After the Monaco Grand Prix, Ferrari filed a protest against both Red Bull Racing drivers. Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez crossed the yellow line when exiting the pit lane, according to the Italian racing stable, and this is prohibited under Formula 1 regulations. Nevertheless, the FIA has ultimately decided not to penalize the two drivers of the Austrian racing stable. What are the rules of Formula 1? Did Ferrari rightly protest? F1Maximum highlights the matter.
During the Monaco Grand Prix, little attention was paid to the possible wrongdoing of Verstappen and Pérez. The Dutchman’s incident was still in the picture, while Pérez’s moment was not repeated once. It became clear to the three-time race winner that the incident had taken place as it emerged that the noted – noted – was by race officials. Such a message did not appear for Verstappen’s incident. Ferrari had noted both incidents and after the race management decided not to penalize the Red Bull drivers, the Italian racing stable went to recover.
What are the rules of Formula 1?
After the fiasco at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021, the FIA sought to clarify the rules in Formula 1. For Ferrari, the rules regarding the line at the end of the pit lane were crystal clear, but race management decided not to respond to the incidents of the Red Bull drivers. The first question is therefore: is there clarity? The answer to that question is no. After all, Formula 1 works with so-called Event Notes in addition to the rules of the sport. Event Notes are specific to a particular Grand Prix weekend and are subject to change as the weekend progresses. Think of the rules regarding track limits during the Qatar Grand Prix in 2021.
There is a discrepancy between the Event Notes of the Monaco Grand Prix and the FIA International Sporting Codethe sporting regulations. The 2022 Formula 1 rules state that a car may not cross the white line, in this case the yellow line, at the end of the pit lane. If one of the tires is completely over this line, the drivers are in violation. In addition, the race management takes force majeure into account. If a driver spins, he will not be penalized. The Event Notes from the race, however, stated that the riders should stay to the right of the yellow line. On that basis, the Ferrari team decided to protest.
The incidents of Pérez and Verstappen
Although the images of Pérez were not broadcast by the director of the Monaco Grand Prix, they can certainly be found on the internet. It is not clear from the onboard images of the Red Bull driver whether he remains to the right of the line or not. Looking at the sporting regulations, it becomes clear that the driver adheres to them. After all, the Mexican does not completely cross the yellow line with his left front tire. In addition, Pérez has difficulty keeping his RB18 under control, which means that the race management can argue that there is force majeure here.
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The picture of Verstappen is a lot clearer when it comes to the Event Notes. The reigning world champion simply does not keep his car to the right of the yellow line. Where it becomes a bit more difficult for the race management is in complying with the sporting regulations. It is unclear whether the left front tire is completely over the yellow line. Moreover, the Dutchman has to deal with the same problems as his teammate. The driver comes out on cold, hard tires and therefore has hardly any grip in the first corner. So the race management may again be dealing with force majeure here.
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Did Ferrari have a leg to stand on?
The Event Notes in Formula 1 therefore apply specifically to a particular Grand Prix weekend. Looking at these rules, Ferrari should have been proved right by the race management, but the Italian team did not get that. This was not due to the possible force majeure at Pérez and Verstappen, but because the race management followed the sporting regulations. Why did they do that? Because they made a mistake prior to the race weekend.
Eduardo Freitas, race director on duty in Monte Carlo, made the opposite The Race known that the notes had been copied from the Monaco race in 2021. The rules drawn up for 2022 were therefore not respected. had the Event Notes 2021 had still applied to last Sunday’s race, Verstappen may have already received a penalty during the race, while Pérez probably had to wait a few more hours in suspense.
Would there have been a way out for Red Bull?
The way out for Verstappen was therefore mainly the opportunity to invoke the sporting regulations of Formula 1, but also with the rules of 2021 he would not necessarily have had to receive a penalty. As noted earlier, the driver, along with his teammate, may have been dealing with force majeure. Last year, Michael Masi also had to deal with a similar situation. Then it concerned Lando Norris who wanted to drive into the pit lane at the Sochi Autodrom, but the driver was unable to do so. The driver slipped out of the pit lane again and decided to cross the white line again despite this slip.
This would normally have resulted in a penalty (think of Lewis Hamilton during the German Grand Prix in 2019, ed.), but the fact that Norris drove with slicks on a wet track, he got away with it. In Monaco the track was still damp on Sunday, and Verstappen and Pérez were still driving on cold slicks. So the race management could have stroked her heart.
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Mattia Binotto said earlier that Ferrari was mainly looking for clarification and did not necessarily want to see a penalty for the Red Bull drivers. The clarification was therefore ultimately the most important, as Formula 1 had to deal with conflicting messages last weekend. Looking at the Event Notes is it strange that especially Verstappen was not punished, but the Sporting Code then acquits the Red Bull driver.
After the whole situation it became clear that race management should have paid more attention before the weekend. A careless mistake that could have been avoided would also have prevented an unnecessary discussion. Still, it was not yet certain that Verstappen and Perez would be penalized if the 2021 rules were followed. The drivers came out on slicks on a wet track and that created some precarious moments.