FIA reduces driver penalties for 2017

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Formula 1's governing body will relax its judgment a bit this season with regard to drivers colliding with each other, handing out a penalty only if blame is deemed clear.

The FIA published its final sporting regulations this week, and following widespread criticism last season that too many penalties were given for on-track incidents, it has tweaked the rules.

Drivers will now only face punishment for incidents if they are "wholly' to blame for a collision or contact.

The FIA is hoping the measure will alleviate drivers' fear of punishment which previously often discouraged them from attempting a pass on a rival.

In the event that race director Charlie Whiting should report an incident, stewards will now have the ability to decide independently "whether or not to proceed with an investigation".

A revised article 38.2 a) states: "It shall be at the discretion of the stewards to decide if any driver involved in an incident should be penalised.

"Unless it is clear to the stewards that a driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for an incident no penalty will be imposed."

Furthermore, grid penalties will be applied to drivers sanctioned during a race by the stewards but unable to take the penalty because of a retirement.

Five second and ten second penalties, as well as drive-through and stop-and go punishments shall  therefore be commuted into grid penalties at the following race.

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