Section 7 – Driving Offenses
This section of the charter will deal with the on track rules of ESR. In each portion, the broad definition of the offense is provided with relevant examples. Keep in mind these are general rules and each incident will have its own unique factors.
Section 7.1 – Contact With Another Car
The most common penalty in racing is for simple contact with another car. Drivers generally should avoid contact with the rear quarter of opposing cars as that will often be a penalty without mitigating factors.
Leading cars are required to leave room if the trailing car has established significant overlap before the point of commitment for the turn. Significant overlap varies car to car but is generally a third of a car length. Point of Commitment is the point where a driver has selected their line into the corner and cannot reasonably be expected to adjust their line. Generally this at the point of turn in or the point of braking/throttle manipulation into turns that lack the standard straight line speed reduction, for example Eau Rouge at Spa, Kumhobocht at Zandvoort or 130R at Suzuka.
Contact without overlap at the Point of Commitment generally will be the fault of the trailing car. Contact with the overlap at the Point of Commitment generally will be the fault of the leading car. Minor contact is generally allowed.
Section 7.1.1 – Lap One Lanes
On lap 1, cars will start in lanes due to the grid process. Drivers are expected to have additional caution because of this. Cars will be to the inside and outside for the first couple of turns at least and may remain in this state for the entire first lap. Otherwise legal side by side contact can result in penalties as drivers must respect other cars lanes.
Section 7.2 – Irregular Driving (aka Driving Standards)
Drivers are expected to behave in a predictable fashion with regard to braking and lines. Irregular early braking, turn in points and corner speeds can all result in penalties in the event of contact.
Each corner has a general braking distance such as 100 meters. Not everyone will brake at 100 but if a driver is braking at 150 for a standard 100 meter corner, then contact can be their fault as that is, intentional or not, a brake check. However, 10 or 20 meters earlier is within standard deviation and the trailing driver is expected to adjust.
Trailing drivers are expected to note abnormalities in long battles. If a driver is following a car for multiple laps they should be able to recall where variances are and as such contact in those cases could result in a penalty for the trailing driver.
Section 7.3 – Unsafe Rejoin
Drivers who leave the flow of the race, normally this involves leaving the track but recovery from incidents is included. Don’t think of it as rejoining the track but rather rejoining the race.
Drivers are considered rejoined when:
- They are on the track
- They are up to race speed
- They are under control
- They are back on the racing line
Any contact that occurs before those four criteria are met will quite likely be the fault of the rejoining driver, barring irregularities.
Section 7.3.1 – Rejoin from the Pitlane
Cars exiting the pits are also considered to be rejoining as well. This means they are required to yield in 50/50 situations and also be able to exit without contact.
A pitlane exit is considered to be complete when the car is past the white line indicating the end of the pitlane and has returned to racing speed for Turn 1 (or applicable turn in the case of racetracks that have the pitlane end passed Turn 1).
Section 7.4 – Flag Rule Violation
As discussed in Appendix 1, drivers must obey flag rules. Yellow, Blue and Meatball flag violations can be reported. Yellow and Meatball are adequately discussed in Appendix 1.
Section 7.4.1 – Blue Flags
As detailed in Appendix 1, drivers will receive a blue flag when a car that is ahead of them in the race but behind them on the track is approaching.
Blue Flags vary from car to car, in Open Wheel Cars (such as F1) or other highly aero dependent cars the “slower” car may be required to leave the racing line to allow a pass. However this is the exception not the rule of thumb.
With most cars the blue flagged car is expected to race as normal. They should be predictable and they are not permitted to defend. If the driver wishes to slow or move to allow the pass to happen their intent should be clear, predictable and at a part of the track that the approaching car can easily overtake safely. This is sometimes advisable to avoid any potential drama.
Certain tracks require more accommodating rules, Bathurst is a classic example as the Uphill, Downhill and Mountain sections are all very difficult to safely overtake. Blue flagged cars are encouraged to lift in straights and allow faster cars though as this is safer than in turns.
Section 7.4.2 – Blue Flags During Non-Race Sessions
The above refers to Blue Flags during the Race Session. During the sessions leading up to the race the expectations change. Since drivers are not racing and are not achieving anything tangible during their warm up laps and lost laps (where a timed lap is no longer counting due to track limit violations) they are expected to move out of the way quickly while remaining predictable. This means there will be occasions where a blue flagged car in these sessions is expected to move off the line and behave in an “F1 Fashion” under Blues.
Additionally, while it is not required to all a faster driver through if there is no blue flag, it is advisable to allow them through if not on a particularly hot lap.
For an example of each of the above situations:
If a car is shown the blue flag on a straight, they should move off line and lift off to clear the blue. If it’s in a turn then they should open the racing line if possible.
If a car is being caught by a faster driver (either because they are higher on the session timetable or just general knowledge) and is on a lap with a delta that could be their fastest lap, then proceed as normal. If the delta however is not likely to be quicker than the standing lap or is a first timed lap that isn’t going well, then treat the oncoming car as a blue flag so there is no issue on the next lap.
Section 7.5 – Blocking
Defending cars are not allowed to block in ESR events. Multiple Lane Changes before a corner can be considered blocking especially under braking. Brake checking is also considered blocking.
Defending cars must leave racing room if the attacking car has established 1 third (or otherwise stated amount) overlap before the point of commitment.
Appendix 3 – Point of Commitment and Soft/Hard Turns
|Track Section||Point of Commitment|
|Straight (Full Throttle)||No Point of Commitment, overlap can be achieved at any point|
|Hard Turn||Turn in Point, allows for overlap to be established under braking|
|Soft Turn||Braking Point, since a soft turn requires non linear braking or braking towards a specific point, the attacking driver requires overlap before braking to be granted rights to track space|