doing this in Canada. His last quali lap should not been allowed the fine is a joke. Pole bought by McLaren.

    Schumacher I’m ok with. His position gain was reversed and punished serverly by being dropped out of points.

    On the wing don’t see much difference between allowing to do that compared to the stalled rear wing. The benefit is the adjustable rear wing will help overtaking because you can slip stream more get closer in high speed cornering to allow overtake on next slow speed corner. The stalled wing is “useless” in high speed corners you loose grip and can’t take the corner as fast but on top of it if your running close to another car by stalling the wing you loose even further grip and overtaking becomes impossible.
    Allowing a adjustable rear wing is not that big difference to adjustable front wing except in a large way to allow overtaking and close racing. Thumbs up hope it will work as well as expected. Wish they would done some testing on it to ensure it does.

    1. Seems less disgusting when you realize that there was no such rule ante Canada. This is not a clarification, but a new provision, to replace the FIA “memo.” Though some would find retroactive application of rules appropriate for Hamilton, to teach him a lesson, that’s not considered fair play in civilized society. Regarding the purchase of a pole position by McLaren, please see Keith’s quantitative analysis debunking this theory.

      The “erratic” driving rule is cause for some alarm. It is completely vague and applies to any segment of the weekend, and has been extended expressly to the pitlane. Does this apply to “blocking”? “unsafe release”? Does this apply to diving into the pitlane alongside another car? Does this apply to driving on the blue all the way down the lane while “racing” back to the track? We already have some relevant rules to these issues. Layering on more rules of the same gauge and scope does not add clarity.

      1. I am completely with you in feeling disturbed about the “erratic driving” rule. This might be used very arbitrary to punish everything from weaving, not being fast enough with letting a car pass you, blocking close to the pitlane to half of the moves by any car in the last race.

      2. I agree this way of dealing with a rule that wasn’t there is fair. Of course it begs the question why the revised safety car rule was applied retroactively to Schumacher!

  7. As the adjustable rear wing system after the driver uses the brakes, does this mean that the rear wing will stay in the low drag position or that it will then revert to the original position?

    Also when the F-duct first surfaced I remember some people saying that you couldn’t stop driver movement which alters aero as turning the wheel for steering alters the aerodynamic characteristics of the car.

  8. So, if an overtaking driver makes a mistake in the passing, and has to break hard, he gets more downforce to stay on the track, and has to wait until the next “designated overtaking area” arrives before a next try.

    It is good that this means a defending driver can force a difficult overtake, and keep position.

    But, if the defending driver then makes a mistake in the next corner chances are the overtaker cannot so easily react but has to wait for another overtake area.

    1. Or maybe the device will get stuck alltogether somewhere on track or go haywire adjusting the wing randomly. Great that will be a real boon to the exitement of racing.

      It sounds more like a crazy idea immediately banned for safety reasons than something the complete band of teams came up with and the FIA countersigned.

  9. I suspect more horrific Webber-like moves when this adjustable rear-wing rule starts taking affect next year… Discuisting rule. End of story.

  10. Rules clarified, nice. But if they had been clarified beforehand, the Schumacher incident wouldn’t have happened and there would have been no penalty. And how do you define overtaking? Can drivers just trundle around at 10mph to bait their opponents into illegally overtaking them?

    1. The rule about the cars not being allowed to drive unnecessarily slow takes care of that.

      1. But thats between the pit exit an pit entrance lines while being timed, I think he`s talking pit entrance an start line.

        1. “With immediate effect, any car being driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically, or which is deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers, will be reported to the stewards. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.”

          Sounds to me like it’s anywhere, anytime.

  11. I absolutely do not approve of the wing changing gimmick. As others have said, this to me is artificial racing. I really hope enough fans raise a ruckus that they ditch this idea.

  12. I thought that the stewards could already punish drivers if they impeded other drivers in qualifying or drove dangerously?

    The only thing which needed clarifying was making sure that the cars got back to the pits after a qualifying lap.

    I suppose this is another rule which has the side affect of impeding any driver celebrations on the slow down lap.

    Personally with the lack of such celebrations in modern F1 I thought Hamilton sitting on the side of his car as it coasted down the straight and then pushing it was quite entertaining, just like Button running to the Monaco podium last year after parking in the wrong place.

