Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Zandvoort, 2022

Stop drivers dropping tear-offs outside car says Leclerc after Spa misfortune

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc has called for Formula 1 to enforce its rule forbidding drivers from dropping their visor tear-offs onto the track.

The Ferrari driver said a new solution is needed after his Belgian Grand Prix was spoiled when a tear-off dropped by rival Max Verstappen entered his brake duct. That caused his brake to overheat and forced Ferrari to bring him into the pits much earlier than planned.

Leclerc made it clear a driver “cannot calculate” where a tear-off is likely to land when it is dropped.

“Obviously I’m not angry at all with Max,” he stressed. “It’s obviously not the fault of the drivers.

“But we might look at something to find a way to keep the tear-offs somewhere in the car.”

Leclerc and Verstappen started the race in the bottom half of the field due to grid penalties. Several cars ran wide at the start, throwing up dirt and dust, and Lewis Hamilton’s damaged Mercedes began leaking fluid.

That meant many drivers removed tear-offs to improve their vision. Leclerc said it was difficult to avoid picking one of them up.

“It would be good [if] we can maybe find a solution to have the tear-off inside the car,” he said. “Because in this particular situation, I think somebody was losing oil or something and I could not see anything with my visor. All the drivers in front of me couldn’t see anything in the visors.

“It happened that at the first opportunity we had to take off the tear-off, it was in this straight. So I found myself with tear-offs flying all over the place and in that case, you cannot do much as a driver.”

The International Sporting Code states that tear-offs “may not be thrown unnecessarily onto the track or the pit lane”. Removing tear-offs to improve vision and discarding them on the track has not previously attracted the attention of the stewards. The FIA did briefly pursue it in 2016 but later backed down, as it could not find a satisfactory solution for retaining used tear-offs within the cockpit.

“I guess there were reasons why this rule was [dropped] which I’m not aware of,” Leclerc added. “But maybe there was other solutions. I don’t know.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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34 comments on “Stop drivers dropping tear-offs outside car says Leclerc after Spa misfortune”

  1. It was a Stroll tear off.

  2. Jonathan Parkin
    1st September 2022, 15:55

    The problems with storing them in the car are where do you put them and how do you put them there whilst driving down a straight at 200 mph

    The reason we have them is to keep the visor clean and the best way to get rid of them is at speed. And unfortunately one of the unintended side effects is it flies somewhere it shouldn’t

    This has always been the case and I hope this doesn’t result in anymore sporting regs to an already bloated rulebook

    1. I am sure that is they apply themselves then a solution can be found. It is not all that different throwing them out or in the car. Perhaps we should go back to the 60’s and seventies where the driver carried a moist chamois and cleaned his own visor when required.

      1. Perhaps we should go back to the 60’s and seventies where the driver carried a moist chamois and cleaned his own visor when required.

        @Patrick ooh, I like that, an environmentally friendly solution as well.

        1. Or make the stop at a traffic light where somebody will do it for them (even if unwanted).
          Now only find a place to store the money you need to tip them.

          1. Hmm.. part of that’s not a bad idea. Maybe you can only change visors during a pitstop. Have a pitcher member peel it off (no tip required)

      2. Lewisham Milton
        1st September 2022, 19:58

        Did they have visors in the 60s? Bring back open-face helmets!

      3. Perhaps we should go back to the 60’s and seventies where the driver carried a moist chamois

        Then we really could debate who was the goat!

        1. Underrated comment: have 1,000 upvotes

    2. if ferrari werent overwhelmingly victims of their own doing then maybe tearoffs would figure. otherwise this is a ridiculous diversion.

      1. Ferrari are being distinctly unlucky, on top of their many mistakes.

    3. There is very little feedback in these wheels nowadays. Look at in-car clips from the 70’s or 80’s. I’m pretty sure they could take the straight without any hands and neatly fold the tear-off up and place it into a recycling receptacle and still have time to manipulate all the buttons. Maybe it’s time to reevaluate having such effete drivers that look more like football players and worry about their hair and make-up more than driving. Just rip it off and stuff it down with you in the cockpit. How hard is that?

  3. Very smart indeed. The only remaining option would be dropping it inside the cockpit. Skidding of the brake paddle during heavy braking would be a real danger with tear-offs floating around/

    Racing is drama and this is just a very minor detail not worth paying attention to.

  4. Full credit here to Sebastian Vettel. To stop the littering of tear offs he started keeping them inside the cockpit with him a couple years ago. Every driver could follow his example if they wanted to do so. They should just bring this up at the driver’s meetings.

  5. It is stupid to throw rubbish out of a racecar, it goes in radiators, brake ducts etc, it’s not new news, apart from that they clearly blow away from the circuit and get in rivers and drains and the rest of it

    1. The problem is, they need the tear offs to be able to see out of their cars. And as mentioned in the article, they weren’t able to find a well functioning way to put it elsewhere.

    2. Coventry Climax
      2nd September 2022, 0:00

      It’s stupid to throw rubbish out of any car.
      Dangerous too: caught a burning cigarette butt once in my half open motorcycle jacket. Far from pleasant I can tell you.

  6. Stop saying it was Verstappen’s tear-off please. It was Stroll’s. See F1tv Weekend Debrief for videoproof.

    1. Not only did all 4 drivers in front of Leclerc have to throw away their 1st tear-off, thanks to oil/liquids coming from Lewis’ car including dirt from the track because of people driving off track, Charles himself did do so as well. :)

  7. We saw drivers driving through 140R with one hand only, or holding their mirror which got loose. So really it cant be a big deal, to find some seconds to store your tearoff.

    1. I don’t think it’s a problem to put it in the cockpit. It’s probably the question how you prevent the tear-off from flying out of it.

      1. Maybe add a sticky surface on the cockpit that can hold the visors. I’m sure they can come up with something.

  8. On a side note, Max is now eligible to compete in the World Cornhole finals.

    1. “Cornhole (slang), a vulgarism for anus or anal sex”

      1. @elchinero What are you, a preteen? Grow up already.

  9. At least my local karting track and most of them (what I have heard) deny any tear-offs. Maybe they could be made of enviromentally friendly material so when they throw them it will decay all by itself

  10. British media is disgusting… no journalism here..go research before saying it was max just for clicks or due to incompetence

    1. It’s a fact that the tear off came from Max. Regardless, I think Charles comments are fair. Albon’s helmet camera showed him tearing off two of them during the first lap behind Lewis’ car. I’d imagine a lot of other drivers did the same, so maybe if you’re at the back of the pack you’re being thrown dozens of visors. One is bound to find a way into the car…

      1. No that is claimed by Ferrari. Actually the tear off came from Lance Stroll as is already reported in the italian media and in the F1tv weekend debrief. Not that it is of any importance because its common practice for all drivers.

        1. I’d imagine it’s extremely simple to put a marker on the tear-off to identify the driver.
          Then police the rule about not dumping on the track.

          I’m sure with a penalty resulting from dumping rather than storing, the drivers and teams will very quickly figure out a routine to keep them in the car.

          1. Coventry Climax
            2nd September 2022, 0:03


      2. The tears off came from stroll… it hit max, he grabbed it and removed it from his car, then it landed on charles… it wasn’t max’s.. it was stroll’s

  11. This is the highest form of motorsport and they still use tear offs ?!?!
    All the technology and it is still used?

    Motorcyclists have been using “Roll-Offs” for decades.
    A long strip of film that is manually pulled or even motorized, with a wave of the hand and the film is advanced.

    1. They even have roll-offs for the cameras on the cars, so it’s not like it’s even a new solution to the sport.

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