F1 drivers set maximum time by FIA to avoid Monza quali chaos

FIA has warned the F1 drivers they must set a lap within a certain time during qualifying

FIA has warned the F1 drivers they must set a lap within a certain time during qualifying – Image: Russell Batchelor/XPB

The FIA has warned the F1 drivers of a maximum lap time in qualifying they must adhere to around Monza or risk a penalty.

Qualifying around the ‘Temple of Speed’ has become renowned over the years for being chaotic affairs as drivers attempt to gain a crucial tow from either a team-mate or rival.

This has often resulted in dramatic scenes along the straight between the Variante Ascari and Parabolica at the end of a lap as drivers slow dramatically waiting for the opportune moment to launch into a fast lap.

That was evident again during qualifying for F2 on Friday as the cars bunched towards the end of the lap, with many at racing speeds, creating pandemonium and with virtually no driver improving from their earlier time in the session.

In order to avoid a repeat of some of the incidents seen in F1 qualifying over the years, the FIA has mandated a maximum lap time of 101 seconds. Anything over that will be investigated and potentially result in a sanction.

An update to the event notes from race director Niels Wittich issued to all teams reads: “For the safe and orderly conduct of the event, other than in exceptional circumstances accepted as such by the stewards, any driver that exceeds 1min 41sec from the second safety car line to the first safety car line on ANY lap during and after the end of the qualifying session, including in-laps and out-laps, may be deemed to be going unnecessarily slowly.

“For the avoidance of doubt, this does not supersede Art. 33.4 and Art. 37.5 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, which apply to the entire circuit. Incidents will normally be investigated after the qualifying session.”

Article 33.4 states that “at no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person”.

Article 37.5 reads: “Any driver taking part in any practice session who, in the opinion of the stewards, stops unnecessarily on the circuit or unnecessarily impedes another driver shall be subject to the penalties referred to in article 37.4”, which confirms that a lap time will either be deleted, or lead to a grid-drop sanction.

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