‘Max Verstappen’ rule regarding F1 braking zones relaxed ahead of 2017 Australian Grand Prix
Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen Kimi Raikkonen
Posted By: Editor   |  23 Mar 2017   |  1:27 pm GMT  |  95 comments

The FIA has abandoned the ‘Max Verstappen’ rule clarification it introduced into Formula 1 regarding wheel-to-wheel racing last season in an attempt to give drivers more on-track freedom in 2017.

The governing body issued its previous explanation ahead of the 2016 US Grand Prix, which stated that any driver moving in braking zones and causing other competitors to take evasive action – a charge several drivers had levelled at Verstappen last year, particularly after his battles with Kimi Raikkonen in Hungary and Belgium – would be investigated.

That clarification resulted in Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel being penalised at the Mexican Grand Prix for his defending against Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo during the closing stages of that race.

Max Verstappen Kimi Raikkonen

But ahead of the 2017 Australian Grand Prix, which takes place in Melbourne this weekend, F1 race director Charlie Whiting explained that the ‘Verstappen rule’ had been replaced with a broader clarification regarding the actions drivers take in braking zones.

He said: “Some of the incidents that we saw last year may be handled slightly differently, simply because the so-called ‘Verstappen rule’ has gone. Before, we said any move under braking will be investigated.

“Now we have a simple rule which says effectively that if a driver moves erratically or goes unnecessarily slowly or behaves in a manner that could endanger another driver, then he will be investigated. So there’s a very broad rule now.”

Charlie Whiting

Whiting also explained that the change ahead of the 2017 season means the stewards will only investigate potentially dangerous movement in braking zones.

He said: “The way we interpreted the regulations last year was to simply use the rules that we had to say that moving under braking was potentially dangerous, and hence would be reported to the stewards every time.

“Each incident will [now] be dealt with only on the basis of whether or not it was a dangerous manoeuvre, not necessarily because he moved under braking.”

Speaking at the pre-event press conference in Melbourne, Ricciardo welcomed the relaxing of the braking zone rules.

Daniel Ricciardo Sebastian Vettel

He said: “The good part of it is it means less decisions to be made on-track, in a way. If they leave it up to us I guess the positive is that we sort it out on track. Hopefully we can get redemption if we feel like something has not gone our way. I like being able to race, that’s the positive from it.”

Video archive aims to help stewarding consistency

To help the F1 race stewards investigate incidents this year, the FIA has put together a system that will give them access to a video archive that will house clips of similar events.

The hope is that now the stewards will be able refer back to how previous incidents of a similar nature were dealt with, it will improve the consistency of their decisions throughout the season.

“We had a meeting yesterday with all the stewards, and we reviewed all the controversial incidents from last year to see how they would be dealt with under the so-called new rules, or the new approach,” said Whiting.

Fia Stewards Charlie Whiting

“I won’t go into it now, but it was quite interesting. Things would have been dealt with differently, in some cases. What we’ve done to try and help the stewards is to introduce what we call a video archive system, which allows them to instantly refer to other incidents of a similar nature.

“So without having to trawl through and try and remember what happened to so and so, they’ll be able to pull up any similar incident.

“They’ll be sorted by type of incident, for example – causing a collision, click, click, click, six of those incidents, see what the decisions were, and that should be able to give the stewards not only more chance to be consistent, but also faster.”

Do you agree with the relaxing of the ‘Verstappen rule’? Take our poll above and leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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Is unnecessarily slowly a dig at Hamilton.


What [Mod], they leave it wide open so they can make individual decisions based on merit, however one could view the new change as allowing the stewards more control over the final results in case of incidents. Not very transparent and a stupid change in my opinion, better to have a clean cut rule than hogglewash even if you don’t agree with it.


good change
the less policing around overtakes the more likely they are to occur, or even be attempted using legitimate means

anyone thinking this isn’t a good change needs their head examined


We are governed by so much [Mod] regulations and if someone breaks any of the regulations the victim cries foul. What the society needs to do is go back to the days of the gentleman’s agreement – compete fairly and at the same time respect one another, otherwise sort it out at the back of the garage.


Since what people are now calling the Max Verstappen Rule is basically the same rule that existed before Max Verstappen, then I don’t mind the Max Verstappen Rule, as referred to by journalist today, being repealed.

