Michael Schumacher's Monaco penalty has been clarified by the FIA and WMSC
After the announcement of Pirelli being the sole tyre supplier, adjustable rear wings, and the 107%, the World Motor Sport Council have announced even more (but smaller) rule changes for the 2011 season. I would be here all year if I were to write separate articles, so I have put them all into one post:
The safety car line
The WMSC have clarified the issue regarding the safety car line, after what happened to Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso during the last lap of the Monaco Grand Prix:
"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."
This is good news, as there will be no more arguments about whether overtaking is allowed on the last lap after the safety car pits. The safety car line was introduced this year, so as to create more exciting restarts during the race, but not for the end.
“Competitor’s staff” FIA Licence
While this is not a rule yet, it is a proposal. This is to give licences to “staff of competitors”, in other words, all team personnel, at and away from the track:
"A proposal relating to specific licences for members of staff of
competitors entered in the FIA World Championships has been
submitted to the Formula One Commission. This is under consideration
for implementation in the FIA Formula One World Championship from
the start of 2011, with a view to inclusion in other FIA World
Championships in the future."
The only real use of this, as far as I can see, is to stop Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds returning to the sport in 2013. To be honest, apart from suspicious employees (Mike Coughlan?) this rule shouldn’t be put into use much. Hopefully.
Fuel samples and stopping out on track
This is a rule for Lewis Hamilton only, after what happened at Canada. This new rule states that, after all practice and qualifying sessions, the car must be brought back to the pits via its own power. In other words, the car cannot be switched off in order to save fuel for a fuel sample:
"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
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
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."
Charlie Whiting has already issued a warning, that anyone who tries what Hamilton and McLaren did in Canada will be punished, so again this is simply a clarification of the rules.
The minimum weight of the cars will be increased from 620kg to 640kg. This is to encourage teams to run the KERS system next year (which FOTA is now allowing their members to use for 2011). This year, the minimum weight was increased from 605kg to 620kg, for the refuelling ban and for KERS, although the latter was not used this year.
"From 2011, the minimum weight of the car must not be less than
640 kg at all times during the event."
Hopefully this will encourage all teams to run KERS next year, rather than just a few. Certain teams have already announced that they will be running KERS next year. More on this later.
Ho-Pin-Tung has been granted a probationary 4-race superlicence, which suggests that his Renault team applied for one. The Chinese driver had just taken part in a test session in a Renault R29 last weekend.
"Based on his career résumé 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."
As I always say, I love giving new drivers a chance in F1. However, I hope this superlicence isn’t for this year, as surely Pin-Tung has not had enough testing yet. Having said that, there was a rule implemented a few months back, that said that a new driver in the middle of an F1 season was allowed a test session before his first race.
Driver conduct on the road
Another Lewis Hamilton rule here, after what happened to him during the Australian GP weekend:
"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."
In other statements, the FIA and WMSC have suggested penalties to drivers who are dangerous on the road, and this should be good news. While us sensible F1 fans know how to behave on the road, there are plenty of idiots who don’t. If a race driver is driving dangerously on the road, it needs to be shown to everybody that nobody is above the rules of the road. If that means compromising the driver in their sport, so be it.
All of these new rules will be summarised in a later post.