The FIA World Council, motorsport's decision-making body, has rubber-stamped a new rule preventing drivers from changing cars less than 15 seconds before the start of the formation lap at Grands Prix
The ruling stipulates that any driver must have got out of his car and left the grid before the 15 second board is shown prior to the formation lap, if he wishes to use the spare car.
Before now, the rules simply stated that drivers were unable to change cars after the formation lap had started and yesterday's (Tuesday's) changes are seen as a clarification of the existing rules, rather than a major change.
"It doesn't really change much, it's just a clarification," said an FIA spokesman. "One day somebody says 'what if this happens, what if that happens' and it is better to clarify it straight away. It's no big deal."
The change does not effect the use of spare cars in the event of a red flag and drivers are still able to run back to the pits and use a T-car in the event of a race re-start.
The regulation is effective immediately and will be in force at this weekend's French Grand Prix.
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