Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Baku, 2016

Scrap Vettel and Alonso’s rules, urges Warwick

2017 F1 season

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FIA steward Derek Warwick has called on Formula One to scrap rules which were introduced after lobbying by the sport’s top drivers.

The former F1 driver believes drivers including Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have held too much sway over the regulations.

Warwick, who serves as one of the drivers’ advisers to the stewards during race weekends, said he sees his role as trying to “bring some common sense to the room”.

“The stewards are very much the FIA stewards, they know the regulations, and we’ve got to give them an X ban for this incident and whatever,” Warwick explained at the Autosport International show.

“But I also try to convince the drivers because I always think that regulations are made for the front end of the grid. The people that talk in the drivers’ briefing to Charlie, like Vettel and [Mark] Webber when he was there, Alonso, [Jenson] Button, all the experienced guys that want the best for them to make their race perfect. So it’s them that have really pushed the blue flags, people being penalised and allowing cars to overtake and all that sort of thing.”

“We need to come back and help the back end of the grid I think. Take away blue flags. Take away all these penalties. Let’s get back to harder, harsher racing.”

“Let people work out how to overtake when they’re coming to lap a slow car like we used to. These guys will enjoy Formula One more if all of a sudden the great drivers like Lewis Hamilton, who will be unbelievable in traffic without the blue flags, will be even more unbelievable, and that will bring fans to Silverstone and watch the British Grand Prix.”

F1 too “health and safety”

Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg, Sepang International Circuit, 2016
Rosberg was penalised for this clash with Raikkonen
Warwick believes the increased use of penalties in F1 has become a turn-off for some fans. “It’s too vanilla,” he said. “It’s too ‘health and safety’.”

“You don’t want to make the cars less safe. A lot of people say we want it to be more dangerous. We can’t do that.”

“But what we can to is we’ve got to allow them to race more. We’ve got to allow them to make mistakes. The problem is when a driver makes more than one mistake and starts interfering with other people’s championships.”

However Warwick admitted it isn’t realistic to allow drivers to settle disputes between themselves, as when he raced in F1. “If somebody baulked me in qualifying the next grand prix bump, off you go, we sorted it out,” he said. “That won’t work today. There’s too much media, too much pressure, too much corporates, too much money.”

Warwick will continue as a steward in 2017. “I will do four races this year,” he said. “[Race director] Charlie [Whiting] has asked me to do Australia because it could be a bit of a bun fight, the first grand prix with the new regulations.”

“I really enjoy it,” he added. “It’s quite interesting the amount of data that we have inside the stewards’ room: brake pressure, steering angle, speed, corner exit. We have everything, and that’s instant.”

“We have an engineer in the room that records all this so we can go back and look at an incident not just from what we see as anoraks on the TV but we’ve also got 60 circuit cameras, we’ve got onboards, we’ve got offboards. We can really analyse each incident.”

“But fundamentally my idea as a steward is ‘let them race’. We let them make mistakes because that’s what they should do. The more we get back to that, the better it is too.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 82 comments on “Scrap Vettel and Alonso’s rules, urges Warwick”

    1. Is not Warwick the steward that always has Alonso on his aim? Normally I don’t defend Alonso, but to say the rules have been pushed by them is too far-fetched. Is he scared to say “Red Bull and Ferrari asked us (FIA stewards) to favor them?

      1. @omarr-pepper

        Is not Warwick the steward that always has Alonso on his aim?

        If so you should be able to tell pretty easily by cross-referencing the penalties indices above with the races where Warwick was one of the stewards (keeping in mind he’s only one part of a four-person team, of course).

        1. @keithcollantine, I’m not sure if he necessarily means just in terms of penalties, or in terms of Warwick having a tendency to be more critical of Alonso on a personal level.

      2. Warwick is not the man to make any comments on bias behaviour…

    2. I don’t really understand where he is coming from. Of course the top drivers are pushing for stricter blue flags because you don’t want to be battling for the win and have a driver in P22 mess that up for you. He doesn’t want blue flags which is even more dangerous by having a driver go 4 seconds a lap faster than the bottom drivers and carry 10+kmh corner speed.

