Date:Thursday January 5 2012
The FIA have moved to clarify the change in the regulations which was announced last month.
The regulation changes which were reported on VitalF1.com in December have brought in a three-day test session during the season and a number of other technical rule changes, a change to tyre rules and changes to the race regulations.
The main area for clarification has come from the altered regulation in regards to drivers defending their position and the rule for lapped drivers behind a safety car.
The initial alteration regarding defending stated that drivers who make a move to defend their position away from the racing line would be prevented from returning to it before the corner.
This was announced due to a number of drivers returning to the racing line after defending the inside of the corner and ultimately being able to block the attacking driver twice.
The most notable incident of last season was between Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton in Italy.
Schumacher's Mercedes was clearly slower than the McLaren of Hamilton, but for a number of laps Schumacher continually blocked Hamilton, once on the inside of the corner and again on the racing line.
On one occasion Schumacher even forced Hamilton on to the grass to avoid a collision, while the Mercedes team received a number of warnings from race director Charlie Whiting for the incident, which eventually cost Hamilton a position to team-mate Jenson Button, Schumacher was not penalised.
However the new alterations and clarification of the rule from the FIA looks likely to have cleared up the problems of last year.
'More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted. Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off-line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner,'
We will have to wait and see how the race stewards implement the latest rules and see if it creates more or less penalties for drivers who are trying to be aggressive and overtake.
The rule for lapped cars during a safety car period was also clarified.
Under the new safety car rules, lapped drivers will be able to unlap themselves and rejoin the queue behind the safety car at the back of the line, this will then enable the lead drivers to race for position as soon as the safety car pulls back into the pits and the race resumes.
Lapped cars will have to wait for clearance to do this, with the new rules stating clearly when drivers are able and are not able to pass the lead cars and safety car: 'If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message 'LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE' is shown on the timing monitors, any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car,' the rules state.
'This will only apply to cars that were lapped at the time they crossed the Line at the end of the lap during which they crossed the first Safety Car line for the second time after the safety car was deployed.
'Having overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the safety car these cars should then proceed around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and take up position at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car. Whilst they are overtaking, and in order to ensure this may be carried out safely, the cars on the lead lap must always stay on the racing line unless deviating from it is unavoidable.
'If the clerk of the course considers track conditions are unsuitable for overtaking the message 'OVERTAKING WILL NOT BE PERMITTED' will be shown on the timing monitors.'
Date:Thursday January 5 2012
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