Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011

FIA clarifies rules on defensive driving

2012 F1 rulesPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011
The Schumacher-Hamilton battle at Monza led to a rules clarification

The FIA has published the 2012 F1 sporting rules which includes an explanation of how drivers may defend their positions.

This was a matter of considerable debate in 2011 following an exchange between Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton during the Italian Grand Prix.

Article 20.3 of the 2012 FIA Sporting Regulations says: “More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted. Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off?σΤιΌ?Ιline, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner.”

This does not appear to constitute a change in practice – the rule is consistent with how defensive driving has been policed in recent years. However as it is now written in the sporting regulations there is less room for ambiguity.

The 2012 rules contain other changes announced earlier, including the revival of the rule allowing lapped cars to be waved past the safety car, and a four-hour time limit on race suspensions.

Teams also face new restrictions on what cars they may use in testing. A rewritten clause states: “Track testing shall be considered any track running time not part of an event undertaken by a competitor entered in the championship, using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula 1 Technical Regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year, with the exception of promotional events carried out using tyres provided specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier.”

There is also a proviso for teams to be allocated an extra set of option tyres in practice if it is deemed necessary – the previous rule applied only to the prime compound.

Another new rule states that if a part is removed from a car while it is being worked on in parc ferme, it must be reattached before the car leaves the pits. In China last year Lewis Hamilton left the pits prior to the start of the race with part of his engine cover missing as the team conducted last-minute repairs to his car.

You can find the updated sporting and technical rules in full on the FIA website.

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