      1. @jamiejay995

        He doesn’t want blue flags which is even more dangerous by having a driver go 4 seconds a lap faster than the bottom drivers

        Performance gaps way in excess of that are routine in club-level competition where the tracks are much narrower and the standard of driving is much lower than F1. I really don’t think that’s a concern at all. Particularly considering they need to be about two seconds per lap quicker to stand a chance of overtaking.

        1. I have to agree with @keithcollantine here @jamiejay995; In indycar we could see last year several times when the difference in how the front runners cleared lapped cars made the fight for the win more interesting, or even turned it around. I wouldn’t mind seeing that happen occasionally in F1.

        2. I agree with that, Keith.

          I actually think they should get rid of blue flags altogether. The guys at the front are supposed to be the best of the best, so let them demonstrate that. If they can’t overtake a back marker, maybe they are not as good as they seem. It’d also get rid of a load of the whining: “Come on Charlie, blue flag!”

          1. Flawed thinking. What if by circumstances the “backmarker” is a red bull, or a ferrari? Or a midfield car, but with fresh tires, so the leader is only few tenths quicker than him? There’s zero chance of overtaking him. By your logic the best cars must suffer the consequences of being quicker and better.
            While I agree vettel is super annoying with his moaning, he’s still got a point.

            1. good, might even it up a bit.

          2. @drmouse
            Let’s say two cars, a Merc and a Ferrari, are trying to overtake a Sauber.

            Even without blue flags, I’m sure the Sauber will let the Ferrari through, no problems.
            Can the same be said for the Merc? I doubt it.

            Is that fair?

            1. This is exactly why blue flags have to exist. The alternative is more susceptible to favouritism and corruption, the opposite of sport

          3. The problem isn’t that back markers aren’t letting any drivers through – it is that sometimes certain back markers will hold one driver up, but let a second one by fairly easily – thus destroying gaps between leading cars

          4. Excessive complexity in rule-making is always bad for any sport. The blue
            flag system is a classic example of the road to hell paved superbly with good
            intentions.

            As far as I am concerned all F1 drivers are supposed to be the creme de
            la creme. They should be capable of fighting their way through the field
            as much as they are at fighting at the head of the field.

            So get rid of blue flags. If the stewards see any driver obstructing another
            competitor they can do as now, and instruct the pit wall to compel that driver
            to desist or incur penalties. Fairer, simpler, easier to regulate.

            1. @Loen Blocking is a penalty under Article 16, so if F1 reverted to the International Sporting Code standard (where blue flags exist, but are strictly advisory – in other words, you can’t block someone through ignorance but can for any other reason), this would be feasible :)

        3. I agree however whilst teams like Toro Rosso exist, I would be completely against scrapping blue flags. I can guarantee that if they said “Blue flags are dropped for 2017”, it would be followed fairly quickly with “Mercedes complete purchase of Manor F1.”

          Imagine the engine deals as well… “If you don’t let our drivers through easily next time, good luck getting a Mercedes engine next year.”

          1. Very good points. Inter-team orders will happen all the time.

          2. @petebaldwin, I would agree that the possibility that engine suppliers or parent teams could pressurise drivers in other teams to hold up other drivers as much as possible would be a strong incentive to keep blue flags.

            There have been allegations in the past that such arrangements happened, and equally there have been times when some drivers would maliciously block others to try and ruin their races – Arnoux was famously malicious in that regard, especially when dealing with Prost (bearing a particular grudge towards him, Arnoux would routinely try and disrupt Prost’s races as much as possible when he was trying to lap him).

