As red flags become more common, F1 should ban repairs during suspensions

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Regardless of where the blame lay or how it is apportioned, the fall-out from Sunday’s first-lap accident between world championship rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton suggests that a number of Formula 1’s regulations and procedures require, at the very least, reviews – and rapid implementation of any recommendations – if the eventual outcome of the last season under the current regulations is to stand scrutiny.

While the ‘tariff’ of penalties open to stewards during the weekend resulted in the sort of anomalies their list of precedents is expressly intended to prevent, the range of activities and procedures that are permitted under red flag restarts by the regulations are the biggest cause for concern.

Twice this year, during race suspensions at Imola and Silverstone, a number of substantial repairs were permitted to Hamilton’s car which enabled the seven-time champion to score a total of 44 points, split 19 and 25 respectively.

While his potential scores without said repairs are impossible to predict, consider that his Mercedes team estimated that a front wing – replaced under a red flag at Imola – cost him 0.3-0.6 seconds per lap. Would he have finished second under the circumstances or gained a point for fastest lap? Highly unlikely.

On Sunday at Silverstone, he damaged a wheel during the clash with Verstappen. According to the team, without the red flag brought about by the need to repair the barriers, that would have forced his retirement.

Hamilton’s Imola race was rescued by a red flag
Instead, his team was able to repair the damage with no time loss and race to victory after a 10-second penalty taken during a routine stop – despite the stewards having adjudged him as being “predominantly at fault” for the incident. Verstappen could only look on helplessly in hospital as Hamilton celebrated a 25-point cut into his lead, cutting his deficit to eight points.

Of course Hamilton and Mercedes did not act improperly – the regulations permit repairs during a red flag. But this effective 44-point bonus for car number 44 could well prove decisive come the finale.

The red flag ‘repair’ clause was introduced to cater for a totally different set of circumstances at a time when races were seldom red-flagged.

An analysis by GP Facts and Numbers shows that over the past 15 seasons a total of 26 grands prix were interrupted for some reason or other.

Of these, two were halted after chequered flags were erroneously waved prematurely and four when the two-hour limit was reached after a number of safety car interventions, crucially without red flags being deemed necessary. One was shortened after a number of pre-start exploratory laps and six due to heavy rain, albeit without major incidents.

Thus, there were 13 events with serious incidents requiring red flags and 13 ‘other’ causes – less than one per season on average. Tellingly, six of these – almost half – occurred in the past 12 months. Cynics may suggest the red flag is being increasingly used to spice up racing via standing restarts, permitted by a rules change a few years ago, but red flag interruptions are more usually triggered by a need to damaged barriers or clear the track safely.

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The ‘red flag repair’ rule was introduced to enable cars to be fettled for changed weather conditions. But it is increasingly being used to repair dry-weather crash damage.

There is no doubt that drivers have unfairly benefitting from its provisions given the increased incidence of red flags caused by major accidents – from under one per season ten years ago to five in a single 12-month stretch. Sunday again proved the unfairness of the rule.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Monza, 2020
Several drivers lucked in with a red flag at Monza last year
Thus, the ‘repair’ clause needs to be revisited, with cars required to restart after a red flag in the exact condition in which they parked up – effectively a parc fermé rules which already apply after qualifying under whatever format. Repairs or adjustments due to changes in climatic conditions could only be undertaken with the express approval of the race director, and any breaches would require the car(s) to restart from the back.

Such a rule would also eliminate the current pit stop lottery – whereby a driver stops on, say, lap 34, only for a lap 36 red flag to grant others a ‘free’ tyre change.

Sunday’s race highlighted another area of the rule book which may have to be reconsidered: F1’s ‘non consequence’ tariff structure. At present any incident is judged on its merits alone, and a similar penalty applies across all similar incidents. Thus a ‘nudge’ into a harmless spin in a slow corner attracts a similar penalty to a high-speed ‘nudge’ that sends a driver into a barrier at 51G and out of the race simply as the eventual consequences are disregarded.

While the impact on championship positions should have no bearing, the immediate consequences should, just as road traffic incidents are judged on their severity and penalised accordingly. Ignoring red traffic lights is more heavily penalised where there are injuries rather than light panel damage. In this era of budget caps the severity of incidents and their subsequent costs should also be taken into account by stewards.

Masi wants to keep rules as they are
Given F1’s constant evolution no penalty structure will ever be perfect, but a regular revamp of articles, provisions and clauses is surely necessary to ensure that the punishments better suit the ‘crimes’ than they currently do.

On Sunday F1 race director Michael Masi said the practice of not considering the consequences of a collision has “been a mainstay for many, many years.

“This came through discussions prior to my time between all of the teams, the FIA and F1, and the team principals,” he explained. “All were quite adamant that you should not consider the consequences in an incident.

“So when [the stewards] judge an incident they judge the incident itself, and the merits of the incident, not what happens afterwards as a consequence. That’s been something the stewards have done for many years.”

Maybe so, but the last time I looked at the sport’s structures the FIA was the sole regulator of F1, not the team principals or F1. Equally, the mere fact that something has been in place “for many years” is no reason to not revisit it in the interests of improvement – as happened on Saturday when the sport experimented with the introduction of the sprint qualifying concept.

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235 comments on “As red flags become more common, F1 should ban repairs during suspensions”

  1. Good. Anyone else remember the tense final few laps of the 2011 Monaco GP that was ruined when the red flag meant Vettel could change his dead tyres?

    1. Rick (@wickedwicktheweird)
      20th July 2021, 12:46

      Yes I do, I felt robbed after that.

      1. That one stuck in my head as a total failure…and it’s been 10 years!

    2. @joshgeake 10 Years! Goodness, i’m getting old. Though I can see the idea that he was gambling on not being able to be overtaken, the ‘do whatever you want red flag’ rule ruined what was looking to be a spectacular climax. Yeah, I felt your pain @wickedwicktheweird

      1. It wasn’t just that he was gambling on not being able to be overtaken. He hadn’t used two different sets of tires up to that point in the race, Red Bull were literally gambling on a red flag to keep their win, or waiting to pull a gap wide enough to keep Vettel on the podium in a worst case scenario.

        As an Alonso and Ferrari fan, robbed doesn’t even begin to describe it. Many websites and journalists had this exact same discussion and argument back then, alas nothing changed. Such changes under red flag conditions should be allowed imo (it’s also a safety concern), but any driver that changes stuff should be sent to the back of the grid. Seems like the most reasonable solution to me as the advantage gained by the new stuff is negated by restarting at the back.

        1. @xenn1, I think you remember that incorrectly. Vettel had switched from red to yellow, and could finish the race on them.

          1. @adrianmorse i stand corrected, you are right!

    3. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      20th July 2021, 13:23

      Yes, that was incredibly dramatic, his tyres were completely gone. It felt like daylight robbery seeing fresh tyres on Vettel’s car for the restart.

    4. Be careful what you wish for.

    5. @joshgeake – It was an anti-climactic ending yes, but I am all for tyre changes during the red flag from a safety point of view, especially if races are red-flagged due to excessive debris on the track. It wouldn’t make any sense sending drivers out on worn or potentially punctured tyres.

      What I’m not in favour of is the free tyre change during red flags counting towards the mandatory pitstop as hugely benefitted by Romain Grosjean (2016 Australia) and Lance Stroll (2020 Monza) as effectively, they didn’t perform a proper pitstop. Maybe repairs fall under the same category? I haven’t fully thought that opinion through yet.

      1. Nikos (@exeviolthor)
        21st July 2021, 6:44

        Regarding the safety of the tires, they could make it so that when the tires are changed under red flag then the car should go at the back of the grid or even start from the pit lane.

      2. @brickles any solution you can come with will eventually benefit some drivers, the question is: what’s the less unfair option? If a driver knows that he can change tyres if those are damaged, they’ll actively try to damage them (running over debris) while going back to the pit lane to get the tyre change. As for worn out tyres, they would still be racing with those tyres had the race not been red flagged. So either you force them to start from the pit lane, as @exeviolthor suggests, which I actually think it’s a good option, or you completely forbid changing tyres during red flags and force them to pit when the race is restarted, which is probably unfair. The only exception I’d add would be if the tyres are changed from a slicks to inters or wets.

        As for the two compounds, the rules only say at least two different compounds need to be used during a dry race, but it never mentions pit stops. Of course a pit stop is the only way tyres are usually switched, but I don’t think that’s worth changing as long as free tyre changes during red flags are removed.

        1. @exeviolthor – If such a rule was brought in, it would be massively unfair on any driver who have been forced to change tyres that have been damaged from another driver’s incident.

          @warheart – Thank you for clarifying the two compounds rule. Maybe if a race is red flagged and a driver hasn’t used two compounds/made their pitstop, they could be forced to restart on the same compound so that they would have to make a pitstop or simply be told that they have to make a racing pitstop, but then again, that might bring in the ‘compulsory pitstop’ or ‘overregulation’ debate… it’s a tricky one.

          1. Nikos (@exeviolthor)
            22nd July 2021, 6:46

            Yes it would be unfair in a way in that particular situation, but how would you prevent a driver from changing tires like Vettel did in Monaco 2011?

    6. Yeah that’s a loophole in the regulations that need fixing.

    7. Yes. F1 is over regulated and yet cannot follow it’s own rules, parc fermé means nothing.

      1. Nevertheless I agree with repairs after red flags. I think we might be getting sidetracked. Problem is the penalties, 10s worthless penalty and possible PU penalties.

    8. @joshgeake That’s the one I thought about before opening the article too

    9. William T Mullenberg
      22nd July 2021, 4:55

      Stop trying to NASCAR F1, they wrote so many rules and regulations they have three hundred people just to interpret them during a race and choose who’s day to ruin or who to excuse.

  2. Completely agree, this needs to be addressed urgently.

    1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      20th July 2021, 17:20

      Cars needing attention should not be worked on. They should be moved to their pit box and not touched until the other cars leave the pits.

      There would be details to works out like a cut-off time to reclose the pit exit so repaired cars leaving the pit could still make the back of the grid for the restart and wouldn’t interfere with the restart in any other way.

    2. Does it really need to be “addressed urgently”, or is the real problem that people are only unhappy about the rule when somebody they want to be angry about might have benefited from those rules?

      We have seen how some have moaned about different red flagged races – the opening posts in this thread are complaining about Vettel’s victory in the 2011 Monaco GP, with some seemingly holding a grudge even though a decade has passed since that race.

      However, those complaints do seem to melt away when the winner is less contentious. I believe that Gasly had a small amount of work done on his car during the red flag period of the 2020 Italian GP, which he then went on to win, as indeed did quite a few other drivers – did anybody think that was a problem at the time? The only driver whom people complained about getting a free tyre change in that race was Stroll – nobody could care less that more popular drivers also gained a similar advantage.

      Would we have seen complaints that “we need to fix the rules” if Gasly had won that race if he’d needed more extensive work on his car? I suspect that there would have been fewer complaints, and indeed question whether anybody would have written an article saying changes were required in response to that victory.

