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No new rule after Vettel start grid position controversy

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The spotlight was on Sebastian Vettel for a full 22 minutes in the pre-Bahrain grand prix drivers’ briefing.

That is the news from Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, after a barrage of fellow drivers complained about how the German positioned his Ferrari on the Shanghai grid a week ago.

Stewards did not penalise Vettel in China, because there is not a specific rule about how a driver can position his car to avoid damp and slippery white lines.

“Theoretically, as long as you have one wheel in the starting box, you can be where you want,” Force India team manager Andy Stevenson said.

But Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa reportedly all brought up at length the issue of Vettel’s controversial starting position.

Massa called for a clear rule.

“I think this was the only briefing in which he (Vettel) was quiet,” Massa laughed.

“If a driver is forbidden to cross the line at the exit of the pitlane, he cannot do that. We need to have rules that must be adhered to,” said the Brazilian.

However, Whiting responded that a ‘common sense’ approach should instead be taken to the issue of grid start positions.

“In the last 22 years, there were maybe three notable cases like this,” the F1 race director said. “If we had a strict rule to the centimetre, then 10 drivers would have been penalised in China.”

But Massa insisted: “In formula one, there are some things that we are asked to use common sense with, but as we know, common sense is not always in formula one.”

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