Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2022

The rule tweak and ‘cut-and-paste’ which explain how Verstappen avoided a penalty

2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Ferrari were unsuccessful in their protest against the two Red Bull drivers over alleged pit lane exit violations during the Monaco Grand Prix.

The stakes were high in the case before the stewards. Red Bull had won the race with Sergio Perez and his team mate Max Verstappen had finished third.

The stewards took over four-and-a-half hours to publish their verdicts, which rejected Ferrari’s protest on both counts. However, Verstappen had come closer to breaking the rule than his team mate.

The matter centred on whether the drivers had crossed the line at the pit lane exit as they rejoined the track. This is a long-established rule which periodically gets broken and Ferrari were able to cite a recent example of a driver being penalised for doing so: Yuki Tsunoda in Austria last year.

After scrutinising footage of the two incidents, it became clear Perez had touched the line with his tyre, but had not strayed beyond it to the asphalt beyond.

Verstappen’s situation was different. As viewers on the television feed saw from his onboard camera during the race, part of his front-left tyre did go beyond the line. The same was true of his rear-left.

At a hearing attended by Ferrari and Red Bull, “all parties agreed that car one [Verstappen] did have part of its front left and rear left tyre on the left side of the yellow line,” the stewards noted.

However the tyre did not fully cross the line. “All parties agreed that most of the left front and left rear tyres of that car remained on the yellow line,” added the stewards.

Had Verstappen committed the same infringement in last year’s race, he might have found himself in trouble. At that time, article five of chapter four of Appendix L of the International Sporting Code stated:

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“Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards), any line painted on the track at the pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pits from those on the track must not be crossed by any part of a car leaving the pits.” (Emphasis added.)

However, this section of the rules has been revised since then. The rule now refers to a tyre ‘crossing’ the line, rather than any part of a car. The relevant rule, article 5 (c) of the same chapter, now states:

“Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards), any tyre of a car exiting the pit lane must not cross any line painted on the track at the pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pit lane from those on the track.” (Emphasis added.)

Because only part of Verstappen’s tyre crossed the line, and not the complete tyre, he was deemed to have obeyed the rules. “In this case, the car did not ‘cross’ the line,” ruled the stewards, “to do so it would have needed to have a full wheel to the left of the yellow line.”

FIA Formula 1 race director Eduardo Freitas admitted this change to the ISC had not been reflected in the pre-race Event Notes issued to teams ahead of the Monaco race. “The race director stated that… the notes were a ‘cut and paste’ from the 2021 version of the Notes and hence had not been changed to reflect the 2022 Appendix L changes,” the stewards explained.

Ferrari called attention to the event notes in their protest. However, the stewards noted, it is the ISC which carries force. “Article 2.1 of the 2022 Formula One Sporting Regulations provides that ‘All… officials… undertake to observe all the provisions of … the Code, …the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations…'” they pointed out.

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“This places an obligation on the race director (and the stewards) to comply with those regulations,” added the stewards. “Accordingly, the notes issued by the race director cannot contradict the Code or the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.”

When asked by RaceFans why they had brought the protest, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said the team were “seeking clarification on a matter which for us is obvious and clear.”

“In the past it has always been penalised with a five-second penalty,” he added. “It’s clearly written that, since Turkey 2020… that you need to stay on the right of the yellow line.”

The ruling of the stewards has clarified the matter, though Ferrari were surely also hoping the five-second penalty would be applied to Verstappen. That would have cut the gap between him and Leclerc in the championship from nine points to three, and gone some way towards recovering the points squandered by their tactical blunder in today’s race.

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2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Author information

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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64 comments on “The rule tweak and ‘cut-and-paste’ which explain how Verstappen avoided a penalty”

  1. Jose Lopes da Silva
    29th May 2022, 22:09

    Changing milimetric rules with no one notice (no drivers, no teams, let alone the fans) is the real DNA of F1.
    Thanks for keeping up with the traditions.

    1. If Verstappen has been reading the updates to the ISC that closely, and making allowances in his driving accordingly, then fair play to him!

      1. James Cahill
        29th May 2022, 22:32

        I mean he lost control of the car and skidded onto (apparently we needed a change to make everything more confusing) the line. He was nearly fully opposite lock. Let’s not pretend that he did this on purpose.

