FIA race director Michael Masi has issued a warning in Baku to drivers who may be tempted to drive “unnecessarily slowly” in qualifying for the purpose of creating a gap before setting a time.

Masi was promoted to introduce the new rule on the grounds of safety because of visibility issues potentially impacting drivers in the final sweep of fast corners of Baku’s track.

“During any practice session, any driver intending to create a gap in front of him in order to get a clear lap should not attempt to do this between the entry to Turn 17 through to the exit of Turn 20,” stated a bulletin from the FIA.

“Any driver seen to have done this will be reported to the stewards as being in breach of Article 27.4 of the Sporting Regulations.”

Furthermore, weaving across the track in any session may be reprimanded by the stewards, while a maximum guide time shall also be established for FP3 and qualifying to ensure that drivers do not drive too slowly during any lap that is not an in-lap.

“For reasons of safety, during each practice session, acts such as weaving across the track to hinder another car may be referred to the stewards,” Masi wrote in his pre-Azerbaijan GP notes to competitors.

“During free practice session 3 and the qualifying practice, the time published in accordance with Item 8 [the Safety Car line maximum time] of the race directors’ event notes will be used as a guide by the stewards to determine if a driver is considered to be driving unnecessarily slowly on an out lap or any other lap that is not a fast lap or in lap.”

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