Monaco Grand Prix: FIA makes U-turn on tear-offs ban

The FIA has decided to reverse its decision on banning Formula 1 drivers from removing the tear-off strips from their helmets during grands prix.

The ban was originally supposed to come in from this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, leading to McLaren driver Jenson Button describing the proposal as “silly”.

Button, however, could partly understand the decision given team-mate Fernando Alonso had suffered two failures in the past year after a tear-off strip had lodged in the brake duct of his car.

The debate, however, continued into the Monaco drivers’ briefing with FIA race director Charlie Whiting that was conducted post-practice, with Toro Rosso’s Dannil Kvyat describing the discussion as “kindergarten talk”.

Much of the conversation focused on just where the tear-offs should be disposed, given the difficulties drivers faced in attempting to place them inside any kind of receptacle in the cockpit, particularly on such a twisty track as Monaco.

Taking the comments under consideration, Whiting has now decided to lift the ban with immediate effect, albeit urging the drivers to show restraint on how often they disposed of the strips.

Whiting said: “I have decided, based on discussions with the drivers, they are likely to be put in more danger trying to dispose of tear-offs in the cockpit than they are from a tear-off on the track.

“With this in mind I felt the best thing to do was exercise common sense and ask the drivers to simply keep the amount of visors they use to an absolute minimum, bearing in mind of course that this will vary due to a number of factors.

“Based on this rationale we do not intend to make a report about any driver disposing of a tear-off on the track or in the pitlane.”