      1. Does it really need to be “addressed urgently”, or is the real problem that people are only unhappy about the rule when somebody they want to be angry about might have benefited from those rules?

        Just check the comments after last year red flag races.
        Nothing to do with certain drivers, but an unfair rule which is applied more often, and deserves an overhaul.
        Not everything is ‘favourite driver’ related.

        1. jff, in the case of the 2020 Italian GP, as I pointed out, Stroll was given a disproportionate amount of abuse and criticism for being able to change his tyres during the red flag period, with several posters just flat out saying that their main problem was that it was Stroll that got a free tyre change.

          However, how many complained that Gasly also changed his tyres during the red flag period? What about the likes of Raikkonen, Ocon, Russell and Albon, who also changed tyres during that period? The level of criticism that they got for changing their tyres during the red flag period was far smaller.

          Indeed, we had a similar article about red flag rule changes after the 2020 Italian GP, and the responses there were, asides from being a lot calmer, also much more mixed – far fewer seemed to think that there was a problem with the red flag rules then now.

          1. Quite a few posters whoI respect raised the unfair consequences of the Red Flag rules last year. Hence, I agree (and as it is used more often) that it does need to be “addressed urgently’.

            The problem with all articles these days is the many Max/Lewis phanbouys who seem to have the most comment tokens, and over-shout the decent discussions here.

  3. Darren M Magee
    20th July 2021, 12:40

    Sounds like this came straight out of Christian Horner and the Redbull camp. Still angry and adamant that Lewis was at fault, Mercedes went to the stewards before them and the fact Lewis didn’t get more than a 10 second penalty. Personally I think the rule should stay why shouldn’t vehicles be repaired if needed during a red flag situation? Sending out potentially unsafe vehicles onto the track for the restart could possibly cause more accidents. Plus if they deemed the vehicles unsafe after the restart, they would only have to call them back in to have repairs done after the restart causing more of a headache for drivers/teams and the stewards.

    1. Sending out potentially unsafe vehicles onto the track

      If a car is unsafe, do not send it out but retire it instead. Simple.

      If a car is not ‘unsafe’, however, just ‘may not make it to the end’ or ‘might require repairs later on’, that’s their problem, not something the red flag rules should accommodate.

      Without the chance to repair the car during the interruption, Mercedes would have had to make a responsible decision between the two options above.

    2. Darren M Magee : I too feel that this sounds like a RB mouthpiece article.
      The author is ex SA and Max is Dutch….blood thicker than water kind of stuff here…..
      I really like Dieter’s articles in general, but this one smells……
      The tables could have been the other way around and I’m prepared to bet Dieter would have said the rules are the rules…….I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
      This article smells.

      1. @macradar. What you smell is your own insinuation. This is a well balanced article by an experienced and respected journalist with years of experience. If anybody has a clear view on this, it’s Dieter.

        Free repairs under a red flag have been an unfair advantage to some. Not only Mercedes, the article only quantifies the ‘unfair’ advantage under current rules.

        1. @marcusaurelius

          these usually surface by a team who didnt benefit from it, when they benefit from it, it usually is not a problem…
          cough, max: hamilton is using off road illegally, you use it (cough massi please take note) next time around max overtakes ham using off road gets penalized… cough horner says it is unfair :)

          everytime they say something is unfair when someone else does it, but it is fair if they do it…

      2. Also if he is really from SA they are more British favoured then Dutch favoured.. Afrikaans and Dutch is like England Scotland/Ireland the relations aren’t that great, friendly yes untill the serious things…

        1. So i found this article well written and on the case.

    3. I don’t agree entirely. I do agree that repairs or tyre changes have to be allowed during a red flag (especially with regards to safety) but I do agree with the author that this should not be ‘for free’. Some sort of penalty like for example a grid drop for the restart or a time penalty would make sense in my opinion, especially, as the article points out, as red flags become more common.

    4. If this were to become the new rule then I feel it should be extended to cover repairs on the grid at the start of the race. Wasn’t it Max who ran into the barriers on his way to the grid in Hungary and Red Bull then repaired his car while standing on the grid. Surely he should have pulled back into the pits and started from there.

  4. Repairs should have never been allowed with red flags

    1. Sam Donaldson (ABC News)
      20th July 2021, 13:10

      Disagree…an incident does not guarantee a chance to repair and do better. It only guarantees us viewers to continue to watch the race as our drivers are still in it.

    2. Or, repairs only in the pit. And you will restart last.

    3. True. A red flag should halt the race but alter it as little as possible. Don’t touch the car or get a pit lane restart when the rest lines up on the grid.

      1. Yeah but what happens if most of the grid makes a repair or changes tyres? We’ll have an Indy 05 grid for the restart.

  5. I think this is a good idea, I’m not sure why but it seems to have frequently benefited faster but stricken cars and ruined a tense race of cat and mouse (Hamilton, Vettel to name but two).

    I’m less sure about changing the penalty rules, I think they should fit the crime rather than the outcome. It’s understandable that Max & Co were hopping mad about dent to their championship hopes but it was misjudgement rather than malicious. Overly penalising these things will lead to a reduction in racing and we can’t afford that.

  6. Surely a broken wheel rim would not have put Hamilton out of the race if there had been no red flag. He got back to the pits OK so a tyre change would fix that. It might have put him further down the field and much further without a safety car period.

    I wouldn’t change the rules on red flag repairs. There are enough rules as it is and the current set benefit all drivers without a complicated rule. If pit stops need fifteen pages of rules how many for red flags? Twenty, a hundred?

    1. The team said that it would mean retirement, I’m sure they had a reason to say that (except if they wanted to create some drama for no obvious reason). They probably could not have replaced the wheel during pit stop, I imagine it took extra effort to remove it; could be something else.

      1. @Dex ‘(except if they wanted to create some drama for no obvious reason)’

        I think there’s at least some element of that and feeds in to Toto’s favourite underdog narrative.

        In reality I bet they would have still been able to finish the race but wouldn’t have won it (without being able to repair under red flag)

        1. Given they didn’t pit Hamilton under the SC (they had an opportunity), I suspect they’d have left him out. There’s every chance the damaged wheel could have failed once normal racing resumed. The only thing that was repaired during the red flag was a heat sensor on the front wing.

          1. They left him out in anticipation of the red flag.

            Mercedes are just being dramatic. Of course they wouldn’t have retired the car.

      2. The wheel came straight off no problem in the pit lane. The only thing they repaired was a heat sensor on the front wing with some gaffer tape (not sure why they didn’t replace the whole front wing).

        If the race hadn’t been red flagged, they likely wouldn’t have pitted him since it was so early in the race. Given that, there is a distinct possibility the wheel could have failed under normal racing conditions once the SC finished.

        1. Replacements under red flag must be identical. I suspect that, for whatever reason, they didn’t have an identical spec front wing available.

          1. Or safety reasons so a heat sensor is not critical enough to replace.

  7. I think its a knee jerk reaction to a 50/50 racing incident, not allowing repairs could lead to cars being sent back on track in a dangerous condition, as it would be parc ferme conditions would they be allowed to take things apart to check for damage?
    And as for taking the consequences of an incident into account your just adding more subjectivity to an already a subjective decision.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      20th July 2021, 12:55

      If a car is in a dangerous condition after a crash, it should be retired rather than sent back out.

      1. But would the team know for sure there is damage without taking things apart, what team would retire a car if it was the last race of the season and there is minor damage that could go either way in safety terms and they need those points to win the WDC or WCC.
        It seems to me as a step backwards for safety.

      2. @petebaldwin This sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face, because it’s likely to penalise the innocent as often as the guilty. If someone really is at fault then they can be penalised separately by the stewards.

        Would you feel the same way if Max’s car had been repairable and he could have restarted?

      3. should

        you must be new here @petebaldwin ;)

      4. The same could be said of pit stops under a safety car: They benefit those who luck into them greatly, and this can include the one who caused the safety car. We could ban them, but what of those who can’t last until the safety car is over for new tyres or a replacement wing? By your logic, they should have to retire.

        Would people have been criticising this rule if the driver they considered not to be at fault had been able to make repairs? Let’s say, in this case, Max had managed to keep control and Lewis had crashed out, but Max had damage which he could repair under the red flag. Would people still be saying the rules should be changed? I doubt it. The same people saying they should be changed now would be saying “Well at least the red flag rules allowed him to recover”.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          20th July 2021, 17:08

          @drmouse – The difference with a safetycar is the race is still taking place. Laps tick away and the cars are circulating. A 30 second repair will leave you at the back of the field whereas a 10 minute repair will leave you several laps down. Some can be lucky or unlucky depending on where they are on the track and that’s just part of racing – the same can be said for if it starts raining heavily as you approach the pit lane….

          A red flag means the race is stopped so repairs and tyre changes should be made once it re-starts.

          In terms of who is at fault – I don’t think it matters. If a driver who is innocent gets punted off and there is no need for a red flag, they don’t neutralise the race and let them repair their car and rejoin in position. I know the discussion overall has descended into Lewis fans vs Max fans but ignoring that and looking at it outside of that, the idea that you can repair damage to your car (that may have nothing to do with the red flag) when the race is stopped makes no sense…

          If you run wide over a sausage kerb and damage your car and then 20 laps later, a red flag comes out, why should you be able to repair the damage you caused yourself when it wouldn’t be possible during a GP?

          1. What I’m basically trying to do is get people to think about the consequences of making this change. It is being discussed right now only because of the effect it had on the race on Sunday. However, people seem to forget that this swings both ways, and it could very easily be an “innocent” driver, even their favourite driver, who ends up suffering from a change like this.

            If this is going to be done, it needs to be done dispassionately. 90% of the comments on here are coming at it mostly from their view of what happened this weekend. Let’s look at it when everyone has had chance to calm down, and let’s look at it properly, logically, considering pros and cons (something I’m very disappointed that this article didn’t do, it came across as very unbalanced).

          2. @drmouse I hear what you are saying but aside from the skewed arguments some posters may be making based on Silverstone and their favourite driver, I don’t find the article to be skewed, in the sense that Dieter is just pointing out the reality of the fact that there have now been 5 red flags in 12 months which is a large percentage upturn in them, and therefore, with extensive repairs being allowed during these increased number of stoppages, especially if there is now going to be a trend towards more of them than before, it is reasonable to look at that. For F1 to look at that.

            So in terms of pros and cons, I’m not sure what you’re looking for in terms of those wrt red flags now being used differently than they were intended. I think Dieter is simply pointing out the new realities of an increase in red flags, and questioning if Masi and the stewards need to be discussing this new reality in a more in-depth way as per his reference to an article from last February he cites with his highlighted “their list of precedents” above. If stewarding is more and more complex and they are having more and more meetings about stewarding, heres a couple of important issues they should be discussing in lieu of events over the last 12 months.

