SportF1F1 - FIA modifies grid rules after Monza chaos

F1 – FIA modifies grid rules after Monza chaos

Motorsport’s governing body came under fire at Monza after the final grid took almost four hours to sort out following numerous penalties. Fans were upset that they didn’t know what was going on, while some teams were unsure how things would be resolved, as there was no formal regulation detailing the process for applying penalties.

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly took to Twitter to ask if anyone knew where he would start: “Can someone tell me where I will start tomorrow’s race?”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was one of the key figures in Formula 1 on that issue, saying the situation had to be resolved: “The reason it took so long [to order the grid] is that there are different interpretations, and the regulation is not clear enough.”

“That is something we have to address for the future, I think not only in the way of deciding grid position based on penalties, but also in the number of penalties we have, which are too many,” said the Swiss.

Following what happened in Italy, the FIA has introduced changes to the regulations to explicitly explain the process that will be carried out to resolve the sanctions. Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council held last Wednesday in London, the rules have already been reviewed and included in the 2022 sporting regulations.

While that will not speed up the process by the international federation to first publish a provisional grid, which can take several hours on Saturday night as post-session checks still need to be done, clearer rules will at least allow that the teams and fans can solve the order by themselves in a simple way.

How is the new regulation to order the starting grid of an F1 race with penalties?

The regulation, which is detailed in the part of the sporting regulations of Formula 1, both for sprint weekends and for normal events, describes how the sanctions are applied. It explains in detail the new process that was introduced a few years ago and which fixes the drivers on the starting grid, instead of continuously advancing the participants, as was the case in the past.

This is what the new regulations say in article 42.2 about how grid penalties are resolved:

  1. Qualifying drivers who have received 15 or fewer cumulative grid positions will be allocated a temporary grid slot equal to their ranking plus the sum of their grid penalties. If two or more drivers share a temporary grid position, their relative order will be determined according to their classification, with the slowest driver holding their assigned temporary grid position, and the other drivers holding positions immediately ahead of them.
  2. Following the allocation of temporary grid positions to penalized drivers in accordance with a), the non-penalized classified drivers will be allocated any unoccupied grid position, in sequence of their classification.
  3. Following the allocation of grid positions to non-penalized qualified drivers, drivers penalized with a temporary grid position as defined in a), will be advanced to fill whatever grid position is unoccupied.
  4. Qualified drivers who have accumulated more than 15 grid penalties, or who have been penalized for starting at the back of the grid, will start behind any other qualified drivers. Your relative position will be determined according to your ranking.
  5. Unqualified drivers who have been allowed to participate by the stewards will be allocated grid positions behind all qualified drivers. Their relative positions will be determined in accordance with article 39.3 (b).

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