Verstappen and Perez call for rule change

Whilst many F1 observers are expecting the next round of disharmony between the Red Bull drivers to explode anytime soon, both ax and Checo are united in their call for the FIA to bring a rule change to the start of each grand prix.

In Bahrain, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was penalised for positioning his car wide of the centre position in his start box, then Fernando Alonso made the same mistake next time up in Jeddah.



New car design causing visibility problems

Clearly, something has changed from last year where this kind of problem was not prevalent. The car design regulations have changed little from 2022, though the revised ride heights and 2023 wheel guard designs are believed to be adding to the confusion.

Neither Ocon or Alonso was gaining an advantage from starting forward of their designated grid position, just that the car was positioned wide of the sidelines on the grid box.

F1 drivers do at times angle their cars across the grid before the start in an attempt to create a straight line start that will put them in front of a competitor to the side of them, though again if their car is behind the front line only a minuscule advantage is gained.

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FIA confused over its own regulations

Both Alonso and Ocon received 5 second penalties for their poor starting positioning of their cars and bizarrely both appeared to then have committed the same error when taking the punishment.

The drivers are required at the next pit stop after receiving a penalty to pull into their pit box and the team must wait 5 seconds before “starting work on the car”.

In Bahrain and Jeddah the Alpine and Aston Martin Jackman touched the car before the end of the 5 seconds and this was deemed a penalty.



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New Sporting reg required over “touching the car”

However, Aston Martin appealed the decision by the stewards claiming that merely touching the car did not breach the rule prohibiting them from “working on the car”. They proved this from documentation from the Sporting Advisory Committee minutes.

The FIA is set to review this tomorrow and a definitive new regulation should then be formed.

TJ13 believes touching the car is difficult to police and should therefore be allowed. The officials in Jeddah had 32 laps an a further 15 minutes to review the video and decide whether Alonso’s jack man was in breach.



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Of course if the new regulation allows the teams to touch the cars when serving a penalty, the wheel guns will be engaged too allowing for an even quicker pit stop than under normal conditions.

This may be considered unfair for the purposes of the F1 history books and record pit stop timings, so its uncertain which way the FIA will go down this route.

However, Max Verstappen and team mate Sergio Perez both believe the starting grid rule that Ocon and Alonso have fallen foul of needs to change.

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Verstappen wants new grid start rule

“It is painful when it happens but it’s a bit the same with the white line with track limits,” said reigning F1 champion Verstappen

“Sometimes you argue – did you gain anything going wide or not, going outside of it? I think at one point we do need a rule [change].

“It looks really silly if people start to take advantage of going really left and right but I don’t know what we can do better.

“The visibility is just really poor in the car, which I think is probably the main issue where you end up sometimes not fully, correctly in your box.”

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Perez calls for better visibility assistance

Sergio believes the F1 drivers require better assistance in knowing where the car is exactly placed to prevent future incidents described by George Russell as “senseless.”

“It’s really difficult to see where you’ve stopped,” said Perez, who in fact stopped to early in his pit box in Jeddah. This gave away a small part of his advantage gained by achieving pole position.

“But you have no idea when you are in the car. You don’t know if you are too far behind or too far forward.

“We need better visibility, to be able to come up with a better idea than we currently have.



TJ13 says, extend the yellow line

“It’s good there is a rule in place, but at the same time, sometimes it’s like luck, to be honest, where you position yourself.”

In recent years as the cars grew larger and larger, the yellow line was added to the F1 grid boxes because the drivers could no longer see where the 3 white lines were anymore. This extended line allows the drivers to know where their car is placed forward in the 3 sided box, but doesn’t help at all with the white lines running along the side of the car.

Were the yellow line to be drawn on either side of the driver’s starting grid box it would give them some idea as to whether they are situated in the middle.

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3 responses to “Verstappen and Perez call for rule change

  1. Seems simple. Sit in a car, figure out the sight lines, draw a box that is visible to adequately judge side and front position. I have registration/reticle marks on my dash and snowplow so I can align my truck to mount the plow. Works within centimeters of accuracy.

    Or maybe hang a tennis ball on a string. Used to do that to keep from closing the garage door on the back of the car.

    Amazing that this is even a problem. Halo saved Grosjean, Leclerc, and Zhou… but they can’t set a usable grid box?

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