            It is one of those things where I feel that people would support removing blue flags right up until the point where a front running driver was taken out of a race by a backmarker. We saw how, for example, Karthikeyan and HRT were given a lot of abuse when Rosberg ran into the back of him in the 2012 Abu Dhabi GP after Karthikeyan had an engine failure, causing his rear wheels to lock and to suddenly slow, and that was for a freak accident – could you imagine the criticism if we had a situation where a driver was taken out due to a backmarker intentionally obstructing his path?

        4. This is way too much of an over simplification. funny, we have no problem admitting f1 is waaay too aero dependent… hindering overtaking… yet we want to ruin the leaders race? Are club level racing cars even close to comparable to an f1 car aero wise? Irresponsible for someone of your intelligence to over simplify as you have…

          I think the FIA should’ve told the drivers in private to stop crying on the radio, YEARS AGO. That’s the only problem I see….

          1. The FIA tried telling the drivers that in public (specifically about their anti-Pirelli rants) a couple of years ago and it just made them noisier…

        5. I am not sure that the public or most of those on this forum understand that club level racing and even karting short circuit and long circuit also use blue flags Keith.

          That’s even for 20-45 minute races. Not two hour strategy based pit stop affected races.

          There is nothing wrong with their use. Just the insistence a couple of drivers have on vocally moaning about it all of the time.

          Given the nature of F1 today and particularly the tyres, it would be ridiculous to Remove them and see races lost crashes and all manor of havoc because of the issues of trying to lap slower drivers and cars.

      2. @jamiejay995: Maybe I’m sharing a pair of rose-tinted glasses with Mr Warwick (one lens each?), but I enjoyed the days when lapping backmarkers was an art in itself. And it introduced another variable, which I think is what a lot of people are looking for in F1 these days.

        As @keithcollantine said, F1 drivers should have the skill to overtake cleanly.

      3. Derek has lost his mind. It’s sad. All this pro-Hamilton spin is getting very annoying. I used to respect Derek so much, but now I feel he is too biased to be a steward – and he has openly admitted in the past he has a clear preference for the result in races.

        He has a point about the penalties. But back-markers interfering with the race outcome? It’s not been this way since I can remember, and championship battles, as well as racing in general, was so much more interesting. And Derek himself was a gentleman when he was on the track, and he has even gone out of his way to let the leaders pass and race. Really confused by his comments lately.

      4. If you can’t pass P22 easily, then you have nothing to complain about. I understand the sponsors want results, but that cannot dictate the outcomes. I’m completely ok with eliminating the blue flag. Race traffic is race traffic. You are a talented driver in a better car? Should be no problem.

    3. It is true that after 2013 much more penalties have been applied,something that is not great for the fans..Especially penalties applied in some brave overtakes,like Rosberg on Raikkonen in Malaysia,shows the situation today.Just imagine in the 2000’s,with no DRR,etc,penalizing drivers for trying to be “creative” & brave when overtaking…Plus,there is no stability at the decitions made by the stewards.They gave a 10-second penalty on Rosberg but they didn’t penalize Alonso at Usa,when he didn’t even stayed on track!!This must be solved bedore the start of 2017…

    4. I have my doubts on this. Drivers may lobby for regulation changes and re-interpretations (I’d be more surprised if Derek had said noisier ones like Vettel and Alonso didn’t), but there’s no mechanism for compulsorily enacting them. If the FIA wants to, it is totally at liberty to say, “No thank you, we’ll do things our way”. Any such change is therefore down to what the people who do have the power to change/re-interpret regulations (which, depending on the rule, means the F1 Commission, Strategy Group, Charlie Whiting, the stewards or a combination thereof).

      It goes some way towards explaining why there’s been an increase in dodgem moves going unpunished, though. If stewards are typically agreeing with Derek (and he is one, so it’s possible), then it is only to be expected that regulations are re-interpreted to allow careless and collision-inducing rules, even in instances where that’s not compatible with the letter of the regulations.

      I wonder if Derek realises that a lot of the “mistakes” that weren’t punished last year were blatantly helpful to the one making the “mistake” and harmed those who drove properly? The last paragraph, if that is a typical attitude among stewards, is a significant part of the reason why the claim that “the stewards… …know the regulations” doesn’t reassure as it did in less contentious times.

