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Leclerc wants F1 rules rethink over visor tear-offs

Charles Leclerc believes Formula 1 needs to find a better solution for discarded visor tear-offs, after his Belgian Grand Prix was wrecked by one getting stuck in his brake duct.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The Ferrari driver was battling with title rival Max Verstappen during the frenetic opening lap at Spa-Francorchamps, when a tear-off from the Dutchman got stuck in his right front brake duct.

This led to the brake temperatures ramping up and forced an early pitstop to remove it – which put him out of sync on strategy with the rest of the field.

Having driven through a number of tear-offs on the opening lap, as drivers tried to remove the fluids that had been thrown up from Lewis Hamilton’s broken Mercedes, Leclerc believes the situation needs looking at to avoid others hitting problems.

He suggests that drivers should be forced to keep their tear-offs inside the car, as they were requested to do several years ago during a previous attempt to eradicate the problem of them getting stuck in car parts.

“I think maybe moving forward, it will be good that we maybe find a solution to keep the tear-off inside the car,” he said, when asked by Motorsport.com about the situation.

“In this particular situation, I think somebody was losing oil or something. I could not see anything with my visor, and all the drivers in front of me couldn't see anything in their visors.

“So it happened that, at the first moment of opportunity, we had to take off the tear-off, and it was on 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.

“I mean, obviously, I’m not angry at all with Max, and it is 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."

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Photo by: Erik Junius

The FIA actually outlaws the throwing off of tear-offs on to the track as part of the International Sporting Code.

Article 1.3 of Chapter III of Appendix L of the ISC states: “Any tear-offs attached to visors may not be thrown unnecessarily onto the track or the pit lane.”

Back in 2016, the FIA made a push to strictly enforce that rule and planned to demand that drivers store any discarded tear-offs within the cockpit.

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But following kick back from competitors, in the end then F1 race director Charlie Whiting said there was more risk from drivers trying to store their tear-offs within the car than throwing them out – so the plan was aborted.

Asked about the old rule, Leclerc said: “I guess there were reasons this rule was scrapped off, which I'm not aware of these reasons. But maybe there are other solutions.”

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