            Similarly with the topic of perhaps higher consequences for drivers who cause another teams car very expensive repairs, if not having written a whole car off. Importantly, given the new realities of budget caps, is it reasonable that a driver, and yes the latest example happens to be LH, gets to write off Max’s car and win the race to boot, thus the perpetrator gets a meaningless 10 second penalty and still goes on to win the race thus hurting RBR doubly in both money and points. The victim is far more penalized than the criminal in this case. Yes of course that comes off as a skewed anti LH or anti Mercedes rant, but it is a glaring example of an unfairness given the budget cap realities now, no? And he got to have his car repaired during the red flag he himself caused. Call it a triple whammy against RBR. I can only see cons for RBR the victim and pros for the perpetrators at Silverstone. Perhaps looking at it calmly and logically, that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    2. Just like Teams could potentially send out damaged cars when there is no red flag. So not that much changes there.

      1. Yes that’s true, but were talking about situations that could involve multiple cars that have been involved in an accident, to just send them back out in the condition they arrived back in the pits just seems to me as tempting fate and just stepping backwards with safety, who in there right mind would drive a car after an accident without getting it checked out.
        And as for penalizing cars that have been repaired what if they were just in the wrong place, wrong time and had nothing to do with the start of the accident, as written below it comes across as Lewis wasn’t punished enough so lets introduce a dangerous minefield of regs changes.

        1. How often has this really happened in the past?
          Since the fines for sending out a car in an unsafe condition got really high, it is rarely seen that a car is released with an untightened wheel nut or something similiar.
          Like i said the same situation can happen without a red flag. There are accidents that damage cars without red flags…

  8. Thus, the ‘repair’ clause needs to be revisited, with cars required to restart after a red flag in the exact condition in which they parked up – effectively a parc fermé rules which already apply after qualifying under whatever format. Repairs or adjustments due to changes in climatic conditions could only be undertaken with the express approval of the race director, and any breaches would require the car(s) to restart from the back.


    Now just stop the free unlapping, and for me the standing start is not needed either (nice to watch, but not ‘fair’)

    1. I don’t think “restarting from the back” is sufficient penalty, really, especially where making major changes to the car could convey a significant pace advantage (e.g. rear wing angle changes to increase overtaking ability).

      Instead the cars could be made to stay in the pits while the others go out to take the restart – the equivalent of a pit lane start for the “normal” race start procedure – meaning that when they rejoin they will be a lap down.

      1. Fair point; any repairs should only commence when the race restarts.

      2. And what happens when a front runner for the championship gets tangled up in an incident not of his making? Because they were caught out by something not their fault and need to make repairs, they have to start a lap down? If Max had come away damaged but running and it had been Hamilton who had crashed out causing the red flag in that incident, would you still be suggesting that rule change?

        1. Max has been drawing the shorter straw in a red flag situation too often for one lucky break to tip the balance.
          For me, I’ve been loathing Red Flag car fixes ever since it stole the win away from Jenson in Monaco 2010.

      3. The parts replaced may only be replaced by an identical part. So making major downforce changes don’t happen. So that point is irrelevant.

  9. Yes totally agree. Cars that are repaired during red flags should restart in the pit lane.

  10. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    20th July 2021, 12:55

    Kinda torn because treating it like a glorified pitstop and changing the tyres seems fine, but replacing entire components and repairing otherwise terminal damage seems too far. It’s a sliding scale, like outlawing one part of it but not the other is a lot to unpack, who chooses which is permitted and what is not?

    As a viewer I don’t like it, if the car is damaged before a red flag then it probably should either rejoin damaged or not rejoin at all – as it turns bad luck or bad driving into a fortunate but unfair reset switch. Like I’m not overly keen on teams ‘waiting’ for a safety car or gambling on red flags for the get out of jail free style of them. But policing what can be replaced and what can’t would be an enormous task.

    1. @rocketpanda I think the problem with a damaged car returning, is if a front wing going under the wheels at the restart and there’s a big shunt, and then people ask why, when there was ample time to repair it nobody could touch the car? So then we have to ask what is considered ‘too much damage to take the restart?’ and then we open a whole other debate.

      Not offering answers, just more problems.

      1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
        20th July 2021, 13:24

        Oh no you’re exactly right, like the rules aren’t ideal currently but any alternative seems to just add more problems instead of solving them.

  11. Parc Fermé conditions under a Red Flag seem fair, but with a 5 place grid place penalty for new tyres, and a further 5 grid penalty for repair. That way there’s the option there, but it’s not a freebie.

    1. @geekzilla9000 Not the daftest idea I’ve ever heard. Pretty good I think. Lewis would still have come through the field easily under that system however. But then, you can’t penalise him more because him and his car are so much quicker. Otherwise we’ll be giving Nikita a 2 minute head start.

      1. youre not looking at the bigger picture.youre only looking at it based on what happened on sunday.
        this rule change could easily punish drivers who were in no way to blame for the red flag incident in the first place.
        weve seen crashes before,and following drivers accidentally getting car damage in the aftermath.

    2. Sounds quite sensible @geekzilla9000

  12. I like the idea that both Ham and Max limp back to the pits and Ham gets away with coming in on the first restart lap to change a wheel and Max has to sit the race out because he needs a bit more work done that could have been completed during a red flag.
    Maybe not so much if the roles were reversed?
    Like the other ‘won’t someone think of the children moments’ this will all be forgotten about when the same happens with a different set of drivers.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      20th July 2021, 13:10

      Not everything is an attack on Hamilton and needs his fans to rush to defend him. If Verstappen punted Hamilton off and then got to fix his car during the red flag whilst Hamilton was out, most would be saying the same thing.

      It doesn’t even matter if you caused the red flag or not – a red flag is a suspension of the race so that should apply to all activities including working on the car.

      1. Trust you to miss the point, but not surprising given your agenda.
        So to spell it out. My point is what if the injured party (Max) can get back to the pits to repair his car. Why should he be punished a second time, whilst the aggressor who may have no damage, gets away scot free?
        Which is why as a Ham fan, and knowing the response I would get from people like yourself, I made it obvious that if the roles were reversed (Ham was the injured party) I wouldn’t like it. Or did that go over your head?
        The post was a defence of the injured party, in this case Max. So maybe next time don’t rush into things?

        1. Not everyone has an “agenda”. Relax and make yourself clearer the next time.

          1. Thats right, not everyone. Which is why I check someones posting history and respond like with like. And its not my problem if someone choses to put their own spin on based on who I support or don’t. Or they can’t understand the obvious. So relax, and stop your white knight nonsense.

          2. +1 Totally agree. This has been irking me for a while.

            While they’re at it they should also fix the qualifying repair rule too. As if you flat spot a race tyre, you don’t get a free new set to put on before the race. Totally unfair.

      2. @petebaldwin I can times in past seasons where Hamilton’s rivals have benefitted from red flags. It’s never occurred to me the rules (primarily those for safety) need changing. Sometimes you have to accept bad luck and that rules are there for the greater good, rather than hyping up a sense of cosmic injustice. If i’s any consolation, I’m sure Verstappen will benefit from a red flag someday too. Ultimately this seems to be obsessing over the ‘fairness’ of competition between two drivers when another 18 are also involved.

        1. I can *remember* times

        2. Do you,? please share.
          Not that it really matters but we can better see or understand the consequences.

  13. I’m ok with cars being repaired during a red flag, I don’t think the examples we’ve seen with repairs has had a huge negative impact.

    The tire changing is perhaps a different question.

    Allowing the “free tire change” does negatively impact those who just pitted, but stopping tire changes would penalise those who had not pitted as they’ve lost any lead they gained by their rivals pitting.

    Overall I would keep the rules as they are.

  14. Hard disagree. The only difference between a red flag and any other part of the race is the time available.

    You repeatedly say it’s “unfair”, without stating why. Would it have still been unfair if Hamilton had crashed out, leaving Verstappen with damage? If it was a plucky back marker trying to earn their first championship points? I somehow doubt it.

    And if you’re going to take away the “unfair” opportunity to carry out repairs or change tires during a red flag, then the same needs to happen during SC or VSC periods – the same effect is present there, just not as strong.

    And if you’re going to go down the route of saying that Hamilton should not have been able to repair his car because he was subject to a penalty, remember he did not have a penalty at this point, and it would be absurd to suggest he would have to wait for the outcome of any enquiry before starting repairs.

    It all just smacks of a knee jerk reaction to some weird feeling that Hamilton wasn’t punished enough.

    1. The only difference between a red flag and any other part of the race is the time available.

      Yeah, and in F1 that could be fatal.

      1. @mg1982 Sorry, not sure I understand what you mean. Could you elaborate?

        1. I meant this time gained is not something to go by, on contrary. Doesn’t seem fair and an artificial gain too… like DRS. I understand the safety concerns, but FIA could deal with it in some other way. As an example, without this rule, HAM wouldn’t have been on the podium, to win was out of question. So, for LEC, this extra time given for free (to HAM in this case) was “fatal” = he lost the win. It could change the WDC winner.

  15. Finally someone of your stature within the sport puts this infinitely questionable rule on the table. Thank you, @DieterRencken.

  16. petebaldwin (@)
    20th July 2021, 13:15

    If you want to repair the car, change tyres or anything else like that, you should enter the pits rather than forming up on the grid and you can start working on the car as soon as the lights go green for the warmup lap. If you’re changing tyres etc, that means you’ll be at the back of the grid. If you’re doing major repairs, you’ll likely be a lap or two down as you would if you wanted to carry out those repairs during a live race.

  17. This is a very knee jerk article. Changes are allowed for safety reasons and closely monitored. Whether someone then benefits in the restarted race should be an irrelevance to that fact. The only responsible alternative would be to disallow that car and driver from restarting. But that would generate serious problems if damage was marginal and the team, say, was unsure whether parts would later fail or not. If Hamilton had been forced to drive a damaged wheel or banned from continuing the race, would either of those options been fair, responsible or ideal (in terms of seeing a competitive race unfold)? It may favour the preferences of one side of a fiercely partisan championship, but it smacks of a limited mindset, unable to appreciate that usually these elements of luck even out over time. Hence it’s knee-jerk and potentially adding danger.

    As for penalties for consequences, this is motor sport, not driving down your local road. Some jeopardy is inevitably involved. I agree that if a driver is deemed to have been reckless (Schumacher on Barrichello at Hungary 2010) then a penalty for recklessness should be applied. That possibility exists. In a situation where a driver was held to be partially (mostly) responsible, but where opinion was divided over whether it was a racing incident (or even misjudgement from the other driver) then that simply does not apply, period. Imagine a scenario where drivers collide, one car picks up damage but continues, the other driver has received a penalty for causing the incident, but then the first car has an issue and has to be retired. The team claims the issue was related to the crash. How is that going to be proved or disproved? And in particular by FIA during the race? It’s another bad idea. Penalizing for the incident is the far better option.

    1. It’s not about the penalty. So stop making that assumption.
      It’s about repairs during red flags.

      1. Hello erikje. The article was about both repairs under red flags and the question of penalties. See the second half beginning (this is a clue, pay attention): “Sunday’s race highlighted another area of the rule book which may have to be reconsidered…” My second point was replying to the second half of the article. Maybe you didn’t get that far.

