FIA drops Verstappen rule


Attending a special media briefing at which he clarified the 2017 regulations, Charlie Whiting confirmed that the so-called 'Verstappen rule' has been dropped.

The rule was introduced last season following a number of incidents involving the Red Bull driver, when the Dutch youngster was accused of moving under braking while defending his position.

"There will be a small change to some of the incidents we saw last year handled slightly differently," said Whiting, "simply because the so-called ‘Verstappen' rule has gone.

"Before, we said any move under braking will be investigated," he continued. "Now we have a simple rule that says, effectively, that if a driver moves erratically or goes unnecessarily slowly or behaves in a manner that could endanger another driver then he will be investigated.

"So, it's a very broad rule now, but what we did after Austin last year if you remember was - no, in Austin last year, sorry - in response to some comments from drivers, was that we used the existing rules to put into the events notes as to how we would interpret the existing rules.

"Then, the interpretation simply was that drivers shouldn't move under braking. That's what gave rise to the incident in Mexico, well, not gave rise to the incident, that's what gave rise to the penalty to Seb (Vettel) in Mexico," he continued referring to the penalty handed to the Ferrari driver for his defence while under attack from Daniel Ricciardo.

"Now that will be dealt with slightly differently in that the stewards will be invited to simply focus on every incident and judge it on its own merits. So each incident will be dealt with only on the basis of whether it was a dangerous manoeuvre, not necessarily because he moved under braking.

In a bid to aid race stewards, a collection of incidents has been placed on video - available at all good... - for them to study.

"That was the request from the teams," revealed Whiting, "they wanted less investigation, only in cases where it was clearly dangerous would there be action.

"We had a meeting yesterday with all the stewards, and we reviewed all the controversial incidents from last year to see how they would be dealt with under the so-called new rules, or the new approach. I won't go into it now, but it was quite interesting. Things would have been dealt with differently, in some cases.

"What we've done to try and help the stewards is to introduce what we call a video archive system, which allows them to instantly refer to other incidents of a similar nature. So without having to trawl through and try and remember what happened to so and so, they'll be able to pull up any similar incident. They'll be sorted by type of incident, for example; 'causing a collision', click, click, click, six of those incidents, see what the decisions were, and that should be able to give the stewards not only more chance to be consistent, but also faster."

Whiting also clarified that the rule whereby a driver can only make one move whilst defending his position remains as is.

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Article from Pitpass (

Published: 23/03/2017
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