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Frederic Vasseur

Vasseur underlines complications with F1 regulations

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has said the sporting regulations in F1 are getting "more and more complicated" whilst revealing the extent to which the document has grown during his time in the series.

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Ferrari team principal has stated he believes the increasing complexity of F1's sporting regulations has led to contradictory clauses within the document.

During qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz spun his Ferrari, bringing out the red flag and temporarily halting the session. Whilst the Spaniard was able to continue, making it through that part of qualifying, Aston Martin protested the results, arguing because he had "stopped" on circuit, he should have been prohibited from taking further part.

That appeal was ultimately denied by the stewards who explained that as the Ferrari was able to get back to the pits without outside assistance, it was not a breach of the sporting regulations. This verdict was in part based on the common understanding that Article 39.6 of the sporting regulations only relates to a car that cannot get back to the pits under its own steam.

The confusion caused by the wording of Article 39.6 put the issue front and centre, with RacingNews365 asking Vasseur after the Chinese Grand Prix if it was now clear what the rule was.

"I don't know if it's clear, but for sure we need to have some understanding of what has happened, as yesterday, we asked if we can restart, he [the race director] said yes, and it was end of the story," he replied, before adding: "We have to define exactly the situation."

'More and more complicated'

Vasseur then pivoted to inherent inconsistencies found within the regulations more generally, highlighting how growth in the size of the sporting regulations has led to contradictions.

"But for sure, what is true is that the regulation is more and more complicated. When I started the job, the sporting regulation was 20 pages, today, it’s 75," he remarked.

"You will always find loopholes because you have cross-articles. I remember a couple of years ago when Kimi [Raikkonen] spun on the out-lap at Imola, we had two different articles reporting to the same case: one saying black and the other one saying white."

Whilst Aston Martin failed in its mission to have the results of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix altered, it is a team that has profited from protests in recent years - such as getting Fernando Alonso's podium at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix reinstated and ensuring track limit infractions were properly scrutinised at the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix, which earned the team further points through penalties to rivals.

"It’s tricky, because as a consequence, the teams are getting bigger and bigger with more and more lawyers," Vasseur contended.

"At the end of the day, we are in the exact same situation as with the technical regulation – we are all trying to find a loophole and the regulation now is more and more complicated, but I think on this one, an easy clarification," the Ferrari team principal concluded.

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