Formula 1: last minute change at the starting pits in Australia to avoid penalties

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After the sanctions they received Esteban Ocon in Bahrain and Fernando Alonso in Saudi Arabia, for misplacing their cars for the start of the first two rounds of the season Formula 1, the FIA ​​has decided to introduce a change to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. Inside Australian Grand Prixthird round which takes place this weekend in Melbourne, the pits that make up the starting grid will be 20 centimeters wider, to help drivers more easily position their cars correctly within the limits determined by the pit lines. .

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Article 48 of the F1 sporting regulations establishes which infractions at the start could cost the drivers a fine. One of the three detailed explains that the racer will be given a penalty of between 5 and 10 seconds “any part of the contact patch of its front tires is outside the front and sidelines at the time of the starting signal”. This was the transgression committed by Ocon and Alonso.

In Bahrainwhere the curtain rose on the 2023 championship on 5 March, the marshals considered that the front right tire of the Alpine The Frenchman, who started ninth, was out of his drawer, for which he was penalized with five seconds, which he served on his first pit entry, albeit incorrectly, which earned him an extra 10-second penalty.

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“It’s not as easy as it seems to park your car in the right spot, you can’t see anything from where you’re sitting,” Ocon said. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier Photo

The same thing happened with Alonso Saudi Arabia, just under two weeks ago. The Spaniard, who started from second position behind Sergio Pérez, did not respect the regulation because of him Aston Martin he was moved to the left of the marked place on the track and received the same penalty as his former teammate (television images showed he was not the only one in violation). And he was also penalized with 10 more after he illegally discounted it, which almost cost him the podium, but which was ultimately without effect after appeal by the British team.

The two pilots, at the time, ensured that they had not realized they were in violation.

“It may seem silly that it was too far to the right and it’s easy to fix. But it’s not. It’s not as easy as it sounds to park the car in the right place, especially since the cars are so big and we’re sitting so low.. .” Ocon explained. “Basically, you can’t see anything from where you’re sitting. So that’s something I’ll have to address. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.”

Alonso acknowledged after the Jeddah race that he didn’t realize at the start that he was out of the box and that it was only after the end of the race – in which he crossed the finish line in third place – that he noticed how misaligned the car had been.

Alonso finished third in Saudi Arabia but narrowly missed the podium after starting from the wrong position.  REUTERS/Rula Rouhana Photo

Alonso finished third in Saudi Arabia but narrowly missed the podium after starting from the wrong position. REUTERS/Rula Rouhana Photo

Sergio Perezwho was left with the victory on the Arab track in front of his teammate Max Verstappen and of Alonso, he expressed his solidarity with the Spaniard and said: “It’s really hard to see where you are. I think I braked too soon, but you have no idea when you’re in the car. You don’t know if you’ve gone too far far or too far ahead.”

“We need better visibility. It’s good that there’s a rule, but at the same time, sometimes it’s like luck, to be honest, where you position yourself,” continued the Mexican, from Red Bull.

The FIA ​​has taken note of the complaints from the drivers. And also taking into account that “current cars, which are increasingly wider, have aerodynamic and safety features that reduce the driver’s view of the wheels”, he decided to widen the starting points for the Australian appointment. Will it be the definitive solution to the problem?

Source: Clarin

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