The 2017 Formula 1 season will bring some important changes to the rules so that drivers are penalised less often, as a result of the numerous incidents which were highly discussed during the 2016 F1 Championship. Last week, the final sporting regulations for the new season were published and of particular note was article 38.1, following widespread criticism that too many penalties are being given to drivers for on-track incidents.
As of 2017, the rules state that even if Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting reports an incident, the stewards can “decide whether or not to proceed with an investigation”. And another small change should restrict whether a driver can be penalised for borderline racing incidents. Sebastian Vettel has recently welcomed news that less driver penalties will be handed out in 2017, as reported by the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag: “Wheel to wheel racing is always welcome, as people always want to see duels. Racing should be the focus” – the Scuderia Ferrari driver said.
Sebastian Vettel angrily confronted Max Verstappen in the paddock after the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix, when the German driver was penalised for his late-race defensive maneuvre, although previously the Dutchman straightlined Turn 1 and remained ahead, refusing to let Sebastian pass.