  18. I’m for the repairs. It may not be the most fair thing in sport but it definitely adds a new layer. Watching mechanics Scramble to get the cars fixed just adds to the drama. Not the perfect example but when max dropped his front left on his sighting lap to the grid at Hungary. There was huge questions and nail biting if he would make the start.

    1. Then they should allow reserve cars and allow drivers restart with the spare car. Then, VER and HAM would have been happy both.

      1. Not a bad idea for a one off once a season for Silverstone. The majority of the teams are there, and funding to bring an extra car for the other three should not be a problem.
        Maybe fill up the gap in the Sat program with a test/junior drivers practice session.

  19. So if the leading driver has built a 30 second gap over his followers and a red flag is deployed, he wouldn’t be allowed to change tyres while the race it’s stopped, therefore having to do it once it’s restarted. Doesn’t seem fair to me.

  20. Very unusual for an article to be posted on this site with no counter arguments or balance. There could be various safety reasons for allowing repairs or tyre changes during a red flag. I would have thought these would have been raised and discussed in the article before a conclusion was drawn that the rule needed to be changed. Also, the point about the pit stop lottery is a bit strange seeing as that happens anyway with virtual and actual safety car periods.

    On the second point of the outcome of the incident influencing the size of the penalty, again you are missing a lot of nuance from the debate. A possible deliberate slow speed collision putting a rival out in the last race thus deciding the championship would then be treated more leniently than a 50/50 accidental high speed collision. That doesn’t make sense. Many current and ex drivers believe this was a racing incident, so maybe a different set of stewards on a different day would have decided no penalty.

    Ideally we would have less controversy when it comes to penalties, not more. But introducing additional layers of subjectivity would make things a lot worse.

  21. Well I don’t agree with this, red flags should be a time to check the cars and get them ready to continue. It could effect any car such as damage driving over crash debis. Also think of Spa crash a few years back with eleven cars damaged and probably some others also. A change of rules would have ended the race there without a lap being completed. F1 doesn’t need knee jerk rule changes because one team in one season has lost out due to them. Another time they will surely benefit from the rules as they are.

  22. I think back to the 25 second penalty Hamilton was given at Spa 2008; that reeked of the stewards adjusting the penalty to suit the desired outcome. Feel like karma has finally been restored for that terrible decision so long ago :)

    1. They went with a 25 second penalty as at the time the only penalty available was a drive-thru & if the timing of the penalty meant a drive-thru couldn’t be taken it was turned into a 25 second time penalty as 25 seconds was the average time loss for a drive-thru.

  23. F1oSaurus (@)
    20th July 2021, 13:35

    @dieterrencken Would have been nice to put in a reference to the two posters on this forum who provided the basis for this article with exactly the same train of thought. Without all the unnecessary fluff and reiterating other articles though.

    1. @f1osaurus As I’m sure you’ve seen before Dieter often takes the time to reply to readers in the comments. But you surely appreciate it is not realistic to expect him to have read every single comment which is published, particularly over the course of an incredibly busy weekend such as the one we’ve just had? To put it in perspective, you’re referring to two comments out of many thousands.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        20th July 2021, 15:57

        @keithcollantine Maybe, but I would say there is so much similarity that it really doesn’t seem that much of a stretch that that’s where he got his inspiration from. Especially since he also repeats most of the article where the discussion was placed under.

        So he was on that page and the premise of this article is identical to the discussion on that page. Plus it’s pretty much the only noteworthy post on that whole page.

        But sure, if you feel convinced it’s unrelated then fine.

  24. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    20th July 2021, 13:39

    Great analysis but I’m not sure I agree with the ideas brought forth. Perhaps, they can remove the standing starts or prevent repairs of all vehicles but there’s no way to tell what that will accomplish.

    I see the author’s point. Imagine Maldonado slamming into someone’s car, taking the other driver out, and then coming in and repairing his car and winning the Grand Prix. It’s wrong, no doubt about that.

    I can understand the frustration of fans but in this case Maldonado sort of ended up at the hospital (just for checks of course, no physical injuries thank god) and the other driver somehow got a penalty but was at least able to continue his race instead of retiring.

    The general consensus would be that the “red flag” system worked perfectly this weekend and the driver was able to overcome the injury to his car on track and the injustice of a penalty brought upon by the stewards leading to one of the most deserved and iconic race victories of all time.

    1. to one of the most deserved and iconic race victories of all time.


  25. “Ultimately, when someone destroys your race through an error and it’s kind of a tap on the hand really – they’re allowed to come back and still finish ahead of that person he took out – it doesn’t weigh up. You shouldn’t really be able to finish ahead of him if you took him out of the race.”

    – Lewis Hamilton 2018 after the French GP when his teammate Bottas crashed with Vettel.

    1. and the overwhelming response was ‘Meh, stop whinging, this is racing.’ So I hope people are pleased Ham has finally gone over to the dark side.

    2. greasemonkey
      20th July 2021, 16:36

      For reference, this site: 2018/06/25/fia-defends-vettels-penalty-following-hamilton-criticism/

  26. I think this is a knee jerk reaction which would just cause more problems further down the line. What next, banning cars from making repairs at pit stops under the safety car? That can gain an advantage, too.

    Ultimately, I think making these changes would lead to cars being unknowingly released in a dangerous condition onto a standing start grid, causing yet more accidents. Changing the penalty system to look at consequences also. You’re trying to change a system based on a couple of outliers, and the effect that will have the majority of the time is likely to be unhelpful.

    If this is to be discussed with a thought to reworking it, it should not happen now. It should be considered with a clear head away from an emotive weekend. Otherwise we’ll end up with a solution which creates even more problems.

    1. greasemonkey
      20th July 2021, 16:40

      It is not knee jerk. In fact, other series do this well. IndyCar for example.

      In other words, this is a mostly solved problem elsewhere, and the article is simply applying this in a way that fits F1.

      1. It is a knee jerk. People are speaking in favour of this now because of the incident this weekend, and the same people have not been speaking of it before now (that I have heard). It is a “we can’t let this happen!” without considering all the consequences.

        If something like this is going to be done, it needs looking at when tempers are not running high, and all the consequences need to be considered dispassionately. Otherwise, we will get a red flag where the driver who caused it was taken out and an innocent driver is caught up in it, and there will be outcry over how unfair it is to that driver, that we should have kept the rules as they were.

        1. @drmouse I trust that Dieter is not speaking from some heat of the moment nor biased outrage. This may appear knee jerk but it is not because it is not Dieter’s fault that now there has been 5 red flags in 12 months which is a big increase, and at the same time it is rather significant, and worth discussing, that if there is now a trend towards more red flags, and repairs are allowed, well here we now have two times LH has benefitted by 44 WDC points, not to mention the WCC points, when in the past that would not have been the case. I think it is inaccurate to call this knee jerk, and rather more accurate to call this a new phenomenon that perhaps F1 needs to look at now that it has happened yet again in a short period of time.

          1. @robbie
            I might trust that if it had been published at any other time, or with more balanced information and language. However, 3 things make it look very much like it is written mainly from a point of view of an unfairness to this race result:
            1) It is published only a couple of days after the race.
            2) It brings up 2 issues which are completely unrelated except in connection to the result of this race.
            3) It provides only one side of the argument, with no consideration of the possible adverse consequences of the rule change. That’s very strange for this site.

            All in all, to me this comes across as a rant about the result of this race which has then been edited to appear less partisan.

          2. @drmouse Fair enough and I will just agree to disagree. Of course it was published only a couple of days after the race. This race has made for yet another red flag making 5 in 12 months. And repairs were made again that have allowed one driver 44 points. I have no doubt this is nothing personal against LH, and if it was Max who had benefitted by 44 points this season so far, there would have been the same article.

            While the two issues of red flag increased frequency, and how allowing repairs might more and more affect the Championships, as well as the issue of consequence for damage caused to another team, may seem unrelated, although they are not when you look at Silverstone’s debacle, Dieter’s point is that they (F1) should perhaps be addressing and modifying the rule book when it comes to these things, again, in light of the more frequent red flags, and now the budget cap.

            I don’t think it is Dieter’s intention with this article to solve all the issues, but rather to point out that there are new issues. I don’t see what the adverse consequences are that Dieter needs to spell out when he is already implying that it should be discussed by those within F1 who set the rule book and enforce it, that red flag increased frequency along with repairs being allowed, should be considered, as should penalties perhaps go up when one team causes another team budgetary issues now that there are caps, particularly through an action that brought them a penalty and therefore for which they were guilty.

            This is not a rant as a result of this race, but is an article discussing a few new realities in F1 that perhaps should be considered and adapted to by F1, that have come to the fore because of this race and previous ones and because of F1’s new rules. As I said before, Dieter is also citing an article he did in February about the very topic of stewards and those administering the rules and how they should be enforced, having more and more meetings over an ever thicker rule book, and so with that spirit in mind, why shouldn’t they be having some meetings over what to do with the two issues Dieter has now raised in light of there being more evidence as impetus for them to discuss said issues.

          3. @robbie

            Fair enough, we both have reasonable opinions which we are entitled to, and I will also agree to disagree.

            Just to point out, the 2 issues I was referring to were no red flag frequency and allowing of repairs. They are obviously closely related. What I was referring to were the red flag issues and not considering consequences in penalties. These are in no way related except by the result of this race. Including the 2 in the same piece certainly makes it seem more a knee jerk reaction to this weekend’s result than something which has been under consideration for a longer period.

  27. This is wonderfully written.

  28. Limited parc fermé with red flag conditions. Repairs and tyre chances during red flag conditions should require a stop at the pit box and under that circumstances cars coming out from their pit box should go at the end of the restart queue (and if not fisically posible due to pit lane occupation they should wait to being able to join the queue).

  29. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    20th July 2021, 14:11

    The last paragraph is a futile argument considering it was agreed that a lot of what happens in F1 is now a democracy. So if most teams want to make a change they have to make their case and take a vote.

    It will be interesting to see how many share your view.

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      20th July 2021, 14:19

      @andyfromsandy It is a democracy, albeit one that very much seems to be following the American style of democracy (no, not hostile invasions), where an interested party will throw lots of money at the people voting on it in the hope that they agree (this is pretty much how Liberty got the teams to agree to Sprint Quali after all)

  30. In general I am in favour of as many cars competing as possible, so repairs should be possible. I woupd even bring back the spare car if it wasnt for that budget cap

  31. No way. Disallowing repairs, tyre changes, etc., would be an unnecessary safety risk in the long term, so on safety grounds, they’re justified. Baku shows why they must remain allowed. People should stop suggesting or pushing for things that only have unintended consequences in the long term, zero benefits for anyone. Just because driver x happens to benefit from an occasion doesn’t mean a rule change is justifiable as on other times, the given driver x could be on the other receiving end, which means the rule would have to change back-and-forth for fairness’ sake. Same for everyone, so things even out over time. Good thing some other posters above also realized the safety issue banning repairs during a red-flag stoppage would bring.

    1. Sam Donaldson (ABC News)
      21st July 2021, 4:23


  32. I am sorry, but unusually for this site this is a pretty poor article. I was reading and waiting for the flip side to come, and it never did.

