Felipe Massa has welcomed the decision to better clarify the rules over driver conduct under double yellow flags after a series of contentious incidents in 2016.
Ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix, the FIA amended the rules regarding what drivers should do when faced with double yellow flags. Though the rule has always stated drivers must be 'prepared to stop', it now adds drivers must slow significantly and abandon any fast lap they may be on.
Though Nico Rosberg's pole position in the Hungarian Grand Prix raised controversy when he was shown to have only slowed an insignificant amount when coming towards a yellow flag before going on to post a better lap time, it was Sergio Perez's penalty during qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix that would spark a review.
On that occasion, Perez overtook Esteban Gutierrez when his fellow Mexican slowed in response to yellow flags, before the Force India driver passed another double yellow flag area without significantly slowing. Posting his best lap of the Q2 session, Perez was eventually given two grid penalties totalling eight positions.
While Perez was reportedly unhappy at being made an example of, the FIA has now moved to change the rules that state that drivers must dismiss any quick lap if they come across double yellows and remove any contentiousness. It is a move welcomed by the experienced Massa.
“Charlie was explaining what happened in Singapore because Perez was not happy about his penalty, Charlie said you can be unhappy but it was a double yellow flag and after you overtake a car under yellow flags.
“Perez said the car was very slow, then Charlie said yeah but you can't pass, only if the car has a puncture or has a problem or go off the track, otherwise you cannot pass. Most of the drivers were trying to ask if this happens this way or this, so it was more the drivers that pushed him to say that.
“Because our question was if you have a double yellow flag you need to slow down, he said if you have a double yellow flag you need to almost stop the car, you need to be ready to stop the car. So if you need to be ready to stop the car, forget it you won't be able to do the lap time.
“Then he said if it is a double yellow flag you cannot do your lap times, in the sense that you need to go very slow. So let's put it in the rules which is like that, so it's clear for everybody, because I think the most important thing is to be clear.
“One race something happens another race different thing happens, nobody knows what to expect, so when it is clear, it's clear.”
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