New driving standards ahead of F1 season start

Formula 1 drivers have been given new driving standards guidelines before the 2022 season.

The move is part of the series of changes governing body the FIA has made to try to learn the lessons from the mistakes made last year.

The new guidelines outline the ways in which drivers overtaking and being overtaken must behave while fighting.

The onus is on drivers to take responsibility for matters such as gaining advantage by leaving the track.

This is a significant shift away from the manner in which former FIA race director Michael Masi personally intervened to tell drivers who had gone off track and gained a position to return it, and is likely to lead to more penalties.

Racing ethics became a major issue throughout 2021, especially in the context of Max Verstappen’s aggressive racing tactics.

The new rules lay out guidelines for manoeuvres where cars are overtaking both on the inside and outside.

The guidelines have not been published beyond the teams, but they have been seen by BBC Sport.

Overtaking on the inside

The new guidelines dictate that a driver being overtaken must give “sufficient room to an overtaking car” if “a significant portion” is alongside.

The overtaking manoeuvre must be done “in a safe and controlled manner, while enabling the car to remain within the limits of the track”.

The rules do not explicitly define what “a significant portion” of a car means, but they say that “among the various factors that will be looked at by the stewards… they will consider if the overtaking car’s front tyres are alongside the other car by no later than the apex of the corner”.

Overtaking on the outside

The same rules apply for overtaking on the outside. The FIA says that the requirement for a driver being overtaken to give “sufficient room” becomes active when “a significant portion” of the attacking car is alongside, with the same requirement for the manoeuvre to be safe and controlled.

The definition of “significant portion” again remains not precise but it does define that one factor considered will be “if the overtaking car is ahead of the other car from the apex of the corner”.

It adds: “The car being overtaken must be capable of making the corner while remaining within the limits of the track.”

This rule would have guaranteed a penalty for Verstappen in his infamous fight with Lewis Hamilton at Turn Four in Brazil last year. (BBC)

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