FIA cracks down on Safety Car restart tactics

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The FIA has intervened to put an end to taunting Safety Car restart tactics such as those displayed by Max Verstappen in the recent Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

In Jeddah, as the field led by Charles Leclerc prepared for the race's restart, Verstappen repeatedly drew alongside the Ferrari driver and then rolled back, a maneuver the Red Bull also used against Leclerc in Bahrain earlier this year and last season in Abu Dhabi with Lewis Hamilton.

In an updated note published ahead of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, FIA race director Niels Wittich reminded competitors of Article 55.14 of the F1 sporting regulations.

"In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart."

To facilitate the understanding of the rule, the event note was accompanied by a diagram showing the unacceptable and adequate positioning of a car relative to the one preceding it ahead of a Safety Car restart.

In short, the trailing driver must remain clearly behind the car in front, and is therefore not allowed to move up alongside or draw level.

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