F1 drivers warned over backing up and track limits at Sochi

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has issued warnings to drivers over track limits and backing up in qualifying ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

F1 will return to the Sochi Autodrom this weekend after recent issues with drivers going too slowly on cool-down laps in practice and qualifying at a number of races.

The issue reared its head most notably at Monza, where a number of drivers failed to improve their time in Q1 as they avoided running at the front of the train of cars in a bid to get a tow from cars ahead.

The long run from the final corner to Turn 2 at Sochi has shown the importance of a tow in the past, but drivers have been warned about where they choose to back off in practice and qualifying.

In his regular pre-race event notes, Masi instructed drivers that they should not look to slow down towards the end of the second DRS zone at Turns 12 and 13, where drivers will be approaching at high speed.

“Any driver intending to create a gap in front of him in order to get a clear lap should not attempt to do this around Turns 12 and/or 13,” Masi wrote.

“Any driver seen to have done this will be reported to the stewards as being in breach of Article 27.4 of the Sporting Regulations.”

Masi also confirmed the traditional clampdown on track limits at Turn 2 at Sochi, where drivers have been known to run wide in previous years in a bid to gain an advantage.

Any driver that fails to take Turn 2 on-track will be required to follow a slip-road outlined by arrows to re-join the track at Turn 3. In a safe manner.

“A laptime achieved during any practice session or the race by leaving the track and failing to negotiate Turn 2 by using the track, will result in that lap time being invalidated by the stewards,” Masi wrote.

“Each time any car fails to negotiate Turn 2 by using the track, teams will be informed via the official messaging system.

“On the second occasion of a driver failing to negotiate Turn 2 by using the track during the race, he will be shown a black and white flag, any further cutting will then be reported to the stewards.

“In all cases detailed above, the driver must only re-join the track when it is safe to do so and without gaining a lasting advantage.”

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