The FIA has issued a new rule that any Formula 1 driver who abandons his car will be considered out of the session.
The revised 2022 F1 Sporting Regulations make it clear that any driver who leaves his car during an official season weekend is out of that session and banned from continuing.
Modern F1 power units feature on-board starters, allowing drivers to start their power units from inside the car without the need for external ignition. However, the newly added article 26.18 states that “any car left on the circuit by the driver, even temporarily, is deemed to have left the session”.
The revised rules mean drivers are effectively retired the moment they step out of the car, with no chance to get back into the cockpit and continue in practice, qualifying, sprints or grand prix sessions. .
Earlier this season, Mercedes driver George Russell retired from his car at the start of the British Grand Prix following a crash in which Zhu Guanyu barreled into the guardrail. Russell stopped his car with a puncture and ran to attend to Zhu’s crashed Alfa Romeo, but despite protesting he was red flagged and prevented from returning to his car and continuing the race.
“I jumped out to see if he was okay,” Russell explained at the time. When I came back I couldn’t start the car but I wanted to check with my team – and when I came back the car was already flat and the FIA said we couldn’t start again. So the only thing we’re angry about is the piercing.”
Under the revised rules of the sport, Russell was only allowed to continue if his car was not damaged. The new rule includes drivers who leave their cars on track during a red flag suspension during a Grand Prix or Sprint race “unless, in exceptional circumstances … due to mechanical problems, car damage or to gain benefits.” He said.
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