At the start of the season, two drivers, Ocon and Alonso received a five-second penalty for not lining up properly in their grid boxes at Bahrain and Saudi Arabia Grand Prix respectively. The FIA reacted by widening the grid boxes by 20cm for the third race in Melbourne, and also tested out a new guidance line at the first few grid boxes.
To help drivers in races, F1 cars were made 20cm wider before the start of 2023. But even with that extra space, Driver Ocon believes there will still be many penalties given out this year because it’s hard to see other cars. Ocon said, “A lot more people are going to get punished for driving their car this year.”
Esteban Ocon from the Alpine F1 Team said it was silly to be penalized for certain situations even though they seemed simple, because its hard to know what’s happening from where the team is sitting. He added his team has been working to lower his position in the car but it went against some rules so now they have to face the penalty for that. A picture of him was taken by Mark Sutton/F1Flow Images during the drivers parade.
Ocon agrees that it will help to have a wider starting area, even if it is normally not good to start on the side.
“This year, there’s already 20cm more space than last year and now 20cm extra again – so things are going in the right direction,” he said.
“It’s better when you start from further back, otherwise you get a penalty.”
Before, we weren’t punished if our car was too far left or right on the starting grid. But now, this rule has changed and everyone needs to be careful. Making the spaces on the grid bigger can help with that.
Drivers don’t agree if having too small of a space on the grid is causing any problems with these new 2022 cars. Even though Valtteri Bottas said it’s tricky to see, he was surprised to hear that drivers like Ocon and Alonso missed their spots on the grid.
Bottas was surprised when he heard what Ocon said. He stated that when drivers come into the box these days, their view is not the same as it was 10 years ago since cars have higher chassis and different kinds of winglets on them. However, he believes they should still be able to see where they are going.
McLaren’s Lando Norris was confused as to why people were talking about their grid positions.
“I didn’t get why they wanted to change it since the beginning,” he said. “It’s pretty easy, every driver just lines up in a space on the grid.”
Other reporters have also written articles on related topics like: Ferrari understanding how Red Bull has a major effect with its ‘DRS’ setting; all F1 teams joining forces to introduce a ‘dynamic’ sprint qualifying; and if Red Bull had deliberately been holding back their performance during any race.