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F1 News: New Rule Changes Could Have Changed The Outcome Of 2021’s Hamilton And Verstappen Battle

The 2022 F1 season began with the Bahrain Grand Prix, and what a race it was as Charles Leclerc fought off an aggressive Max Verstappen, and both Red Bull drivers fought, but eventually lost to powertrain issues during the last couple of laps. But behind the scenes this was a big leap for the F1 which has given drivers new guidelines to follow.

After last year’s battling between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen making waves with not only fans, it’s safe to say that the number of incidents between the two spurred F1 management to issue more guidelines to ensure safe racing. The teams are the only ones to have received these new guidelines, but the BBC have managed to get its hands on them, too.

– Mercedes AMG F1 Media

These regulations, according to the BBC, focus on the overtaking of cars. A driver must give “sufficient room to an overtaking car” as long as there’s “a significant portion” alongside their car. This “significant portion” hasn’t been defined, but it’s been said that his must be done “in a safe and controlled manner, while enabling the car to remain within the limits of the track”.

It continues to say that “among the various factors that will be looked at by the stewards…they will consider if the overtaking car’s front tyres are alongside the other car by no later than the apex of the corner”. This seems to be the deciding factor.

The same applies to an overtake on the outside with drivers expected to allow “sufficient room” to an overtaking car as long as “a significant portion” of their car is beyond theirs. “The car being overtaken must be capable of making the corner while remaining within the limits of the track,” it says.

– Red Bull F1 Media

If these rules were being enforced last year, Verstappen would have received a penalty after his incident at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix with Hamilton at Turn 4 as the British driver aimed to overtake the Red Bull.

On top of this, there are now more rules involving the defending of a place.  A driver can’t make “more than one change of direction to defend a position.”

– Red Bull F1 Media

It continues:

“Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off-line, should leave at least one car’s width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner.

“However, manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited. Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above offences will be reported to the stewards.”

It’s likely we’ll see plenty of penalties throughout the year as drivers and teams adjust to these new regulations.