    By the way has anyone found any pictures of Hamilton pushing his car after qualifying in Canada yet?

  13. With the exception of the parts necessary for the driver adjustable bodywork, any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited from 2011.

    Read this VERY carefully. Wing stalling devices are NOT banned. They are only banned if the driver has to move to activate them.

    I predict that next year most teams will have an airbox design that – entirely without the driver having to do anything – creates an airlock at a certain speed (i.e. air pressure) and performs exactly the same role.

    1. Doesn’t the Mercedes F-duct work without the intervention of the driver?

      Wouldn’t this solution be legal?

    2. you might be on to something! The F-duct will work but not with the driver stuffung up a hole but just by them turning a switch/pushing a button to open / close the adjustable bodywork

      1. Pressing a switch would be driver movement. You could easily build a flap that is spring mounted that is sucked onto the f-duct hole while air is travelling at speed though the tubing.

        1. I suspect this would be banned as ‘moveable aerodynamic parts’..

    3. The driver is breaking this rule every time he moves his head. Unless F1 suddenly became closed cockpit and nobody told me.

  14. The safety car rule seems nice and clear now, but the fuel rule has all the hall marks of a very badly written FIA rule.

    “With immediate effect, if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power”

    But there is no written down rule as to when the FIA require samples such as after every practice (I’ve checked), just when they feel like it… So what is to stop you filling the car with super illegal fuel, setting a cracking qualifying lap and then stopping on the circuit. Because all the rule states is that you won’t give a fuel sample if that happens, so the illegal fuel will not be found. It doesn’t say anywhere that the qualifying time set will not stand if you stop on the circuit or anything like that….. One very big hole if you ask me.

    1. But if you stopped out on track like that, the FIA would be sure to require a sample from that car, wouldn’t they?

      1. You would think so, but the way the regulation is worded, they couldn’t! They need to ask for the sample before the car stops… after it has stopped on the track they can’t take a sample. I’m sure that is not the intention, it’s just very bad wording

  15. good they clarified the rules, however a shame that racing in the last corner is not allowed.

    And: “go HO!”
    he grew up 5 kilometres from me, however I haven’t met him, we shared a fysiotherpist and learned to drive on the lovely ‘posbank’

    1. Maybe they want to give him some testing time? Or run him on Friday? Or maybe get him a seat at the 13th team as part of the engine package they want to sell?

      1. And then bring back Grosjean to GP2 for a second chance at F1 in the future.

  16. “this is getting confuse how are we spectators going to know when and where are drivers using this new stuff”

    This will be good not knowing when the wings are being used, it will give a surprise to see an overtake.

    Also the rules don’t say this can’t be used on a qualifying lap, so by improving straight line speed with ajustable wings and KERS and possibly reducing aero effect we could have still similar times to 2010 but more overtaking


  17. The wing change will be negated the first time the driver uses the brakes after activation.

    Hmmm. Can you say “brake check”, boys and girls? Sure, I knew ya could.

    Hey, I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’. Could get interesting.

    1. Very good point, I didnt think of that :)

  18. Why else would Ho-Ping Tung need a superlicense other than to race? From a commercial perspective recruiting him it makes sense. Saubers year is ruined, and neither of their drivers are exactly setting the world on fire. Tungs presence would bring in some much needed sponsorship.

  19. Wings ,brakes,first time,what the hell are they thinking.
    With all the adjustments they’ll need to put a technician in the car with the driver(maybe thats why they built an F1 two seater to test this theory) We are already getting more passing this year ,stop screwing with the rules. If they want to change anything give them more mechanical grip and less aero,this is what the drivers have been asking for for years.

    FIA(Fools Interfereing Always)

  20. That was a horrible read for me. I was irritated at seeing Hamilton’s Montreal antics will be a once-off (slightly unfair?!) but that doesn’t compare to how I felt once I read the rear-wing regulations…

  21. With immediate effect, if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.

    Now here’s a question .
    It says “practice session” not qualifying session, so in those words it does not stop going super light in qualy and stopping on the side of the track out of fuel aka Lewis Hamilton. I see a LOOPHOLE.

    FIA (Fools Interfering Always)

    1. That is because strictly speaking Qualifying is called Qualifying Practice, while the earlier sessions are called Free Practice


  22. Robert McKay
    24th June 2010, 0:36

    To be honest, I don’t really see that the clarification to the SC rule actually clarifies it all that differently.