      1. * collision-inducing moves

    5. “Here comes Lewis Hamilton, trying to lap Romain Grosjean in the Ferrari powered Haas, he is having a bit of trouble doing so, he is losing time.”

      “Sebastian is closing in, and he goes right pass Romain’s Haas, no problem whatsoever, Vettel is in contention for the win now”

      P.S: it works the other way around too

      1. I agree, this is really what the blue flags are about. Teams such as Ferrari (Sauber and HAAS) and Red Bull (STR) have their “junior/customer teams” and they can ask them to move over or not. Whether this actually takes place or not I don’t know, but a way to make it fairer is to have a system that works for everyone. Of course these drivers have mirrors and can tell what colour the car is thats coming up to them and they have team radio to say its xxxxx person approaching. If we get rid of blue flags then surely other rules of how to drive while overtaking need relaxing or else we will see people penalised for overtaking infringements while lapping a back marker which is clearly nuts.

        1. As I said above – that’s the problem. I don’t mind someone holding another driver up to help his team mate but this is F1 and they’d all make deals with other teams to support them in the race.

        2. And in the case of Sauber, Manor, Williams, the tie fo suppliers is somehow weak.

          But the RB-TR teams are exactly as independent as they must be to fulfill regulations and human limits of workload. Ultimately they are controlled by exactly the same people.

          I recall the hypocrisy of RB criticizing team orders when they were using inter-team orders (brand orders?) themselves. And dare a driver (Alguersuari, Singapore) to fight for position with a Red Bull…

          1. Wouldn’t this be good though? Wouldn’t it be great if Romain in the Haas could actually hold up Lewis and create a battle for victory between Sebastian and Lewis? Wouldn’t this reflect rather well on Romain for being able to hold up a much faster, highly rated driver? This would add a wonderful dynamic…

            And the following race it’s Carlos Sainz in the STR putting in some good moves to bring Daniel into contention, and so on and so forth. If it’s the opposite and a backmarker keeps a driver out of contention for victory, then shucks, how could said driver ever have passed the driver they were chasing anyways.

            I feel some of you are missing the forest for the trees here.

          2. That’s why Dani Kvyat battling Max Verstappen hard at Singapore was so shocking. It was clear then that Dani had no future to lose at TR.

            Nothing like that at Brazil 2012 with both TR red-carpetting Seb Vettel and making life difficult for everybody else (and I generally like Dan Ricciardo but I’m not forgetting what he did there anytime soon). Oh and btw Schuey was doing the same, which made no sense for the Merc team, must have been a Deutschland über Alles thing.

    6. I like the IDEA of removing blue flags. However it would translate poorly to real life. A Ferrari, a Mercedes, and a Red Bull car are coming up on a Sauber. The Sauber, with its Ferrari engine, let’s the Ferrari car through and fights for 2-3 laps before the Mercedes and Red Bull make the pass.

      1. It may create an unbalanced fight. The McLaren cars will never get any benefit. What if the 2018 championship would be decided in favour of Red Bull because Toro Rosso allowed themselves to be lapped by the Red Bulls and not by the McLarens?

        The idea of “no blue flags” would work fantastically in an environment where the top teams do not carry influence on the backmarkers, where most teams are privateers and not dependent on (or even a junior version of) the big timers.

    7. The idea of removing blue flags it’s utterly ridiculous. Top teams will use that to get in the way of the others.

    8. This is why there needs to be a dedicated steward or a set panel for every race, not a rotation of some like this who have their own agenda for F1 and make the rulings inconsistent. I have no problem with Warwick’s stance, but it can’t be his idea of “let them race” one week and another steward who wants to follow each rule to the letter the next.

      That is the problem in my opinion, not the rules themselves.

