FIA Takes Steps to Tackle F1 Traffic Nightmares at the Monza Circuit

by admin

If you’ve been tuning into Formula 1 qualifying sessions, you’ve probably noticed things get a bit…clogged. Drivers in F1 as well as the feeder series, F2 and F3, often jam the tracks while slowing down at the end of their out-laps, trying to carve out some clean air for their upcoming fast laps. This snail’s pace procession often leads to frustrating logjams, especially ahead of the final turn, as we’ve seen in recent Austrian and Belgian Grands Prix.

Well, Monza didn’t escape this drama. During the Friday F3 qualifying, things turned from chaotic to calamitous when a crash occurred due to the heavy traffic. The session had to be red-flagged after Ido Cohen, driving for Rodin Carlin, bumped into his teammate Ollie Gray as everyone piled up.

Now, the FIA isn’t exactly a fan of slow driving—unless it’s Sunday and you’re a retiree out for a cruise, but that’s another story. Normally, they enforce minimum lap times for drivers on in-laps between the second and first safety car lines, which essentially cover the entire circuit except the pits. But seeing the Monza madness, they decided enough was enough and decided to make some changes.

To that end, FIA race director Niels Wittich issued some additional notes on Saturday morning, updating the racing guidelines. According to his newly minted rules under section “4.2,” drivers will now be held to a time limit for any lap during qualifying. If a driver takes longer than 1 minute and 41 seconds between the Second Safety Car Line and the First Safety Car Line on any lap—including out-laps—they might as well wave a flag that says, “I’m dawdling.”

Just to clarify, though, this new stipulation doesn’t overthrow Articles 33.4 and 37.5 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations. Those still apply to the whole racetrack, and any weird happenings will usually get a closer look after the qualifying wraps up.

The traffic problem at Monza is particularly problematic thanks to the track’s high-speed design. Here’s the thing: drivers are on the hunt for a tow from the car in front to supercharge their straight-line speed. This F1 version of “follow the leader” makes drivers hesitate to be the first car in line, making them more likely to slow down and cause a hold-up.

Remember the 2019 Monza qualifying? Yeah, the snail-paced Q3 ending meant that a whole parade of speedsters failed to clock in their final fast lap before the buzzer. Let’s just say the FIA doesn’t want an encore of that fiasco.

So, there you have it! The FIA is stepping in to try to prevent the Formula 1 equivalent of a LA traffic jam. Only time will tell if these new rules will streamline the races or if drivers will find new and creative ways to make us facepalm.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about FIA Monza Traffic Rules

What prompted the FIA to update the rules for F1 qualifying at Monza?

The FIA decided to modify the guidelines after witnessing frequent traffic congestion during F1, F2, and F3 qualifying sessions. The congestion often led to bottlenecks and, in some cases, collisions. The situation was notably problematic at the recent Austrian and Belgian grands prix, and also occurred during Monza’s F3 qualifying.

What are the new rules introduced by FIA race director Niels Wittich?

Niels Wittich issued additional guidelines stating that any driver who takes longer than 1 minute and 41 seconds between the Second Safety Car Line and the First Safety Car Line on any lap during qualifying—including out-laps—could be considered to be driving too slowly. These rules apply to the entire circuit, barring the pitlane area.

Do the new rules overwrite existing F1 sporting regulations?

No, the new rules do not supersede Articles 33.4 and 37.5 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations. These regulations still apply across the entire circuit, and any unusual incidents will generally be investigated after the qualifying session is over.

Why is traffic congestion an issue particularly at Monza?

Monza’s high-speed layout encourages drivers to find a tow from the car ahead in order to boost their straight-line speeds. This practice often makes drivers reluctant to be the first in line, exacerbating the tendency to back up and create traffic congestion.

What happened during the Friday F3 qualifying at Monza?

During the Friday F3 qualifying session at Monza, traffic congestion led to a collision between Rodin Carlin drivers Ido Cohen and Ollie Gray. The session had to be red-flagged as a result.

Has the FIA tried to tackle this issue in the past?

Yes, the FIA has regularly enforced minimum lap times for in-laps between the second and first safety car lines to discourage drivers from slowing down too much. However, the new rules are an expansion of these efforts and apply to any laps, including out-laps.

What were the consequences of traffic issues in the 2019 Monza qualifying?

In the 2019 Monza qualifying, drivers slowing down at the end of Q3 led to a situation where many cars couldn’t complete their final fast lap before time ran out, leading to a somewhat chaotic and unsatisfying conclusion to the session.

Will these new rules apply to other circuits as well?

As of now, the FIA has only announced the change in rules for the Monza circuit. However, depending on its effectiveness, there’s a possibility that similar rules could be applied to other tracks in the future.

More about FIA Monza Traffic Rules

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TechGeek91 September 2, 2023 - 9:43 am

Impressed that FIA’s adapting so quick. Monza is a classic and these new rules might just preserve its legacy.

CinemaSam September 2, 2023 - 10:21 am

Who knew F1 could have traffic jams too, lol. it’s not the 405 but still, makes for some entertaining drama.

JakeTheRacer September 2, 2023 - 2:33 pm

Wow, FIA finally doing something about this mess. Bout time, honestly. Traffic’s been a nightmare, especially in Monza.

TheF1Fanatic September 2, 2023 - 3:04 pm

Excellent article. really in-depth. Now, if only the drivers read this, we’d be set for a perfect race weekend.

MovieBuff101 September 2, 2023 - 4:26 pm

Kinda feels like a Fast & Furious scene, but with more rules and less Vin Diesel. Lets go Monza!

Gamer_Gal September 2, 2023 - 8:59 pm

I wonder if they’ll update the F1 video games to reflect these new rules. that’d be cool and realistic.

MusicMaven September 2, 2023 - 10:05 pm

If FIA can solve traffic problems, they should come fix my city next, haha.

SarahDrivesFast September 2, 2023 - 10:08 pm

Niels Wittich stepping up! These changes are super important for the safety of the drivers. Safety first, people!

SportySpice87 September 3, 2023 - 4:11 am

remember 2019? That Q3 was crazy. Hopefully, this makes things better and we don’t have a repeat of that chaos.

GadgetGuy September 3, 2023 - 9:29 am

So the FIA is basically the traffic cop of F1 now? Interesting. Lets see if drivers actually follow these new rules.


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