F1 to implement new rule to prevent blocking in quals

UPDATE Word is that FIA race director Charlie Whiting will soon announce that from Bahrain onwards the lap-to-grid rule will also apply in qualifying. This means it will be forbidden to go slowly back to the pits just to save fuel, instead drivers have to do their in-lap within 120 percent of the average of his best times and this new rule applies to everyone, not just those in the final session.

03/23/08 (GMM) Moves are already afoot to ensure that the events during qualifying for the Malaysian grand prix do not occur again.

Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso complained that the fuel-conserving McLaren drivers on Saturday ruined their final flying laps, and the stewards agreed, but it is also undoubtedly the case that the incident was extremely dangerous.

"It is a disaster that the rules allow such a thing," Williams driver Nico Rosberg observed to Motorsport Aktuell in Malaysia.

It is believed that the proposed solution to the situation, that has been sparked by the tweaked qualifying format this year, is to impose a maximum time limit for drivers to complete their slowing-down laps.

The pitwall timing monitors have often recorded drivers as having stopped on track, so slow have they been making their way back to parc ferme after qualifying.

It is understood that the new rule, also applying to the procedure whereby cars form up on the dummy grid before a race, could be introduced on the grounds of safety by race director Charlie Whiting as quickly as the forthcoming Bahrain grand prix next month.

The Spanish newspaper Diario AS asked Alonso, who like Heidfeld was held up at Sepang, about the possible rule tweak.

"I don't know, that might be a solution," he said.

"But there were six or seven cars (going slowly) in that part of the track, and with five of them I had no problem.

"It is the responsibility of the drivers to get off the racing line," the Renault driver added.

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