Michael Masi, FIA’s Racing director had a meeting with the drivers this Friday, showcasing some examples of what is not going to be tolerated anymore in Formula One races.
After last year’s traumatizing Romain Grosjean’s crash, the FIA decided to tighten the regulations concerning first lap incidents as well as late defensive moves in races. It looks like all the teams are in agreement with this decision.
“Based on some feedback and the ongoing discussions that we have with the drivers, and team sporting directors and team principals, there was a feeling under the let them race principle we needed to sort of dial that back a little bit regard to the first lap incidents, (…) They will still be treated, let’s call it, in a different way to incidents on any other lap of the race,” said Michael Masi to motorsport.com
To support his argument, Masi showcased some video footage of last year’s incidents that will not be accepted anymore from now on. The first lap incident involving Leclerc and Stroll was taken as an example as well as Perez’s defensive move on Gasly in Portimao.
“The incident in Russia [involving Stroll and Leclerc] was one that we said would not be tolerated, (…) Lance was the car turned around, Charles was the aggressor, let’s say,” says Masi.
“If you’re in a group of cars, obviously, it’s far more difficult to apportion where something sits. But if there are two cars on their lonesome, and someone is wholly or predominantly to blame, it’s likely that it will be looked at a bit closer and not as liberally as it has,” he added.
After complaints from the drivers themselves, late defensive moves under braking will also be very strictly reprimanded. Masi commented:
“They said this is something that we need to crack down on, more and more from a safety perspective. And we’re continuing very much along that road, which they’re all in favor of.”
These new specifications might make the first laps of Formula One races a little less interesting than before as the drivers should be more careful in these. It is however necessary to always improve safety in motorsports where a driver’s life is of course way more important than spectacle. We should therefore be thankful that the FIA is always doing its best to improve safety and to prevent tragic moments.