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FIA clamps down on moving under braking in F1 ahead of USGP

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The FIA has clamped down on defensive moves that see drivers move while under braking in Formula 1 following complaints over Max Verstappen’s recent on-track antics.

Verstappen came under fire in Hungary and Belgium for appearing to move under braking, blocking Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in both instances.

Verstappen’s defense once again came under scrutiny in Japan when he pulled an aggressive block on Lewis Hamilton late in the race, prompting a brief protest from Mercedes.

During Friday’s drivers’ briefing in Austin, Texas ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, concerns were raised over Verstappen’s defensive moves to FIA race director Charlie Whiting.

While Verstappen insisted that the moves were fair as he did not receive a penalty, Whiting has now moved to clarify what is and is not allowed when defending position.

In the revised event notes sent to all teams ahead of qualifying, Whiting clarified that any moves under braking that forced the driver behind to take evasive action would now be investigated.

“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…’,” Whiting’s note reads.

“Furthermore, Article 27.8 prohibits any manoeuvre ‘…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.”

The clarified rule is effective immediately, adding an extra dynamic to the on-track battles on Sunday at COTA.

Bill Elliott joins Tony Stewart/Ray Evernham SRX series for 2021

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott became the eighth driver to join the Superstar Racing Experience, the short-track series being started by Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart.

The two-time Daytona 500 winner and 1988 NASCAR Cup Series champion was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015 and was voted NASCAR’s most popular driver 16 times (his son, Chase, has received the honor the past two years). Elliott also closed his full-time Cup career driving for Evernham’s Dodge team from 2001-03, winning the 2002 Brickyard 400.

“I am excited to reunite with Ray Evernham and some of the great legends of our sport,” Elliott, who joins Stewart and Bobby Labonte as NASCAR Hall of Famers in the SRX, said in a release. “I look forward to racing at some of the most historic American racing destinations and putting on an awesome show for the fans. We have a special driver field and it will be fun competing with some of the greatest drivers of all time.”

The series, which is expecting to have a dozen drivers, also has Tony Stewart, Helio Castroneves, Bobby Labonte, Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan, Willy T. Ribbs and Mark Webber in its lineup.

SRX was co-founded by NASCAR Hall of Famers Stewart and Evernham and was unveiled July 13.

Several drivers have expressed interest in the new circuit, which is modeled on the International Race of Champions (IROC) series that matched drivers from various auto racing disciplines in equally prepared cars for an annual four-race series for 30 years.

With the addition of Bill Elliott, Superstar Racing Experience has yet to reveal a schedule or tracks, but it’s expected that Stewart’s Eldora Speedway will be on the slate.