Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have welcomed the introduction of a new rule that effectively outlaws 'movement under braking' following a number of controversial incidents involving Max Verstappen.
The FIA has come under pressure in recent races to clampdown on what drivers feel is Verstappen's dangerous tendency change line under braking as part of his defence, with Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel in particular airing their grievances after incidents in Hungary and Belgium.
As there was previously no defined rule against such a tactic, Verstappen was yet to be penalised for his defensive moves, though Mercedes briefly attempted to protest his efforts in holding off Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the Japanese Grand Prix.
However, following a heated drivers' briefing on Friday, the FIA has moved to revise the rule, stating that any potential incident stemming from blocking under braking is now subject to a potential investigation by the stewards.
It is a move welcomed by a number of drivers, with Hamilton saying it simply formalises an 'understanding' that was adhered to by the majority of the grid.
"In the 10 years I've been in Formula 1, there's been the same rule that all us drivers understand,” reports Sky F1
. “It's only newcomers that have come in and are potentially not abiding by that same rule we've all shared for many, many years," said Hamilton.
"It's been interesting to see the new drivers come in and have chosen a different route, have a different opinion, but it is about the respect that we have for one another. We're travelling at serious speeds so commit to your defence, but don't do it while in braking. I think it's great that Charlie [Whiting, the FIA race delegate] has understood the majority of drivers' opinions.
“The rules have to be very strict and clear because otherwise, if they say you're allowed to move under braking, everyone would do it, and we'll all start a new way of driving which is dangerous. You look at IndyCar for example, they're travelling at high speeds - one twitch and the car goes flying. I think it's definitely the right way to go."
With Verstappen himself has brushing off the criticism, Vettel echoed Hamilton's sentiments by suggesting this sends a firm message out to any newcomers that such a tactic is not permissible.
"I think it's very simple. The day I joined Formula 1 it was clear, there was sort of an unwritten law,” the Ferrari driver said.
“In recent times we've obviously had situations and got away with it, so for sure then the message is that everybody is starting to do it, which is the wrong thing because in the end, which we spoke about on Friday, we're just waiting for something to happen. Therefore I think it's a good action."
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