Formula 1 | F1 stewards prepare to punish slow laps

Formula 1 stewards are preparing to toughen their line on drivers lapping too slowly in qualifying sessions.

After qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, the stewards noted that “55 violations by 18 pilots” had taken place where they had failed to stay below the maximum time between the two safety car lines.

Among them were Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher – both of whom were investigated over the infractions. The stewards let both drivers off with formal warnings, but future violations could be dealt with harsher.

The marshals examined the numerous cases of pilots who did not respect the maximum time and found that “the majority of cases were the result of riders following another rider who was also on a warm-up lap”.

“As each driver tried to create a gap with the previous driver, they successively went slower,” explained the commissioners. This resulted in several pilots turning slower than they were required to.

However, the stewards noted that the Haas drivers had played a significant role in the slow laps.

“The five times these ‘trains’ developed during the qualifying laps, car 47 driver Mick Schumacher and car 20 driver Kevin Magnussen were the first, or nearly the first, out pits due to the location of their garage, and therefore were able to control their speed without having to worry about the cars in front of them.”

“Furthermore, the stewards found that generally the cars which did not follow the notes (instructions) of the race director followed these two cars.”

The stewards decided not to penalize the two Haas drivers because “the procedure required by the note is relatively new and was introduced during this season and has not involved a penalty so far”. However, they left the door open to impose tougher penalties in the future on drivers who slow others down during their exit laps in the same way.

“The marshals determined that the failure to follow instructions by these pilots was more within their control than any other pilot. The procedure being new and taking into account that other pilots have violated the instruction, but not to this extent, the stewards issue a warning to the drivers concerned.”

“The Stewards note that further infractions may result in increased penalties not only for those drivers, but for any competitor who commits a similar infringement in the future.”

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