Verstappen’s Cheeky Safety Car Moves Have Been Banned – WTF1
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Verstappen’s Cheeky Safety Car Moves Have Been Banned

If you’ve been watching F1 this year, you’re probably familiar with certain drivers being a bit cheeky on the safety car restarts. One name that pops to mind is reigning World Champ Max Verstappen, who has driven alongside the race leader in the last three races towards the end of the safety car period.

Well, the FIA have taken action, and now these kinds of manoeuvres will no longer be permitted.

In the updated notes from Race Director Niels Wittich over the Australian Grand Prix weekend, it is stressed that the moves we’ve seen in the past are not allowed.

“In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.”

They’ve even included a handy sketch of what is and isn’t allowed, just in case Max had any doubts!

Verstappen has become associated with these sneaky tactics, having pulled up alongside Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car during the final moments of the Abu Dhabi finale last season and on Charles Leclerc in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Do you think it’s right to clamp down on these manoeuvres? Let us know in the comments.

24 thoughts on “Verstappen’s Cheeky Safety Car Moves Have Been Banned

  • Aidan Moore says:

    Why not just have restarts be staggered 2 by 2, like in indycar or nascar? Then everyone has a chance to overtake and everyone knows others are alongside. Shenanigans are unnecessary then

    • Brett Anderson says:

      If a person is 12 seconds ahead, the person in second place should not have an advantage to overtake at the restart.

      It’s simply ridiculous to allow the person in second place the ability to win the race when the leader has been the best car up until that point.

      • So you’re essentially advocating to red flag any thing that can’t be handled by a vsc. There’s a reason a safety car bunches up the pact, to allow marshals a time window to work. Yeah it might be an element of luck that doesn’t sit well with you, but that’s why it is a long season and everyone gets good breaks and tough breaks.

        • Not sure a red flag addresses his issue since that would still bunch up the pack.

          Maybe a red flag followed by a start from the pit lane, but they stagger the release of the cars based on the interval at the time of the red flag?

        • Brett Anderson says:

          Your interpretation and comment makes sense to any piece of the article.

          1. The VSC was not even mentioned in my comment nor the article.
          2. A red flag wasn’t mentioned in the article nor my comment, and completely dismisses the fact that a red flag has nothing to do with incidents that can be driven around.
          3. Allowing someone who’s multiple seconds behind with multiple vehicles in between to pull alongside the person in front, removes all aspects of what the person in front has achieved to that point. That is not a “tough break”. That’s unsportsmanlike.

          • Wewhoeat’s comment seemed to be based on your earlier comment on fairness. VSC is the most ideal since, in theory, gaps prior to the incident should be maintained. That’s why he mentioned it. Unfortunately, VSC does not work in all situations, especially if significant work on track is needed. One could still argue a VSC is not fair since it favors cars that have not pitted already.

            What would you propose to remove the “unsportsmanlike” aspects as you call it?

          • Watch another sport. Literally ALL motosport have SC’s and no complaints of “unsportmanlike” – it’s part of all racing.

          • noneya business says:

            sounds like we have our selves a Lewis Hamilton Fanboy who isn’t over last season yet and that isn’t enjoying this season for the Mercs and poor Toto. Let em race. Thats the point. If the leader had a 12 second lead, then a VSC slows and bunches the pack, its game on just like Lap 1 and since the leader was up 12 seconds then he should have no problem regaining said lead.

      • What I’m understanding from your statement is anytime you can’t throw a virtual safety car needs to be a red flag. A virtual safety car is the only way to slow down the cars without allowing the second-place person to catch up to 1st place

  • Nihil est verum, omnia licet. says:

    For safety concerns I totally get it. But if feels like FIA and the new race directors are now just poking into stuff to be annoying to drivers.

    • Brett Anderson says:

      You mean they are actually looking at the rules, making the rules clearer, and ensuring that the rules aren’t broken by your favored driver?

      • Kellen Walburn says:

        I was thinking the same thing. I understand there is a thing of “too many rules,” but having rules be too vague is also a problem (as we obviously experienced last year. If they can make certain things more black and white with less room for poor interpretation, I’m all for it

  • So what if the car in front breaks hard? Who’s to blame? F1 keeps coming up with stupid rules…

    • “no erratic acceleration or braking” is clearly written in the rules, if the car in front brakes hard then it’s the car in front’s fault. These rules are well written.

  • Louis de Waal says:

    If it wasn’t “illegal” until now then it wasn’t “sneaky tactics”, it was just “tactics”. To this point, this aproach proved to be unsuccessfull. It was perhaps not correct in the spirit of the rules, but it also was not illegal.
    Wtf1, the least you can do is report on the facts without showing your bias.

    • I’d say that a tactic is sneaky if it goes against the spirit of the rules, even if it’s technically legal. And Max’s safety car restarts definitely were sneaky even if technically legal

  • Steve Alfonso says:

    I love the aggressiveness of max but…..it could be seen as impeding the leaders choice of line for the restart.

  • I’m assuming it’s still okay to pull up along side the safety car? Drivers do that all the time as well to encourage them to go faster.

    That said, you should not be allowed to pull up along side and prevent the leader from warming their tires or prevent them from taking a certain line when they decide to bolt.

  • No. How can you fairly regulate erratic braking and acceleration? I guess if they have built in software allowing only say 20% braking and 30% accelleration untill midway last corner they could do it.

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