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How Ferrari protest against Red Bull exposed FIA flaws

How Ferrari protest against Red Bull exposed FIA flaws

How Ferrari protest against Red Bull exposed FIA flaws

How Ferrari protest against Red Bull exposed FIA flaws

Ferrari's post-race protest at the Monaco Grand Prix against Red Bull duo Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen unexpectedly unearthed a flaw in the FIA's management of F1's rulebook.

Race-winner Perez and reigning world champion Verstappen were alleged to have breached pit-exit procedure when crossing the white - yellow at Monaco due to the various street markings - line when leaving on slick tyres in damp conditions.

Whilst Perez's incident was unseen by television, Verstappen's appeared very close as he collected a snatch of oversteer on the tight inside line of Sainte Devote on his cooler tyres. The onboard view from the trailing Charles Leclerc was inconclusive.

What was clear is the Dutchman had at least travelled along the line, even if he had not crossed it.

According to the race director Eduardo Freitas' event briefing notes, this would have been enough to have triggered a five-second penalty for the Red Bull drivers and, in doing so, handing Ferrari a one-two finish with Carlos Sainz the winner.

Freitas' guidelines read: “In accordance with Chapter 4 [Section 5] of Appendix L to the ISC [International Sporting Code] drivers must keep to the right of the solid yellow line at the pit exit when leaving the pits and stay to the right of this line until it finishes after Turn 1.”

But whilst this wording has been employed since Michael Masi was at the helm, the ISC has actually changed for 2022.

Unfortunately for Freitas and fellow race director Niels Wittich, a copy-and-paste job has therefore been rendered obsolete by the changes.

Article 5.c of chapter four in the FIA's ISC reads: "Except in cases of force majeure [accepted as such by the stewards], any tyre of a car exiting the pit lane must not cross any line painted on the track at the pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pit lane from those on the track."

This has changed over the winter from: "Except in cases of force majeure [accepted as such by the Stewards], any line painted on the track at the pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pits from those on the track must not be crossed by any part of a car leaving the pits.”

This change of wording effectively allows cars to run along the pit-exit line, as long as one whole tyre does not cross over onto the live race track.

As the race stewards pointed out when throwing Ferrari's protest out in Monaco, the ISC takes precedence over any race director's notes.

It is worrying, therefore, a race director gave pre-weekend briefing notes that contradicted the ISC.

It proves, along with other incidents over the weekend and across the season, more attention to detail is needed at the FIA in a sport where titles are won and lost by the smallest of margins.

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