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Stewards to ease up on collision penalties

NEWS STORY
24/01/2017

While Max Verstappen had race fans on the edge of their seats in 2016 - as in 2015 - race stewards were on their toes.

Such was the Dutch racer's robust defence of his position when under attack, the FIA was called on to clarify the rules, essentially giving the Red Bull driver the all-clear.

Indeed, Verstappen's arrival has got officials a little jittery, and as a result of a number of incidents - not necessarily involving the youngster - this season race stewards have been called on to take a more relaxed view of in-race clashes.

One incident, not involving Verstappen, that few agreed with was Nico Rosberg's clash with Kimi Raikkonen in Malaysia, the German incurring a points penalty. Speaking after the race Mercedes team boss described the stewards decision as "complete nonsense".

Indeed, so jittery were the stewards becoming that on those rare occasions when a driver was tempted to overtake, fearing a penalty, said driver often opted to play safe. Indeed, in the season finale, battling for the title, Rosberg had to take a major gamble in making a move on Verstappen, and not just in terms of the youngster's known aggression.

Following last week's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council; "unless it is clear to the stewards that a driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for an incident no penalty will be imposed".

Indeed, from now on it will be up to the stewards to decide whether they want to investigate an incident reported to them by the Race Director: "The race director may report any on-track incident or suspected breach of these Sporting Regulations or the Code (an “Incident”) to the stewards. After review it shall be at the discretion of the stewards to decide whether or not to proceed with an investigation".

In another move sure to create a buzz, drivers who incur a time penalty, drive-through or stop-and-go penalty during a race but are unable to serve it due to a DNF may incur a grid penalty at the following race.

In addition to confirming that races will now feature standing starts following Safety Car periods, a revised timetable has been issued for the period before the race.

Following a couple of late arrivals for the national anthem ceremony last year, this year, in an attempt to ensure all the drivers are present the pitlane - once opened - will close ten minutes later, leaving twenty minutes before the race. Drivers must then be at the head of the grid for the ceremony which will take place 14 minutes before the start.

Sadly, this rule will not be relaxed if the singer of the anthem is the winner of a reality TV show.

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 07/02/2017 11:11

"I always liked dodgem cars....F1 is saved!!!!"

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2. Posted by Usedtobe, 28/01/2017 20:11

"First thing to do is to get rid of those front wings. With the cars generating more drag and those tires allowing to turn closer to the previuos car, if they didn't to rely on those front wings and their need of clean air, we might didn't DRS. "

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