Drivers told: 'Mind the gap'
A new and formal version of the ‘one move’ blocking rule, which requires drivers to leave space when they return to the racing line, could lead to some controversy over the course of this season.
Article 20.3 of the 2012 FIA sporting regulations, now updated to include changes announced last year by the World Motor Sport Council, reads as follows: “More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted. Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner.”
The fact that this is now enshrined in the regulations means that drivers have a formal guideline, but it seems likely that there will be disagreements over the precise interpretation.
Meanwhile, among the other changes for 2012 is a return to allowing lapped cars to regain their lap under a safety car – thus getting them out of the way and increasing the chance of a clean fight at the front.
The FIA has also made it clear that it won’t always be possible. A ‘no overtaking’ message will be displayed on the timing monitors “if the clerk of the course considers track conditions are unsuitable”. The rule was dropped because of the length of time it took to re-align the cars, especially in the wet.