The FIA has moved to quell the increasing dissatisfaction about what is considered too aggressive when defending from another car by revising its regulations to say drivers that 'change direction under braking' could be penalised by stewards.
Seemingly targeted squarely at Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who has been criticised by several drivers and teams for his tendency to change line when defending his position under braking, it is understood FIA race director Charlie Whiting was urged to more clearly clarify what is permitted during the drivers' briefing on Friday.
Issued to teams ahead of this weekend's United States Grand Prix, Article 27.5 of the FIA's Sporting Regulations has been revised to include that a driver could be subject to a review by stewards should they be deemed to have defended too aggressively under braking.
“Article 27.5 of the Sporting Regulations states that “...no car may be driven...in a manner which could be potentially dangerous to other drivers...”, furthermore, Article 27.8 prohibits anymanoeuvre “...liable to hinder other drivers, such as...any abnormal change of direction”. With this in mind, and with the exception of any move permitted by Article 27.6, any change of direction under braking which results in another driver having to take evasive action will be considered abnormal and hence potentially dangerous to other drivers. Any such move will be reported to the stewards.”
Verstappen has been the target of criticism from several drivers over the year for controversial incidents when moving under braking against Kimi Raikkonen in Hungary and Belgium, while Mercedes initially attempted to protest a similar move on Lewis Hamilton in their battle for second late on in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Significantly, however, with no explicit rule against moving under braking until now, Verstappen has received no punishments thus far beyond a 'chat' with Charlie Whiting.
Though not necessarily 'illegal', it means any similar move can be more easily protested by rival teams.
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