SportF1Should drivers be penalized for causing a red flag...

Should drivers be penalized for causing a red flag in F1?

Wet conditions contributed significantly to the high number of red flags, but a marathon qualifying was held in Imola on Friday.

The previous record was held by Azerbaijan and Hungary, tied at four interruptions. At the Hungaroring it happened in 2016, while at Baku it was last season.

In qualifying in Italy, the red flag was raised first for Alexander Albon’s Williams brakes exploding in Q1, and another was later needed in Q2 for Carlos Sainz’s accident, who was unable to continue after crashing with protective barriers.

However, Q3 brought three other red flags under the arm, after the incidents of Kevin Magnussen, Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris.

Both Norris and Magnussen benefited from the incidents as they were able to start the sprint race ahead of other drivers who were affected by the session interruptions. Sergio Pérez , for example, assured that it was unfair, since he could not complete a last fast lap, partly due to the red flags.

“I think we should review the rules, because if a driver makes a mistake and qualifying is interrupted because of it, there should be some kind of penalty. When we go to Monaco or places like that, it can be an advantage as you can make a mistake and still keep the pole position,” said the Mexican driver.

“Of course Lando made a mistake in practice, as did I, but for the future I think it would be nice to make sure that when you make a mistake you pay for it.”

It is no coincidence that Pérez brought up the Monaco Grand Prix, where last year Leclerc took first place on the starting grid despite crashing his Ferrari, leaving his rivals unable to complete their fastest laps.

However, although he did not suffer a penalty, Leclerc did feel the consequences of his accident, since he could not take the start due to failures in the left drive shaft of the car, which was not even affected.

Pérez is not the only one who has requested sanctions for drivers who cause red flags, and Pedro de la Rosa, a former F1 driver and current television commentator, has joined this request through the social network Twitter.

“Drivers causing red flags should have their times erased or penalized in some way. Qualifying today was a complete joke,” he wrote, telling the FIA such things have happened before, adding to comments from drivers. fans.


De la Rosa refers to moments like the 2021 Azerbaijan GP, when Yuki Tsunoda’s accident towards the end of Q3 meant that several drivers were unable to improve their times, as the culmination of a classification that had already seen three other flags red.

In F1 history, there have already been penalties for making “mistakes” in qualifying, like that time the stewards penalized Michael Schumacher at Monaco 2006 . On that occasion, the incident caused by the German, who parked his Ferrari at La Rascasse, was considered a deliberate move by the stewards and sent him to the back of the grid.

However, Nico Rosberg, also in Monaco, escaped a penalty for going wide at the Mirabeau corner in 2014 season qualifying.

One of the possible solutions to this request could be to copy the model that they already have in other categories. For example, in Indycar, the driver who raises a red flag has their time erased from the list, thus preventing them from trying to secure their place by disturbing the rest.

Michael Masi, former Formula 1 race director, said after Leclerc’s 2021 accident that a similar rule would be considered, but this idea went nowhere. Now everything is in the hands of the new race management.

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