FIA cracks down on pit exit overtaking after Verstappen antics

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In a bid to prevent potential safety hazards, FIA race director Niels Wittich has prohibited overtaking maneuvers at the Yas Marina pit exit in Abu Dhabi.

The decision follows Max Verstappen's aggressive overtaking attempts during Friday practice, which raised concerns about the narrow pit exit tunnel's safety.

Verstappen's actions, while they did not explicitly violate the regulations, brought to light the potential dangers posed by overtaking in the confined space.

To mitigate these risks and ensure a safe race weekend, Wittich has implemented the overtaking ban.

Revised event notes sent to teams on Saturday morning by the FIA stating the following: “Overtaking is prohibited in the pit exit road unless a car slows with an obvious problem.”

In Friday’s second practice, a lengthy red flag caused by Carlos Sainz was followed by another, shorter stoppage caused by Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg.

With the clock continuing to count down during the red flag periods, drivers had under half an hour to carry out their on-track runs.

When the session resumed, Verstappen was keen to press on which led the Red Bull driver to try and barge his way past a group of cars at the pit exit that he considered to be dawdling and taking too much time.

"They have to move," Verstappen said after passing Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in the 'underpass' section.

"They are all driving slow. I want to go out because we are limited on time, and they just keep on driving in the middle.

"When I tried to pass they tried to squeeze me in the wall," he complained.

The FIA's attempts to address traffic issues in qualifying have inadvertently created new problems, with drivers exploiting the maximum lap time rule to create gaps in the pitlane exit, leading to further congestion.

To alleviate this, the FIA permitted overtaking in the pit exit during the Brazilian Grand Prix, but this solution also caused safety concerns.

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