        1. It was wet with a slick should be the exception clearly as it happens at the end of the line.

      2. @keithcollantine Exactly. Not that I blame Ferrari for asking for clarification given the 6 points it could have meant CL’s way, and as always it can potentially be a fine line between allowed and not.

      3. José Lopes da Silva
        30th May 2022, 20:24

        I’m fine with it. I’m a Verstappen fan, actually. The thing is that I remember Coulthard being penalised in Magny-Cours for touching (not crossing) the pitlane exit line, and later peacefully accepting it. One thinks that knows and understands the rules, but one doesn’t – if most drivers don’t, how could fans do…
        Knowing the rules book is mandatory for drivers – another requirement where Verstappens excels, apparently!

      4. José Lopes da Silva
        30th May 2022, 21:02

        Honestly. Let’s return to the most dramatic and controverse title decider of 70+ years history of the sport(still more than the ’21, IMO). Two drivers stall their cars in the middle of a chicane. Why does one driver get out of the car and why does the other one insist in get going?

        Given the points table, we know the real reasons. My point is, if that was a videogame, both cars would be following the same rules and both would behave the same way. It that was a football game, the referee would whistle, and the players would wait for a referee decision because both would agree on a minimum principle: the game could not go on until the referee made is mind. They might go nuts about the decision, but they would not ignore the basic rule, like picking the ball and move on before the whistle, and try for an appeal after the game.

        I’m not even going into the question that, famously, car number 1 cut the chicane. That would be an aditional question, complicating even more the issue.

        We all know that in the 20th century racing was deadly dangerous so drivers would abstain themselves for going for unnecessary risks and rules were not needed. However, over the last 3 decades we should have had the time to get some predictability. Otherwise, we can just accept that these rule twists, cuts-and-pastes and general shenanigans are just part of the sport tradition – just like watching Senna frantically claiming for a push while Prost jumps the fence.

  2. So basically nothing to see here.

    1. Everything to see, race director notes are no longer enforceable.

      1. I read it as a clarification of the hierarchy between ISC and RD notes.

        “Accordingly, the notes issued by the race director cannot contradict the Code or the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.”

        But I guess being more dramatic suits you better :P

  3. Based on their regulations, the decision seems correct (if confused by the race director’s notes). But the rule change seems odd: not allowing any part of the tyre on the line seems a clearer and more stringent ruling for safety purposes, while allowing almost all the tyre means a potentially slower car leaving the pits can encroach on the active race track, presumably what the rule is supposed to avoid happening.

    1. Exactly! Wouldn’t this allow both cars to have a wheel on the same line? Seems to defeat the purpose of a line of separation.

  4. Proesterchen_nli
    29th May 2022, 22:50

    As viewers on the television feed saw from his onboard camera during the race, part of his front-left tyre did go beyond the line. The same was true of his rear-left.

    I will contend that it was Charles Leclerc’s onboard camera that actually provided a view of the alleged transgression.

    1. TenLizards MinusOne
      29th May 2022, 23:30

      Saying that he crossed requires proof. So, proof please

      I watched and replayed, and too bad… Nope. He didn’t cross that line.

      1. You must have accidentally replied to the wrong comment.

  5. So we’ve now made up a new interpretation of a well established rule to not make the FIA look idiots for handing out a trophy to the wrong person. I mean Verstappen gained nothing from it in reality but making up new interpretation of rules always ends up in a farce later.

  6. I thought the race director’s notes was a way of overriding certain rules for a specific track. Now they’re saying that’s not the case and the notes are for entertainment purposes only. Seems like they’re trying to do such a poor job we all say bring Masi back.

    1. @bassclef Yep, it’s the complete opposite of how the event notes were treated at Monza in 2019, when Vettel left the track at Parabolica according to the ISC but was ruled legal due to the event notes—not to mention, every instance in the past several years when the stewards willingly enforced Masi’s revised track limits, in direct contradiction to the ISC definition.

      The race director should not be ignoring the ISC, but neither is it a workable structure to place the burden on teams to know when to ignore the race director’s explicit directions, and to exploit that for competitive advantage.

      1. @markzastrow thing is really that in the past, race director notes could override the rules. The fact that the notes allowed the drivers to not respect track limits at certain corners of any given track is proof of that.

        We have to take into account that the new stewards are clearly trying to be strict with rules and enforce them as worded in the ISC and in the specific F1 regs. This makes it so that we are now at a time where they may seem inconsistent, but they’re really only inconsistent compared with the standards of refereeing we had until last year.

