The FIA, international motorsport's ruling body, has issued a clarification about the defensive moves allowed in Formula 1 for the 2012 season.
The FIA had stated at the end of last year that, from the upcoming season, drivers would not be allowed to move back onto the racing line after having moved off it to defend their position. On Wednesday, the FIA issued the new sporting rules, which state that drivers will, in fact, be allowed to move back onto the racing line, but leaving enough room between their car and the edge of the track when approaching corners.
The ruling body insisted just one move will be allowed to defend a position from a rival.
"More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted. Any driver moving back toward the racing line, having earlier defended his position off-line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner," the new regulation states.
The FIA has also clarified the rule stating that all lapped cars will be allowed to unlap themselves and then join at the back of the field during safety car periods.
"If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message 'LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE' is shown on the timing monitors, any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car," the rules state. "This will only apply to cars that were lapped at the time they crossed the line at the end of the lap during which they crossed the first safety car line for the second time after the safety car was deployed.
"Having overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the safety car, these cars should then proceed around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and take up position at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car. While they are overtaking, and in order to ensure this may be carried out safely, the cars on the lead lap must always stay on the racing line unless deviating from it is unavoidable.
"If the clerk of the course considers track conditions are unsuitable for overtaking the message 'OVERTAKING WILL NOT BE PERMITTED' will be shown on the timing monitors."