New two for Toro Reaffirming its role as
Red Bull’s training wheels, Scuderia
Toro Rosso has dumped both its 2011
drivers in favor of rookies Daniel
Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
The show Schumacher and Hamilton
put on at Monza last year stirred a lot of
discussion about defensive moves in F1.
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The FIA clarifies its stance on defensive driving, although it isn’t likely to diminish
the arguments as to what separates good racing from dangerous driving
In a bid to further differentiate “defensive driving” from
“blocking” in Formula 1, the FIA moved – twice – in the
off-season to spell out what is and is not permitted.
International motorsport’s ruling body had stated at the end
of last year that, for the upcoming season, drivers would not be
allowed to move back onto the racing line after having moved
off it to defend their position. However, the new sporting rules
that emerged in early January state that drivers will, in fact, be
allowed to move back onto the racing line – but must leave
enough room between their car and the edge of the track when
The ruling body insisted just one move will be allowed to
defend a position from a rival.
“More than one change of direction to defend a position is
not permitted. Any driver moving back toward 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,” the new regulation states.
The clarification followed a season that featured spirited
debate about whether battling drivers were putting on a show
or pushing the limits of acceptable behavior. A case in point
was Michael Schumacher’s spirited defense against Lewis
Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix, which the latter’s McLaren
team insisted had bordered on dangerous driving, but drew
equally vociferous support from
Schumacher’s Mercedes squad.
“I think he was warned twice by the
stewards during the event, so they
presumably saw it was a bit tough,” said
McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh.
“Michael did a great job,” countered
Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche. “It was
a thrilling battle...pure racing! I was so
excited that I almost wanted to climb
inside the TV!” Which, of course, is
precisely the kind of reaction everyone
says they want F1 to evoke...
The FIA also clarified the rule stating
that lapped cars will be allowed to unlap
themselves and then join at the back of
More than one change
of direction to defend a
position is not permitted
the field during safety car periods.
“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. 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.”