        If they are strict with the rules, and remain consistent in doing so going forwards, then I’m all for it.

        Lastly, not allowing the RD to override the rules is without any doubt a consequence of what happened in AD last year. In the case of Max’s pit exit, it seems they followed the rules to the letter. Now we might argue that the rule in itself should be improved then fine, but they are working with the rule book as it is.

  7. Coventry Climax
    29th May 2022, 23:45

    Sorry @KeithCollantine, but I fail to see how the old wording would have changed anything: Which part exactly of the car would have then completely crossed the line? A wing endplate? That’s part of the wing it’s the endplate of, and the entire wing crossing the line never happened. There’s nothing much else I can think of that’s a separate car part and positioned wider than the tyres.
    Nothing to see here folks, move on.

  8. A billion-dollar sport and the Event Notes are a cut-and-paste job not reflecting relevant changes made. Sure, the guy responsible for it is probably not paid properly…

    I would love to work in F1: a huge amount of money swirling around but every instance of incompetency is explained away or accepted as is (from clueless broadcast directors to traffic mayhem to questionable stewarding decisions).

  9. Neil (@neilosjames)
    30th May 2022, 4:32

    “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards), any tyre of a car exiting the pit lane must not cross any line painted on the track at the pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pit lane from those on the track.”

    Think that’s still open to interpretation. It doesn’t say ‘any full tyre’ or ‘any part of the tyre’, and it doesn’t specify how much of the line they are not allowed to cross. The stewards could have made a decision either way, and pointed to that rule, and no one could have argued with them.

    But at least it’s now clarified until the next copy/paste job.

    1. I disagree.
      If it says ‘any tyre’ and ‘cross’ then there is only one way of interpreting it.
      ‘Touching’ and ‘partially passing’ is not ‘crossing’.

      1. Where is the edge of the painted line, the inside or outside? Whichever you decide could have a very different ruling on an incident. For example if you take the limits as the outer edge of the tyre and inside of the line then he crossed it by a mile. They’ve taken the most lenient measurement possible under the definition of the rules.

        For safety’s sake the rule should be if you touch the line with a tyre then you get a penalty, that would remove all doubt of this dubious word salad of a rule. They really do like to shoot themselves in the foot do the stewards. If its so cut and dried you have to ask why Ferrari had to protest and it wasn’t reviewed by the stewards properly in the race. Took an awful long time to reach a verdict for something they decided not to investigate….again.

        1. Exactly, rules should be as simple as possible. F1’s biggest issue is the open interpretation of almost everything. It also doesn’t help that they then don’t seem to know what the rule was supposed to mean so it takes them forever to decide what to do with it.

          This sort of many hour decision making can hold a whiff of, “hang on just checking with the lawyers that we aren’t going to get in trouble of we do whatever we can not to change what happened on track”.

          The interpretation of this rule, as someone else above has said, seems to be counter to the intention. Keep slower cars away from line and give a clear ‘safe area’ for full speed racing. Now there is a vague zone where drivers may push harder on exit and full speed cars approaching don’t quite know how close they can safely be to the line. They need to re-write this rule again.

        2. Where is the edge of the painted line

          ↑ Why do you introduce the word ‘edge’ and then ask me/us to define it?

          The rule (new and old) doesn’t talk about ‘edge’, but just about ‘painted line’, that’s pretty clear.
          And crossing is pretty clear as well.
          The only bit that wasn’t defined clearly is ‘what’ couldn’t cross the painted line!

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      30th May 2022, 12:19

      @neilosjames – It is consistent with other rules though to be fair. As long as part of your tyre is in contact with the line, your deemed to still be on the track so the same interpretation is being applied here with the pit lane.

  10. At least this race director can accept the blame for an error. Big improvement.

  11. Some tire did cross the line, but I guess any doesnt mean some when it helps their paperchamp.

    1. Sadly the paper champ didn’t dissolve in the wet. (-:

    2. Steveetienne
      30th May 2022, 9:08

      Great result for the current World Driver’s Champion extending his Championship lead over Leclerc and well on his way to his 2nd Championship. I wonder what yesterdays man must be thinking now?

    3. @romtrain come on, remain mature and objective. No tyre did “cross” the pit exit line. It touched, part of the tyre was on the left, but “the” tyre was never past the line entirely so no it did not cross.

