FIA clarifies pit lane exit rules ahead of Azerbaijan Grand Prix

FIA clarifies pit lane exit rules ahead of Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Formula 1 Race Director Niels Wittich has clarified laws surrounding the line that divides the pit exit from the race circuit in his Azerbaijan Grand Prix event notes, which were given to all drivers and teams.

Following the Monaco issue in which Ferrari protested against Red Bull, the FIA race director’s instructions on the pitlane exit line have been revised for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Ferrari initially protested both Red Bull drivers, accusing them of crossing the boundary between the pitlane and the circuit. However, I It backed off from its claim against race winner Sergio Perez, but maintained that championship leader Max Verstappen had violated the race director’s instructions.

According to the race director’s event notes, drivers must stay to the right of the solid yellow line after exiting the pits and stay to the right of this line until it ends after Turn 1.

Part of Verstappen’s front and rear left tyres were on the left side of the yellow line, according to Ferrari, violating the race director’s event notes.

However, the reigning world champion escaped punishment because his tyre would have had to “cross” the line for him to face a penalty, according to Chapter 4, Article 4 and 5 of Appendix L of the International Sporting Code (ISC).

The contention was that the instruction meant no part of the car could hit the pit exit line after a clarification in Turkey in 2020. As a result, the FIA stewards dismissed Ferrari’s objection, claiming that the race director’s event notes were mistakenly outdated and did not reflect the updated International Sporting Code for 2022.

For 2022, the relevant section of the ISC has been modified to state that the pit exit line “must not be crossed by any part of a car leaving the pits,” rather than “any tyre of a car exiting the pit lane shall not cross.”

Since the original instructions were a dubbed from the 2021 edition of the event notes,” race director Eduardo Freitas’s event notes did not reflect this.

Race Director Niels Wittich is back in charge of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and his first set of event notes featured a greatly simpler explanation on the required procedures.

“In accordance with Chapter 4, Article 4 and 5 of Appendix L to the ISC, drivers must follow the procedures at pit entry and pit exit,” Wittich said in a statement.

Given the stewards’ judgement at Monte Carlo, this is a clear shift in phrasing from Freitas’ pre-Monaco event comments, implying that drivers can touch the pit exit line but not “cross” it upon re-joining the race circuit.

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