Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monza, 2019

Leclerc black-and-white flag precedent will lead to more collisions – Wolff

2019 Italian Grand Prix

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The decision to give Charles Leclerc a warning for his incident with Lewis Hamilton sets a precedent which will lead to more collisions, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes.

Hamilton took to the run-off area at the Roggia chicane when Leclerc squeezed him to the edge of the track as they approached the corner. Hamilton drove onto the kerb and grass to avoid the Ferrari as Leclerc moved towards him.

Wolff said Hamilton’s actions avoided contact between the pair. “The racing was very hard, maybe over the line.” he said. “Lewis I think was instrumental in not making it an incident.

“But at the end of the day what do you do? You give a leading Ferrari in Monza a five-second penalty? Out of the question. Then we’d need a police escort out of here.”

FIA race director Michael Masi said the absence of contact between the two cars was one reason why Leclerc was not given a penalty, but shown the black-and-white flag instead. Masi has recently revived the use of the ‘unsportsmanlike driving’ flag.

However Wolff believes the decision will lead to more drivers being willing to risk contact.

“I think there will be more cars touching,” he said. “It will be more of a common practice.

“The question is, in my opinion it’s going to go to the point that we’ll end up again in collision and then we’re going to bail out of it again or crawl back. This is the modus operandi. Until then, we let them race.”

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55 comments on “Leclerc black-and-white flag precedent will lead to more collisions – Wolff”

  1. This incident was clearly worth a penalty. This sort of driving the competition off the racing surface shouldn’t be OK under the ‘new’ (or really any) interpretation of the rules.

    1. @proesterchen sure, get out of the way for Lewis. Merc loves to lobby, the Mercedes German GP exclusion of sauber is purely coincidental.

      1. Turning into this being a Lewis issue are quite frankly a disgrace. I know I’m using strong words, but I simply can’t believe what I’m hearing. Running someone wide on corner exit is very very different to crowding someone off the track on corner entry… Massively different.

        I despair. Sorry, I’ll leave now.

        1. Remember Hamilton running Rosberg wide at COTA and not incurring a penalty?
          It’s called racing!

          1. That was on corner exit.

          2. @markzastrow
            Exactly. In f1 you can ram others off the track on corner exits but on straights and braking zones you can not.

      2. @peartree So it’s a bit weird you also wrote on the other page:

        I think Ham would have got this one if he wasn’t 60+ points ahead.

        Isn’t that admitting a penalty was justified?

        in the end, Wolff sums it up. Easier for the stewards to duck the crowd disturbance given, like you point out, Hamilton and Mercedes could take the hit for them. I’m not even sarcastically suggesting they shouldn’t have ducked it, probably healthier all round. But Leclerc needs to know he got away with it.

        1. @david-br, you have to bear in mind that Pennyroyal tea is very biased towards Ferrari – we are, after all, talking about a poster who, following the unsafe release of Leclerc in the German Grand Prix, spent his time proclaiming that Ferrari were innocent and that Grosjean was wholly to blame.

          There will, therefore, be a strong sense of cognitive dissonance – the comment in the other thread implies that a penalty was justifiable, but at the same time he will argue that it can’t apply because it would mean penalising Ferrari.

          1. And you are a biased Hamilton fan who would have done the same thing if roles were reversed.
            Boo hoo for Hammy – not!

        2. @david-br my quote is not weird, I’m implying bias. The “incident” is a load of nothing but merc and Ham generally have their own way regardless of consistency.

  2. Interlocking wheels in a braking zone should not in any circumstances be encouraged. How stupid are we? I give up.

    1. I agree. I am baffled that everybody talks about safety and then don’t do anything about this and the weaving. We had these discussions when Max did it and it was found unacceptable.

      1. @GtisBetter

        I think Max is one of the main reasons why this is acceptable nowadays – you either do that or end up second.

        1. Leclerc did say he’d learned his lesson after Austria

          1. That’s my feeling too. They didn’t give Max a penalty and Charles said ok if that’s allowed that what I will do.

    2. It was on the limit, I agree. But far from been unseen (Ver did the same 1 year ago, how many contact do we see regularly, how clean were HAM/ROS, MSC, SEN etc). Looking at the fact that they didn’t even touch (thanks to HAM waving, I agree), I think the black/white flag was the right call. And frankly, when you are leading at Monza, in a Ferrari, you are expected to fight hard…

  3. Wasn’t this basically the same as Verstappen with Bottas last year?

    1. No. There was contact between Verstappen and Bottas. That penalty was for the contact.

      1. No, Verstappen wasn’t driving a Ferrari at Monza.

  4. I thought between the sqeeze and weaving in the straigh it was penalty worthy too.

    I also think that if this is how racing goes then there has to be more contact. Why should Hamilton back off? He was better positioned to survive the crash. Verstappen wouldn’t have backed off.

