With the new rules of overtaking coming to play for 2012, Badger looks at what’s right and what’s wrong in terms of passing another car.

There’s a small saying that sometimes sits quite nicely in describing certain changes in Formula One – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That, in a way, is exactly how some feel about the tweaks in regulations for this upcoming season.

In the first week of December, the World Motorsports Council released a few changes to the sport. They ranged from tyre allocations, Safety Car conditions and maximum time limits to races. The real ticking time bomb was this little gem:

“In 2012, drivers will not be allowed to move back onto the racing line after having moved off it to defend their position.”

Wham. It’s so simple in it’s delivery, yet so devastating in it’s meaning. The FIA had made it even easier for a car to make it’s way past another, after the additions of DRS and KERS in 2011. We could now just see one driver breeze past another, with the latter having no arsenal in his defence whatsoever.

Think about it. The brilliant and entertaining battles of last season – notably Lewis Hamilton’s defence from Mark Webber in Korea, and frustrating inability to pass a stalwart Michael Schumacher at Monza – would be things of the past. Certainly there would have been more penalties issued to the young Brit if the rules had come into effect 12 months earlier!

Luckily, the rules were discussed last week by the Council, and they tweaked it some more. It now reads as the following:

“Any driver moving back toward the racing line, having earlier defended his position off-line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner”

…and opened up yet another can of worms.

Remember Vettel passing Alonso for the lead in Italy? That pass was breathtaking to watch, and credit to the young German for having the beans to do that, but as of 2012, that’s a penalty for the Spaniard. And what about Suzuka, when Vettel pushed Button out onto the grass? It that a penalty now too? One more word for you to consider here as well – Monaco.

There’s so many connotations to this little statement. Badger can understand why it’s been put into place – the prevention of incidents that could be avoided by safer driving – but these are the some of the best drivers in the world so they know what’s safe and what’s not. And if the stewards, complete with their additional ex-racing driver can’t make the decisions on the occasional racing incident, what hope is there for the sport.

We’ve said it once, we should say it again – if it ain’t broke, FIA, don’t try to fix it.