The celebrity guest who waved the chequered flag at the Canadian Grand Prix, Winnie Harlow, was not to blame for the signal being given a lap early, according to the FIA.
Race director Charlie Whiting explained the confusion which led to Harlow waving the flag on the 69th lap of 70.
“He thought it was the last lap, he asked race control to confirm it, they confirmed it. They thought he was making a statement when he was in fact asking a question, and he just showed it a lap early.
“He told the flag-waver to wave it a lap early, so it wasn’t anything to do with the fact it was a celebrity flag-waver.”
Under Formula 1’s rules, the race result had to be taken from the lap before the flag was shown.
“The reason for doing that is to make sure that if there was some confusion over it then if you go back to the end of the previous lap then you will get a true race classification.
“It’s like when a race is stopped, it can’t be restarted, you take it back to the end of the lap prior to which the stop was given.”
Whiting suspects a mis-reading of the lap counter may have contributed to the mistake.
“I think people who don’t work in Formula 1 sometimes are confused by the graphic that they see on the screen where it says 69 out of 70. We all know that means we’re on lap 69 but to someone who’s a slightly more casual observer, might think ‘that must mean it’s the last lap’. I think that’s where the doubt originates.
“We obviously need to do a better job briefing these people.”
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