    This has been made into an issue due to one high profile driver benefitting from two red flags and being able to repair his car this year. As for anyone else who has benefitted from other red flags there has been no reaction and demand for rule changes to make things “fairer”. The fact two seperate issues have been thrown into one article (repairs under red flags and penalising a driver based on the outcome and not the actual offense) makes it really come across as this article has only been written due to the belief that Hamilton has had it too easy.

    It is the same rules for everyone, and over a season the luck generally evens itself out, there is no need for a knee jerk reaction because the luck has gone the same way twice in a row. You only have to go back to Monza last year to see how unlucky hamilton got with the red flag there and how other drivers benefitted from it hugely, but everyone was thrilled for Pierre (who had also damaged a rivals race that day on lap 1) and very little was said about Stroll getting to the podium either.

    Rules need to be left as they are in my opinion, and the pendulum of luck will swing back and forth as it always has. And please can you get back to writing articles that look at it from both sides, it adds far more weight to an argument if you at least identify the opposing points and state why you believe your proposition to have more merit.

    1. Martin the article does look at it from both sides, those being the way it was, and now the way it has changed particularly over the last 12 months, and so why shouldn’t this at least be discussed? As well, there is the reality that before there wasn’t a budget cap, and now there is. It is much more significant now when a perpetrator of a penalty worthy act writes off another driver’s car.

      What are the ‘both sides’ you would have Dieter bring up? If Dieter’s point is red flags should mean no repairs, isn’t that more fair for all? It wasn’t meant as a time for repairs before. If someone writes off someone else’s car and hurts them under the budget cap reality, is a harsher penalty not warranted? Is that not fair? Or since you have accused Dieter of making this about LH perhaps it is you that just wants it LH’s way and please don’t change it?

      What would your opposing points be? I’m keeping in mind that things have changed and now you seem to think it is better now than before. What are you for, with the new frequency and way they treat red flags? What are you against when it comes to penalties taking more into account damage done now that there are budget caps?

      1. Hi Robbie, I do not see where in the article the potential pitfalls of the proposed ideas for changes are discussed and what advantages the current rules do have, that would be the flip side of the argument. The idea that the rules are unfair would imply that some competitors are advantaged by them, however the rules are the same for everyone. Anything can happen at anytime in the race and if and when it does the teams and drivers have to react, teams already plan for safety cars in their strategy, the red flag rules add extra variability in what can be a quite predictable sport and keep the strategists on their toes.

        As I mentioned before, luck swings to and from a driver, the last 2 red flags have benefited hamilton, that is not a guarantee it will the next time. In fact the front runners usually have the most to lose from a red flag or safety car, they would much prefer a straight forward race each weekend.

        I cannot see how this race would have been improved by Hamiltons retirement, yes it would be good for ferrari to be back on the top step and as a mclaren fan it would have also meant another podium for lando, however not much would have happened in the podium positions without Lewis in the race.

        As for penalties based on damage caused, please can you explain how that would be policed? Who is evaluating the damage, based on what pricing information and when? Do we have appeals after the race because there was more damage than originally thought? If people are really concerned about the budget cap effect, surely it would make more sense for the money to be reclaimed from the offending teams budget after the event, nobody cares if that then takes 2 months to process and it actually addresses the issue being raised.

        The main issue at the weekend was that Lewis was adjudged to be predominantly (not wholly let’s remember) responsible for the collision, but still went on to win the race and take a huge chunk out of max’s lead in the championship. But a penalty should only be based on the action the driver took, you can’t throw the book at a driver for a legitimate overtaking opportunity when you wouldn’t if he had been racing someone else.

        1. I think the rules would be more the same for everyone if there were no repairs allowed during red flag periods. With random lengths of red flag durations, it is more likely to be unfair to one driver or another, so why invite that random chance to the season, especially with as Dieter points out, more red flags happening?

          This isn’t about how the race would have improved or not with or without LH. It is more about fairness from Dieter’s perspective I would say.

          Haven’t thought through how penalties for damage caused would be affected, but I just agree with Dieter that it would seem appropriate under a budget cap that they at least talk about it. Not sure that it has to be one team suing another for damages, but rather perhaps something harsher to the team and the driver at the time of the incident when it is an obviously hugely costly amount of damage. At least a 10 second stop-go? More penalty points to the driver? Something more anyway than just an ‘oh well, sucks to be you!’

          The main issue is that LH was responsible for the incident, not Max, nor was it a racing incident. Calling it a legitimate overtaking opportunity is funny considering he didn’t make it work and rather took Max out and was penalized for it. Max made the legitimate passing/defending attempt akin to what LH has done to drivers many times…forcing their hand to back off, except that LH was stubborn this time. The penalty, no matter what descriptor you want to attach to it, was on LH, who then got to pit for repairs no less, having been the perpetrator by the stewards judgement.

          1. Never mentioned suing, would be a simple process of the team submitting damages to the fia and the fia then submitting the relevant fine to the offending team. It completely covers the issue being raised that cars getting damaged due to others errors is now more of a problem due to the cost cap, where as your stance is now very much pushing for ‘lewis should have got a bigger penalty’ regardless.

            I actually don’t even think the budget cap does require a change to how penalties are applied, all but 3 teams were already operating within their own budget caps, if a team like haas had an accident anytime in the past 5 years they would still have to pull money from their development budget to repair the car, I am glad the big teams now feel that pain too.

            It was a legitimate overtaking opportunity, he pulled it off twice more in the race. Most pundits have said it was a racing incident. Even based on the fact hamilton made an error and went slightly too deep and understeered does not stop the opportunity being legitimate. Or should all racing drivers not take chances in case they lock a wheel or miss a braking point by a few inches? That is why the penalty was applied, because hamilton didn’t hit the apex not because the idea of overtaking there was reckless as Mr Horner would have you believe. If that had been the case the penalty would have been more severe and rightly so.

            Motor racing is exciting when drivers are taking risks, if everyone played for 100% certainty it would have no appeal to anyone, and we certainly wouldn’t be discussing it here as we wouldn’t follow such a dull sport, let alone debate it with compete strangers.

            I do not think max did anything wrong by the rules and was perfectly entitled to take the line he did if Lewis had not understeered they may have got through the corner just fine. Max could have given more room for his own benefit, he chose to defend more aggressively than maybe he needed to with the championship within his control. It is a lesson he will probably learn, he did have the opportunity to avoid the contact, and doing so would have been more beneficial, even if not required by the rules.

            Finally, I know the point Dieter was making was not about how interesting the race was with LH still involved, I was responding to what the alternative arguments there are for allowing repairs under red flags and didn’t want to use the safety issues multiple others have already stated. My argument being that by keeping more competitors in the race it improves the spectacle. It used to be that after a first lap red flag drivers would run back and get in the T car, but that was only stopped as a cost saving measure i believe. But if max had walked away fine i would have been happy for him to rejoin if that rule was still in place.

    2. +1

      Agenda driven as usual. This article would never have come out if a high profile driver from another team benefitted. The rules has been in place for a little while now

    3. +1 for Martin’s comment at 14:48 and Alex at 20:19

  33. I disagree, when repairs can be done more drivers can complete the race. Perhaps cars that have been touched should restart from the pitlane instead.

  34. I disagree – and also think this article is uncharacteristically biased, actually probably the least neutral thing I think I have read here.

    I would rather see as many cars return to the track after a red flag in full racing condition as possible. The implication we would be better off with a half field of damaged cars after an incident like, say, Mugello’s, is daft to say the least.

    After years of listening to Lewis detractors attribute his success to anything but his skill, watching the Red Bull side of the F1 supporter base cry for him to go to prison and have the entire rulebook ripped up over one incident with shared blame has been, to be honest, pretty satisfying – and I say that as a man absolutely sold on Verstappen’s title pursuit. He would be far better off without a spineless prat like Horner speaking for him.

    1. He would be far better off without a spineless prat like Horner speaking for him.

      Definitely. I am a huge fan of both Verstappen and Hamilton. They are both fantastic racers, just at very different points in their careers. I am looking forward to seeing Max go on and win championships, I just wish that didn’t mean Horner doing so, too. I can’t stand the guy!

      1. To be fair to Horner; which I never am, Max has also got Marko and a father who the less said the better to deal with. And out the three of them Horner is of little consequence.
        All this macho nonsense, get out the way or go in the fence, never back down, and your fists are the answer to everything is not the Max I see. I hope before long he has a Lewis/Anthony moment and becomes his own man. But unfortunately I can’t see it happening in the immediate future.

  35. Cynics may suggest the red flag is being increasingly used to spice up racing via standing restarts, permitted by a rules change a few years ago, but red flag interruptions are more usually triggered by a need to damaged barriers or clear the track safely.

    I tend to think the larger issue with the use of red flags recently is: the race director seems to be much more risk averse when dealing with the bigger incidents, and more trigger happy with stopping the race. In previous years, they would be loathed to stop the race for any reason, whether there were marshals on the track, cars to be recovered, barriers to be repaired etc.. and just keep the cars out, circulating under the safety car at slow speeds.

    I would think the teams dislike circulating under the safety car for long periods due to loss of tyre temperature, the fans dislike it because the race becomes arbitrarily shorter once it restarts, and the FIA/Liberty think its less interesting than stopping the race completely and having the extra excitement of a 2nd standing start.

    There’s probably no reason to stop red flagging races, but there’s good reason to fix the loophole that exists.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      20th July 2021, 17:30

      All I can think of now is George went and stuffed his car. The more they circulate the more chance it will happen again.

      It did seem to take quite a long time to get everything sorted out. Lap after lap behind the safety car is hardly appealing.

  36. It does make sense to ban repairs during a red flag OR they should allow spare cars to be deployed because a repair to a running car would give some advantage but not anyone that ended up with an undrivable car…

    Seeing you get punished for changing Power Unit and gearbox (twice as it’s also a big chunk of the budget that is limited) the penalties for car that have serious damage is too great yet we let teams fix a car from an offender and he subsequently wins the race… Completely unfair really.

  37. Wait, what happened to Dieter’s usual “over regulation is bad” stick? Now there’s too little regulation, hmm?

  38. Always interesting when articles come up like this with Mercedes/Lewis benefits….

  39. Rencken’s perspective on red flags appears to be based on Hamilton’s benefitting from them this year. Would he have written the piece had Alonso, Stroll or Mazepin benefited from the red flags? Probably not.

    1. Yup. I wonder if this article would have been written if Max had been able to get back to the pits for repair? Although I would have liked to see the argument for having both drivers sit the race out, despite both having the team, the personnel and the spares to get both cars back on track for the remainder of the race.

      1. @greenflag ian dearing That is for Dieter to answer, but I would say yes he would have written the piece from the perspective that this is now 5 red flags over the last 12 months. But of course it is a fact that two red flag situations this year has helped one of the WDC protagonists immensely, so sure, worthy of discussion. As well how it relates to budget caps now. And Masi and the stewards having more and more meetings on how to referee races, and dealing with thicker and thicker rule books than ever.

        And if Max had been able to get back to the pits there likely wouldn’t have been a red flag. In which case it also sounds like LH would have had an entirely different race too given the rim damage he caused himself when he hit Max.

