Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks to the media in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 26, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

F1: Drivers banned from blocking pitlane exit to create a gap

Formula 1 drivers have been banned from stopping in the fast lane of the pits during qualifying sessions at any Grand Prix as part of a new impeding clampdown.

There have been several occasions where drivers slow down dramatically, or even stop entirely, in the pit exit – holding up rivals behind them. This is a potential breach of rules that outlaws the impeding of other cars.

Drivers are now strictly prohibited from holding up rivals in the fast lane of the pits during qualifying sessions, and the FIA laid out strict guidelines on where drivers would be allowed to find their gaps.

“As per article 33.4 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, drivers are not allowed to go unnecessarily slow, that includes stopping a car in the fast lane of the pitlane.

“During Shootout and Qualifying, drivers may create a gap between the pit exit lights and the SC2 line.

“Any driver who wishes to do so must drive as far to the left as possible to allow other drivers to pass them on the right side of the pit exit road.”

Following qualifying in Mexico, Verstappen was asked about the investigation of him stopping in the pit lane exit in Mexico and blocking other cars. He was not the only one who did it.

“I think it’s all imperfect at the moment. So, we need to come up with something else, but it’s hard. Yeah, I just… the thing I don’t understand is like everyone is trying to make a gap now in the pit lane, which is the only place where we can do so. So, I don’t really understand how you can be impeding someone. So, this is for me, I think we have to be a little bit more lenient with that, knowing that it’s a safe environment.

“I mean, we’re driving really slow, it’s the only place where we can make a gap because, I mean, we drive out of the box and, of course, we in the beginning of the pit-lane, we didn’t know, of course, what other people are doing. So, you are constantly, of course, then trying to judge a gap,” added Verstappen.

“You don’t want to start a lap within three four seconds of someone, because that’s really bad for following. But, on the other hand, if we wouldn’t have had this kind of minimum lap time, then maybe you have some impeding into the last sector again, so it’s just all quite tough, I guess, to find a good compromise.”

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