George Russell, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

Wittich warns F1 drivers not to back off in three corners ahead of qualifying

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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FIA F1 race director Niels Wittich has instructed drivers not to back off through the blind turns 23 to 25 ahead of qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

In a newly-updated version of the race event notes circulated to all teams on Saturday morning, the race director has warned drivers not to deliberately back off through the fast sequence of corners from turns 23 to 25 in the final sector of the lap in order to create clear air to cars ahead prior to beginning a fast lap attempt.

“Any driver intending to create a gap in front of him in order to get a clear lap should not attempt to
do this around turn 23 through to turn 25,” the direction reads. “Any driver seen to have done this will be reported to the stewards as being in breach of article 33.4 of the Sporting Regulations.”

Article 33.4 refers to driving standards and states that “at no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.”

Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map, 2021
Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map
The direction is identical to that which former race director Michael Masi gave to teams prior to qualifying for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in December.

Yesterday four Formula 2 drivers receiving grid penalties in yesterday’s qualifying after they were judged to have impeded rivals on hot laps through the session.

Williams driver Alexander Albon was handed his first driving reprimand of the season following yesterday’s first practice session after being judged guilty of impeding Mick Schumacher’s Haas through the fast sequence of corners between turns four and 12 in the opening sector.

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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4 comments on “Wittich warns F1 drivers not to back off in three corners ahead of qualifying”

  1. As I started to read this headline I thought it was going like, ‘Wittich warns drivers not to dodge from missiles.’

    1. That’s what the steering wheel is for!

      Definitely going to be a weird atmosphere here on out I’d wager.

  2. Too too dangerous track, beyond any reasonable safety rule. Can they go back 50 / 60 years just fo petro-$$$$ ?? Tomorrow there ll be a crashfest..

  3. Going to be a giant cluster with the queuing.

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