How F1 guidelines ignored in Abu Dhabi meant no Italian GP restart
The race at Monza completed behind the security automobile as a result of FIA strictly following the procedures laid down within the rule ebook – one thing that didn’t occur ultimately 12 months’s F1 season finale.
And whereas the governing physique will inevitably evaluation what occurred to see if there have been issues it may have executed higher to permit no less than a one-lap shootout restart on Sunday, what it may be in little doubt about is that it adopted the laws to the letter.
The foundations in play
F1’s security automobile guidelines kind a complete section – Article 55 – of F1’s sporting laws.
Right here it’s laid out how and when the security automobile might be introduced out, and the procedures that opponents and the security automobile driver should comply with.
Rather a lot has been made within the wake of the race about how the security automobile picked up the flawed automobile – with it operating forward of third-placed George Russell fairly than race chief Max Verstappen.
Curiously, nonetheless, the foundations don’t dictate that the security automobile solely exits the pits to choose up the chief.
As an alternative, Article 55.6 says: “The security automobile will be part of the observe with its orange lights illuminated and can achieve this no matter the place the chief is.”
So there was nothing flawed with it initially getting forward of Russell, who had used the calling of the security automobile on lap 48 to dive in to the pits.
Regular process then is for the lights on the highest of the security automobile to be switched from orange to inexperienced, to sign that any automobile operating in entrance of the chief can overtake it.
This then shuffles the lead automobile forwards to go the pack, whereas everybody else finally varieties up in a queue behind.
Critically this was delayed at Monza, which is believed to be as a result of issues the marshals had been having in retrieving Ricciardo’s automobile.
The McLaren was caught in gear and there was no manner for marshals to have the ability to push it clear to the closest hole.
That meant using a crane, which was positioned on the other aspect of the circuit and wanted to cross the observe.
The easiest way to attain this safely was to make sure that there was a sufficiently big hole within the visitors to offer the crane appropriate clear time – so it imply attempting to carry again the practice to provide this buffer.
The Security Automobile George Russell, Mercedes W13, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75
Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Photos
Amid the delay, Russell queried about whether or not or not he may overtake the security automobile, however the orange lights had been nonetheless on which means he couldn’t.
The security automobile stored holding Russell, and even Verstappen was not shaped up within the queue till the tip of lap 50.
It was solely on lap 51, because the practice of automobiles approached the Ascari Chicane, that the security automobile lights lastly turned inexperienced – permitting Russell and the automobiles between him and Verstappen by means of.
However that was solely the primary sequence of what wanted to happen earlier than a restart.
The following stage is that after the chief is shaped up behind the security, then the clerk of the course has the choice to let lapped automobiles overtake.
In Abu Dhabi, it was the selective alternative of selecting out a couple of lapped automobiles that prompted controversy – because it left Verstappen with a buffer behind him from the third-placed automobile.
Since then, with the FIA justifying its determination that day by the foundations having beforehand said that it solely referred to ‘any’ and never ‘all’ lapped automobiles, now the laws have been rewritten to demand that each one lapped automobiles must cross.
However as chief Verstappen lastly headed the queue on the exit of Ascari on lap 51, time was successfully up because of the important thing regulation that was ignored in Abu Dhabi to permit the restart.
As soon as the message that lapped automobiles can overtake is displayed, then the foundations are specific that there must be no less than yet one more lap earlier than the restart.
Article 55.13 states: “As soon as the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been despatched to all Rivals utilizing the official messaging system, the security automobile will return to the pits on the finish of the next lap.”
So the clerk of the course successfully had lower than one minute to resolve whether or not or to not let the lapped automobiles by means of, or the race was executed.
The choice was taken to attend. And the ‘following lap’ demand meant that the discharge couldn’t be given on lap 52, as there might be no restart earlier than the tip of lap 53, which was the chequered flag.
In Abu Dhabi, the FIA ignored the ‘following lap’ requirement and restarted on the finish of the identical lap the lapped automobiles had been launched. It justified that by saying the laws gave the F1 race director full freedom to decide on what guidelines he adopted.
This was primarily based round Article 15.3 which states that the race director shall have ‘overriding authority’ over a variety of issues together with the security automobile.
The Security Automobile Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, the remainder of the sphere
Picture by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Photos
The FIA following the letter of the regulation in Monza meant that by the point Verstappen was lastly on the head of the pack, there was no manner it might be restarted.
And the ‘following lap’ requirement provides additional frustration because it meant two additional laps on the finish behind the security automobile earlier than the flag.
It was at that second the followers began booing, with Ferrari clear their anger was aimed on the FIA and never Max Verstappen himself.
“I believe that the booing from our tifosi was extra in the direction of the FIA,” mentioned Ferrari staff pricipal Mattia Binotto.
“And just by booing the primary automobile and the winner, it was attempting to boo the FIA. The reason being as a result of the tifosi and the folks on the market imagine that the security automobile may have been ended earlier than.”
For seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, he couldn’t however assist discover the distinction between what occurred on Sunday and the way final 12 months’s F1 title battle swung on that ultimate lap in Abu Dhabi.
“It at all times brings recollections again. That’s the guidelines how they need to be learn,” he advised Sky.
“There’s just one time within the historical past of the game that they have not executed the foundations like that immediately and that is the one the place they modified the results of the championship. However it’s what it’s.”