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FIA issues Sporting Directive based on key findings of 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix review


Changes implemented to Starting Grid Box dimensions and Sporting Directive on “Working On The Car” regulation

Additional review of common practices is ongoing in the interests of transparency

A review of incidents at the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has resulted in the implementation of several updates and continued analysis for future refinements.

Consistent with the transparent approach adopted by the FIA, a thorough analysis has been undertaken and conclusions drawn that will help improve the sport.

The review centred on on-track infringements involving Car #14 (F. Alonso) of Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team (Team) and subsequent Stewards’ decisions, specifically in relation to the penalty imposed on Car #14 and the subsequent exercise of the right of review by the Team.

This circumstance arose due to a lack of clarity in the wording of the relevant regulations and conflicting precedents, which were exposed by this specific incident. The rule itself had been a point of discussion at recent Sporting Advisory Committee’s meetings, the forum in which the FIA, FOM and all the teams discuss and propose amendments to the F1 Sporting Regulations for approval and implementation in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

The review panel comprised representatives from a number of FIA departments including Race Control, Safety, Operations and Technical and members of the FIA Remote Operations Centre (ROC).

The two key measures which have been implemented as a result of the review are:

  • The issuance of a Sporting Directive to clarify the definition of what constitutes “working on the car” (Article 54.4.c of the F1 Sporting Regulations) and how the regulation will therefore be applied by the FIA at subsequent Competitions.

  • The widening of the starting grid boxes by 20cm from this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. A centre line will also be trialled to aid drivers in positioning their cars correctly during Friday’s Free Practice in Melbourne and pending feedback and discussion at the Drivers’ Briefing may also be implemented moving forward.

Additionally, several other elements are under discussion for potential further improvement. These include a review of other potential ‘common practices’ which may not be clearly defined or documented, and which may necessitate either a change of the Regulations or a Sporting Directive to avoid similar issues in the future, as well as consideration of the various procedures that lead to time delays in the event of late-race reports to the Stewards.