In previous years, the 60 km/h speed limit zone began near the finish line shortly after the Formula 1 team’s final garage, and drivers could skip the limiter and start speed at that point.
However, the pitlane itself continues through another garage building that is not used by the teams.
It is understood that during the FIA’s inspection of the track on Thursday, race director Eduardo Freitas and his deputy Niels Witich decided the arrangement was potentially dangerous, as the driver could head towards the garage while losing control. region.
For this reason, he decided to move the end of the speed limit zone to the pit exit.
The change has had two consequences for the drivers and the teams. First, pit stop times have been increased to approximately 3.5–4.0 seconds, a figure that throws off any strategy calculations made prior to Thursday, while it allows teams to look for ways to make a stop. can encourage.
Second, it means that drivers have less speed to exit the pit and therefore it is more difficult to defend their position on Turn 1 after coming out of the stop. Slower cars are also potentially more dangerous for drivers driving out of the pit lane.
Some drivers questioned the speed limit zone change at the drivers’ meeting, but it was clarified that the change was paramount for safety reasons.
In an update to the race director’s notes released by Freitas on Saturday, an arrow sign has been placed at the exit of the pit to further warn drivers that a car is leaving the pits.
Freitas wrote: “There is an active digital panel located at the top of the pit wall (on the driver’s right side) for exit from the pit. An arrow will show. Drivers are on the track that a car is exiting the pitlane.
pit limiter sign
Photo by: FIA
Another key point of discussion at Friday’s briefing was the baguette-style banter used at various Paul Ricard corners, with Sebastian Vettel being the most vocal on the subject.
The German reported that several drivers in the lower ranges have been injured after their cars were parked on said curbs, reminiscent of events in Austin last year, which led to the curbs being removed.
He also said that the White Line rule is sufficient to prevent abuse of track boundaries. The FIA stated that the sanctions were necessary for the Porsche event.
However, after considering the matter overnight, Freitas stated in his final notes that “obstructors around the track at exits 5 and 15 have been removed”.
At the behest of the GPDA, Friday’s briefing also reviewed a number of recent incidents in an effort to give drivers a better idea of why or not penalties are enforced.
One of the examples shown was Fernando Alonso’s maneuver in front of Valtteri Bottas on the last lap of the Canadian GP, which earned the Spaniard a penalty.
The incident was played out from different angles and it was clearly so obvious that Alonso made several blocky moves that caused laughter throughout the room. When an unofficial vote was taken as to whether this was a fair penalty, all drivers except Alonso and teammate Esteban Ocon voted yes.
After watching the video, most drivers agreed that George Russell deserved a penalty for pushing Sergio Pérez off the track in Austria, while many also felt that Alex Albon had been hit with Vettel in the same incident. He should have been punished for his incident. Even Albon, who was relieved of his sentence at the time, admitted that he was guilty.
A topic of conversation at a separate team principals meeting was Alonso’s lack of penalties after an investigation into his car launched into an allegedly unsafe condition during the Austrian race.
The general consensus was that the rule should be enforced more strictly in the future to stop drivers immediately if they or the team suspects they have a loose wheel.