    1. @slotopen Because much as Hamilton wanted the win – and wants to show us racing (which it would be cool if more people could acknowledge) – he’s only really competing with Bottas for the championship and he was behind him at the time.

      1. @david-br
        You are probably right. However, it seems to me if these are the new rules of F1 then drivers have to occasionally hold their line and collide just to maintain credibility.

        1. @slotopen It’s a good point, but not Hamilton’s style. Save for the tyre barges on Rosberg (about as safe ‘contact’ as you can get) he has always looked to avoid contact as a basic principle of his driving. He did say he’d have ‘avoided avoiding’ contact in the Vettel Canada incident, had he known Vettel wouldn’t have been penalized, so maybe he will let one of these incidents to play out one day. I doubt it though.

  5. How many spotters does a driver have? Or at F1 there aren’t dedicated spotters? For example at uneasy situations like this the driver could consult with a spotter to ask him about the traffic.
    But at many situations i feel like there are no or only very few guys are dedicated to doing this.

    Anyway the situation was bad, and the solution gone far from elegant.
    I’m more than agreed punishing unsafe rejoins, but he had to get out of the way, and hes angle and position to the track way really bad without having momentum.

    Even one of the Renaults had seemingly quite a big drift to avoid him while was standstill.

  6. Pathetic driver, pathetic team principal…a bunch of clowns

    1. Bit harsh on Ferrari that.

      1. LOL. Agreed.

    2. Reginald R Barrington esq
      9th September 2019, 6:49

      Honestly Bio, Leclerc wasn’t that bad, I know that after forcing Hamilton onto the grass on corner entry and being given a black and white he probably should have been penalised for the dodgy weaving and cutting the corner. But it’s not his fault that the stewards were scared of a riot, and it’s not Binottos fault the their fans have so many idiots among them, calling him pathetic isn’t really fair.

      Now pathetic would be a good description of Vettels race..

  7. I’m happy this wasn’t a penalty because I loved watching the rest of the battle, but it’s left us in the unfortunate position of the ‘rule’ now being that you can perform one dangerous move (crowding someone off the track under braking or on a straight is dangerous due to the speeds and the potential for interlocking tyres) per race with no penalty. Unless the other driver stays there and you cause a crash, and if that happens a penalty might be the least of your worries.

    Does that strike anyone else as a little silly or is it just me?

    1. I think that soon, they need to dish out a penalty first time, just to show that they will still do that. That’ll put a stop to anything. But then there will be questions of consistency.

  8. I don’t agree that this ruling will lead to more contact as I think driver’s will instinctively avoid contact where possible. This should be a point of discussion between the FIA and teams/drivers prior to the next race as I think that making the distinction between a penalty and a “yellow card” being whether there was contact or not is something that the teams and drivers should demand clarification on.

    1. INSTINCTIVELY, the guy defending will force the other driver off the track.

      This will lead to more collisions unless attacking drivers eventually decide that they no longer want to risk a move. Ironically, “letting them race” by not penalizing them will then lead to less racing and more processions because the faster driver behind will be too scared to try.

  9. We see this sort of incident all the time, with the driver in front (even if by just an inch) claiming the line even if it puts the other out of the track.

    I always found it unsportsmanlike to leave no space, and hate the practice. Everyone is doing it and, for me, everyone should be heavily penalized.

    Hamilton does it to others all the time, though: this shouldn’t be a matter only when he is in the receiving end.

    1. Exactly!
      Hamilton is finding out LEC and VER aren’t going to kow tow to him. They are the future of F1 and carry clout in that regard.

    2. Name ONE time when Hamilton has done this to anyone? You will not be able to.

      Hell, name one instance when he has done that to anyone and not been penalized. You will probably struggle even to find these incidents.

      But thanks for your opinion based on your false accusations.

  10. “But at the end of the day, what do you do? You give a leading Ferrari in Monza a five-second penalty? Out of the question….because then we need a police escort out of here.”
    – The location should have zero bearings in the Stewards’ decisions, though, as the same rules have to apply to everyone anyway even if a police escort would then be needed.

  11. The introduction of the black/white flag is a joke imo. There should be consequences for receiving the flag and then later in the race pull a few questionable moves, Today for me shows the flag is nothing more then a symbolic gesture

      1. In football the player with 2 yellow cards missed the next game. In F1, there is no limit to “balck/white flag” occasions for a driver during the season.

