The FIA has told drivers it will no longer tolerate moving under braking following Max Verstappen's defensive manoeuvre at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Verstappen has attracted criticism from several drivers this season for his tactic of moving across to defend position in the braking zone, something Kimi Raikkonen predicted will one day lead to a big accident. In Japan Verstappen did it again to defend position against Lewis Hamilton, forcing the world champion into evasive action.
Raikkonen's earlier grievances with Verstappen were also linked with the vague wording of the regulations, something that was raised in Friday's driver briefing at Austin's Circuit of the America's. Following that discussion FIA race director Charlie Whiting updated the event notes to reflect the fact he will no longer allow drivers to make any change of direction under braking in future.
The note said: "Article 27.5 of the Sporting Regulations states that '...no car may be driven...in a manner which could be potentially dangerous to other drivers...', furthermore, Article 27.8 prohibits any manoeuvre '...liable to hinder other drivers, such as...any abnormal change of direction'," the revised race notes read.
"With this in mind, and with the exception of any move permitted by Article 27.6, any change of direction under braking which results in another driver having to take evasive action will be considered abnormal and hence potentially dangerous to other drivers. Any such move will be reported to the stewards."
This means stewards can now impose a penalty of their choosing if they think a driver moves under braking.
Whiting also took the opportunity to tighten up the rules surrounding blue flags, which are shown to slower cars to warn them they are about to be lapped. A number of backmarkers had been pushing the rules to the limit in order to lessen the impact on their own races, but now the FIA has come up with a system to ensure the slower drivers have no excuse for not getting out of the way.
"Article 27.9 of the Sporting Regulations requires drivers who are caught by another car about to lap him to allow the faster driver past at the first available opportunity," the event notes stated. The F1 Marshalling System has been developed in order to ensure that the point at which a driver is shown blue flags is consistent, rather than trusting the ability of marshals to identify situations that require blue flags. Whilst this has been largely successful the way in which teams and drivers use the system seems to have become inconsistent.
"From now onwards the system will be set to give a pre-warning when the faster car is within 3.0s of the car about to be lapped, this should be used by the team of the slower car to warn their driver he is soon going to be lapped and that allowing the faster car through should be considered a priority. When the faster car is within 1.0s of the car about to be lapped blue flags will be shown to the slower car (in addition to blue cockpit lights and a message on the timing monitors) and the driver must allow the following driver to overtake at the first available opportunity.
"It should be noted that the aim of using F1MS is ensure consistent application of the rules, additional instructions may also be given by race control when necessary."