Christian Horner has blamed the FIA for ‘overcomplicating’ with their latest rules about the fast and slow lanes in the pit-lane exit. These same rule changes were labelled as ‘stupid’ by McLaren driver Lando Norris after he topped the sprint shootout at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Horner’s star driver Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ George Russell were both investigated for stopping at the end of the pit lane in Mexico City last weekend. These actions prompted furious reactions from other team principals and drivers who called on the FIA to put an end to these impeding incidents.
The FIA duly responded in Brazil, instructing teams that it was now forbidden to stop at the end of the pit lane to create gaps during qualifying sessions. Instead, drivers could open up space on the left-hand side of the pit lane exit, allowing faster cars to squeeze by on the right.
Discussing the impact of these changes, Horner said: “We’re just making it too complicated. There is a rule for driving out the garage, driving in the pitlane and driving out of the pitlane. You’ve got to go basics: why are the drivers needing to do these out laps and whatever? Go to the root cause.
“Is it tyre pressure? Is it the tyre temperature? We need to go to the root cause of the problem because it is something that didn’t exist in F1 for 50 years. So why is it an issue now? I think for me, it’s looking at the root cause rather than the sticky plasters that keep getting applied.”
Norris was also frustrated with the new rules regarding qualifying out-laps. The McLaren driver clinched the sprint race pole after pipping Verstappen in the sprint shootout on Saturday but was called to the stewards for exceeding the maximum lap time. While no penalty came of the infringement, the 23-year-old was frustrated.
“I tried to go but there were two cars ahead of me,” Norris told Sky Sports F1. “It’s just a silly rule. Two cars came out of the pits at a similar time when we crossed the [Safety Car] line so one has to back off. Or else you will race and it will be silly. When one backed off I had to back off. This rule is stupid in my eyes.”
The new rules did lead to some concrete punishments though. Russell fell foul of the rules for blocking in the pit lane, receiving a two-place grid drop for the sprint race, as did both Alpine drivers with Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon receiving the same punishments.