FIA gets tougher in yellow flag situations

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Malaysia, Sepang International Circuitmy

The FIA, the F1 governing body clarified the rules regarding the yellow and double-yellow flag situations which have caused for some controversies this year. Drivers are, now, obliged to abandon their quick laps in case of double-yellow flag.

Yellow flag situations have raised questions earlier this season. Nico Rosberg claimed pole position during the dying minutes of the qualifying session for the Hungarian GP while double yellow flags were waved due to the stranded car of Fernando Alonso. The matter was investigated, but Rosberg escaped any penalty.

However, Sergio Perez was not that lucky in Singapore a fortnight ago when he was penalised for ignoring the double-yellow flags. F1 race director Charlie Whiting explained that the Mexican also overtook a car under double-yellow flag.

The matter of inconsistency was raised during the drivers’ briefing at the start of the weekend. The FIA imposed a new rule which states that drivers have to abandon their laps in double-yellow flags situations in free practices and qualifying sessions from now on. However, it does not mean that they have to pit as the “the track could well be clear the following lap”.

For races, the drivers have to reduce their speed significantly and have to be prepared to stop. The meaning of ‘significant’ which raised question marks earlier was also clarified. The drivers have to act so that it is clear that they do not do any attempt to set a meaningful lap time.

In single yellow flags situations, drivers have to reduce their speed and have to be prepared to change direction.

The rule states that “it must be clear that a driver has reduced speed and, in order for this to be clear, a driver would be expected to have braked earlier and/or discernibly reduced speed in the relevant marshalling sector.”