        1. Yes it is up to someone else to answer, but thanks for confirming that this about Hamilton benefiting. It obviously was, but usually people go through the pretence of it being raised at this time as just a coincidence.
          And just to be sure, even though Ham didnt cause the red flag in Imola you still think he should not have had his car repaired and still be made to sit out the race, along with the numerous others who had suffered various degrees of damage during that race.
          And your argument in depriving the general public of seeing half a dozen or so drivers race would be; Hamilton might benefit from it.

          1. ian dearing As I say it is up to Dieter to answer that and all I have done is confirm that he points out LH benefitted twice this year and that there have been 5 red flags in 12 months unusually, as we can all see in his article. You want to go ahead a make your own assumptions based on what I say about Dieter’s intention, and without Dieter saying anything further on his intention, that’s up to you. I guess you need the confirmation.

            This isn’t about LH at Imola specifically although he is an example, nor numerous other cars, it is about the new concept of using red flag stoppages to allow car repairs now where they hadn’t before, and obviously how it might affect the future. And how that is worthy of something for F1 to discuss in Dieter’s opinion. And yes of course how it happens to newly have benefitted one driver to the tune of 44 points. That is factually what has happened and therefore makes it an interesting twist in the plot. Since it is new for this to happen, it is also newly affecting Championships, and worthy of being looked at more closely, so yes I agree with Dieter.

            For all we know, had the luck gone in both Max and LH’s favour equally with red flags, he might still have written an article about the factual new trend of more red flags, and full repairs taking place, and how both drivers were lucky to have had enough time during their specific situations for the repairs to be affected, and how that is a significant potential Championship decider throughout the season. What if it happens in the last race and that is the Championship deciding race? What if both drivers need repairs but one simply hasn’t had enough time due to that specific duration of red flag? Is that what we want it to come down to?

            If folks have so debated and decried 9 extra points available for Sprint wins, and how those skew the value of those weekends, why shouldn’t 44 points extra be debated if repairs are going to be continued to be allowed during a trend towards more and more red flags? Will you next decry if a red flag didn’t last long enough for your driver’s repairs to have been affected? Or half the ‘numerous’ drivers and their fans you are so concerned about from Imola are deprived of not enough repair time during a certain specific red flag that randomly happened to go a certain amount of time?

            I’m not sure we want Championships decided by these random length red flag periods of free repair time, do we? Especially if we are going to have more and more of them which then makes them more and more significant to season outcomes?

          2. @robbie

            It’s a very reasonable assumption to make. I heard few talking about the red flag repair roles before this weekend, and it’s been mixed in with an argument about penalties being based on consequences. Both look very much like they have only been written because of this weekend, because the author is upset with the result of the race. There is no balance, no listing of pros and cons of allowing and disallowing repairs.

            Had this article been published away from the event, I may have believed it was not triggered by an emotional reaction to this weekend. But I do think it very reasonable to assume that this has only been published because of the author’s feelings about this weekend.

          3. @drmouse It would be up to Dieter to respond to how much he based his article on his feelings about the race, that being ‘upset’ as you have worded it. I go by the assumption that Dieter is neutral with these sorts of things. If he is reacting on emotion at all I suggest it might be because he thinks how things are being done could be modified, but not because of how it has affected any one driver, but just because it is his version of how F1 should work under the new regs.

            As I said above, I think you are very much assuming Dieter has reacted out of emotion because of the events of Silverstone, because Max is his guy I assume you mean, and I think it is more likely that it is the events of Silverstone that has brought the two issues he is discussing to the fore, and therefore makes for an interesting discussion. As I say, I think it is safe to assume Dieter does not write articles for this site to back one driver over another. I don’t envision him walking around the paddock seeking interviews race after race, season after season, by all accounts well liked and welcomed inside F1, with some chip on his shoulder over any one driver.

  40. It would be fair that there is a parc ferme rule during red flag. Of course you are allowed to repair your car when damaged, but then you must start from the pit lane at the restart.

  41. Oh good – lets ban something else!

    Until of course someone has damage not of their own making and cannot get it fixed under a Red flag, thereby ruining an innocent parties race.

  42. Yes, because Hamilton benefitted, they should.

    Of course, no one else has ever repaired their car under a red flag before.

    1. This was my 1st thought too.

  43. It’s one of the lotteries in the sport. We can’t all be billionaires. Life isn’t fair guys. Get used to it.

  44. Of course there is no need to come in for an inspection when you can get someone else to do it.

    1. Wingman doing his job.

  45. Another absurd proposal that coincidentally seems to come from the mouth of a Red Bull director.
    Proposing that a damaged car not be repaired is a direct attempt on the life of the driver and his colleagues on the track.
    The rule is the same for everyone, therefore it does not harm absolutely anyone.
    Like so many other racing-related circumstances, luck or chance sometimes greatly favors a driver, but that’s part of the appeal of motorsport.

    1. The rule is the same for everyone, therefore it does not harm absolutely anyone.

      So does a Sprint race, and you only have to go back 2 days how negative that has been seen by the ‘fans’ here.

      Too many see this article as an attack on their preferred driver (and of course in your case an attack on the adversary of one of the drivers you constantly attack yourself).
      But this article should be seen as (like the Sprint) about the purity of the sport and fairness of the race.

      I’ve always been against the Red Flag rules (and even the SC rules) as it artificially resets the race.
      But it seems most ‘fans’ here solely let there opinion be let by which driver they support, or how much action (or surprise winner) a late reset creates.
      Weird crowd.

  46. No sure on changing the no consequence ruling, I’m just picturing drivers exaggerating injuries much like footballers to get the person who caused the crash a bigger penalty.

  47. Wow, so many of accusations of bias in this thread. To me, it’s simple. A red flag means the competition is suspended. Working on cars is part of the competition. Therefore, working on cars should not be allowed under red flags.

    Ultimately, I guess it comes down to whether you prioritise noninterference with the competition or safety. I’m normally sympathetic to safety arguments, but the risk of teams leaving unsafe cars out on the track is inherent to the sport, and we constantly accept that risk in racing under green or safety car conditions. There is always the incentive for teams to persevere in the hopes that the damage is not terminal. We leave it up to their judgment, and if necessary, race control can override them.

    It seems strange to make an exception to this only in the situation of red flags. If we feel that teams need to be able to repair their cars without fear of losing positions, we might as well throw a red flag after every incident.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      20th July 2021, 17:36

      If it can be seen that repairs to the track take more than 15 to 20 minutes it makes perfect sense to red flag.

      20 minutes at Silverstone is 13 laps. Is that what you would like to see?

      1. @andyfromsandy Sorry, I don’t understand the question.

        1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
          20th July 2021, 18:48

          I don’t know if I was looking at something crossed eyed but I was looking at a comment which seemed to suggest just trundling round behind the safety car until the track was ready to race again.

          What wouldn’t be good is if there was another George incident close to where track staff are working.

      2. @andyfromsandy I don’t think anyone is arguing there shouldn’t be red flags. But it is a worthy discussion to have regarding how many red flags there have been in the last 12 months compared to the last 10 years, and why that is, and what should happen when the competition is suspended, especially if we are now going to be seeing more frequent red flags. And as I have pointed out, what of the randomness of how long a red flag period can last, and how that can affect one team vs another either in the same race or another, and depending on what repairs can be achieved in said time. Rather random isn’t it? Suspending work on cars while the race is suspended for the inevitable varying amounts of time race suspensions are going to go for from one incident to the next would remove the randomness of it. The potential unfairness of it.

    2. @markzastrow Yeah I agree and think that is well said. Some thoughts of mine as well…

      This isn’t an article based on a knee jerk reaction, nor because LH benefitted. It is because now for a 5th time in 12 months this has happened which is a big rise in red flag stoppages, which therefore makes the issue reasonable to look at.

      As well to consider there is the likelihood for red flag periods to last different lengths of time. Should one team or driver benefit over another in the same race or even in another race because the repairs may or may not have been achievable during the red flag period time length compared to another driver’s situation?

      As to penalizing more for more damage caused, I see nothing wrong with looking at that too, particularly as the article points out because now there are budget caps in place. In this case RBR incurred a huge financial cost, aside from the points cost, for something LH was guilty of as per the stewards determination his action was penalty worthy. LH commits the ‘crime’ and RBR pays doubly for it. It’s penalizing the victim far more than the perpetrator. I always hesitate to compare to team sports that don’t involve the equipment car racing does, but I will give an example anyway. In NHL hockey if you high stick a guy, even by accident, it’s a two minute penalty, but draw blood on the guy and it’s 4 minutes. There is a 5 minute major for fighting. And a blatant dirty hit, especially one that concusses another player, means any number of games suspension. Back to F1, there are degrees of penalty as it is as well. In F1 a driver can receive harsher penalties than 10 seconds added to a pit stop or to the end of his race if he has no pit stops left. There are degrees of penalty in F1 too, and yeah given budget caps now I think it is not unreasonable to at least look more closely at the consequences to one driver and team when it is something other than deemed a racing incident. And I agree, saying just because they haven’t done it before is no argument. Lot’s of things haven’t been done before, including budget caps. These are obviously different times.

      1. Unfortunately your crime according to the stewards had a co-conspirator. And that co-conspirator chose not to take avoiding action either. So you want someone to pay for the damage that was partly caused by the co-conspirators decisions and actions.
        To repeat myself, Horner said about Spain, Ham a had decision, get out of the way or the fence. On this occasion Max chose the fence.

        1. ian dearing No that is completely wrong because only one driver was penalized. You are making your own assumption, I assume based on their ‘predominantly’ comment, that Max had a hand in his own demise. I would suggest that had the stewards thought of it that way it would have then been deemed a racing incident. It was not. Only LH was penalized. You are blaming the victim.

          As well, how was it Max’s decision or responsibility to ‘get out of the way’ when he was the one fully leading the whole time? When has LH ever gotten out of the way when fully ahead? That’s the whole point of racing. When CH made that comment, Max was ahead then too. Not to mention, Max did try to get out of LH’s way when he moved his wheel a bit to the left just as we see on Max’s onboard LH’s front wing. Max not only had left LH tons and tons of room on the inside, with LH way outside of the apex, he also tried to give LH even more room when he was no doubt surprised that the room he left was still not enough for LH.

          Perhaps you could cite an example, particularly from LH, or any other WDC level driver for that matter, when he was ahead and stamping his authority on the real estate, and forcing his opponent to back off, go off, or suffer the consequences, and instead himself backed off.