What I do hope is different with Liberty than with Bernie is some basic fairness in applying the rules evenhandedly to all teams and all drivers. There was always a rule that drivers could only move once in the path to a corner because to do more was dangerous to other drivers. The Max comes along and starts making two or three moves into a corner, but suddenly the rule is no longer enforced. Presumably because Bernie was heavily marketing Max as the rising star in the series, and penalizing him for dangerous driving under the existing rules didn’t go along with that story.

Then of course, the other drivers start to hint around that they’ve noticed the rule has effectively changed and started talking about what they might do. Then of course, Charlie Whiting had to come out and issue a clarification, which basically said the rule was what it always had been before Max started openly flaunting it when he didn’t want to be passed.

We saw exactly the same thing with Nico Rosberg, driving for Bernie’s Too Big to Fail manufacturers team, openly flaunt a double yellow flag on a key qualy lap and do so with no penalty at all. And again, other drivers started talking about seeing the rule has changed, and again Charlie Whiting comes out with a ‘clarification’ that the rule was exactly what it had been before Nico broke the rule.

So, I’m not sad to see last year’s clarification removed, especially when it comes with a statement that says the rule is still what it always had been. I just want to see the same rules enforced evenhandedly with all drivers and all teams. That would be a shocking and welcome change marking the end of the Bernie era.


Just another knee-jerk reaction in reply to another knee-jerk reaction that was the Vestappen rule.

Charlie has shown with his many head scratching decisions of the past few years how out of touch he really is with the modern Formula and if Liberty believes Bernie was doing a poor job surely they can see the sports needs have passed Whiting by also.

And essentially giving drivers with next to zero experience in racing a licence to thrill is more akin to giving them a licence to kill.

Watch, this current directive will be modified or replaced completely by the time we reach Europe.

Much may have changed although it feels exactly the same…


Sounds like a good move, punt intended, if it is apply fairly and consistently. What l like most is for the stewards decition to come quickly. I really disliked all these decisions reported to after the race is finished. At the end in the eyes of the fans it won’t change the no ending arguments as to who was at fault depending on who they favor. Refer to any article on this site whenever an on track incident happens, eg. Rosberg and Hamilton in Spain last year or Vettel and Ricciardo in Mexico, the list goes on, and then we expect the stewards to be consistent.
My biggest pet peeve when it comes to the race is the drivers going off track without sanctions. I don’t mean when they are forced off it but when doing so because it is faster to do so or when out braking themselves. That should easily be managed and the rule strictly implemented.
One hour to go till first practice. Yeah!!! Marc


Just saw James Allen live on FTA TV, welcome to OZ.


Q: Fernando?

Alonso: I agree. I agree with everyone… equal engines for everyone.

Hamilton: I don’t agree with that one.

Riccciardo: But not electric.

Hamilton: And not Honda. I’m kidding…


What would be your top three wishes for the new owners of Formula One?

Riccciardo: A race in Vegas.

Vettel: A race in Germany.

Riccciardo: That’s it; I’ve said mine.

Hamilton: Miami race…. More ladies in the paddock? More paddock access to some women, there’s too many dudes in the paddock.

Vettel: V12s.

Hamilton: V12s, I agree.


Having simplified/ less restrictive rules is good. Let the drivers race. The issue is the application by the different stewards. Having a different person at each race deciding which incident requires a penalty makes the system fail. Have the same driving standards official at each race.With regard to the new cars Increasing mechanical grip will lead to closer racing & more entertaining racing. The cars haven’t left the grid yet but the increased aero grip (& therefore turbulence) is going to be a problem.


They are doing this because they believe the passing will be just as difficult if not more so.


This video archive idea is great, but they should not involve footage newer than year 2000. This is roughly the time when decisions rapidly started to get more and more inconsistent every year. If you use such material as a reference, the result can only be a disaster. As they openly say, it is a broad rule now… which I think can easily lead to even more inconsistencies.

Personally I like it when things are not over regulated, but these days it does not work. In the past, tracks had real limits and the risk of an injury was a limit too. Now it simply gets out of hand without proper rules. What Verstappen(to be honest, it is easy to name more drivers for similar moves) tried to do was destruction derby, not racing. Everybody can chop across the track, it is not an art.


Great news for the stewards! When the races are boring and processional they will be able to pass the time watching clips of incidents from old races.
But being serious, this idea could slow down steward decisions and lead to more penalties being imposed after the race. That can’t be a good thing.


