F1 chiefs to demand stewards leniency to help overtaking

Formula 1 race stewards will be asked to take a more lenient approach to handing out penalties from now on, Motorsport.com has learned, in a bid to encourage overtaking in the sport.

F1 chiefs to demand stewards leniency to help overtaking
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 and Felipe Massa, Williams FW37 crash during the race
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 and Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C34 crash at the start of the race
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 E23 and Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C34 make contact
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 and Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C34 crash at the start of the race
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India and Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 Team
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India and Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 Team

As part of wide scale discussions in the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission meetings this week about the spectacle of grands prix, one issue that came up was the lack of intense battles between drivers.

Sources suggest that there was consensus among teams that drivers were being held back from attempting brave moves because of the fear of being handed punishments.

As well as the potential for time penalties and drive-through punishments for causing collisions, F1 drivers have also faced the risk of driver penalty points being added to their licences.

F1 team bosses believe that drivers should be more willing to take risks when it comes to overtaking moves.

That is why it was agreed by both the Strategy Group and F1 Commission for a formal notice to be sent to stewards asking them to not be so harsh when it comes to handing out any penalties in the future.

Race format tweaks

F1 will also begin a consultation process on changes to the qualifying and race formats in the future, as part of a wider overhaul of grand prix weekends.

Many ideas – including reverse grids and sprint races – were discussed without there being a firm consensus on what to do.

However, with a belief that improvements can be made to the current weekend format, F1 race promoters, sponsors and the media will join teams and series bosses to work out where improvements can be made.

Any changes would likely only come for 2017 at the earliest.

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