F1 drops 'Verstappen rule'

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Formula One has removed the so-called "Verstappen rule" from its regulations for 2017, FIA race director Charlie Whiting has said.

Last year, a regulation was brought in to prevent an action on moving under braking following complaints made against Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

The teenager came under criticism for blocking other drivers at the last minute, but Whiting says a new simplified rule on dangerous driving will be easier for stewards to police.

"I think there would be a small change in some of the incidents that we've seen last year - they'd be handled quite differently simply because the so-called 'Verstappen rule' is gone to the effect that before we said any move under braking will be investigated," Whiting said ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

"Now, we have a simple, broad rule that says effectively if a driver moves erratically or goes unnecessarily slowly or behaves in a manner that could endanger another driver then he will be investigated.

"They wanted less investigation and only cases where it was clearly dangerous would they take action.

"What we did after Austin [United States Grand Prix] last year, in response to some comments from drivers, is use the existing rules to put notes on how we're going to interpret the existing rules. And the interpretation simply was that drivers shouldn't move under braking. 

"The stewards will be invited to simply focus on every incident and judging on its own merits. So each incident will be dealt with only on the basis of whether or not it was a dangerous manoeuver, not necessarily because he moved under braking.

"What we were requested to do, which we think is a more general way of approaching things, is to give the stewards one rule to work with. It's an all-encompassing rule.

"You can do more or less anything with that. That was the request from the teams, they wanted less investigations and only in cases where it was clearly dangerous would they take action.

"We had a meeting with all the stewards and we reviewed all the controversial incidents from last year to see how they would be dealt with this year under the so-called new rules or the new approach. It was quite interesting."