          1. Im making my assumption based on the lenient penalty, and those who have been there and given their opinion, including the world class driver who was right behind. You are making your assumption that you can close the door on someone who is up the inside that results in a crash based on what? That you think predominately means solely?
            I’m also looking at the wider picture in that the majority of accidents are rarely down to one driver. So cutting to the chase, your suggestion is unworkable. And all of us know it will never be accepted by anyone within F1 for that and numerous other reasons. Unless you expect dozens and dozens of various claims and counter claims at the end off each season. With everyone arguing how much that bit cost, and whether it was going to be replaced anyway.
            As for an example of backing off, how about T6 of that race? If Ham had stuck to his line their would have been a crash. Because Max wouldn’t have backed out. We all know that. Not that I accept your premise that if you are slightly ahead you can just ignore the guy on the inside as if he is not there.
            We have all seen this same type of accident again and again. I’m still waiting to find out what was so special about this one that we need to change a number of rules, prevent drivers from racing when they have an easily repairable problem during a red flag, or deprive the paying public because someone thinks those driver should be sitting on the pit wall for daring to let their car be damaged by someone else.
            Seems to be there has been a lot of people cheering on the bully boy tactics of one particular driver lately, who are suddenly now lost because another driver finally stood up to him.
            It was predominately Hams fault, he got a light punishment for obvious reasons. It’ll happen again between the two. No biggy.
            Id prefer that they raced cleanly. But if Max wants to race differently I have no problem with Ham, or as we have seen in the past, LeClerc, playing the same game.

          2. Again where you are wrong and are just spewing hyperbole is that there was no closing of the door, Max was not being a bully he was being a racer, and LH of all people knows that as he has done the same numerous times, and the only difference here is that LH decided, after Max winning starts on him several times, and he being 33 points behind, was going to be the stubborn one, and not back off this time like he has expected so many other drivers to do in the past.

          3. Rodric Ewulf
            20th July 2021, 22:34

            @robbie Yes, Max races hard, not doubt about that, he probably crossed the line of clean racing a few times this season. But it doesn’t come close to that too-optimistic banzai charge by Lewis in the British GP start. It should be obvious, but their bias don’t let them to admit that.

    3. Rodric Ewulf
      20th July 2021, 22:01

      Even though some Max fans were nearly crying yesterday now it’s Lewis fans turn, who are having an emotional outburst once again. They think everything is made to bring him down, without any proof or solid arguments. As if the sun revolves around Lewis and someone is trying to block the sunlight from everybody only to leave him in the darkness. If anything, it’s his own doing for himself with recent antics and mistakes. Of course some Max fans also put their idol in a pedestal and refuse to admit that he’s not perfect as well but look to the articles on this site: those are a small minority compared to a lot of delusional and sometimes hysterical Ham fans.

      1. so why are rule changes normally always discussed after lewis benefits from a certain rule.
        and isnt the author of this article connected to redbull.
        and last season Romain Grosjean made contact with someone at the same location,and the stewards called it a racing incident.

        1. Rodric Ewulf
          21st July 2021, 0:42

          This site can pretty much be described as somewhat pro-Hamilton since basically the beginning (not nearly as fanatic as most of its commentators though). What else could you realistically expect from a British site? It’s almost natural, however it must be made clear that on its articles almost never featured overly-the-edge sensationalism or fake news favouring a driver or other, not even Lewis, let alone Max.
          The point is that for the earliest considerations of rule changing that might affect Mercedes/Hamilton some way we already see fans crying out loud. But whenever a change that probably will hit Red Bull/Verstappen the most (like pit stop time regulations) is considered, all we hear is silence from Hammy fans, or even the applause from the most scandalous ones. This is the classic hypocrisy showing once again.

          1. Are you serious, Rodric? You compare 0.2 sec. rule in the pitstops with the consequences of the Red Flag situation?! You want the same attention from F1 fans to these 2 uncomparable topics? With this sort of comment you barely can call anyone a hypocrite.

          2. Rodric Ewulf
            21st July 2021, 2:47

            Are you serious, Rodric? You compare 0.2 sec. rule in the pitstops with the consequences of the Red Flag situation?!

            Why not? An absolute minimum of twenty pit stops are made every race, while race flags feature just a few races by season. In the recent past it was even less. The possible gains of undercutting or overcutting aren’t negligible even with a small amount of time, whlist from a red flag the gains/losses may be huge, but are way more rare and with more uncertainty involved. Without even going into the question that it’s not a given that Hamilton/Mercedes would benefit from a change of rules of this sort, as it’s too much base on luck. If anything, the pit stop regulation is more likely to hurt Red Bull.
            But I’m not in favour of neither, to be honest. Overregulation is already a problem on this sport. Let’s try to keep it simple and not pursuit a supposed fairness that just make rules more convoluted.

            You want the same attention from F1 fans to these 2 uncomparable topics? With this sort of comment you barely can call anyone a hypocrite.

            Parrot line. I’m pretty certain I’ve said that before. And it was about you, which is worse, with your repetition making you look even more childish.

  48. So if at the Hamilton incident Verstappen would only have spun through the gravel, thereby damaging his car, and the race would have been red flagged for another reason, then RedBull should not be allowed to repair his car?

    Or is it just cause the more guilty driver was able to get the repairs? I cannot think of a reasonable rule how this could be accounted for. The incident wasnt even judged by then, and there are always controverse 50/50 or 60/40 incidents.

    Even this one can be seen like Verstappen could have avoided the crash but decided to take the risk and turn in, thereby damaging Hamiltons car.

  49. What’s next? Changing past race results because they don’t meet current rules?

  50. Nick English
    20th July 2021, 18:35

    A big crash to bring out a red flag on a street circuit like Monaco or Singapore could mean loads of cars running through debris which could damage the car. So I’d say this suggestion is not great.

  51. Tarquin Chufflebottom Esq.
    20th July 2021, 18:42

    This is little more than a pitiful attempt to have yet another sly pop at Hamilton.

    Give it a rest. The rules are the same for everyone.

  52. If there are safety concerns the solution is simple, repair = start all the way to the back on the grid.

  53. I think no repairs under a red flag is not a good idea. The best suggestions I’ve seen in the comments is that cars needing repairs get put in their garages and put to the back of the field for a restart. In the scenario that unfolded at Silverstone, that would’ve put Hamilton at the back and still have a penalty and a win would’ve almost certainly been out of reach then.

    However, this could also ‘penalise’ victims of race damage as well as perpetrators (imagine if on lap one in the race there had been another skirmish unrelated to the red flag where the innocent party picked up front wing damage or a puncture). Then this rule completely trashes their race. So on some days this rule would punish a perpetrator of a red flag incident, and on other days it could ruin the races of completely innocent parties who may have picked up damage from being on the wrong end of a poor overtaking move.

    Then there is the most important aspect, safety. I think if teams aren’t able to repair damage before a car takes a race restart, that puts them and the FIA in a tricky position if any car with damage is then subsequently involved with a serious crash that results in injury or loss of life.

  54. Timely article. Fortunately, I believe VER will win most of the remaining races and render most of this discussion parenthetical.

  55. This article is so raw, unfinished, biased and wrong in many ways. The worst article I have ever read in this forum since I joined it years ago.
    Imagine, Max is in the lead over 30 seconds and is soon to pit. His main rivals have already pitted. Here comes the red flag. Max’s lead is gone, he cannot change tyres and is put the back of the grid after tyre change during red flag phase. And surely then, Max’s fans will again blame Hamilton for that farcial rule change if it is accepted. Just awful article!

    1. totally agree. also not seen a worse article here since i follow racefans (about 2 yrs ago). even made me register an account to leave a comment…

  56. A lot of people are missing the most important point.

    IF you had damage to your car AND the race was NOT Red flagged, you could have done nothing about it. Repairing the car would have costed a lot of time.

    The Red flag is there for a safety concern ON TRACK not with a running car. If you feel your car is unsafe just box and retire.

    As well for SC and VSC no boxing allowed. Just ask Masi for permission, for example if you have a leeking tire or other extreem damage. Boxing would mean an extra drive through after green. Masi can always open the pits for everybody if it takes too long. Or if there is a risk a lot of cars are at risk of punctures. But it has to be his call.

    1. Where were you with your suggestions for SC and VSC before this race?
      By the way, can you really imagine Masi looking through 20 requests during every SC and VSC period? What if he is too late for the last 5 requests or last 10 requests since VSC is ending? Imagine if he is too late for Max, but was on time for Lewis. That would create a mass hysteria among Max’s fans! Your suggestion is full of flaws!

      1. @bulgarian In practical terms, under @hannesch’s suggestion, Masi wouldn’t really need to approve anything. The teams could simply avail themselves of the opportunity for an emergency stop, if needed, knowing that they would face the requisite drive-through if they did so.

        That’s actually similar to IndyCar’s emergency service rule, where they close the pits at the beginning of a SC period; teams can enter the closed pit if, for instance, they’re going to run out of fuel, but they must start at the end of the field if they do so.

        1. This sounds much better than involving more people and more subjectivity. Remember subjective track limits policing that everyone was arguing about.

    2. If the job can’t be done by 1 person, then work in teams. Isnt that hard to solve.

      And since you get punished for pitting under SC nobody is going to unless it is really necesary.

      Yes its unfair to some, but not as much as under the current rules, where some get an huge advantage.

      Red flags, SC and VSC should not be used in anybodys advantage. Period.

      1. I doubt FIA will hire 20 people to review these requests. Each request must be reviewed by at least 1 person, so “teams” = 60 people. That will never happen, because that looks ridiculous!

  57. Has the issue of provisional pole sitters causing yellow flags in Q3 been sorted out yet? Or we’re waiting for Lewis to do it first?

    1. No rule can be changed in F1, until Lewis benefit from it. Then this rule is almost “universally” condemned as evil that needs to be changed. :)

      1. This article would have never come out if someone else benefitted. This rule has in been place for a little while and racing sometimes can be unfair but agenda driven articles like this don’t help.

        1. Just look at that awful racial abuse Lewis received after the race.
          Those people don’t care about F1, even not about fairness!!!
          They just sheer hate Lewis.
          And this article and so many comments are full of “hidden” and open hate towards Lewis.

          1. Rodric Ewulf
            20th July 2021, 22:17

            And this article and so many comments are full of “hidden” and open hate towards Lewis.

            Please show us where. The same could be interpreted about Max so many times, with much less need of bending words to make it look like aggressive. But of course I’ll not embark on that nonsense of a very professional site on racing analysis like this one making stuff of “hate” against any driver without a very serious reason.

            Of course Hamilton and Mercedes did not act improperly – the regulations permit repairs during a red flag. But this effective 44-point bonus for car number 44 could well prove decisive come the finale.

            Was that hate stuff against him? If so only snowflake attitude can explain that.

        2. Rodric Ewulf
          20th July 2021, 22:09

          This article would have never come out if someone else benefitted. This rule has in been place for a little while and racing sometimes can be unfair but agenda driven articles like this don’t help.

          So you haven’t read enough articles from this site yet, how it portrayed Hamilton in a rather favourable way (sometimes even more than what he deserved, in fact) for a very long time. Notwithstanding the first more critical articles in ages are met by his fans like it was coming from a Dutch version of British tabloids. Come on, being so sensible to unfavourably honest analysis just because you guys are so used to ego inflating ones is a clear sign of immaturity.

  58. Rodric Ewulf
    20th July 2021, 21:48

    No! You just can’t get rid of repairs during red-flagged races! How else would sir Lewis get saved from some terminal damage he collects for himself any time?

