Drivers warned about La Source run-off

Formula 1 drivers have been warned they will be punished if they gain positions by exploiting the run off area at La Source on the opening lap of the Belgian Grand Prix

Drivers warned about La Source run-off

As Kimi Raikkonen showed last year, if you run wide coming out of the first corner it can give you added momentum to for the run down through Eau Rouge and up to Les Combes - which can help you overtake cars ahead.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting and stewards' advisor Nigel Mansell have, however, made it clear ahead of the Spa race that any driver pulling off such a stunt in today's race risks a penalty if they use it to gain position.

Extra artificial grass has already been added to the exit of La Source to try and discourage drivers from doing it - but even so it can still be beneficial to run wide.

Lewis Hamilton said he hoped all drivers had taken on board the message from Whiting and Mansell.

"It was raised by a few of the drivers and Nigel Mansell said we had to drive within our limits and be fair," explained the McLaren driver. "We all know we need to stay between the white lines and hopefully everyone is fair."

Although drivers have been told they will be let off using the escape road if they are forced wide, Michael Schumacher thinks that has opened up further complications.

He suggested that drivers could put themselves in a position where they deliberately get themselves forced wide - as he reckons Raikkonen did last year.

"I think we will probably have some discussion about this, because whether you anticipate being pushed out or whether you have to wait to be pushed out is important," he said.

"If you look at Kimi, he would not have been able to do this line [last year] keeping his speed on. He should have had to brake. He was anticipating having to make this move to avoid maybe to slow down. Is this right? Is this wrong? We will find out.

"Luckily we have a driver colleague that helps the stewards to find the right decision so Nigel, having his experience, I hope he will judge it well and make the right decision."

Schumacher is confident the matter will be effectively policed now that a former driver was on the stewards' panel.

"I think it is very important to have the right ones, who have a good judgement about things. Certainly it improves the situation compared to the past when, in all fairness, there have been stewards who have never sat in a race car so it was difficult to understand what our point of view is and what we have to do, or what we might not have to do."

As well as the first corner clampdown, Jenson Button hopes the stewards are just as strict on drivers straight-lining the corner at Raidillon.

"At the top of Eau Rouge, I made the point that a lot of cars can go straight there and you can gain a lot of time," said the reigning world champion. "Hopefully they will be looking at that also."

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