How do you define a ‘racing incident’? And what do you consider the rules of passing?
If you follow Formula 1 you may have heard about an incident with Williams F1 driver Pastor Maldonado at Valencia — and two weeks later, another incident at Silverstone. Here are clips of those which will likely be removed from YouTube:
I don’t think Maldonado did caused any impact maliciously or deliberately, but consider it more than a “racing incident.” Racing incident suggests it’s impossible to tell who is at fault. These incidents were caused by Maldonado’s poor judgement/lack of skill, and could have been avoided. To me, a racing incident suggests “too close to call”: where two cars are even and something unpredictable happens. This was simply Maldonado’s screwup.
I find Maldonado at fault in the Silverstone crash and the Valencia crash for one reason: if you’re leading another car, your duty is to drive your own race. When you’re in front you have the luxury of not caring about what’s behind your cockpit. It’s the responsibility of the person making the pass to not cause an accident. In both incidents, Maldonado may have had more pace but he was a half a car length behind when they collided — the driver in front isn’t responsible for making sure the car behind is clear.
If Maldonado had pulled even with Hamilton/Perez by the time they reached the apex, it would be harder to call — in that situation the incident is on both of them, and I would consider if a true racing incident. But that wasn’t the case. Nor were Hamilton or Perez driving erratically or unpredictably.
What’s your take? These are the ‘rules’ as I’ve interpreted them from karting and HPDEs, not really formal regulations, so my beliefs could differ from other people. But I strongly feel the only obligation of the car in front is to drive their own race, look ahead and maintain a predicable line. When the following car makes a move and gets close — front wheel to front wheel — then the responsibility shifts and both drivers are responsible for a clean corner exit. Like I said, these are rules as I see them, which I basically made up. I would love to hear what a real racer thinks.
Of course it would have been to Hamilton’s benefit to let Maldonado pass. In the wider scope of things, it was boneheaded of Hamilton to defend the position he would have had to give up eventually, but that doesn’t change the accident or who caused it. And that’s really the only issue in question.