FIA change key rule after Ferrari complained about Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen finished third at the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix, whilst Sergio Pérez claimed victory.

Ahead of the first race of the 2023 season in Bahrain, the FIA have updated the wording of a rule in the International Sporting Code, following an issue at the Monaco Grand Prix last season.

Ferrari filed a complaint to the FIA last season at Monaco directed at Red Bull and double World Champion Max Verstappen, with on-boards having shown during the race that the Dutchman swerved towards the pit-lane exit line, which drivers are not allowed to cross.

Race winner Sergio Pérez was also investigated for potentially swerving towards the yellow pit-lane exit line; however, neither Pérez nor Verstappen were penalised.

Verstappen went on to finish third at Monaco; however, he was given the all-clear after the race for having stuck to one side of the exit-line, something which drivers have previously been penalised for.

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The stewards stated that: “In this case, the car did not “cross” the line – to do so it would have needed to have a full wheel to the left of the yellow line.” 

Following the FIA’s explanation as to why Verstappen wasn’t penalised, a number of drivers who unhappy with the wording of the ISC, something which was discussed at Friday’s meeting of the World Motor Sport Council.

Given that it’d tidy up the matter and improve driver safety, the Council approved a tweak to the wording of the rule, with all the drivers and teams having been informed of the update ahead of the first race of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit.

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Following the tidying up of the rule, a driver will now be judged to have crossed the pit-lane exit line based on the outer edge of their tyre, meaning drivers will likely keep well away from potentially crossing it.

As a result of the approved update, the ISC in question states: “For the avoidance of doubt, crossing means that the outside of any tyre should not go beyond the outside, with respect to the pitlane, of the relevant line painted on the track.” 

The updated wording to the rule also now applies to pit-entry as well, to further tidy up any confusion.