      1. Some tire can also mean parts of the tire. Anyways I also dont deem it worth a penalty afterwards, and it didnt impact the results.

  12. Why was the rule revised. There was nothing wrong with it. In fact, it seems to make more sense because it can be policed better. With the current rule the car/tire is always obscuring vision. I guess ‘grey area’ and discussion fits F1 better

    1. I think Coventry Climax above makes a good point.

      Any ‘part’ was not well defined. Does it mean any ‘component’ of the car (and what’s a component, a screw?) , or does it mean any ‘section’.
      ‘Tyre’ is less grey than ‘part’; it’s black (and white).

      1. In cricket, it clearly states that a bowlers foot must cut the back of the line to be a legal delivery and a batsman’s foot or bat must be behind the back of the line or he can be run out or stumped. In motor racing, particularly F1, it should be legislated which side of a line depicts the edge and stick to it. If any part of the tyre is within the inside edge of the line it fine. If there is no part of the tyre inside that edge of the line your out. Same rule should be for track limits. Name which edge of he line is enforceable, not just say the line.

  13. Another case for sensors.

    Fit sensors into the track which cut power for 3 – 5 seconds if cars cross them.

    Instant justice. Hate the idea of a win being decided hours after the race.

    1. Agree 100%

    2. So you want to instantly and unexpectedly cut and then reengage power to a 1000bhp car without driver input?

      1. Yes…! Only need to cut 20% or so.

        Jonathon Palmer does it on his tracks I believe and Martin Brundle is a fan of the concept.

        Surely much better than a 5 second penalty added after a long battle with the stewards.

        Cricket, football and tennis use similar systems.

        1. This would lead to crashes. Cut power on a car that is on the edge of adhesion, as they are over the line, possibly heading in to marbles, weight goes forward, rear rotates.

          Yes, even 20%. I would think anyone who has driven a mid engined car at pace would understand the risk especially JP and Brundle.

      2. So you want to instantly and unexpectedly cut and then reengage power to a 1000bhp car without driver input?

        Don’t be overly dramatic; unexpected power cuts happen ever all the time and hardly ever (or never) end up in crashes.
        Leclerc last week, Verstappen complaining about ‘no power, no power’, and many more examples every race weekend.

        And a sudden PU switch off is less expected than a mandated power cut when you cross a white line.

    3. RandomMallard
      30th May 2022, 13:10

      The absolute last place I would want to see power being cut all of a sudden would be up Beau Rivage. And then it would be arguable as to whether it would even be a penalty because the chances of passing there are slim.

  14. That does not make a lot of sense to me. The obvious reason for the rule is to separate the track between the cars on track and the cars leaving the pits. The new interpretation of the rules clearly does not achieve that aim. Let us give that vastly improved race direction the benefit of the doubt and say that they were caught between a rock and a hard place by the clumsy wording in the rulebook. It certainly was a lucky escape for both Perez and Verstappen.

  15. Just like talking a corner it football. A few years ago suddenly the ball was kicked from outside the corner but all ok because supposedly the ball is still touching the corner. Silly rule for me as even if he didn’t cross the line completely part of his car was still outside the line. Creates a grey area

  16. This is quite frankly a ridiculous decision. It is widely accepted that you don’t cross the outside edge of (or even touch) the pit lane exit line. Has been for years and despite the re-wording, was widely accepted and didn’t need re”interpreting”. Especially as the race directors notes were clear. Surely the race directors notes are there to clarify any potential “interpretations” of rules for that event.

    I am all for the race directors current no nonsense stance for all regulations (be that track limits or jewelery) but this has just opened up an unnecessary grey area in an accepted safety regulation.

    1. I agree, if part of the tyre/car crosses it, then you could have a collision, the rule should really be you cannot touch the line with any part of your car/tyre.

  17. FIA once again incapable of writing clear rules that cannot be misinterpreted.

    All they have to say is a car may not allow the *whole* tyre to cross the line.

  18. Even the recording, to me, sounds like it was infringed by Max. Part of his tyre was past the line. Isn’t that the tyre being over the line, whether part or the full thing?!

    The FIA and stewarding is managing to get worse, not better, after Masi.

