Max Verstappen has led calls to remove or alter the “extremely dangerous” directive issued on Thursday which prevents drivers from stopping in the pit lane.

In recent races, Formula 1 drivers have been seen stopping in the pitlane as a result of the FIA’s imposition of maximum lap time rules to reduce traffic during qualifying.

Race Director Niels Wittich issued a new directive for the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, outlawing the creation of a gap in the fast lane of the pits.

Drivers were informed that if they wanted to create a gap in the pitlane, they must remain as left as possible to allow other cars to continue past.

While they so much as stop at the pit exit lights, the length and narrowness of the Interlagos pit exit led to several close calls during the weekend’s qualifying sessions.

The reigning champion was seen running through the grass as he sought to escape the traffic in SQ3 on Saturday morning and offered a harsh critique of the current predicament.

“It was absolutely terrible,” Verstappen asserted. “On this track, you have quite a long pit exit and there are some walls.

“But on some other tracks, if we implement this, you’re driving very slowly onto a straight where people are passing with 300+ [km/h]. And you’re maybe driving at 15, 20 to make a gap, which is extremely dangerous.

“For me, this doesn’t work at all. It just creates even more trouble. I mean, look at what was happening [in qualifying] – people going on the grass, including myself, to try and pass cars.

“It’s just a mess every single qualifying, you have like six to eight cars getting noted for driving too slow with the minimum time. I don’t know what we’re trying to achieve.”

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23 leaves the pits.
04.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sprint Day.
–, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Three drivers were handed grid drops on Friday for impeding in the pitlane, while Lando Norris’ reprimand on Saturday came as a consequence of the combination of both rules.

“I got a reprimand this morning for two cars ahead of me coming out of the pitlane, or one crossing over the safety car line, and one coming out of the pitlane at the same time,” said the Sprint runner-up.

“I can’t overtake, otherwise I’m gonna be racing on a qualifying lap, which is stupid. So I have to back off, and therefore I’m below the minimum time, and I get a reprimand for that.

“It’s just a silly thing – not that the stewards made the wrong decision, it’s just a rule that shouldn’t be in, in my opinion, because I did absolutely nothing wrong.

“I didn’t block anyone, I didn’t get in anyone’s way. I’ve just not overtaken and caused a race in qualifying and I got a reprimand for that. So, just silly things.

“People do go slowly and things like that, but if you’re scared of it, just go out the pitlane earlier and avoid all the queuing.”

“It’s quite a simple one. The only point is when you have like four minutes left on the clock or two minutes left on the clock.

“Then you’ve got a guy at the front of the queue who just waits 30 seconds, 20 seconds. Does a Fernando and Lewis, back in McLaren [2007 Hungarian GP Qualifying], and you kind of screw everyone over.

“So that’s the only probably unfair thing. But I think there’s just more and more rules for everything and it just causes more and more havoc for everyone.”

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