F1's governing body the FIA has acknowledged in the wake of the contentious conclusion to last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix that there is 'a lack of clarity' in the regulations regarding overtaking after the safety car has been withdrawn – and revealed that 'adjustments are necessary'.
The controversy arose in the Principality when Michael Schumacher overtook Ferrari rival and fellow multiple F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso into Rascasse almost within sight of the chequered flag, after the safety car brought out to clear up the mess caused by the Karun Chandhok/Jarno Trulli coming-together peeled back into the pit-lane and the lights turned green.
Schumacher's Mercedes Grand Prix team had informed the German legend and his young compatriot and team-mate Nico Rosberg that according to their understanding of the rules and with the green flags waving, the pair were free to race to the line – but post-race, the stewards took a different view and handed the Kerpen native a 20-second penalty that dropped him out of the points and down to 12th place.
Opinions have since been divided about whether the 41-year-old's punishment was merited or heavy-handed – but now it seems the sporting regulations will henceforth be amended, ostensibly to allow drivers to race from the safety car line in the event of a last lap re-start, provided the circuit is clear and the green light is shown.
The FIA has confirmed that the F1 Sporting Working Group will debate the issue at its next meeting in Istanbul, before presenting its findings to the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in late June, meaning any change could feasibly be implemented in time for the European Grand Prix in Valencia on 27 June.
'The problems identified during the final lap of the Monaco Grand Prix, counting for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship, showed a lack of clarity in the application of the rule prohibiting overtaking behind the safety car,' conceded a statement released by the governing body.
'Adjustments to the regulations are necessary to clarify the procedure that cars must meet when the last lap is controlled by the safety car, whilst also ensuring that the signalling for teams and drivers is made clearer. These adjustments will help to avoid the problem which occurred during the Monaco Grand Prix from happening in the future.
'The Formula One Commission, upon a proposal of the F1 Sporting Working Group, will submit an amendment to the Sporting Regulations to address this issue. These amendments will be considered by the World Motor Sport Council at its next meeting in Geneva on 23 June.'