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Corner cutting rule clarified.

The controversy that followed the Formula One circus from Spa-Francorchamps to Monza in the past week has led to the sport's governing body making a grey area more black-and-white for the drivers.

At the time, no-one could quite believe that Lewis Hamilton had been stripped of victory for cutting a chicane in Belgium, as he handed back the lead of the race, albeit momentarily, to Kimi Raikkonen. As the Italian Grand Prix opened, however, the drivers, at least, showed far less sympathy for their rival, with a mix of views on how the Briton should have handled the situation.

Most believe that, had he followed the prescribed path through the Bus Stop section, he would not have had enough momentum to pass Raikkonen at La Source, therefore deserving the penalty he received when he did just that. One opinion - that of the race officials - following the incident suggested that there was an unwritten understanding that merely conceding an ill-gotten advantage was not enough, but that remained a grey area.

Now the understanding has been made more official, with FIA officials telling the drivers that, if they gain a place by cutting a corner, they must not only hand the initiative back to their rival, but also wait at least one more corner before attempting to overtake again. Had Hamilton followed that 'rule' he would likely have had to wait until the top of the hill, and the Les Combes chicane, before getting a chance to pass Raikkonen again.

"It is now pretty clear to people that they should probably not attack again immediately, which wasn't mega clear in the past," Grand Prix Drivers' Association leader Mark Webber confirmed.

If the supporting GP2 Series is anything to go by, the Italian Grand Prix could see as much corner-cutting as any race this season, particularly if the rain that has blighted the first two days returns on Sunday. Monza is well-known for its fast straights and tight chicanes, and cars cutting through the obstacles are a regular occurrence - even in the dry.

The Italian circuit has acted to at least make gaining an advantage by doing so more difficult, however, with slalom barriers or 'sleeping policemen' now installed at both the Rettifilio and Variante della Roggia chicanes. The Variante Ascari is not as tight a complex, and rarely sees advantage being gained by taking a short-cut.


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Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-23, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-23, Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber.F1.08, Belgian F1 Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, 5-7th, September, 2008
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190mph - Unregistered

September 14, 2008 11:01 AM

Or what if Kimi had momentary technical problems after Hamilton let him by causing Kimi to slow right down, does Hamilton pass before the next corner risking a possible penalty? or does he wait until the next corner has passsed before overtaking? - all the while cars behind have been allowed to close in on Hamilton because of this.

Doodaa - Unregistered

September 14, 2008 2:41 PM

As a fan I need to know is it a rule or isn't it???? That's a very heavy penalty for something the organisers are not even sure about, they have to reverse the penalty...no question...



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