I think the simple directive should be
1) Don’t force a car off track
2) Don’t cause lasting car damage i.e. stuff you’d have to pit for…wheel to wheel bangs are allowed
3) Don’t allow your actions to kill or hurt anybody.

As you were drivers.


Max must be loving this, he veers about…

Gets a rule named after him when he’s still a kid.

Seb gets penalised for the rule.

The rule gets revoked, basically telling Max if it was dubious before the rule and illegal during the rule, it is not all fair game as they couldn’t possibly penalise after revoking ‘his’ rule 😉

Famous and licence to do what he wants, sweet.

All he has to watch out for is if Kimi masters his slap Max on the head while travelling over his car, inverted, in his Ferrari after launching over Max’s rear wheels…

Lewis must be raging, in 2011 he hit everything going, Massa, Jenson, Massa again, Kobayashi, Massa again again and finally, nothing personal, Felippe Massa.

He doesn’t get a Lewis’s Rule made up, raging!

He doesn’t get a Hunt the Shunt sytle nickname, raging!
Ok, it probably would help if it rhymes, “Wham Bam Thank You Ham” trips off the toung alright, but… nothing.

What more does he have to do?!?

Driving slowly is quite good as teh Lewis Hamilton Rule, give him that.
Ironically, Honda may fall foul to this rule if their car runs for more than a few laps, or if they have brought enough PUs to even get through P1, P2, P3, Q1, Q2, Q3, parade lap, to make the race start 😉


It is Great to listen to your F1 content on YouTube.


Yet another complicated attempt at a solution that is in fact straight forward.
Employ 3 stewards for a whole season, that way they don’t need a video diary of past decisions because they made them.


Let ’em race. Only penalise if it’s dangerous.


Unfortunately the “dangerous” part itself is subjective…..its a decision made by the stewards which would & does very from race to race.
When a driver gets away with it everyone(those who don’t understand the dangers) will say it was within the rules so what’s the problem?
When we a huge crash….people will say its the fault of the FIA not to have clear rules….driver didn’t to anything wrong…….& we will be going circles all over again.


It’s really not that complicated. The unwritten but fully understood rules of engagement were that you were free to position your car so long as you left enough room for your opponent. All racing drivers fully understood this. Vettel’s move on Ricciardo was hard but fair – that’s just hard racing. Verstappen on Kimi was clearly dangerous and crossed the line. It’s a shame that we ever had to implement the Verstappen rule, because it showed that the sport had descended into a tit-for-tat about who was in the right over space on the racetrack that is a result of a lack of respect for your fellow driver on the race track. Also think that the ridiculous “1 move per lap” rule is unnecessary and unenforceable, which was brought in as I recall after Hamilton’s weave to break the Tow from Petrov in one particular race. Again, the defending driver should be free to take whatever line he wants so long as he isn’t cutting back across the track and blocking his pursuer’s move.


The new rule seems to be very vague. I am concerned it will be interpreted differently by different stewards at different events. The more ambiguity there is, the more a chance of inconsistent rulings. They should have kept it a clear cut rule. Personally I didn’t like the ‘Max’ rule anyway, but if they are going to do away with it, there needs to be clear guidelines. This is rubbish.


Great! We head into another season and nobody seems to know what the rules are. They just change like the weather. Last year was a joke in terms of stewarding and I guess this year would be the same. It also boggles the mind that such a big money sport wouldn’t assign professional steward(s) for the entire season.


Braking zone is for braking and DRS zone is for overtaking – BOOM!!! No need for stupid rules.


This is surely Charlie giving himself enough rope to [Mod] The Max rule proved very important last year as weaving under braking was becoming an issue. Now with wider cars, the situation will likely worsen. Passing will become more difficult and the potential of collision increases. How can a competent safety officer come up with these ideas?

It is time to have a full rule review, then train stewards to enforce these rules fairly and consistently and award penalties to drivers if necessary.

Charlie its time to write your memoirs. Close the door on the way out, and hand in your door key to the receptionist.


I guess we will have to wait until the start before any serious F1 journalist mentions the clutch changes this year!


You mean the ones making so the driver is now 100% responsible for the start of the car from the grid? It was already mentioned here a couple of times.
About the serious journalism, I don’t know, maybe try somewhere else if you think the journalists from JaF1 aren’t (posting serious posts also helps).

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