Please examine the following diagram and forgive my crudeness. Please consider both cars to be traveling at relatively equal speed.

A crude example

Under FIA rules, what are the correct decisions that the drivers should make?

  1. Should the Blue car take a wider line?
  2. Should the Red car back off?

It would also be very helpful to have a link to or citation of official FIA rule(s) that help clarify this.


FIA sporting rules section 16:


16.1 "Incident" means any occurrence or series of occurrences involving one or more drivers, or any action by any driver, which is reported to the stewards by the race director (or noted by the stewards and subsequently investigated) which:

a) Necessitated the suspension of a race under Article 41.

b) Constituted a breach of these Sporting Regulations or the Code.

c) Caused a false start by one or more cars.

d) Caused a collision.

e) Forced a driver off the track.

f) Illegitimately prevented a legitimate overtaking manoeuvre by a driver.

g) Illegitimately impeded another driver during overtaking.

Neither driver may cause a collision, force a driver off the track, or illegitimately prevent a legitimate overtaking manoeuvre, or illegitimately impede another driver during overtaking.

So, blue can't ram into red. Blue can't force red off the track.

I also believe red is allowed to follow the track that you have drawn, since that would not be illegitimately preventing a legitimate overtaking manoeuvre.

I believe blue would be in violation of g) if it forced red to slow down in order to avoid a collision.

Further from section 20.4:

Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are not permitted.

This also supports the red car in your diagram.

The only exception would be if the red car was being lapped by the blue car, in which case, the red car must allow the blue car to pass un-impeded at the first opportunity.

  • 1
    Additionally, with the latest F1 rules, even if the red car was much further back (ie front wheels just overlapping the blue car's back wheels) it would still be given clearance, from teh crowding rules @Sancho mentioned. – Rory Alsop Aug 28 '12 at 13:28

The red car would be entitled to be left room, by the blue car, in this situation. Therefore, the blue car has one of two options;

  1. Take a wider line to give the red car space, or;
  2. Turn in later, once the red car has already gone past, taking a tighter line. This allows the red car to run out wide while they get on the power earlier. This is often referred to as a "switch-back" manoeuvre.

If the red car is ahead at the corner exit, they are also entitled to "take the racing line", which means they can run out to the edge of the track, so if the blue car chose option 1 above, they would then have to back off to avoid a collision. However, this is only if it is deemed that they are not intentionally "forcing another driver off the track".

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