FIA Implements Ban on Pit Lane Impeding ahead of Brazilian GP

BRAZIL: In a bid to enhance safety measures during qualifying sessions, the FIA has introduced a ban on drivers stopping in the fast lane of the pit lane. This move comes after the United States and Mexican Grand Prix rounds witnessed drivers being reprimanded by stewards for impeding traffic flow by obstructing the pit lane.

Previously, a maximum permitted time for an out-lap was implemented to combat hazardous, slow-moving traffic. However, this unintentionally led to drivers attempting to create gaps by delaying their departure from the pit exit, causing further congestion.

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McLaren boss Andrea Stella advocated for changes ahead of the Brazilian GP, a plea that has now been granted. Under the new regulations, any driver who prolongs their stay in the fast lane to create a gap will be considered to be driving in an “unnecessarily slow” manner and will face penalties from the stewards.

Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, Article 33.4, stipulate that drivers are prohibited from driving unnecessarily slowly, including stopping a car in the fast lane of the pit lane. During the sprint shootout and qualifying, drivers may create a gap between the pit exit lights and the Safety Car 2 line, but they must position themselves as far left as possible to allow other drivers to pass on the right side of the pit exit road.

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Max Verstappen, after the Mexican GP, expressed his confusion over the impeding investigation and called for an alternative solution. He emphasized the challenges of balancing the need for gaps while adhering to minimum lap times, highlighting the complexity of finding a suitable compromise. 

With these new measures in place, drivers will be required to devise alternative strategies for creating gaps in the car ahead while staying within the maximum permitted time.

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