Charles Leclerc has called for Formula 1 to enforce its rule forbidding drivers from dropping their visor tear-offs onto the track.
The Ferrari driver said a new solution is needed after his Belgian Grand Prix was spoiled when a tear-off dropped by rival Max Verstappen entered his brake duct. That caused his brake to overheat and forced Ferrari to bring him into the pits much earlier than planned.
Leclerc made it clear a driver “cannot calculate” where a tear-off is likely to land when it is dropped.
“Obviously I’m not angry at all with Max,” he stressed. “It’s obviously not the fault of the drivers.
“But we might look at something to find a way to keep the tear-offs somewhere in the car.”
Leclerc and Verstappen started the race in the bottom half of the field due to grid penalties. Several cars ran wide at the start, throwing up dirt and dust, and Lewis Hamilton’s damaged Mercedes began leaking fluid.
That meant many drivers removed tear-offs to improve their vision. Leclerc said it was difficult to avoid picking one of them up.
“It would be good [if] we can maybe find a solution to have the tear-off inside the car,” he said. “Because in this particular situation, I think somebody was losing oil or something and I could not see anything with my visor. All the drivers in front of me couldn’t see anything in the visors.
“It happened that at the first opportunity we had to take off the tear-off, it was in this straight. So I found myself with tear-offs flying all over the place and in that case, you cannot do much as a driver.”
The International Sporting Code states that tear-offs “may not be thrown unnecessarily onto the track or the pit lane”. Removing tear-offs to improve vision and discarding them on the track has not previously attracted the attention of the stewards. The FIA did briefly pursue it in 2016 but later backed down, as it could not find a satisfactory solution for retaining used tear-offs within the cockpit.
“I guess there were reasons why this rule was [dropped] which I’m not aware of,” Leclerc added. “But maybe there was other solutions. I don’t know.”
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