Bernie Ecclestone believes the rules regarding overtaking and defending a position during a Formula One race are stifling drivers from racing to the best of their abilities. The F1 chief is furious about the number of regulations in place to prevent untoward incidents during a race and believes that even the drivers are unclear of the rules that are in place.
Ecclestone is one among many who have voiced their concerns regarding the overtaking and defending regulations as a number of drivers have questioned them during the course of the season. A number of racing incidents have been referred to the race stewards in recent weeks after drivers made contact either while passing another car or while defending a position. The drivers have also questioned the consistency of the stewards' decisions after some escaped punishment for a similar incident that landed another driver with a penalty.
Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were involved in an incident during the Mexico Grand Prix, which saw the stewards stepping in. It resulted in complete confusion after the former crossed the line in third, but due to an infringement was demoted which saw Vettel step up to the podium, but the German was penalised three hours after the race, and the third place was then handed to Ricciardo, who had crossed the line in the fifth place.
The 86-year-old wants the rules to be made easier and the drivers allowed to race and fight their battles on the track rather than in the stewards' room after. He also believes the new rules are making drivers take the easy way and lodge complaints at every given opportunity while also using the sun off areas to avoid major damage during wheel-to-wheel racing with another driver.
"The regulation book should be retitled Don't Race," Ecclestone said, as quoted by the Times. "They are written in a such a convoluted way and there are so many that nobody, including the drivers, knows the right thing to do. Too many drivers hit the radio at the first sign of pressure or contact. 'He hit me, he squeezed me, he blocked me, tell the stewards."
"The proper drivers are frustrated, so are the viewers, and so am I. It is crazy. The rules are like bollards now, slowing everything, stopping drivers from doing what comes naturally. Let them sort it out. If it is dangerous we can deal with it.
"In the old days the drivers knew who was capable of what and raced accordingly. You can't always back off and wait for the stewards. We need to make it easier for drivers to race fairly. I don't want to see them using run-off areas which are there to save them from damage. But we don't get these problems at circuits like Monaco, Canada, which have walls," Ecclestone explained.
"I don't think they should deliberately bang wheels but if they are racing each other and they go close and touch, so what? I often wonder if some of these guys really want to race or just be out there in an F1 car."