Hindsight is usually a fantastic factor. And there are definitely some choices and actions Motorsport UK has taken in latest months surrounding the thorny situation of monitor limits that, with the advantage of hindsight, it admits may have been dealt with in a different way. It’s reassuring to listen to such honesty from the organisation’s CEO Hugh Chambers, even when it doesn’t alter what has gone earlier than.
However now there has lastly been affirmation that stricter new guidelines that redefine a track-limits breach as being when any a part of the tyre goes past the white line or outer fringe of a kerb will be implemented across UK circuit racing from the start of next month, some basic questions have to be raised.
Autosport has vociferously argued against the changes and, regardless of attending a gathering with Motorsport UK and different key motorsport figures alongside senior media gamers final week, stays unconvinced. Not least due to the inescapable problem of imposing the brand new rule in a method that’s honest, correct and constant for all.
Nonetheless, no matter whether or not you fervently help or are vehemently against the plans, altering the principles in the course of the season doesn’t make sense. It will be just like the England and Wales Cricket Board deciding to redefine what constitutes a no-ball in cricket within the thick of the County Championship marketing campaign. And when one of many key causes for implementing the change is to make issues extra easy, tweaking the taking part in subject in the course of the 12 months simply creates confusion – particularly when the group is just being formally knowledgeable two weeks earlier than the rewritten rule takes impact.
As it’s, the absence of any communication from the governing physique since the consultation on the proposed changes was launched in January to the current day has left everybody from opponents to golf equipment at the hours of darkness. Some organisers have reported being inundated with queries at first of every occasion from drivers unsure whether or not the brand new limits are being utilized.
One other downside with altering the principles mid-year is almost all of the coaching for officers is carried out through the winter break. As a substitute, a session for clerks and stewards has hurriedly been organized to tell them in regards to the up to date laws, whereas it’s far much less clear what official steering is being given to judges of reality – the folks in the end on the coronary heart of the difficulty as those figuring out who has offended. Once more, that is one other downside that would have been averted had the change not been pushed by means of in the course of the 12 months.
Introducing laws in the course of the season merely brings confusion for officers accountable for implementing them
Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images
And, if Motorsport UK was so decided to introduce the amended rule instantly, why was the session – an vital stage within the course of that should not be circumnavigated – scheduled to conclude in the course of February, on the eve of the season? Given monitor limits is one aspect of a wider driving requirements overview that started in late 2021, the timing of the session’s launch was poor.
Key figures within the British Touring Automotive Championship determined it made no sense to vary mid-season and opted to implement the brand new rule early from its first occasion at Donington Park on the finish of April. However, taking the latest Snetterton spherical for instance, issues didn’t at all times go swimmingly nicely.
Rescinding a track-limits penalty for Porsche Dash Problem GB frontrunner Joe Warhurst as a result of the wrong quantity was displayed alongside a black-and-white warning flag was not nice, whereas the British Method 4 grid was amended after the wrong lap time for Deagen Fairclough was deleted for going past the road. We even heard of 1 main driver on the occasion who had a time erased throughout qualifying, just for it to change into obvious that it was a case of mistaken identification owing to the similarity of the liveries of his staff’s vehicles.
It’s a sophisticated matter and one which has created quite a lot of anger and confusion already this 12 months – all of which may have been averted
Errors can occur any time, however they’re extra seemingly when new guidelines imply many extra offences will likely be dedicated, thereby including further workload for the volunteers to handle. And that was on the pinnacle of UK circuit racing, so how is a extra humble membership occasion presupposed to cope?
Now, for all our criticism, Autosport isn’t suggesting monitor limits is a matter that may be merely ignored. There are numerous official causes for such guidelines, to make sure drivers should not gaining an unfair benefit by pushing the boundaries and lowering the chance of stones being dragged onto the monitor that may trigger vital injury being two such examples. However it’s a sophisticated matter and one which has created quite a lot of anger and confusion already this 12 months – all of which may have been averted.
As a substitute of riling opponents, golf equipment and spectators by altering the principles, an training programme may have been rolled out highlighting the significance of monitor limits and extra consideration given to the overarching downside of discovering the easiest way to implement them pretty. And it’s equally vital to notice that Autosport isn’t just launching a polemic in opposition to the governing physique, which has launched some vastly useful initiatives in different areas of the game lately, for no purpose. We’re deeply involved.
In the end, to return to the opening line, Motorsport UK shouldn’t be counting on hindsight. As a substitute, it ought to have the foresight to identify the potential issues forward and negate these, moderately than including to them. Classes have to be realized from this sorry saga.
British F4 racer Fairclough had the unsuitable lap time deleted in qualifying, which means the grid needed to be revised
Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images