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.