        1. The flag says, “You deserve punishment, but we’re too scared or too corrupt to penalize you.”

          The FIA continues to embarrass itself.

  12. Hamilton was forced to take evasive action twice in the fight with Leclerc for the lead at Monza – once running wide at the second chicane to avoid an incident and then later having to back off as his Ferrari rival blocked him through Curva Grande. There was only one warning, but now I believe there should be the second warning or a 5 second penalty.

    1. +1 @bulgarian
      Adding to this point, Leclerc admitted after the race that he knew where Hamilton was in the first incident but ‘thought’ he’d left enough room on track (he hadn’t). So that makes him knowingly culpable. My guess, then, is that having been given a ‘warning’ for the incident, he thought, great, I can get away with this all day, not, oh no, one more and I get a penalty. The number of further such incidents bears this out. As I wrote elsewhere, fine, FIA can change their ‘leniency rules’ and inconsistencies are easy for anyone to find. But the weaving under braking isn’t on. That’s a definite no-no. For safety, that rule has to apply or not exist, not exist in some confused ‘quantum state of indeterminacy.’

  13. Just the brake zone ‘incident’ and the weaving alone deserved the black and white flag as a warning for unsportsmanlike behavior but both came close together if u recall and I thought he’d get a 5 second penalty. Plus there was the first corner chicane he cut then came out ahead of Lewis which reminded me of vettel at Canada although this chicane was much slower and less dangerous. Although he basically makes bad error, cuts track and remains ahead with no loss of time. Great racing to watch and kudos for Lewis not bringing it up in post race interview. If it had cost him a championship it might have been a different story!
    In football we are used to different referees being more or less lenient between games but my question here is are the exact same stewards involved in every f1 race? There should be no excuse for inconsistencies then.
    Personally I think leclerc stayed in the cheeky zone rather than dangerous and that kept him out of trouble. Maybe he was remembering Max and his late ‘dive bomb’ at RBR and didn’t want to let that happen again?

  14. Funny how Hammy fans want to keep things the same way – Hamilton wins pole, wins the start, gets the lead and comfortably beats the rest of the field. Any deviation freaks him, his team and his fans out.

    “I need more power” he blurts over the radio as if he is issuing an order. Maybe he is getting a taste of what the rest of the field feels. Today he had to actually race a car close to equal and he couldn’t do it. Perhaps all those start to finish races with no racing has hurt him.

    The fact is he had chances to pass LEC and he didn’t, in fact he committed an error. For a seasoned veteran to cry over such a trivial incident proves how fragile he is. LEC and VER are not intimidated by HAM. The FIA should be careful penalizing for incidents such as this – F1 is much more exciting with young talent in the fold.

    1. Funny how Hammy fans want to keep things the same way – Hamilton wins pole, wins the start, gets the lead and comfortably beats the rest of the field. Any deviation freaks him, his team and his fans out.

      His fans must be freaking out a lot this season then, since 6 of his 8 wins have not been from pole.

      1. Well said!!
        :D :D :D

        But Mick, I think Lec e Ver have much more to lose than Hamilton. Once he grabs the 6th WC, he will race is heart and whoever crosses his line, will crash and will lose points for the Championship. I think that’s the reason he spoke about it.

  15. Lewis, you’re pathetic (look it up, would you need to). You ran Nico equally wide at COTA without a penalty. Didn’t we say, let them race? Do it now, too – and accept defeat by a younger driver in a faster car!

    1. These type of reactions from Lewis, playing himself as a victim or target of injustice,vis probably why so many people don’t like him

      1. You don’t need excuses to hate someone. Don’t you? Don’t try to fool yourself

  16. Funny how if you are a Lewis supporter , then he was right. If you a Leclerc supporter, then he was right.

    Anyone catching onto this ridiculous trend?

    Just enjoy the racing and stop moaning!

  17. I need more power

    Charles’s new ring tone for Lewis. ;)

  18. It just wasnt crowding off the track but weaving on back straight and then leaving track to gain advantage and then hanging in middle of curva grande showed how dirty Leclerc is and how much stewards had their tails between the legs to penalise goon of Mafia. Also forgot Leclerc was given a warning for moving under braking at turn 5 apart from blag and white flag. Looks like Masi and stewards have a massive blindfolds and love to set dangerous presidents.

  19. I think the comment section is in need of some black and white flags after this race ¬_¬

  20. As usual buffoonery comments after the race from all mercedes family. I love these clowns more when they cry like this.

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