    9. Yes I agree with Warwick. One of my best memories is watching DC sit behind a back marker at Monaco for 30+ laps because he couldn’t overtake and the rule was a car can hold the racing line. Ok its schadenfreude. SO what. And so what if it ruins your race. Its a race. Not real life. Or grow some and dive up the inside. Can you imagine Senna sitting behind ANYONE for 32 laps? Exactly, there you go.

      1. He wasn’t behind a backmarker. He was racing Bernoldi for position.

        But yeah someone else might have gone for a nice overtake instead.

        I don’t think that should be the norm for backmarkers though (by removing blue flags). Especially at Monaco. It would completely ruin most races. But then people nowadays want to be “entertained” rather than watching a sport, so I guess I’m old fashioned.

        1. And Bernoldi’s team mate was flying through the field.
          Overtaking is an art!

      2. To be fair Dave Coulthard tried hard to overtake Bernoldi and put his McL alongside Enrique Bernoldi’s Arrow plenty of times but then had to back up. It was of course not a matter of blue flags. DC made the pole but his McL stalled at the formation lap and had to start from the back of the grid. So he was fighting EB for position. BTW Schuey and Barrichello did lap both EB and DC who were duly shown the blue flags (the funniest moment in the race was when DC tried to slip behind Schuey and pass EB, who quickly got in the way in the last moment and frustrated DC pass again).

        Can I imagine what Senna would have done? Yes of course, what he always did. He would have divebombed Bernoldi and refused to back up when he really had to, forcing Bernoldi to yield or crash. DC didn’t do that, he wasn’t that kind of bully.

      3. Yes, I can imagine Senna being stuck behind a backmarker for 32 laps. Even a genius can’t undo physics.

    10. In theory, the idea of scrapping blue flag might sound nice : we might go back to a form of more “pure racing” (which sounds like a theoretical concept). But, in practice, I don’t think it will work. At least, not on tracks where it’s difficult to overtake. Imagine what a Monaco race would look like without blue flags : it’s already difficult to overtake cars with blue flags!
      The idea of blue flags is that a lapped car has nothing to gain from battling with a front runner : he won’t lose a position, his lap time will increase if he goes defensive, and tyre wear might increase if he does agressive defensive moves. The only thing a backmarker might gain from defending is flattering his ego, and showing that he isn’t such a looser. Because there are situations like this, or because there are drivers who just neglect their rear mirrors, blue flags exist, and I believe they are necessary in F1 racing.

      The only problem nowadays with blue flags (and it has been said many times before) is that they are shown way too early to backmarkers. Like when a faster car is 2-3 seconds behind them. Nobody would like to loose 2-3 seconds of lap time immediately just to let someone pass. Usually drivers prefer that the fast car would get pretty close, and let him through at the next braking zone. Unfortunately, when that time comes, a second or third blue flag is shown. Then, Vettel is not happy and open his swearbox, and drivers from the midfield are made to look like bad drivers.

    11. Hear hear.

      Ricciardo attacking Vettel in Mexico and the forceful defence in response was one of the most exciting, impressive and highly skilled moments of pure racing in the whole of last season. That it resulted in a penalty was frankly depressing. That sort of scrapping is standard in MotoGP.

      Racing, please. Not bureaucracy.

      1. @bookoi Vettel was completely justifiably penalized IMO

        1. @mashiat I think Vettel’s penalty was unjustified. Vettel was on the racing line, Ricciardo wasn’t. He was inside the racing line and appeared to be trying to overtake Vettel, but of course he wasn’t going to because he was going as fast as possible inside the racing line, and if he had braked at the right time he would have been behind Vettel going into the corner and his speed coming out of the corner would have been slower than Vettel’s as well, so an overtake there was never on the cards. Ricciardo braked late, meaning his speed going into the corner was faster than the maximum the laws of physics will allow, so while an overtake looked possible, what would have happened if he hadn’t collided with Vettel is he’d have lost traction while trying to come out on the racing line and spun off the track or exited the corner on the outside of the racing line, which would have taken him off the track. In both cases the outcome would have been Vettel would come out ahead of Ricciardo. I guess he could have done what Verstappen did, which was to race across the grass and rejoin further down the track, it seemed to be the “in vogue” method of passing at Mexico. Anyway, Ricciardo did hit Vettel, who was on the racing line and had the right of way at that corner, and Vettel was the one who was punished for Riccardo’s uncharacteristically poor driving skill, not Ricciardo.
          The moral of the incident is to apply the brakes on your tongue until after the Stewards make a decision.

