The FIA has put its foot down in terms of cars attempting to perform backing-off tactics. According to the governing body, drivers will be slapped with grid penalties if such tactics are implemented during qualifying later on Saturday.
Speaking to drivers at the official briefing, F1 race director Michael Masi firmly stated that such stunts are unacceptable. Apparently, the same thing took place at Spa last weekend, where drivers queued up, seeking to get into the slipstream of a rival or teammate.
Of course, considering that Monza is one of the fastest circuits, backing off to get a tow could be sorely tantalising. This is because, at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, a slip-stream could mean that drivers can gain up to half a second.
Admittedly, Masi stopped short of imposing a strict rule for the same, during qualifying. Instead, he urged drivers to resort to their own common sense and not drive unnecessarily slowly and hinder others. A notable incident from last weekend was when the Mercedes drivers nearly ran into each other, and later Valtteri Bottas into Nico Hulkenberg
The FIA already cracked down on fifteen F3 drivers during their qualifying session at Monza on Friday. It was note-worthy that Williams driver George Russell was expecting “chaos” to ensue during this afternoon’s qualifying session. In addition to that, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, agreed, predicting some “strange games”.
“If you look on paper, this is the place where you expect these kind of strange games,” said the 4-time world champion German driver to Motorsport.com. “There’s very little you can do to sort of prepare because it depends on the timing of the session.
“Here I think the lap is a bit shorter so maybe it buys you a bit more flexibility but yeah, we’ll see on Saturday.”