Consistent with its plan to restrict driver aids and radio traffic to drivers, the FIA has informed F1 teams of new start procedures which shall be imposed at this year's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
The governing body's initiative, which aims to put race starts back in the driver's hands, stems from its will to enforce Article 20.1 of the F1 Sporting Regulations which stipulates that "a driver must drive the car alone and unaided".
Basically, the rule will forbid any information fed to the driver regarding clutch bite points in the build-up to the race. The clutch bite point will not be able to be changed from the time the car leaves the garage for the first time after the pit lane is open until after the start lockout period after the race has started.
The FIA's new technical directive – titled "Start Practice and Start Procedures" – also specified that all pit-to-car communication during any reconnaissance or formation laps will be limited to safety and sporting information, thus banning any discussions about start procedures.
In the note sent to the teams, F1 race director Charlie Whiting made clear that only information related to safety issues would be permitted, such as a critical problem with the car, a puncture warning or damage, an indication of a problem with a competitor's car, an instruction to enter the pit lane in order to fix or retire the car, marshaling information (for example yellow flag, red flag, race start aborted or other similar instructions), information regarding a wet track, oil or debris in certain corners, or finally instructions to swap position with other drivers.
The FIA says it regards any other message to be a breach of Article 20.1 of the Sporting Regulations – which could result in a penalty.
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