F1 drivers left bemused after sport bosses introduce odd pre-race ban
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Formula 1's ban on driver jewellery may have drew the ire of many, but its latest rule change might be the strangest one yet.
In a twist that no one saw coming, F1 bosses have now banned the pre-race ritual of riding a bike around the race track - which is often done by drivers, journalists and team members alike.
While it's not uncommon for those same individuals to walk the track, in the interest of time many instead opt for bikes or even scooters to get a feel for the circuit.
And yet, this routine will now be a thing of the past thanks to the controversial rule change, one in which nobody saw coming.
The news first broke on Thursday (16 March) ahead of this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with F1 management issuing a letter to all of the teams a week prior.
The letter in question read: "To clarify and to avoid future misunderstanding, the use of any means of transport (bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, e-scooters, etc) is forbidden during the time window stated as ‘Team Track Walks’ on the Event Timetable.
"No exceptions will be allowed. This decision has been agreed with the FIA."
It means the likes of Sir Lewis Hamilton - who can often be seen zipping around on a scooter - will no longer be able to use them on track walks.
The reaction from F1's 20 drivers was a predictable mix of annoyance mixed with sheer confusing, as many couldn't work out the rationale behind the change.
Indeed, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc declared he will not be doing track walks anymore after news of the ban broke.
He told Autosport: "I didn't walk around.
"And as I think they've just issued a new thing where we cannot go around the track with a bicycle you probably won't see me around the track anymore, and I'll just watch the videos!"
Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg added: "I wanted to do it now, but they blocked the track, and it's all gone wrong now! I'll watch the safety car, and I'll see it tomorrow."
According to The Sun, the main motive behind the ban is believed to be due to how busy tracks get on weekends, thanks to the inclusion of junior F2 and F3 races - with each team bringing crews of their own.
This isn't the first time that the FIA has risked the wrath of the drivers by introducing a seemingly trivial rule change. Before the start of the 2023 season, seven-time F1 World Champion Sir Lewis trolled the FIA by intentionally wearing an excessive amount of jewellery to a press conference, in response to the governing body's attempt to ban accessories in the cockpit.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Ferrari