F1 drivers warned about backing-off Monza qualifying tactics

Formula 1 drivers have been told by FIA race director Michael Masi not to use unnecessary backing-off tactics in qualifying at Monza, as they will risk receiving a grid penalty

F1 drivers warned about backing-off Monza qualifying tactics

The subject returned to the fore after the Belgian Grand Prix in which drivers found themselves queuing up to find space at the beginning of a lap, particularly in Q3.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both locked up on their outlaps as cars ahead slowed and forced them to brake suddenly.

Masi confirmed after the Belgian GP that the matter was under review, noting: "It is something that we have certainly discussed together with the sporting directors and at the current point, I think it is manageable.

"At the current point it is something we are continuously monitoring during the season and we will continue to look at."

The situation is accentuated at Monza by the significant advantage available from a tow and drivers look to find one a boost from either a rival or a coordinated strategy with the help of a team-mate.

At Friday evening's driver's briefing, Masi made it clear that he does not want to see a repeat of Spa, reportedly saying that it had "looked stupid" on TV.

Masi has not imposed any specific rule or limitation, adding there is leeway for finding space while running off-line, but urged drivers to use common sense and to give each other space.

He noted that he could use the rule about driving unnecessarily slowly to penalise any transgressions.

That penalty has been used already this weekend after a chaotic Formula 3 qualifying session on Friday that led to a red flag and eventually 15 drivers being handed penalties ahead of this morning's race.

The problem stemmed from many drivers slowing on the back straight on the approach to the Parabolica as they jockeyed to find space, while others were approaching on flying laps.

Ahead of the weekend, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel said on Thursday that he expects to see "strange games" in qualifying in Italy, especially with tows at a premium.

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