Tear-off ban at Monaco lifted by FIA

Credit: Octane Photographic

The ban on discarding visor tear-off strips on track was due to be enforced from the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, however after speaking with drivers on Thursday, the FIA have decided to retract the ruling.

The reason behind the new law was to try to avoid any further technical failures being caused by tear-off strips becoming lodged in ducts and portals of an F1 car. A number of drivers have experienced this kind of failure, with McLaren F1 team driver Fernando Alonso retiring from races twice already this year for that very reason. However, to ban the tear-off disposal completely without giving any clear guidance and what to now do with the plastic film, has been deemed “silly” by some drivers.

The process of removing the crash helmet tear-off is done by drivers during a race once the film becomes soiled, to enable him to see clearly again, so it can be a necessity for a F1 pilot to tear away and discard of the protective film at any point during the race.

After listening to driver comments in a debrief meeting held following the Thursday practice sessions, where many voiced their concerns over just where they could now dispose of the tear-offs, given the concentration levels required to navigate the streets of Monaco, FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting decided to lift the ban with immediate effect.

Speaking to Autosport.com Whiting confirmed his reasoning for the rule reversal.

“I have decided, based on discussions with the drivers, they are likely to be put in more danger trying to dispose of tear-offs in the cockpit than they are from a tear-off on the track.

“With this in mind I felt the best thing to do was exercise common sense and ask the drivers to simply keep the amount of visors they use to an absolute minimum, bearing in mind of course that this will vary due to a number of factors.

“Based on this rationale we do not intend to make a report about any driver disposing of a tear-off on the track or in the pitlane.”