FIA criticised for changing rule as Red Bull favouritism claim resurfaces

Red Bull escaped punishment after their pit exit shenanigans in Monaco two weeks ago.

Fans on social media are not impressed with the FIA after their latest ruling, which dictates that drivers are permitted to touch the white line on pit exit.

Confusion reigned in the aftermath of the Monaco Grand Prix after Eduardo Freitas’ race director’s notes did not seem to align with the FIA’s International Sporting Code [ISC].

Freitas wrote that the drivers must remain “to the right” of the yellow pit exit line as they came out of the pits throughout the weekend in Monte Carlo, but Appendix L, Chapter 4, section 5.c of the ISC suggests that drivers cannot “cross” the line when exiting the pits.

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“Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the Stewards), any tyre of a car exiting the pitlane must not cross any line painted on the track at the pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pitlane from those on the track,” it reads.

The notes this weekend, ratified by the FIA, state that the “full wheel” would have to be over the line for a penalty to be handed out so, technically, a driver can have most of their tyre sticking out onto the circuit, and it would be legal.

What has brought this about?

After Red Bull completely outplayed Ferrari strategically, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen made their stops that got them ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc respectively.

However, as they did so, they appeared to kiss the pit exit line on their way out of Turn One, leading Ferrari to ask the FIA for “clarification.”

The stewards found no wrongdoing on Red Bull’s part, and Perez was allowed to keep his win while Verstappen held onto third, but Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto was struggling to “understand” why the FIA had shown “such passivity.”

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Several fans on social media have not taken well to the news ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, with one claiming that the FIA is changing the rules to suit Red Bull.

“Changing the rules for RED BULL, Ferrari should delete FIA,” said one user.

“This is a stupid rule. The yellow line is meant to be an invisible barrier to cars can’t hit each other,” complained another.

“If both cars can be on the line but not cross it they can still hit each other. That’s why there’s a line there…”

One fan did see the reasoning behind it though, citing the rules of football in which all of the ball has to cross all of the line for the ball to be considered out of play.

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“Makes sense, the football has to be whole over the line to count as a goal and a wheel/tyre must be whole over the line for track limits,” they said.

With the confusion over what the definition of “cross the line” is, the drivers will now be able to cross over ever so slightly onto the track on the exit of the pits in Baku this weekend.