          1. Vettel had asked for that rule change (interpretation change) to stop moving in the braking zone, so he deserved to get penalized for breaking it so obviously.

            You are also mistaken that being on the racing line means you have the right of way. That’s not houw it works. Even though people like Rosberg didn’t understand this either.

      2. Vettel’s defence was fully illegal…Plus,in that specific race weekend,drivers had discussed & agreed to solve the issue about “changing line under braking”.

        1. Kestutis Rutavicius
          13th January 2017, 16:46

          Even Webber and Prost said that this incindent was nothing more than hard racing… but internet armchair experts knows better ofc… and by the way, if Vettel was penalized correctly(assume that standarts has been set very high), the Verstappen must been penalized at AD, becouse he obviously changed line during braking… but FIA stewardship double standart doesn’t suprises anyone anymore…

          1. Love it how you call people internet armchair experts, while deciding that you are right and the stewards are wrong…

        2. It was illegal only in the sense of the newly-clarified and arbitrary rules on defending. And yet no harm was done, neither driver went off track… all I saw was good, hard racing.

          These two responses sum up part of the problem – we’ve had over-regulated racing in F1 so long now that everybody looks at incidents as if they are lawyers. ‘Now by the letter of the law, that was illegal and should be penalised etc etc…’. I do understand the logic in that, but I’m more concerned with whether those ‘laws’ should even be there in the first place. The answer is no, in my opinion.

          Let them race and only get involved if somebody does something completely stupid. These guys are supposed to be the best racers in the world. Treat them as such.

          1. “I’m more concerned with whether those ‘laws’ should even be there in the first place.”

            Fully agree with you.

    12. Just change the F1 version of the Blue Flag rule. The intended purpose is to advise the *slower* car that a car is lapping them. There should be no requirement to allow the pass within some number of corners. There are already penalties for blocking so a good driver should have no problem lapping slower cars.

    13. Right, and that’ll work so well at Monaco… or Barcelona. Or any track where passing is painfully difficult, or nigh-on impossible. Which, from what I know of next year’s regulations, might well be pretty much all of them.

      And echoing what people above have said regarding ‘linked’ teams. While adding a comment about friendly drivers.

      I’d love this rose-tinted vision of ‘proper’ overtaking and actually fighting through the backmarkers to happen, but it just wouldn’t work in reality. Blue flags are a necessary part of modern F1, and having slow cars getting in the way of (and ruining) really good battles at the front would cause huge crapstorms every weekend.

      If Warwick wants to “come back and help the back end of the grid”, he should be complaining about the prize money distribution… not sensible rules.

      1. I know it’s the agenda that this blog keeps pushing through our throats, but it staggers belief people really think handing Sauber a few tens of millions is going to change anything?

        Or to blame DRS for the easy overtaking when the tyres can account for a difference of easily 3 seconds per lap.

        1. Staggers belief… really? Of course it’d change something. They’d have more money to do stuff like hiring staff, working on the cars, and so on. Wouldn’t make them full-time front-runners but they’d be able to run a healthy enough operation while remaining competitive enough for it to be worth taking part. And they could maybe spring the odd surprise or two.

          Meanwhile, the bigger teams would be receiving many tens of millions less, so unless their parent companies were willing to splurge an extra 30, 50, 80 million (and if they were, they’d already be doing it) they’d have to cut back a little. Again, not enough to make a massive difference (‘oh no, we can only simultaneously work on three front wing designs, instead of six, our car might be 0.2 seconds slower’), but it’d be something.

