A ban on Formula 1 drivers throwing helmet visor tear-off strips on to the track, which had been due to come into force this weekend, has been put back until the Monaco Grand Prix.
The FIA informed teams at the season opener in Australia that it was apply a long-standing regulation that prohibits drivers from discarding the tear-offs while out on the circuit.
In a note sent from F1 race director Charlie Whiting to the teams in Melbourne, he reminded teams that the sport's rules do not allow tear-offs to be discarded.
Article 1.2 of Chapter 3 of the International Sporting Code states: “Any tear-offs attached to visors may not be thrown onto the track or the pit lane."
It is understood that the move came about after complaints from teams that the tear-offs – which drivers remove if their vision is being limited by debris or fluid – were getting stuck in car parts.
At last year's Spanish Grand Prix, for example, Fernando Alonso was forced to retire because of overheating brakes that were caused by a tear off strip blocking a cooling duct.
The move in Melbourne did not go do well with teams, however, and at a meeting with Whiting on race morning – which was originally called to discuss the qualifying format – it was agreed that the tear-off clampdown would be delayed until the Spanish Grand Prix.
It was felt that this would give teams and helmet manufacturers enough time to come up with alternative visor solutions that would not require drivers to remove the tear-offs while out on track.
However, sources have revealed that the teams wanted more time to trial some of these ideas – and in particular wanted to check them out at the post-Spanish Grand Prix test rather than during a free practice session on a race weekend.
In light of this request, the FIA has agreed to defer its enforcement of the rules regarding tear offs for one more race – meaning it will now be in place for the Monaco Grand Prix on May 29.