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F1 drivers banned from riding bikes on track recce walks

New rule criticised by drivers including Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who says he will now skip track walks rather than doing them on foot

Formula One drivers have been banned from riding bikes during track walks, which take place ahead of Grands Prix to help them familiarise themselves with the layout and condition of the circuit they will be racing on, in a move that has been criticised by drivers including Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

The ban has been introduced by Formula One Management (FOM) and has been approved by world motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, with drivers not allowed to use “bicycles, e-bikes, scooters and e-scooters” during track walks, reports

Bicycles have become an increasingly popular way for drivers and their engineers to get around the circuits during the track walk, which typically takes place on the Thursday before the race, in part due to the distance involved – the Jeddah Corniche Circuit that hosts this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, for example, is a little over 6km in length.

In a letter sent out to teams during the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this month, the first race of the 2023 F1 season, the FOM said: “To clarify and to avoid future misunderstanding, the use of any means of transport (bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, e-scooters, etc) is forbidden during the time window stated as ‘Team Track Walks’ on the Event Timetable. No exceptions will be allowed. This decision has been agreed with the FIA.”

The move, which is said to have been prompted by concerns regarding overcrowding, particularly on weekends when Formula 2 and 3 races are also taking place at the same venue, has been widely criticised, including by Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who gave the track walk in Jeddah a miss and said he would be unlikely to participate in them in future.

Speaking to, the Monégasque driver said: “I didn’t walk around, and as I think they’ve just issued a new thing where we cannot go around the track with a bicycle you probably won’t see me around the track anymore, and I’ll just watch the videos.”

Bizarrely, the Jeddah circuit was not available for the track walk in its normal Thursday evening time slot this week – it had been closed for the filming of a music video by the rapper Will.I.Am, which drew criticism from the Haas driver, Nico Hulkenberg.

“I wanted to do it now, but they blocked the track, and it’s all gone wrong now! I’ll watch the safety car, and I’ll see it tomorrow,” he said on Thursday.

Besides taking to bikes for track recces, which they are no longer allowed to do, cycling is a popular way of training for many F1 drivers, although it’s not unknown for a crash while riding to put a dampener on the racing season, with the Australian retired driver Mark Webber and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, hit by a motorist in 2021, two high profile examples.

More recently, four weeks ago Alonso’s team mate  Lance Stroll sustained injuries after a fall while cycling during pre-season training in Spain.

The Canadian, who had to undergo surgery after breaking both wrists in the crash, missed pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit as he recovered from his injuries but returned there a fortnight ago for the opening race of the season, finishing sixth.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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