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FIA clarifies defensive driving guidelines in Formula 1

Defensive driving guidelines clarifiedFormula 1 drivers have been advised of new driving standards guidelines in relation to defending positions, AUTOSPORT has learned, following some controversial incidents earlier this year.

Nico Rosberg came under fire at the Bahrain Grand Prix after he robustly tried to fend off attacks from both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso during the race.

In the end the stewards decided to not take any action because Rosberg had moved in a continuous manner and no 'significant' part of either Hamilton or Alonso's cars was alongside the Mercedes driver at the time.

However, with racing being so tight this season, drivers have continued the debate with the FIA about what is acceptable - and what is the proper definition of a 'significant' part of the car.

A few hours before the British Grand Prix, FIA race director Charlie Whiting wrote to all the teams informing them of new guidelines that will be used from now on in judging incidents.

In the note, a copy of which has been seen by AUTOSPORT, Whiting said that "any driver defending his position on a straight and before any braking area may use the full width of the track during his first move provided no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his. Whilst defending in this way the driver may not leave the track without justifiable reason."

To further clarify the situation he later added: "For the avoidance of doubt, if any part of the front wing of the car attempting to pass is alongside the rear wheel of the car in front this will be deemed to be a 'significant portion'."

Speaking about the Bahrain incident at the time, Rosberg said he would be happy for the FIA to provide clarification on driving standards.

"It is driver safety and we need to do the best we can so that we can move forward. We could look at implementing more rules in that situation because it is not very clear, but it can be looked at," he said.

"Rules such as a car width [when a driver is moving back towards the racing line after making a block] is very good because we need that clear situation to penalise drivers when there is a need to."

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