  23. Richard in Hong Kong
    24th June 2010, 8:48

    There is only one reason why they are so concerned with increasing overtaking opportunities: To make the sport more appealing to the American market (who they are trying to reach), who get bored too easily and expect intense action every second.

    This reminds me of when the US tried to convince FIFA to play football in 4 quarters when they hosted the worldcup there: To increase goals and time for ads.

    1. football in 4 quarters? sounds like something americans would come up with..

      1. To nip off to Mad D’s for another burger presumably

  24. Is refueling going to be introduced in 2011 ?

    1. no, why should it

  25. So that we can see good stratergies, low fuel loads and faster racing

    1. So you’d rather see an overtake when someone goes to the pits over an overtake on the track?

      Strategy racing = bad

  26. That safety car rule clarification is so obviously just to save face for the blundering race control in Monaco.

    How difficult is it to simply keep the SC signs and yellow flags out to indicate that the race is still under “safety car conditions”? Just like they did in Melbourne 2009. No useless regulation change needed.

    The adjustable rear wing seems a ridiculous idea too. It’s dangerous, seeing how often we’ve had front wings getting stuck on a certain setting. It’s also just a fake way of contribution to the “entertainment”.

    It’s like in those videogames where the cars following the leader go faster. Lame.

    The fuel rule change was inevitable I guess. I just hope it’s not going to get people disqualified though. Like Paffet when he won the race and then ran out of fuel on the in lap. It got him disqualified.

    When things like that happen, it just feels like you sat and watched a whole race for nothing.

    I’d rather they worked with a warning system like they do with unsafe pit releases. Punish the team the first time and if it happens again serve a drive through (or whatever). Just to make sure the teams don’t run out of fuel on purpose, but also to not overly punish drivers for a fueling error.

    1. Completely agree with Your view on the SC rule clarification. I never understood why Schumi should be punished for Race Controls failure to apply correct signals on track. Had that been taken to a “civil” court, Race Control would have lost the case, surely.

  27. what a gimmick. what happens if there are quite a few cars close to each other like the top four in turkey? surely the leader will never be able to keep position.

  28. maestrointhesky
    24th June 2010, 12:47

    I thought one of the driving factors was to get costs down. All this extra electronics sounds expensive to me!

  29. The whole adjustable bodywork/wing idea seems to be getting out of hand and becoming way to complicated.
    It sounds like there will have to be another ECU in the car just to monitor/enable/disable the thing, and presumably this will also allow for another freeloading FIA official at every race to monitor the goings on.
    Also, at a time when the FIA is supposed to be restricting budgets, this is more technology to be paid for by the teams (or will the FIA pay for it?). What if a small team cannot afford it? Would Bernie step in to ‘Rescue’ them?
    And anyway, we all know that as soon as McLaren, Ferrari or Red Bull develop it enough and get a clear advantage, it will be banned the next year.

  30. Well fia r soooo dumb! Why did they not ban the double diffuser this year seeing that it depleted the whole purpose of reducing the size of the rear wing!if it was banned then the rear wing wud do wat it was supposed to do…and allow cars to get closer!I’m no aerodynamic engineer but that’s easy to understand!instead of simplifying things they complicating them by introducing movable rear wings…

  31. Florida Mike
    25th June 2010, 3:48

    The Safety Car issue seems easily solved by leaving the safety car on the track all the way through the last lap, along with the SC signs and lights.

    What happens to a car’s times if there is no fuel to give a sample of after qualifying, or if they don’t make it back to the pits on their own (accident after a setting fast time)?

  32. Jean Todt is doing well , the adjustable wing is an excellent idea , but only when operational will we see if it actually works , and if it does it will solve the biggest problem F1 has faced in the last 15 years. So full marks to Jean on allowing that.

  33. It nice to read that now f1 finally has air brake which is must for the safety of the driver.

  34. Rule 23.5.6 A driver may press a button in certain designated points deploy a giant hand to grab the car in front and attempt to move it out of the way. The car in front may then deploy countermeasures of , but not limited to. Smoke production to reduce visibility, oil slick, or if fighting against a previos world champion may deploy yaks on the road surface.

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