          Money buys success in F1. Reduce the differences in budget and the performance gap between the front and the back will also be reduced. Why is it surprising that people hold that (I think very sensible and logical) viewpoint?

          Though, I’ve never really seen Keith hammer on about it. I actually admire his restraint, because I’d be finding an excuse to shoehorn a sentence or two moaning about it into every single article.

    14. Scrap all the rules, Let’s get back to harder, harsher racing.

    15. F1 has come a long way since Ayrton Senna, livid that the then-rookie Eddie Ervine had very dared to unlap himself when Senna was trying to line up Mansell for an overtake, stormed into the Jordan Hospitality unit and knocked Irvine down with a well-directed punch. Or when Schumacher, livid because Coulthard had moved off the racing line and slowed down to allow Schumi to overtake safely (Schumi’s three-wheeler), tried to force his way into the McLaren garage to do the same. There’s too much interference these days, let the drivers fight it out, on and particularly off the track. Radio Gaga while entertaining, is simply not the same.

      1. concerning Schumacher, I have to agree with Schumacher, it may have been a nice gesture, but when you cant see the car in front of you because of spray, you DON’T just slow down ON the racing line to let a car pass that doesn’t see you, you move off the racing line to do that. Coultard actually admitted later that was indeed dangerous

    16. @Warwick “We have an engineer in the room that records all this so we can go back and look at an incident not just from what we see as anoraks on the TV but we’ve also got 60 circuit cameras, we’ve got onboards, we’ve got offboards. We can really analyse each incident.”

      you can have every thing you want, what doesn’t change is how the “individual” interprets that information, and that is what is subjective. I”ll say it again, let the track do the decision making.

      lets make the sport more complicated why don’t we :-(

    17. Try overtaking a back marker at Monaco..you can be 5 seconds a lap quicker and still not find a way past.

      1. @smudgersmith1 Was just as difficult to pass at Monaco in the pre-blue flag rules era & drivers still managed. Cars were wider back then as well & Monaco was also a lot narrower in places that have since been made wider.

        Heck Indycar doesn’t force drivers to jump out the way under blue flags & they race on a lot of very narrow/difficult to pass street circuits & it very rarely causes any issues.

        Lapping back markers used to be a real skill & art form, Many of the greats like Senna, Prost & Mansell had to actually pass back markers rather than have them jump out the way & the racing was far better for it in many ways just as it is in Indycar today.

      2. @smudgersmith1, so blue flags are necessary because of mandatory pit stops, otherwise the race leader, who would be similarly impossible to overtake, would still be the winner. I miss the days when a young turk or a wile old fox in a Minardi presented a problem for the leader/s with that 5 second a lap advantage, and it certainly gave backmarkers TV time which helped them gain sponsors. Artificially induced showbiz aids to racing, like mandatory pit stops, create more problems than they solve.

    18. Guybrush Threepwood
      13th January 2017, 21:22

      Derek Warwick was the steward who said on the grid of the USA (I think) GP last season that he wants nothing more than to see Hamilton win.

      Its clear he is a massive Hamilton fan and I think he needs to watch his judgment.

      1. It was Malaysian GP. Warwick said to Martin Brundle “Obviously like you, well, presumably like you, I’d like Lewis to win this race”, and he was, in fact, steward on that race. Needles to say, that pretty much disqualifies him to say pretty much anything on what’s right and wrong in Formula 1. However, it’s interesting that it didn’t gain much attention in media. Quite impossible to comprehend what be the reaction if that happened in any other sport, say, referee says “Hala Madrid!” right before El Clasico kick-off. But, in Formula 1 problems are Vettel and Alonso lobbying, right.

        1. well said

    19. It boggles the mind that people of authority in F1 and even pundits fail to see that there will guaranteed be dirty and race and championship altering tactics with the blue flag rule gone. But sadly this is typical of F1.

