(Motorsport-Total.com) – When addressing Ferrari’s protest against Max Verstappen after the Monaco Grand Prix, errors have surfaced once again on the part of the FIA. It has to do with the clause in the FIA regulations that regulates how far a Formula 1 driver is allowed to drive at the exit of the lane above the line drawn there.
Christian Horner and Mattia Binotto, directors of Red Bull and Ferrari
According to Document 59 from the FIA in Monaco, Ferrari has submitted to the FIA racing commissioners that parts of the left front and rear tires of Verstappen’s car had touched the asphalt to the left of the line at the pit exit to Sainte Consecration. It was based on the argument that this was contrary to the so-called “event notes” (notes) of the race director.
As for Monaco, it said verbatim: “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the hosts), any part of the vehicle, in any direction, the area painted blue, between the entrance to the pit and the track, shall be crossed by the driver who, in the opinion of the hosts, I may be bound to enter the forbidden pit pass.”
The sport code changed in the winter of 2021/22
These Event Notes referred to Section 5.c of Schedule L of the International Sports Act. Until December 15, 2021, it was literally saying: “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the hosts), any line drawn on the track at the exit of the pit for the purpose of separating the cars leaving the pits from those on the track may not be crossed by any part From the car he leaves the pits.”
However, this Article 5.c was changed at the end of the 2021 season to: “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by Stewards), the tire of a vehicle emerging from the pit lane shall not exceed any line marked on the lane at the pit exit for the purpose of separating Cars that leave the pit lane than those on the track.”
So it’s all about the accuracy of language and wording. Until 2021, she said, the line can be crossed at the pit exit, literally, “without any part” of the car, but from 2022 it will apply that a tire “may not” cross the line. That’s a small but subtle difference.
Why Verstappen was judged differently than Perez
In the case of Sergio Perez, even Ferrari, upon closer examination, admitted that he stayed on the right of the line. On the other hand, Verstappen’s tire was running and even above the line in parts; But the bulk of the frame was at stake. Thus, strictly speaking, the “crossing” (“crossing any line”) of a line cannot be determined.
Verstappen was radioed when driving out of the box he was driving against Charles Leclerc. So the 24-year-old accelerated on a slippery road and slid slightly on the inner pit line at Sainte Devote, as evidenced by onboard recordings. As a result, it drifted a little more left than usual at the end of the yellow line.
But the FIA officially made a mistake in the whole process. Because the “event notes” Ferrari referred to in its argument were simply copied by the responsible race director from the 2021 model – and completely overlooked the fact that the clause on the topic of pit exits in international sport law had changed.
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In other words: since the start of the 2022 season, the “event notes” and the sports code no longer match. The FIA stated in Monaco: “The notes published by the race director must not conflict with the Sports Act or the Formula 1 Sports Regulations.” admission of guilt.
It is not clear who is responsible for the error. Race director Eduardo Freitas was first in Barcelona and Monte Carlo. Of course, he should have checked his notes himself. On the other hand, he appears to have copied his mold from Nils Wittish in good conscience, assuming he adapted his mold to any new regulations before the first race of the season. Not so.
Mattia Binotto emphasized from the start that Ferrari wanted to be more precise: “We made the protest because we thought it was right to ask for clarification. So the point of our protest is not really a protest against Red Bull. It’s about an issue that we just couldn’t see.”
Sunday evening: Binotto called for clarity
The Ferrari team boss explains: “We believe both Red Bulls were on the yellow line at the pit exit. In the past, this was always penalized by five seconds. This is also clearly mentioned in the race director’s ‘Event Notes’, as I remember, since Turkey 2020. You have to To stay on the right side of the line.”
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“We try to avoid confusion about the word ‘crossing’: we think you need to stay to the right of the line and not be on the line, but obviously that wasn’t the case. So we want some clarification, because it would be a clear decision for us but it was clearly not for the commissioners. “.
In the assessment, the FIA did not follow up on Binotto’s assessment on Sunday night, but Ferrari’s protest rejection gave at least the hoped-for clarification and precedent that could be used as evidence in the future. Now Ferrari drivers can explore the limits at the pit exit without any worries…