I wrote an editorial in which I am being skewered a bit over my stance on the new clamp down regarding moving defensively under braking to prevent passes. This new regulation is being called the Verstappen Rule by the press, which is think is a bit unfair to the Dutchman but he’s not the kind of guy who will let it bother him. In Fact, I have to hand it to this young man, he’s playing all sides of his F1 career with some serious panache.
Asked about the new rule, Max took the concept of top drivers complaining and rammed it back up F1’s backside by exploiting something I spoke about in my editorial. The fact is, F1 has DRS and I loathe the system but Max doubles down on it by suggesting that artificial passing is something that will come from the new rule and DRS and in the end, fans will have their say in the matter.
“If so many people are complaining it’s not a surprise, let’s say it like that,” he added.
“To be honest I haven’t really thought about it yet, what I should do or what I would do. I’m just gonna race and then we’ll see how it’s going to be with overtaking and how people are defending.
“If that’s the right approach I don’t know, but at the end of the day it’s the same for everyone so we’ll have to deal with it.
“I think it makes Formula 1 a lot more interesting, instead of just getting by with DRS or driving by in an easy overtake. But that’s not up to me.
“Probably it will lead to more passes. If it’s positive passing I don’t know, that’s what we’ll have to ask the fans at one point.”
My main point in the editorial was the FIA’s ability to manage a new sporting regulation that can be exploitative and difficult to determine and we already complain of a lack of consistency from the stewarding during races. A secondary point I was making echoes Max’s comments in that at what point are we going to continue making rules to enable easy or in DRS’s case, artificial passing to overcome the elephant in the room…aero?
Older drivers feel it’s unsafe to use the tactics Max has used and other drivers as well but an interesting comment from Lewis Hamilton suggests that he too feels there needs to be clarification of the rules and better, more consistent application.
As much as I appreciate other readers leveling accusation about armchair philosophers and how out of touch with the reality of racing I am, I also have little time for the same armchair fans prattling on about safety as a bludgeoning weapon of discourse on websites. What do any fans actually know about safety in racing? Other than broad comments about throttling back dangerous driving because Kimi Raikkonen spoke three minutes on the topic. Who cares?
There is nothing safe about what any of these drivers do and the FIA’s job is to make it as safe as possible but the challenge is what sporting regulations need to be created that don’t already exist? If safety is the mother of all charters in F1, then put a limiter on the engines and let them all race at 35mph top speed.
I don’t like the idea of moving lines under braking and F1 doesn’t either. Contrary to statements that have been offered from Jenson Button or others about this being a new issue, I am wondering what I was watching back in the 90’s when the one-move rule came in to play due to Schumacher’s aggressive defensive driving. It’s not new to move under braking, it’s just not being penalized. Need a rule? Fair enough but that rule had better be applied with consistency and without fail and we shouldn’t be upset if the outcomes of races aren’t known for three hours after each race. We also shouldn’t get upset if all the passing on track comes down to artificial moves (DRS) and easy overtakes due to sporting regulations that prevent drivers from the art of defensive driving.
There is a fine line and I understand this rule doesn’t say you can defend but this is a slippery slope of where we are heading with the regulatory oversight of micromanaging the driving or driving from a desk.
Hat Tip: Motorsport