The F1 regulations are long and detailed, but sometimes there are incidents in the race that ‘become law’ and help unravel complicated issues.
At Imola on Sunday, there were plenty of action-packed incidents, especially under the heading of ‘leaving the track under the Safety Car’, a subject that caught both Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen in the act, the latter punished despite not having taken the slightest advantage, on the contrary.
Obviously, the written regulations must be respected, but in addition to the rules on the track, there is another unwritten rule, which drivers abide by out of respect for their colleagues and which, when violated, generates much more anger among the drivers than various other infractions.
One example is the observance of the ‘little train’ before launching into qualifying in the last sector, an unwritten rule trampled on by Nikita Mazepin both in Bahrain and at Imola in Qualifying.
Further, George Russell following the incident with Bottas in the race stated that the Finn had broken the ‘Gentleman agreement’ between drivers which involves keeping to the millimetre of the line when proceeding at high speed with the DRS open. In GP2 in 2017, for example, Oliver Rowland squeezed Artem Markelov on the straight at very high speed with the Russian going off the track and being forced to change his line further when overtaking.
Valtteri Bottas, however, dismissed the accusation:
“I didn’t violate any unwritten rules,” said the Mercedes driver as reported by motorsport.com,
“I didn’t correct my line in the slightest and it’s clear from every image and shot. Obviously I tried to defend myself and not make it easy to overtake, but I have had and will always have respect for my colleagues.”