A “system error” caused the chequered flag signal to be displayed too soon, causing the Japanese Grand Prix to be cut short by one lap.Valtteri Bottas was shown the chequered flag at the start/finish line a lap too soon.
While the chequered flag is still waved at the end of a grand prix, since the beginning of this season the chequered flag light signal has been the official indication that a race has completed. The rule was changed in response to the events of last year’s Canadian Grand Prix where the chequered flag was waved a lap too soon in error.
However on this occasion the chequered flag light signal was displayed too early, FIA race director Michael Masi confirmed.
“From what we’ve seen it’s a system error it’s something that we’ve got to investigate,” said Masi. “I’m not going to pre-empt what it is was wasn’t something that it was a system error that came up.”
Some teams asked why the signal had been given too early, said Masi. “Until we could confirm that Valtteri had actually received [the signal] a couple of teams came on the radio and they were advised to continue racing to the scheduled distance.
“So it was system error. What the exact part of it [was], I can’t tell you here and now, it’s something that we’ll look at and obviously rectify.”
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