A subtle tweak to Formula 1’s regulations has been undertaken ahead of the season regarding a clause that caused controversy in last year’s finale.
Formula 1’s sporting regulations had already had revisions over the winter period, including an updated Safety Car process, changes to the points system for shortened grands prix, and amendments to media obligations owing to the new weekend structure.
On Tuesday a small change was implemented to clear up ambiguity over the wording of lapped cars behind the Safety Car.
The word ‘any’ has been replaced by ‘all’ in Article 55.13, which relates to drivers being permitted to unlap themselves when given the signal to do so.
At last year’s contentious Abu Dhabi finale then Race Director Michael Masi allowed only five of the eight lapped cars – those between leaders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen – to unlap themselves before the final lap restart.
The situation caused controversy, with several drivers querying the decision, while during Mercedes’ post-race protest Red Bull argued that ‘’any’ does not mean ‘all’’.
That has now been cleared up in the fifth issue of the 2022 sporting regulations published on Tuesday.
Article 55.13 now reads: “If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors using the official messaging system, all cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car.”
In another minor tweak the points system for races between 50 and 75 per cent distance has undergone a change.
A driver finishing fourth will now be awarded 10 points, rather than nine, while a driver classifying seventh will receive four points rather than five.
An extra couple of articles, 60.4 and 60.5, have also been added to the regulations, outlining that after the race drivers “must remain fully attired until after they have been weighed,” which includes helmet and gloves.