    1. *rewording

    2. Past the line means the tyre must past the line totaly (like the white lines just a piece is enough to stay in)

      1. In football the have used the same definition: the ball (also a ’round thing’) must have completely crossed the line to be counted as a goal.
        In football they never discuss the definition of that (merely if the ball did or did not completely pass the line) whereas in F1 all experts are now sharing their rule making and linguistic expertises.

  19. Agree 100%

  20. Sensored lines… if u touch the line on the restricted area it gives off an alarm by the race stewards room. If any part of a tyre touches the line whether on the inside or over the line it should be penalized.

  21. So the new rule actually states that you can (because a rear tyre is 405mm wide) be 40cm outside of the line and still be inside the pit lane. Ok, so, does this mean that we can reduce the width of the pit lane by 40cm’s so that drivers are forced to drive down the line otherwise they are outside the lane and easier to police? OR are we saying that the blend line between the track and the pit lane is an “imaginary” line beyond what is specified by the painted line on track?
    Nice to see there’s no room for error anymore in this ruling :).

    1. As you say, it becomes an issue for track design as well. A lower formula car may have a wheel that is 200mm wide so they actually have a larger safe racing area than F1 cars who are going much faster. What if they make the tyres wider? Do you have to re-draw the pit exit line? Or are we saying the line was arbitrary in the first place?

      The rear wheels can also stick out more than the front wheels, what if the car is over-steering, possibly creating even more of the car over the line before it’s an issue? I realise it’s a lot of what-ifs and a bit pedantic but, honestly, their way of writing a role book is a total joke.

    2. Monaco is ‘special’ as it’s all small but these cars having a hard time to round around a corner like the pit exit corner add some wet stuff and it’s on. They should adjust those corners. on all other circuits the line are at straights and the ones not at the straights (like Zandvoort) have a wall seperating the track and pit exit.

  22. This seems like a bad rewriting of a rule that was quite clear. Why have they done this? It was quite clear before that if any part of the tyre crossed the line then there was a breach. But now it seems the car leaving the pits can have 90% of its tyre over the line and still comply with the rules. This means that quite a portion of the car would be on the racing line when leaving the pits.

    This seems like madness to me. Because in previous years, any crossing of the line has been considered to be dangerous.

  23. So the stewards made a clear decision based on the rules. They explained the rules and the decision in detail to all the stakeholders. But still there are people out here that don’t agree and call it ridiculous or even blame the stewards and FiA just because they don’t like it. Decision is made rules are clear move on.

    1. As Bass clef stated, up until this past weekend, the race director’s notes have been used to override or clarify how rules will be interpreted for a specific track. Which in this case would have meant that Verstappen would have been penalized. But then when pushed, the stewards/FIA say oh well it’s really down to what’s written in the rule book and not the race directors notes. If that’s the case, then why were they publishing race director’s notes? Again, the FIA take something that should be clear and easy and make it a muddled mess. And I can almost guarantee that at the next race, race director’s notes will again be published.

      1. I don’t agree. The problem is that people can’t accept a decision made by a race director, steward, etc. Same on the sportfields parrents complain about the referee because their son or daughter is. loosing the game. Its their job to make a fair and objective decision and we have to accept that.

  24. That seems like a shortsighted rule change. Maybe it’s not too much of an issue at Monaco, but at a track like Monza where 2 or 3 cars could be coming down the pit straight fitting for position and someone comes out of the pits and puts most of there left hand tires outside the pit exit line, it could turn ugly real fast. Seems like “in the name of safety”, which we hear all the time now, the rule/interpretation would be that no part of the car should be over the line

    1. I agree with you. The line is there to avoid incidents between slow cars at the pit exit and faster cars on a normal lap. Drivers can easily manage the space available by looking at that line. With the rule change everything becomes more difficult, for drivers judging the available space and for stewards checking for rule infractions. Moreover, if this is a safety line and now the space that a car can invade has increased, shouldn’t those lines be repainted in all circuits to be narrowed to take the wheels width into consideration, so that the available space is still considered safe? Probably is not that important, but my point is that they are complicating rules by adding more elements into the equation. They are changing rules that were OK in the past, like yesterday’s Ocon penalty

  25. I’m reminded of the policeman that pulls a guy over for a rolling stop. When queried the driver says I was very close to stopping ,big deal. The policeman asks the rule ( law) breaker to egress the vehicle. Driver steps out and is immediately taken upon by the police and baton. He’s screaming ” Stop,please stop” to which the policeman replies ” Did you want me to stop or almost stop.

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