Max Verstappen has voiced strong criticism against a recent rule implemented by Formula 1 aimed at preventing impeding in qualifying. Verstappen finds the rule “extremely dangerous” and is perplexed by its introduction.
Impeding has been a significant concern throughout the current Formula 1 season, prompting the series to explore various solutions. The focus on addressing this issue intensified after the summer break, as several drivers were observed slowing down to create gaps during qualifying, leading to potential penalties.
The challenge arises from the fact that following a car too closely, especially during qualifying, can result in encountering dirty air, affecting performance. Despite attempts to open gaps without impeding, drivers like Verstappen have found themselves at risk of penalties due to the evolving rules.
In a recent incident during the Singapore Grand Prix qualifying, Verstappen managed to avoid penalties despite being investigated for three impeding incidents. He strategically stopped at the end of the pit lane, creating a 14-second gap and later blocked competitors in different instances, successfully navigating the rules without penalties.
Mexico City saw Verstappen, along with George Russell and Fernando Alonso, investigated for impeding during qualifying. However, Red Bull, Mercedes, and Aston Martin defended their drivers by citing the maximum delta time rule, preventing penalties in that instance.
Formula 1 responded to the ongoing challenges by tweaking the rule in Brazil. The updated stipulation now requires drivers to let others pass in the pit exit if they are not driving at full speed. Verstappen used this rule change to his advantage during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend, overtaking several cars. However, some drivers, including Russell, incurred penalties.
Expressing his concerns about the recent rule changes, Verstappen stated, “On this track, you have quite a long pit exit and there are some walls. But on some other tracks, if we implement this, you’re driving very slowly onto a straight where people are passing at 300 kph-plus, and you are maybe driving 15, 20 [kph] to make a gap, which is, I think, extremely dangerous.”
Continuing his critique, Verstappen described the situation as a “mess,” with multiple cars facing penalties in every qualifying session due to the maximum time rule. He questioned the purpose of these changes, expressing uncertainty about the desired outcome.
In conclusion, Max Verstappen’s criticism sheds light on the challenges and potential dangers posed by the recent rule changes in Formula 1 qualifying. The ongoing debate highlights the delicate balance between ensuring fair competition and maintaining safety on the track.