F1 Monaco Controversy: The FIA’s attempt at redemption
Written by Isabel Brito, Edited by Sameena Khan
In Monaco 2022, a controversy was sparked when acclaimed driver Max Verstappen was drowned in accusations of crossing the pit lane line. After winning the third place podium position in Monte Carlo, Ferrari made the bold claim but not only accused Verstappen. They also claimed that the winning driver that weekend, Sergio Perez, had also breached the rule.
The claimed events happened during a tire change due to the weather change. After rain poured on the track and it began to dry, the Red Bull team decided to make an early stop. It was viewed on a screen that both drivers crossed the yellow line in the pit lane exit, which drivers aren’t allowed to cross. Subsequently, the FIA stewards filed the Ferrari complaint and investigated the situation after the race.
Upon deliberation, it was announced by the stewards that no penalties would be placed because neither of the drivers had crossed the line. However, this had only benefited Max Verstappen since footage clearly showed that he had crossed the yellow line, unlike his teammate. In the past, this kind of rule breach had earned drivers their respected penalties, but fans seemed to think that somehow the stewards made the wrong choice.
The code from 2022 states that drivers must not cross the line. This means at least one car wheel needs to be on the other side of the line to be counted as a breach of the code. By taking the sporting code rule literally, the Dutch driver was cleared of any possible penalty.
In light of this event, the FIA held various meetings over the winter break to tweak their International Sporting Code. It was only two weeks ago that the World Motor Sport Council approved the FIA changes regarding this rule. It has now been worded so that to breach the code, the driver will be evaluated based on the outer edge of the tyre. The FIA has also clarified that the same will apply to the pit lane entry line, which drivers are also not allowed to cross.
On March 4th, the FIA stated, “For the avoidance of doubt, crossing means that the outside of any tyre should not go beyond the outside, concerning the pitlane, of the relevant line painted on the track.” (Source: FIA) In addition to the statement, they have submitted a graphic to show exactly where the pit lane limits are.