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107 per cent rule returns for 2011

The 107 per cent rule will return to Formula 1 qualifying sessions in 2011, the FIA World Motor Sport Council announced on Wednesday.

The regulation was first introduced in 1996 to ensure that no cars would be able to start a race if they were deemed too much slower than the leaders. It was scrapped at the end of the 2002 season, with the introduction of single-lap qualifying for '03.

But now that qualfying has resumed to free-running sessions and there are three new teams on the grid - with another likely for 2011 - the FIA has brought back the ruling.

A statement released by the World Motor Sport Council said: "From 2011, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107 per cent of the fastest Q1 qualifying time will not be allowed to take part in the race.

"Under exceptional circumstances, however, which may include setting a suitable laptime in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner, the grid order will be determined by the stewards."

The World Council also moved to eradicate slow-moving cars during qualifying sessions ruining the laps of their rivals. From 2011, a maximum time will be introduced, within which all cars will have to circulate under - even on in and out-laps.

"With immediate effect, any car being driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically, or which is deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers, will be reported to the stewards," the statement said. "This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.

"In order to ensure cars are not driven unnecessarily slowly on in-laps during qualifying or reconnaissance laps when the pit exit is opened for the race, drivers must stay below the maximum time set by the FIA between the safety car line after the pit exit and safety car line before the pit entry.

"The maximum time will be determined by the race director at each event prior to the first day of practice, but may be amended during the event if necessary."

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