      The only alteration to the blue flag rule should be a fixed gap at which is it given, and it should be electronically calculated and given (GPS/near field detection + blue light in the car), same with penalties. Now it comes out too early wrecking backmarkers end of race.

      1. @balue That was never the case before the blue flag rules were introduced.

        The blue flag rules as we know them were only introduced around 1996, Prior to that it was down to the drivers to find there way past back markers & it still works like that today In Indycar & many other forms of racing.

        As Warwick says people only ever look at what happens to those at the front, But what about the slower cars who can have there races destroyed by blue flags? How many times have we seen cars further back racing hard, Sometimes for points only to have there little battle ruined by the blue flags as one of them maybe has to get onto the marbles & spend a lap or more struggling for grip, How is that fair to them? Nobody ever thinks of that because anyone outside the top 3 don’t matter to a lot of ‘fans’.

        1. Yes Peter g, but that was over 20 years ago so it can’t really have been F1 ::-).

        2. @PeterG Even if this was true (which I doubt), why does it matter how it was before when it is bound to happen now?

          Toro Rosso cars are virtually guaranteed to let their sister cars from Red Bull by without a hitch, but do the opposite with whoever is battling with Red Bull. This will incredibly unfair, and as I say might alter race and championship results. How is that fair to them or even the sport itself? As I said, how anyone would like to actually introduce this is beyond me.

          About the fairness for the backmarkers, I already said the blue flag rule should be overhauled where they don’t come out before the car to pass is close. About going on the marbles, most don’t do that even now, so I don’t understand why you would say so.

    20. I agree with everything Warwick said, except his last hesitation about letting drivers sort things out on track the way they used to. Why not? Let them self-police instead of crying to Charlie. As to the argument there would be tactical alliances based on engine supplier, so what? It would be part of the game.

    21. ‘There’s too much media, too much pressure, too much corporates, too much money.’

      Isn’t that the entire problem with F1?

    22. American Billionaire John Malone is the new owner of Formula 1. There is a new sherrif in town. His plan is to Americanize the F1. You and I have no clue about the changes John will bring. But we know it wont be the same F1 we are accustomed to. Put your seat belt on and get ready for American Take-off😊

    23. Motocross 95% rider. F1 95% machine and aero. Blue flags are a must in F1. Without blues, it would just about completely take away any chance for competitive drivers and machines to compete for wins.

    24. I think the reason why a driver must cede track position if they are shown a blue flag is because overtaking has become much more difficult in the previous 20 or 30 years, probably because of aerodynamics and driver aids becoming much more sophisticated, leading to cars that are much easier to control therefore reducing driver errors. If you fix this problem (and it is a problem from a spectators point of view) then drivers being held up behind slower cars would become a none-issue. By the way, DRS isn’t a solution, it just glosses over the issue of follow-my-leader racing.

    25. Remove blue flags.. Let them race..

      Penalise only intentional inciddnts.

    26. Remove blue flags.. Let them race..

      Penalise only intentional inciddnts, and that is it.

      The moment lead cars will have to overtake backmarkers, that moment F1 teams will start to optimise them for overtaking.. Since every lead car will probably have to make.10-16 overtakes.. Compared to current start from front finish at the front..

      And slap on a money distribution fix, and presto F1 is great again.

    27. On the whole these are very sensible reflections. I think that blue flag rules should at the very least be relaxed. It’s ridiculous that back markers are now shown blue flags well before a lapping front runner is anywhere close to behind them and it’s ridiculous that they’re expected to jump out of the way. The way I see it is they ought to be allowed to hold their own racing line, but no more, and if you want to lap them, well you work your way around them, end of story. They way the rule is constructed now just exacerbates the chasm of separation between the small and major teams. It’s BS.

    28. This guy, Warwick, was a back end grid driver so he is now supporting the lapped drivers of today like him. Senna loved to make a scratch on his helmet every time he was lapped on a race. Now, if the guy is defending to get rid of blue flags, let the teams to attach some bumpers and wheel covers to allow the drivers of doing bump-and-go like Nascar does.

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