The Racing Line and avoidable accidents


Those who know, they know
Is there a difference between slamming the door and knowingly hitting someone? I remain quiet undecided on this and wonder if this view is based on the unspoken rule (as in it isn't a rule) of the racing line and cars length in front. Or if there is a documented rule that explains this?

The racing line is the quickest/natural line to take, the one with the most grip and speed. This is where everyone really wants to be.

Where in the rules does it state that if you are the one on the racing line, it gives you the automatic right to follow that line, even if somebody else has stuck his whole car or even his nose into it?

The drivers talk about "I gave him room" or sometimes complain that they weren't given room depending on which side they were on. So this goes some way to suggest that even if the overtaking car is slightly behind or preventing the car in front from retaining their line, that it is still expected that both drivers should make an attempt not to make contact if they've seen what's going on.

We also have the added issue of braking points and those late brakers/expert trail barkers etc can make corners using lines that others can't, although they may encroach on the racing line. And will sometimes say the other driver braked early or late and caught them out.

I guess in a long winded way of asking, should a driver only be penalised for causing an avoidable accident when they have clearly made a move that they would be unable to complete cleanly either
a) because they cannot complete the corner/move due to factors such as carrying too much speed/missing the apex
b) because the other driver has absolutely no chance of avoiding the overtaking car (racing line or not) within the white lines

All drivers would have found themselves in any situation so whilst examples of course can be used - this isn't a blame thread.
I've got to log off but...
a)... Yes
b)... Yes
anything else is an accident.
Problem is there will always be exceptions to the rule so I've probably got it wrong again on both counts... :s
Copy and paste of my comments from another thread. Sorry, I'm feeling lazy!​

Do we want to see drivers racing or do we want to see drivers hanging back because someone turns in on them? I know what I want...

Put it this way, if I was on a normal road and a car pulls up half way or even a third of the way up on me I would never turn in on them - I know I'm going to have a crash if I do so - even at slow speed there's barely any time for them to react and it would be a silly thing to do.

On a racing circuit, if you as a racing driver have allowed that situation to arise in the first place by either positioning your car incorrectly or simply because you are unfortunate enough to not have a fast enough car then do you have the right to turn in on the other driver who, by their own merit, with or without DRS or KERS assistance has gotten themselves close enough to attempt the manoevre?


Note: The following comments are specifically related to all the anti-Hamilton overtaking sentiment raised in the media (esp. a certain N. Lauda) and by the drivers (a question asked by Brogan in another thread).

Hamilton is aggressive, cocksure and has consistently pulled moves most drivers wouldn't make stick nor have the balls to attempt. The reason drivers defend SO HARD when he’s coming up is because they know that it’s almost inevitable he will pass them.

Most of all though it's a simple as this: in F1 other drivers are scared of Lewis Hamilton.

This is reflected in the statements they make in general, amongst themselves and most importantly, to the media. This in itself becomes a vicious circle.

Hamilton won't and shouldn't (in my opinion) change his driving style and other drivers and the media will continue to talk about it negatively because it serves their interests. It feeds itself and is nigh on impossible to stop.

It really pisses me off that such an exciting talent in F1 is constantly bemoaned for doing the thing 99% of the public moan that they want more of in the sport – EXCITING RACING AND EXCITING RACING DRIVERS.
Due to lack of visibility in those rubbish mirrors, generally the driver behind is the one who could avoid an incident. Alonso-Button for example, Alonso was on the line into a one line corner, Buttons nose cone was in the wrong place a the wrong time. Yet Button-Hamilton is more the blame of Button due to the movement on the straight on the straight, but that was the racing line. In Indycar there is that stale "no blocking rule" (On street/non-oval tracks) which makes any sort of fight impossible. It would be tragic if that were adopted in F1.

My main issue goes back to the old complaint of inconsistent steward decisions, Di Resta was punished for a very similar accident to Button-Alonso (Di Resta was Button).

So after a slightly irrelevant answer I think these issues could only be solved by adopting anti-racing rules. But if they stay then drivers have to know when they are in the right, and when they are not.
In my opinion........

The racing pine is the fastest way to get round the race track.

Overtaking involves trying tp get past someone who wants to use the same piece of tarmac that you do. By definition overtaking is putting your car in a position where you are relying on the other driver to not use the piece of tarmac you need to be on to get past.

Lewis Hamilton has proved to be an expert at getting into a position to do this.

However, every overtake is a risk. How much of a risk will depend on conditions, who you are overtaking, where you are overtaking and how you position the car in respect of the other driver. It is a fine line between success and failure, and some are better at assessing the risks, both in defending, and overtaking.

Personally, I think reputation makes a difference, as to how you approach both defence and attack.

My disappointment recently has been the consistency of approach to the judgements and penalties, as after a short period of reflection, it seems like there are similar incidents which are being judged very differently. However, in the absence of any hard and fast rules, how can this be policed?

Personally, I think that the benefit of the doubt should be given to the attacker, rather than the defender, as it seems to be at the moment, and some guidelines published as to the investigation process, such as relative lines, conditions, telemetry etc. I am sure that it would not be too difficult to draw these up. I also think that the penalties should be consistent, but mother draconian, such as a card system (similar to the reprimand system, but better and more consistently applied, as for foul in football)

There should also be an appeals process, to allow peer review to hopefully prevent some of the recent nonsense, which should count both ways.

The rules should not make the drivers feel that they are likely to get penalized, and there should also be recourse in the event of an unfair penalty.

I seem to have drifted a little, but I think the key is consistency, which means no sanction unless you are certain.
I would love to know what the racing pine is! Also, why center I not edit my post on my Android phone! My deafness shall remain on display for all to see!!!!
Is this article alot to do with Di Resta more than Hamilton?

