What is meant by disability in F1 as drivers are sometimes asked to see the stewards after they have done so? Why are there penalties for this?
Place up to 20 cars on any circuit – not just in Formula 1, but in any series – and sometimes the drivers will find themselves on it.
As the fun-shaped circle keeps taking you back to where you started, you’ll encounter another rider doing their own thing while you focus on your own.
This can result in one or more F1 drivers getting in the way of another, potentially drawing the wrath of the stewards – and perhaps angering the driver, who often gets his thoughts through fruity language on the radio.
But what actually hinders in Formula 1 – and when does it occur most often?
What hinders in F1?
Disabilities in Formula 1 are most common during practice and qualifying.
During the actual Grand Prix itself, as each driver drives close to their potential and that of the car, this is less common.
Essentially, hindrance in F1 means Driver A improperly blocking Driver B – causing him to abandon a lap or take action to avoid swerving.
If driver A has set a fast lap in qualifying and is on his way back to the pit lane, he will drive slower than normal.
Driver B will approach at full speed on his fast lap.
If the two meet on a straight, that’s no problem, because driver B can simply sail past – and maybe get a cheeky slipstream.
However, driver A could dawdle through a curve or at the exit of a curve on the ideal line – and thus block driver B.
When Driver B loses his lap and is unduly held up by Driver A, that’s what Formula 1 calls a hindrance – something the stewards often hit hard on.
What are the penalties for this?
Drivers can be warned in a number of ways when obstructing a competing F1 driver.
First, Driver A should be told by his race engineer that Driver B is approaching from behind on a fast lap and should stay well out of the way up to Turn 14, for example.
Also, because Driver A is driving so slowly, blue or white flags should be waved to notify him and Driver B as well.
The blue flag signals driver A that a faster car is behind him – and that he must let driver B pass.
A white flag alerts drivers to a vehicle moving slowly off the track and urges caution.
Grid penalties are not an uncommon penalty for obstructing a rival, particularly during F1 qualifying sessions when the track is at its busiest.
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https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/04/08/what-is-impeding-in-f1/ What hinders in F1 and why are drivers penalized for it?