Racing -

We’ve all been on-line and been accused or accused someone of causing an incident. It happens to everyone no matter how good your intetnions

Whilst we have clear rules and guidelines on how to report incidents, this can be seen as a self help guide to understand our view on racing etiquette and maybe help you avoid getting caught out in the future.

The most basic rule to remember : Whoever has the racing line has the right of way (track position in racing speak). However even that can get complicated so we’ll walk you through our stance.

We shouldn’t need to tell anyone what the racing line is, but when it involves avoiding incidents it can be more than ‘the optimum line around the track to keep the most speed’. The most common example of this online is two cars that are traveling side by side on a straight. One car has drafted the other, pulled alongside and they are now approaching a corner. The car that will be on the inside during the corner technically has track position, even if the corner is normally approached from the outside, and the outer driver in theory should maintain his spot on the outside of the track through the corner. But how far the car is alongside has a role to play which we’ll come onto.

Please note this is a guide to common situation and not an exhaustive list. We expect all members to have some common sense and correct fair attitude to racing. Stewards will always take circumstance into account and other factors may be at play not covered within this guide.

 

One move rule

When one driver is completely ahead of another on a straight, either can move with impunity within the width of track. Things change when there is any overlap between the cars, because lateral movement could cause a collision. If two cars have any parts alongside one another, each driver must respect the space occupied by the other car. It does not matter who is ahead, nor how far they are ahead, they may not initiate a move into the other car. Both drivers have the right to continue driving in a straight line unimpeded.

The one-move rule holds true also when there is no overlap and the defender’s moves are designed to block the attacker or to stop the attacker from keeping in the defender’s slipstream. When a defender makes their one move, the distance and closing speed of the attacker may also be considered by the stewards. If the attacker is closing quickly and is only a short distance behind, then they may not have time to evade a sudden move into their path. It is at the stewards’ discretion whether or not to punish late defensive moves

Acceptable

Any driver defending his position on a straight, and before any braking area, may use the full width of the track during his first move, provided no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his. Whilst defending in this way the driver may not leave the track without justifiable reason.

Unacceptable

More than one change of direction on a straight is called weaving and is NOT permitted

Racing alongside another car - straights

When one driver is completely ahead of another on a straight, either can move with impunity within the width of track. Things change when there is any overlap between the cars, because lateral movement could cause a collision. If two cars have any parts alongside one another, each driver must respect the space occupied by the other car. It does not matter who is ahead, nor how far they are ahead, they may not initiate a move into the other car. Both drivers have the right to continue driving in a straight line unimpeded.

Defending overlap

Any driver defending his position on a straight, and before any braking area, may use the full width of the track during his first move, provided no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his. For the avoidance of doubt, if any part of the front wing of the car attempting to pass is alongside the rear wheel of the car in front this will be deemed to be a 'significant portion'

Track edge Crowding

Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track whilst racing in a straight line, entering a braking zone or any other abnormal change of direction, are not permitted.

Racing alongside another car - Entering the braking zone & corners

On a straight, a defending driver has the right to suddenly change direction, even using the entire track width if they are fully ahead of the attacking driver. The same right does not apply in or immediately before the braking zone for a corner. Sudden changes of direction just before or within the braking zone are considered extremely dangerous, as they can leave the attacking driver nowhere to go

Who owns the racing line?

The most complicated cases naturally arise once we leave the straight and get into a corner. Both drivers would ideally like to the follow the quickest possible line — the racing line — but there may not be physical space for both drivers to do this. At the same time, drivers would like to obstruct one another as much as possible.

Obviously some change of direction is allowed within the braking zone — the optimal racing line usually involves some amount of trail-braking — so it is up to the stewards to decide what constitutes an “abnormal” amount of movement

Who owns the apex

it is generally accepted that the attacker must be at least halfway alongside the defender when they reach the apex to have a reasonable claim to this piece of track. Moreover, the attacker should not have achieved this position by carrying too much speed to make the corner  — this method is called dive-bombing.

It is also important to note that in addition to the apex, consideration must be taken at the normal braking point. If the attacking car is behind or only has minor overlap and the defending car is on the optimum racing line at the normal braking point, the the defending car has track position and is therefore free to take whatever line he pleases through the corner. The attacking car MUST yield in this situation as defending car should have a right to take their normal racing line.

Lets explore three situations.

Attacker more than half-way alongside

In this case, the attacker (red) is definitely more than halfway past the defender at the apex. The attacker has the right to the racing line providing they can safely make the apex at racing speed. A collision at the apex here is entirely the fault of the defender.

Attacker less than half-way alongside

In this case, the attacker has only their front wing alongside the defender’s rear wheel. The defender has the right to the racing line. A collision at the apex is entirely the fault of the attacker.

Attacker approximately half-way alongside

In this case, the attacker’s (red) nose ahead of the rear wheel and level with the B pillar. The two cars are approximately halfway alongside. Both drivers have a reasonable claim to the apex. If contact occurs, blame will have to be shared. It is in this zone that racing incidents can occur.

Running around the outside

A defender who is overtaken on the inside will sometimes try to hold their position using the outside line. Alternatively, an attacker may try to overtake around the outside against a defender who covers the inside line.

If the driver going around the outside is already more than half a car length ahead by the apex, they are entitled to cut in to the inside along the racing line

If the driver going around the outside is not sufficiently far ahead to take the racing line on apex, they can continue on an outside line. In this case, a potential dispute arises at corner exit. The driver on the outside naturally wants to continue their trajectory along the outside, while the driver on the inside wants to take a quicker straighter line by running out to the edge of the track.

The guiding principle is that the driver on the outside should be at least level (front axle in line with front axle) with the driver on the inside to have a claim to the racing line on corner exit. Depending on the type of corner and the cars involved, either the outside or inside line may be quicker through the corner, meaning the driver on the outside may gain or lose ground from corner entry to corner exit. It is relative positions of the cars at exit — not at entry or apex — that is therefore crucial in judging these cases.

If the defending driver on the inside is behind at corner exit, they must leave space for the attacking driver on the outside.

If the defending driver on the inside is ahead at corner exit, it is the duty of the attacking driver on the outside to back out or take evasive action to avoid a collision. However the defender must also allow the attacker track room and should not run them onto the grass. This can be a highly controversial grey area and would likely be judged by the stewards on individual basis. We would expect both cars to show racing room was given.