The Formula 1 Strategy Group has decided to let drivers race again and mandated Charlie Whiting to work out a concept over the winter, with a minimum set of rules to interfere with the track action.
In what was described as “a constructive meeting” featuring representative from Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, Force India and the FIA along with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, plus the addition of FIA commissioners Paul Gutjahr and Garry Connelly, as well as Chase Carey representing the sport’s new owners Liberty Media.
The main item on the agenda was the subject of over-regulation of Formula 1. After three hours of discussions everyone agreed that the overtaking rules and defensive driving restrictions have to be simplified and clarified.
The way forward, starting in 2017, is for drivers to sort out their differences among themselves and develop unwritten rules of conduct that have existed since the sport began.
Furthermore rules need to be clear and without gray areas that invariably make them controversial and difficult to implement, as Bernie Ecclestone said, “The rules must be written so that I understand them.”
The invited FIA sports commissioners admitted that the scope for interpretation with current regulations was too great, so there were always different judgments in comparable offences, particularly with regards to track limits.
The task for Whiting this winter is to find a solution to automatically penalise drivers who take a short-cut across a track or gain advantage by missing out on a sector of a track, coupled to simplification of the overtaking rules so as to eliminate any post-race discussions or arguments.
Only in the case of a dangerous situation or an accident occurs will the race management and sports commissioners be called to intervene.
A race result should be finalised on the day of the race and not delay matters due to protests or appeals.
Mercedes chairman and triple F1 world champion Niki Lauda welcomed the decisions which he has lobbied for, “We need to ask ourselves why these discussions have been so intense lately. Drivers are supposed to drive and battle it out on track.”
“Just as it was with us 40 years ago. At that time, the sport was 1,000 times more dangerous but we kept to unwritten laws among us with no need for official rules.”
“For me best quote after the Brazilian Grand Prix came from [Fernando] Alonso when he warned [Sebastian] Vettel that the next time he pushes him wide, he will punt him into the wall,” concluded Lauda.