Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Yas Marina, 2023

Ban on passing at pit exit ‘a terrible rule we have because of other silly rules’

Formula 1

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Formula 1 drivers say a better solution is needed to prevent impeding in qualifying than the ban on overtaking in the pit exit which was introduced at Yas Marina.

The rule was imposed following the first two practice sessions on Friday. Max Verstappen overtook several cars in the narrow, winding exit which passes beneath the track, prompting concerns over potential collisions.

The race director therefore imposed a ban on passing through the pit exit. This led to lengthy queues during qualifying. At one stage Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase remarked the situation was “apparently better” than the problem it was intended to address.

The restriction came about in response to the maximum lap time rule which was introduced earlier this year. This was intended to address the problem of drivers queueing at the end of a lap, potentially impeding others and leading to dangerous situations.

Verstappen said the drivers “agreed in the briefing” to forbid passing in the pit exit. “Otherwise, I think you would have seen again what happened yesterday.”

But he believes F1 needs to keep looking for ways to police qualifying better. “At the moment nothing is perfect yet, so we have to come up with a better solution,” he said. “But we’ll keep on thinking what that is.”

Pierre Gasly agreed action needed to be taken following the problem seen on Friday, but also believes there is room for improvement on the rule used at Yas Marina.

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“Yesterday we were close to seeing a front wing and rear tyres coming together,” said the Alpine driver. “Pit exit and entries are usually not places that should be used to fight for position or even race.

“We’re trying different processes to avoid impeding on-track. But then it triggers also other situations like we are seeing at the moment, everybody is slow in the pit to make sure that they cross the line at pit exit six seconds behind the car ahead.

“It’s just a sort of side-effect from what we’re doing. So in the end of the year I’m sure we will review everything and see what’s best for next year.”

However not everyone considered the rule a worthwhile change. Lando Norris took a particularly dim view of the latest revision to the qualifying regulations.

“I think it’s a terrible rule,” he said. “The thing is, they have to have the rule because of the other silly rule that they made us do.”

A ban on overtaking at the pit lane exit could cause farcical scenes in some situations, he predicted. “If it’s a red flag and there’s three minutes left, there’s going to be like three cars that get to do a lap. So I don’t know, it should just go back to the way it was before.”

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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
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15 comments on “Ban on passing at pit exit ‘a terrible rule we have because of other silly rules’”

  1. The drivers are quite dim chaps. The real problem was having 3,4, 5 cars all putting along in the final sector of the track with other cars going at top speed to finish a timed lap. I don’t see any safety concerns with cars putting along the pit lane exit not issues with the minimum lap time rule. And I’m not sure if tire prep is an actual thing. How often do drivers make a pit stop in race and come out and set the fastest lap on their first go round?

  2. i don’t know why anybody wants more cars in these crazy queues than the 20 there are already

    1. Maybe we should have 6 cars max following that logic.

      1. any logic is absurd if you take it to a stupid extreme, only a dim chap would do that :) with a burner account

  3. Idea – have the FIA control the light to enter the track similar to today with a twist. Only allow 1 car per Green light then wait x seconds then allow the next car. Once a car takes the green light its speed shall not fall below the Pit lane speed before joining the track.

    Max passing at Pit exit needed to be addressed, those were jerk moves. It was luck no one crashed

    1. Mark, a sensible suggestion.If you always put five seconds between cars at pit exit then it will also make it harder for them all to wait until the last possible second before going out, as some will find themselves waiting thrity seconds in the queue and be unable to get around in time.

    2. yeah, this seems to be the most fair, force drivers to move on green, otherwise they need to take their chances in the garage.

  4. Bla bla di bla di bla… F1

    1. Indeed, that’s how it I see it too. And now I almost rushed to put the blame for that on drivers and team members, but then I realize it’s the media that asks the questions and the drivers are obligated to talk to the media…
      Still, so much talk, so little ideas. They are noisier than their modern engines.

  5. So, a return to single car, one lap qualifying then….?

  6. Idea: enforce the rules that were there in the first place.

    Driving unnecessarily slowly was already banned at all times and in all locations. (Unnecessarily being stopped counts as being unnecessarily slow, since the car is doing zero km/h).

    Driving dangerously was already banned in all times and locations.

    Driving down the pit lane at a constant speed was already obligatory. (This also bans stopping in the fast lane of the pits in a live session unless there are cars ahead and the part of the weekend one is in doesn’t permit exemptions).

    Overtaking in the pits was already banned in most circumstances (there’s about 6 different Articles in the Sporting Regulations covering this). “Slowed with an obvious problem” was the one exception to exist across all 6 of those Articles.

    The maximum time between safety car lines on qualifying out-laps has been there for several years and covers everything that is not in the pits (especially when combined with the blanket bans on slow and dangerous driving).

    That the FIA has repeatedly tried finding complicated alternatives to enforcing the regulations, even though every alternative has had worse results, is striking.

    1. Agree with all that Alianora. I’ve finally seen the replay of the tunnel congestion in practice and now have a completely different view of it. I thought Max had grown up a bit but trying to overtake other moving cars in the tunnel just looked idiotic. Max stops in the pit lane and impedes cars behind. No penalty. MAx overtakes in the pit exit lane. No penalty. It’s almost like it is easier to keep rewriting the rule book than it is to penalise the World Champion.

      1. It’s almost like it is easier to keep rewriting the rule book than it is to penalise the World Champion.

        World Champion *

  7. It’s actually a very sensible rule they have to have because the teams and drivers constantly behave in a silly, and often unsafe, manner.

  8. All this is happened since Max wasn’t penalized for stopping into the pitlane in Singapore

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