Esteban Ocon, Kimi Raikkonen, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

F1 drivers’ defensive moves have become more “rude” – Raikkonen

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers have become more aggressive in their defensive moves in recent years, Kimi Raikkonen believes.

The sport’s most experienced competitor, who made his debut 20 years ago, believes drivers have become more uncompromising when fighting each other for position.

“I think in the past, when I started, it was probably a bit more fair games in a way between drivers,” said Raikkonen. “If you were overtaking, I wouldn’t say that somebody let you past but it maybe wasn’t so rude, in a way, or blocking that much, or doing those things.”

The sport has tightened its regulations around what drivers may and may not do when trying to pass each other, Raikkonen added.

“We didn’t need rules for this kind of thing in that time,” he said. “Obviously every sport has changed over years and it’s a part of the thing.”

He sees this as one of the biggest changes in how drivers face each other on-track in modern F1.

“The big difference is that they made a rule for everything,” Raikkonen said. “There’s so many rules that whatever you basically do you can find a rule for it. If it’s good or bad for you that depends, obviously what you have done.”

During the last race Lando Norris was shown the black-and-white ‘unsporting conduct’ flag for making a late defensive move on Carlos Sainz Jnr during the last race.

He said he accepted the warning. “I moved quite late in my defence,” Norris admitted.

“I think sometimes it’s just very difficult to know the approaching speed of the car behind. When he’s in DRS, he’s in the slipstream, it obviously starts at not much and the further you go down the straight the quicker and the more it ramps up.

“It’s just I moved a little bit too late in my defence. But it was a fair one so nothing to really argue against.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “F1 drivers’ defensive moves have become more “rude” – Raikkonen”

  1. We can “thank” Verstappen for that.
    Had he duly received more penalties and even a ban years ago – everything would be fine.

    1. @fakeblower
      We can “thank” Lewis for that.
      Had he duly received more penalties and even a ban in 2011 – everything would be fine.

      Last I checked, Lewis took out more drivers in a single race with his borderline psychotic driving than Max did in his entire year.
      (Didn’t Lewis even crash in the back of Kimi IN THE FRIKKIN’ PITLANE? How psychotic can you have it……)

      1. He is talking about blocking, you don’t need to bring all the crashes caused by drivers in the past. Facepalmer is right in that sense, Verstappen was the first person who blocked Kimi that way making them enforce a new rule.

        Not saying that it’s bad. Verstappens appearance in F1 brough a lot of exciting races but he is the reason for that rule.

        1. He also brought the verstopper, that kerb in austin, which worked since he broke suspension in qualifying or something, saying this in a fun way since I’m a vers fan.

      2. “fakeblower”? You tried tagging his username and then it got autocorrected?

      3. We can “thank” Schumacher for that.
        Had he duly received more penalties and even a ban in the ‘90s – everything would be fine.

        1. I’d say the first name of the ruddest and most unsportsmanlike driver of all time was Ayrton

          1. we can thank Luigi Fagioli for that

      4. “Lewis took out more drivers in a single race with his borderline psychotic driving than Max did in his entire year” Statements like this only serve to question your own mental stability.

    2. I think Raikkonen is from a time before Hamilton, if you recall, and I am pretty sure Schumacher inspired some of the ones that came after, as did (still) Senna, but definitely something that started before Verstappen; clearly Hamilton especially in 2008,09,11 saw several rule ‘clarifications’ happen so I suppose he was a direct inspiration (even if you may think they were a tad more new than just clarifications, and/or undeserved, he clearly had something to do with it).

      Now, in the middle 2000s when Raikkonen started, there was maybe less need to do the overtake on track bc. fuel-strategy was king, while now it’s a single (or when lucky two-)stopper race for tyres, and it is harder to overtake with these cars while the field in general is a lot closer, with the top 15 regularly within 1,5s. None of that helps makes it so that drivers have less incentive to be aggressive on defense (though keeping tyres alive certainly does, but the need to makes it again harder to maintain a fight). I am still glad to see that, apart from mistakes at times, Raikkonen is still a clean and good opportunistic overtaker, showing it is still possible, and Hamilton has learned to be generally pretty clean too, for example.

      1. Kimi started 2001. It says so in the article.
        As for Lewis I recall when he and Massa had a vendetta going, barging into each other every race. This was around 2009. Some questioned if he had eyesight problems. They even carried on their quarrels in the interview area. Generally, Massa yapped away while Lewis sought comfort in his drinks bottle.

    3. @grabbingANYopportunity..

  2. If the driver coming from behind is ahead at the normal braking point then he deserves space, otherwise it’s your corner and he can go off the track.

  3. isthatglock21
    19th May 2021, 15:49

    Always feels like a lot of the new kids like Lando spend countless hours locked away in dark rooms on the sims…And if you’ve ever been in these sim races (even the most competitive ones) pretty much anything goes. Except in reality you really will go flying into a wall if it all goes wrong or you’ll send someone else flying.

  4. Could DRS have some kind of an effect for this. I don’t think it’s totally wrong kind of driving but just evolving. Today drivers are basically waiting for that 1s gap to open and then try the overtake. Before 2011 you just tried to get as close as possible (dirty air was still a problem) and then make the move.

    1. The speed difference between car having DRS open and car having DRS closed is much bigger than it was when overtaking was more about just slipstreaming and engine power, so you have a point here.

  5. Tarmac run-off areas and extended kerbs also have an impact as it has given drivers more opportunities to take liberties when it comes to overtaking/defending. In a two-fold situation, the inside driver can push drivers off knowing that the outside driver can easily recover the situation without significant time loss.

    The above comment about simulators is also a good point as there is no consequence to a massive crash, so again, younger drivers feel as if they can take more risks.

  6. Given Kimi Raikkonen’s back history of attempted overtakes in recent years, I’m seriously trying to guess who he’s talking about.

    1. @david-br Just look back the last race and see how many drivers suddenly jinked to the inside at the end of the straight.

  7. Raikkonen is by far the fairest driver out there.

  8. An unprecedentedly long speech from Kimi who isn’t one to exaggerate. When there’s nothing to say he’s your man for refusing to make stuff up. So when he speaks more than 20 words the world should listen with gratitude.

  9. Shut up, he knows what he’s talking about.

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