Following complaints from the drivers about the safety at pit lane entry and exit, the stewards and officials have decided to drop the white line rule for the Korean Grand Prix.
The pit lane entry for the Yeongam circuit is just after a very fast right hander, and cars pitting are currently forced to slow in the middle of that corner in order to pit, creating a very dangerous situation if there is a car behind.
As well as this, the pit lane exit deposits the cars in the middle of Turn 2, a fast left-hander for the cars. Therefore, if a car runs wide or goes too fast over Turn 2, they could possible create a nasty accident with any car leaving the pits.
Because of this, the white line rule has been ditched for this weekend. The white line rule states that a car cannot cross the white lines while entering or exiting the pit lane. Generally this is to create a safe passage in and out of the pits, but the poor design around the pit lane has forced this decision.
Lewis Hamilton stated how the situation was for the drivers on Friday and Saturday:
"As you come out, the cars that have come around the corner
out of turn one, they are in your blind spot, you don't even
know if they are there."
"Every time you come out you are trying to see if there's
anyone there, plus you have to get straight on to the racing
line...I think in the race it will be interesting to see how
everyone deals with it."
"You just have to go for it really and hope for the best,
I would say."
While this doesn’t make too much change to pit lane exit, as you couldn’t exactly drive onto the grass to avoid an accident there, this will make pitting in much safer. During qualifying, we saw what can happen if a driver goes full throttle into pit lane entry with heavy steering, with Hamilton losing control, running over the grass and getting far too close with the barriers.
For the race, we should expect to see drivers go full throttle as usual, but they will run slightly wide into the pit lane, and then slow down, rather than brake on the racing line. It is clearly a good move by the stewards, but it surely could have been avoided by better circuit planning, in my opinion.