If so i think Di Resta's drive through on Sunday was bang out of order. He'd been punished enough with his wing falling off he didn't deserve a drive through aswell. Plus i think Di Resta lost grip going into the chicane and went into the back of Heidfeld and i see that as a racing incident. Felt Sorry for Paul as other drivers did a similar thing and weren't punished! So for me it was an unfair drive through.
For those who are debating what the racing line is and what relevance that has to driver A overtaking driver B, let me see if can be of some help.

1) As has been stated by several contributors to his and indeed other threads on this forum, the racing line is simply the fastest route around a racetrack.

2) The racing line does not confer any rights and privelages on any driver, whether in front, alongside or behind.

3) The code that existed until fairly recently with regard to overtaking and being overtaken was a custom and practise observed by most racing drivers and was simply this: If driver A opens the door and driver B "showed a wheel" - i.e. placed his own front wheel alongside and ahead of driver A's rear wheel - it was accepted practise for driver A to give best and concede the corner.

This code has changed since the arrival Lewis Hamilton and as drivers have closed the door with impunity it has now become custom and practise to shut the door regardless of whether or not there will be contact and risk of damaging one's own car. It is bad enough that poor stewarding in the past has led to this new entrenchment but now we have a new trend thanks to the internet. We have a seething mass of fans who, having called for more action and overtaking in F1 and for stewards to be more professional and sensible, have got what they asked for. But now they want penalties for every bump and bash just because their favourite geezer is or isn't, in their mindset, cutting the mustard. It's gotta be his fault or their fault or anyones fault so dock points, give 'em a 5 place grid slot penalty, 6 race ban, just get them the hell outa there so that our guy can win! F1 is for grown ups and there isn't a soul in it who doesn't know that or they wouldn't be there.
That as well Hammy, I think The Pits has hit the nail on the head for me as it is a lot to do with consistent application of the rules. But then it struck me, what are the rules?

Why should a driver not expect someone to get out of their way if they got into that space first (even if it is with their front wing)? Who says the racing line gives you right of way? Where is this rule that states front wheel in front of rear wheel?

I fear that these are all a mix of personal opinion/assumed rules from the stewards coupled with driver reputation, which accounts for a greater than usual inconsistency in the application of the "causing an avoidable accident" rule.
Hamberg, I've had time to reflect and I'm afraid to say I still think you got it right first time... keep it simple and just ignore the noise.

Controversial decisions have usually only come about from trying to pacify the more vocal teams (can I say the F word?)rather than the drivers. Usually the drivers are able to sort it out amongst themselves and forget about it by the following weekend. Some are more direct than others in sorting it out (Saint Senna :snigger:)... and we all know which 'accidents' weren't 'accidents' at all.

It wasn't that long ago that we were all moaning that no-one would overtake again since 'that' decision against Lewis. The great thing this year is that drivers seem to have the confidence to overtake without fearing a steward reprimand / penalty. I hope the stewards maintain this fairly balanced and fair policy and ignore this fan based raving / raging over the past few days.

So to wind up this ramble... let them sort it out amongst themselves unless its obviously wrong.
Fenderman, I agree with most of what you are saying; especially about a sport for grown ups. But I question whether this started wit Hamilton... I'm sure Senna and Schumacher were just as guilty and there must have been plenty before then.
TBH - I think either one of the DRS or KERS system has to go. Reason been is drivers are getting to close to the back of each other cause of the speed their all going. This is way we're seeing loads of front wings coming off. Personally i know i didn't approve of DRS to start with but i think KERS should be dropped, just because i can see the two DRS zones been kept and drivers will produce loadsa overtakes in those zones.
I don't know about that... I thought we all wanted closer racing and DRS is giving us that. KERS is helping with overtakes and the EBD is giving us some ground effect. The tyres are doing what they are supposed to do and there is less reliance on pit-stops to pass.

Maybe we're seeing more accidents because people are trying to overtake for a change. It seems new and novel for some but it used to happen quite a lot...:D and we had more accidents back then too. I wonder if there is some correlation?
I guess your right Andy.

TBH - It's these drive through penailties for racing incidents that is really getting on my nervous. Plus the stewards are also not consistant enough with giving them out. Di Resta must feel like Hamilton at the mo with the last two penalities his recieved.
I agree with a lot of what all of you have said actually but without wanting to go down the DRS/KERS/Pirelli route I'm not convinced we need all 3 but that's another discussion.

We've actually not had too many collisions so far this year considering. I am sad that the traditional excellent moves have been missing somewhat though. I'd rather have quality over quantity. As Hammy says maybe that's what has caught a couple of the drivers out actually, the ease at which they can close up - even Alonso, Massa and Rosberg have clipped peoples rear wings when going for an overtake and Brundle has commented a number of times that the drivers don't seem to know where their front wings are. Interestingly Alonso was penalised for that very thing but other drivers (Sutil and Rosberg?) haven't been.

It sounds like we are all on the same page at the moment so I'm looking forward to some conflicting view points. This is where being fickle helps as I'm quite open to having my mind changed.
F1 has become too "PC" and there's too much Pussyfooting about. For crying out loud just let the drivers get on with it and have a darned good enjoyable thrash out there on the circuit. I'm sure nobody deliberately runs into a competitor because the risk of wrecking your own transport in the process must be pretty high. No quarter should be expected or given and by that I simply mean it should be 'dog eats dog'. Nobody should be expected to give way to another and all overtakes should be made using the skill and judgement of the guy doing the overtaking. If they get it wrong - tough! The whole track is useable and therefore fair game, so the 'racing line' doesn't really mean much in my opinion.
Top Bottom