Ban on passing at pit exit ‘a terrible rule we have because of other silly rules’ · RaceFans

Formula 1 drivers say a better solution is needed to prevent impeding in qualifying than the ban on overtaking in the pit exit which was introduced at Yas Marina.

The rule was imposed following the first two practice sessions on Friday. Max Verstappen overtook several cars in the narrow, winding exit which passes beneath the track, prompting concerns over potential collisions.

The race director therefore imposed a ban on passing through the pit exit. This led to lengthy queues during qualifying. At one stage Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase remarked the situation was “apparently better” than the problem it was intended to address.

The restriction came about in response to the maximum lap time rule which was introduced earlier this year. This was intended to address the problem of drivers queueing at the end of a lap, potentially impeding others and leading to dangerous situations.

Verstappen said the drivers “agreed in the briefing” to forbid passing in the pit exit. “Otherwise, I think you would have seen again what happened yesterday.”

But he believes F1 needs to keep looking for ways to police qualifying better. “At the moment nothing is perfect yet, so we have to come up with a better solution,” he said. “But we’ll keep on thinking what that is.”

Pierre Gasly agreed action needed to be taken following the problem seen on Friday, but also believes there is room for improvement on the rule used at Yas Marina.

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“Yesterday we were close to seeing a front wing and rear tyres coming together,” said the Alpine driver. “Pit exit and entries are usually not places that should be used to fight for position or even race.

“We’re trying different processes to avoid impeding on-track. But then it triggers also other situations like we are seeing at the moment, everybody is slow in the pit to make sure that they cross the line at pit exit six seconds behind the car ahead.

“It’s just a sort of side-effect from what we’re doing. So in the end of the year I’m sure we will review everything and see what’s best for next year.”

However not everyone considered the rule a worthwhile change. Lando Norris took a particularly dim view of the latest revision to the qualifying regulations.

“I think it’s a terrible rule,” he said. “The thing is, they have to have the rule because of the other silly rule that they made us do.”

A ban on overtaking at the pit lane exit could cause farcical scenes in some situations, he predicted. “If it’s a red flag and there’s three minutes left, there’s going to be like three cars that get to do a lap. So I don’t know, it should just go back to the way it was before.”

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