F1 drivers vexed by tear away troubles

Fri May 13, 2016 9:31am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Formula One drivers fear that a simple, throwaway strip of plastic film could land them in trouble and they do not know how to handle it.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) plans to enforce a long-ignored rule, buried in an appendix to the sporting code, on the disposable tear-off strips that drivers have on the visors of their helmets.

The rule bars drivers from throwing such 'tear-offs' onto the track or pit lane.

The crackdown had been due to start at Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix but was postponed to the following race in Monaco on May 29 after teams and drivers said they needed more time.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting said teams would try out various possible solutions during testing in Barcelona next week.

The strips are designed to be torn away during a race so that the driver's vision is not restricted by smears of grease or dirt. Some drivers start with nine or 10, ripping them off as the laps unfold.

However the debris can cause accidents if caught in a brake duct, something that is of particular concern at tight street circuits like Monaco.

"Honestly, I don't see any solution. Unless you put a glove box in the car," joked French driver Romain Grosjean, who races for the new U.S.-owned Haas team.   Continued...

Force India Formula One driver Nico Hulkenberg of Germany collides with Williams Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil during the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit September 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Edgar Su