Formula 1 drivers will not be allowed to stop in the fast lane of the pits during qualifying sessions for the Brazilian Grand Prix as the FIA continues to crack down on impeding.

To avoid close calls during qualifying, the sport’s governing body recently began imposing a maximum lap time on all laps completed during the sessions.

But the change has faced criticism from drivers after Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso and George Russell all faced the stewards in Mexico for blocking the pitlane during Q1 last Saturday.

All three escaped punishment as the FIA accepted, on grounds of safety, that the maximum lap time delta was partly to blame.

Verstappen, who in Singapore was reprimanded for a similar incident, described the situation as “imperfect”.

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23 passes the stationary Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Alfa Romeo F1 Team C43; Logan Sargeant (USA) Williams Racing FW45; Zhou Guanyu (CHN) Alfa Romeo F1 Team C43; and Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23 at the end of the pit lane.
28.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Qualifying Day.
–, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

]The Dutchman claimed that the pitlane was the only safe place to build a gap to other cars, while also respecting the maximum lap time delta which is clocked between Safety Car line 2 to 1.

This has led to drivers queuing up at the end of the pit lane on several occasions, blocking other competitors and potentially leading to drivers not completing their out-laps in time for a subsequent timed run.

After calls from drivers and team bosses alike, F1 race director Niels Wittich has announced changes for this weekend that will be enforced in both Friday’s qualifying session and Saturday’s Sprint Shootout.

“As per article 33.4 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, drivers are not allowed to go unnecessarily slow, that includes stopping a car in the fast lane of the pitlane,” the race director’s event notes state.

“During Shootout and Qualifying, drivers may create a gap between the pit exit lights and the SC2 line.

“Any driver who wishes to do so must drive as far to the left as possible to allow other drivers to pass them on the right side of the pit exit road.”

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