The FIA has increased the width of F1’s grid boxes by 20 cm to avoid a repeat of the penalties the befell Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in Bahrain and in Jeddah.
Both drivers were caught out by the regulations after that had inadvertently positioned their car slightly to the left or to the right of their grid slot markings while lining up for the start.
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“It seems like a stupid penalty that we get there,” Ocon told Channel 4. “But it’s not as easy as it looks to park the car in the right place, especially with these big cars, how low we are sitting.
“I honestly didn’t know if I was in the box or not in that race either, so I was a bit shaking, but honestly it’s very, very hard, and all the margins are nothing basically.”
After the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and Alonso’s penalty, several drivers echoed Ocon’s view, insisting the poor visibility onboard F1’s new-generation cars was to blame for the misdemeanor.
“The visibility is just really poor in the car, that is probably the main issue where you end up sometimes not fully correctly in your box,” said Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Apparently, the drivers’ grievances did not fall on deaf ears, with the FIA ordering a tweak to the dimensions of the starting box.
In Melbourne, the grid box has thus been widened by 20 cm, while a central line has also been added to help drivers guide their car into their slot.
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