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FIA to tighten controls on slow lap times during new F1 season

FIA to tighten controls on slow lap times during new F1 season

28 February - 09:11

The FIA will pay strict attention to speeds during qualifying for Grands Prix in the 2024 Formula 1 season. The new season gets underway in Bahrain this weekend. In the FIA's weekend notes, race director Niels Wittich explained the decision made to adjust speeds during qualifying.

Last season, a lap time in qualifying was already used during a couple of weekends. The FIA were concerned about this because if drivers are allowed to go as slow as they want, they can very easily hinder a driver on a fast lap. This then makes for unfair qualifying. It has also been known to cause blockages at the end of the lap.

FIA to tighten controls

A driver who drives too slowly in qualifying will be investigated after the qualifying session. Last season, we saw many drivers deliberately driving very slowly in the pit lane in order to circumvent this rule and create a big gap on the track, but from the new season, this will also be prohibited.

The race director's note state: "Drivers must stay on or below the maximum time set by the FIA ECU at least once in each marshalling sector and at both the first and second safety car lines (a marshalling sector is defined as the section of track between each of the FIA light panels). Any driver that exceeds the maximum time set by the FIA ECU may be deemed to be going unnecessarily slowly. Incidents will normally be investigated after the qualifying session. For the avoidance of doubt, this does not supersede Article 33.4 and Article 37.5 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, which apply to the entire Circuit, furthermore this includes the pit lane as well."

Max Verstappen, among others, came under a magnifying glass after doing so last season. Immediately after the Dutchman's action, it became clear that this was not the intention and that such actions would be punished from the next Grand Prix onwards.