Max Verstappen has led calls for FIA intervention to prevent incidents of impeding in the pitlane following qualifying for Formula 1’s Mexico City Grand Prix.

Verstappen, Fernando Alonso and George Russell all faced stewards’ investigations for potentially impeding competitors in the pitlane during Q1 on Saturday.

All three drivers were later cleared without punishment, allowing Verstappen to take up his third-place starting berth for today’s race.

However, the Dutchman has been left bemused by the logic behind the introduction of a minimum lap-time which he feels has contributed to the issue.

Verstappen faced an investigation for an almost identical incident in Singapore for which he received a reprimand for his actions. The stewards later backed the decision in Japan as the practice is not explicitly banned but called upon the FIA to consider introducing such a regulation.

After a trial in Monza, as of the Japanese Grand Prix, the FIA now enforces a maximum lap-time delta for all laps completed during qualifying which further complicates the issue.

“I think it’s all imperfect at the moment. So, we need to come up with something else, but it’s hard,” Verstappen said of the latest incident in Mexico.

“The thing I don’t understand is like everyone is trying to make a gap now in the pit lane, which is the only place where we can do so. I don’t really understand how you can be impeding someone.

“That’s basically what everyone has been doing, so I’m surprised. I don’t think I did anything weird or wrong. I think we have to be a little bit more lenient with that, knowing that it’s a safe environment.

“I mean, we’re driving really slow, it’s the only place where we can make a gap because we drive out of the box and, of course, we are in the beginning of the pitlane, we didn’t know what other people are doing.”

“It’s just that we need that gap, the six to eight seconds. That’s why now it’s moved to the pit lane instead of the track, which in most cases, of course, is a safer scenario but clearly it still brings some kind of problems as well.”

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

On grounds of safety, the FIA agreed with Verstappen’s complaints and admitted that the maximum lap-time delta was partly to blame for the pit-lane fiasco on Saturday.

Maximum lap-times are measured between the two safety car lines, the first of which is at the end of the pit exit.

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella also weighed in on the discussion calling for “immediate action” to be taken.

“I think immediate action needs to be taken. It’s not a good spectacle. It makes the operations very difficult,” Stella asserted.

“You send your car and you actually don’t know when your car is going to get on track.  It puts all drivers too much at the mercy of the other drivers. And this for me starts to be unfair.

“We need to create policy aspects and ruling aspects to control the situation, which I think is just inappropriate.”

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