    1. The same way the other six drivers got their damaged repaired at Imola caused by someone else’s red flag? What are you going to suggest next. That the terminally inept who crash on their way to the grid not be allowed their self inflicted damage to be repaired?

      1. Rodric Ewulf
        20th July 2021, 22:26

        What are you going to suggest next. That the terminally inept who crash on their way to the grid not be allowed their self inflicted damage to be repaired?

        Not at all. Just pointed it out that Lewis was the main beneficiary of red flags by a large amount. Specially when you put it in relative terms to his title rival, Max. Two red-flagged races already in which Max is out, one time not his fault at all (tyre blown), the other a racing incident in which he had the smallest share of blame. When you contrast that with the gain by Lewis under those two interrupted races (two times repairing with damage to be able to finish in first and second, behind mistakes added to his racing record), then you can’t see how that has been unfair.

        Please note: I’ve said it has been unfair, but for uncontrolled circustances. Of course not the result of a conspiracy against Max. It happens in racing pretty often, and as such I don’t see a good reason to change the rules just yet. Today Lewis benefitted the most from it, tomorrow it may be Max or any other driver.

        1. Rodric Ewulf
          20th July 2021, 22:52

          Imola, Baku and Silverstone red flags were beneficial to Lewis by an overwhelming amount. From those opportunities two he capitalised to finish first and second, one he blew away finishing behind a struggling Bottas and even Mazepin. It’s almost reversed for Max, being taken out in two of those by mostly or completely not his fault, whilst Lewis was mainly or fully at fault on his side for two incidents before 2 out of 3 red flags cited above. I don’t know when in the history of Formula 1 something like that happened before, but still Max isn’t the most luckless driver of all time, we’ve seen worse bad luck like Kimi in 2003. But it’s Lewis’ luck that has been outrageous recently, only because of that he’s 8 points behind Max now and not trailing him by at least 25 or 30 points.

      2. Max’s mass hysteria is becoming unbearable.

        1. Rodric Ewulf
          20th July 2021, 22:36

          They just sheer hate Lewis.
          And this article and so many comments are full of “hidden” and open hate towards Lewis.

          With this sort of comment you barely can’t all anyone hysterical.

          1. Come on, Rodric. If someone seriously considers any rule change he must use terms like “Driver A”, “Driver B” or “Driver X”, but not “Lewis” and “Max” all the time and time again as if it has happened only with Lewis. The more one-sided comments I see, the more hysterical they look to me. Is it so hard to understand this simple truth?

          2. Rodric Ewulf
            21st July 2021, 0:04


            Please note: I’ve said it has been unfair, but for uncontrolled circustances. Of course not the result of a conspiracy against Max. It happens in racing pretty often, and as such I don’t see a good reason to change the rules just yet. Today Lewis benefitted the most from it, tomorrow it may be Max or any other driver.

            My previous comment make it clear that not even definitively favourable of a change in the rules I am, so I don’t see the point of all the indignation. Others may have done that though, but not always someone in the other end of converstation will be a unfathomably biased commentator like you. Maybe some of them just have a point on how pure luck might be affecting the championship fight. If you disagree, that’s okay.

  59. people always call for rule changes after lewis benefits in some way.
    this race would have been pretty boring if lewis had of also dnf’d

  60. There is always a danger in seeking some idealised perfect fairness we will make the sport sterile and uninteresting. The point on tariffs. We are not trying some for a crime here, merely allocate a degree of responsibility for an accident in a dangerous sport. If you are not careful we will soon have an army of lawyers arguing about a result in a court for years to come. Only beneficiary will be the lawyers!

  61. I couldn’t be more against a ‘consequence’ based penalty system.

    Whilst I know stewards cannot read a drives mind, it is nonetheless the act itself that is being penalised. The degree of recklessness, the intent of the manoeuvre. There is no rhyme or reason with regard the consequence as this could depend upon so many factors.

    A carless tap into an opponents rear wheel may have no consequence in one case, and break the suspension in another. The perpetrator cannot be held responsible for the design consequences of the opponents car. Similarly one opponent may ‘hold’ the car after solid shove, another may lose it completely, and again the act and intent remain the same in both cases. In extreme cases a team could even try and manipulate outcomes with their number two drivers (a stretch, undoubtedly, but not impossible). And are we really saying that the potential penalty in the Hamilton / Verstappen incident should be less if the barrier were twice as far away?

    I do not entirely agree with the road car analogy either, however, as I do not really see the relevance to racing either way I wont draw the point out with examples.

    1. I agree with the absurdity of ‘consequence’ based penalty system.
      Imagine, 50G and more (Max had 51G) impact means Stop&Go penalty, 40G impact means 20 sec. penalty, 30 G impact 15 sec. penalty and so on. Farce at its best. We should never allow this to happen in F1.

      1. Rodric Ewulf
        21st July 2021, 0:19

        Yeah, I think the argument against consequence being the major principle of the penalty system is very reasonable, otherwise it would be a mess to determine the parameters of responsibility. It probably can be used as a aggrieving factor for offences whose penalty is mainly determined by less arbitrary rules though (i.e. the nature of the fault rather than the consequences of it) and still be a truly fair system.

  62. I respectfully disagree. The red flag repairs don’t prejudice anyone, as no car knows beforehand if it will need to make such a repair. It’s good for the race to allow more cars to potentially continue in the race. Everyone has the same opportunity to bring their cars up to full integrity. Furthermore, as Rencken will recall, teams were allowed to have complete spare cars, not just make repairs, that they could use after lap 1 incidents. That was eliminated for budget reasons, not fairness reasons.

  63. why was the Romain Grosjean crash at the same location last season ruled a racing incident by the stewards,and this incident not?
    for me it was just a racing incident,thats been completely blown out of proportion.

    1. Why? A cynic person would say:
      1. Because of Christian Horner’s … (I have no uncensored for that) outburst to Michael Masi made public.
      2. For more intrigue in the race – will Hamilton catch Leclerc or will he not.

    2. Rodric Ewulf
      21st July 2021, 0:53

      Racing incidents don’t necessarily imply 50/50 blame. When the stewards judge it’s not the case and one driver was more responsible for the incident than the other, they apply the penalty. But the system is not perfect we have seen cases of clear offences for which the driver responsible wasn’t punished, it happens sometimes. As for them being favourable for one team/driver or other, it’ll be hard to objectively know. Pretty much every fanbase thinks they’re being robbed by the referee, so… I’m not impressed by those sorts of comments popping out everywhere, pro- or anti- a team or driver in question.

  64. If the shoe was on the other foot, you know, say Verstappen gained 44 points in a similar fashion, I wonder what the sentiment would be?

    I mean, Nico Rosberg didn’t win the 2016 Championship after all.

    1. Rodric Ewulf
      21st July 2021, 1:16

      Red Bull pace this season seems strong enough for Max to take the title fight with Lewis without the need to rely so much on luck, at least up to now. They had an edge on Mercedes in a reasonable number of races so far.

      1. As I said, IF the shoe was on the other foot.

        I’d imagine there’d be cries of illegitimacy on this forum.

  65. I’ve always been a bit puzzled as to why they allow repairs or tyre changes for that matter under a red flag. It never made any sense, and has been exposed more this year because of the number of red flags.

    To me it should be quite simple. Stop all the cars in order and leave them alone (other than cooling fans etc). Once the race starts, if a car needs repairs, a new nose, or tyres, they come into the pits and have it done. If they can’t safely run for a lap to return to the pits then simply retire as you would if normal race conditions had continued.

    I doubt anything will change but that’s my two cents worth.

  66. Can we stop trying to rewrite rules to eliminate luck? Luck will always be apart of any sport, from a favorable bounce or a ball, to mechanical failure in motorsport. We have to accept that we may be on the bad side of luck sometimes and will benefit other times. One thing that cannot govern luck is regulation and rules. We see and accept luck in society and everyday life, and we have to accept it and look at what actions we can take to avoid bad luck and maximize opportunities for good luck. Life is not fair when it comes to luck, and neither is sport. It is impossible to write a rule that adequately allows for both good and bad luck.

    F1 needs to be less show driven In deployment of the red flag. We see it multiple times per season now, in order to maximize racing laps. I started watching f1 in 2007, I watched almost two seasons before the first red flag in a race, the 2009 Malaysian GP, which was warranted too, it was literally un drivable. Now we see a red flag almost every 5th race. A red flag used to be for a massive crash where there was debris everywhere and multiple cars may have been damaged by debris, as result of the crash or unintentionally, ie Monaco when the track was blocked or that massive crash with webber and Alonso at interlagos. If f1 wants to go down the entertainment direction when throwing red flags, then they should not outlaw repairing cars In the pit lane which may have the consequence of eliminating competitors from the race, thus detracting from the entertainment. If we do not allow repairs in the pit lane under red flag conditions then we increase the reliance on luck when determining the outcome of innocent parties. We should under no circumstances be forcing damaged cars onto the track In order for them to be required to complete a racing lap to pit under green conditions, that approach is asking for separate incidents to occur. Extended yellow flag periods rather than the over reluctance on throwing reds is the better solution I’d suggest

  67. Quite an ill-considered article. Sending damaged cars back on track WILL result in someone having an accident. There is no way of telling if that accident will be a spin & slither gently into the barriers, or, a 200+mph smash into steel armco. You can’t compromise on safety just to setup a thrilling end to the race.

    1. Why?
      Surely teams are quite capable of retiring a car that is clearly unsafe, just like they are required to do under race conditions.

      1. When you say ‘clearly unsafe’. Hairline cracks in suspension & aero parts is not always obvious. They become very obvious under high load in the weak direction.

        However, I would be on board with only allowing used tyres to be bolted on at a red flag. Downside of that is: ALL the teams will do a single installation lap on each set of prime or option compounds to have an ever so slightly scrubbed set available in the event of a red flag.

  68. NeverElectric
    21st July 2021, 4:57

    Hypothetical scenario…
    A driver is caught up in a potentially race-ending accident that’s 100% not his fault. A red flag is the result, he limps to the pits…why shouldn’t he be allowed to make repairs to his car?

    1. Why should he?

      If there was no red flag they’d either repair it and send it on its way or retire it. Why should a red flag change that scenario?

    2. He should be able to have repairs done – but only under racing conditions.
      The race is stopped during a red flag – so the pit lane should also be ‘stopped.’

      Anyone who requires repairs during a red flag should wait until the red flag ends before commencing any work.

  69. Spot on. Great article.

  70. I don’t care who it is or what team they represent, I simply agree with Dieter. Drivers competing for 10th and 11th are just as important as those chasing 1st and 2nd .

    What I want to see is a level playing field. Base results on skill and strategy, not the luck of the draw. I have long been an advocate that there should be no benefit taken under any flagged or safety car portions of the race. This is across the board as each driver and team is competing in their own race to get points against their direct opposition IE Williams -v- Alpha Romeo. They are both trying to score points against each other and those points are worth a lot of money..

    Red Flag: Cars should be placed in “Parc Ferme”, not allowed to be worked on. If the car is to damaged to continue, withdraw it from the race. A competitor should not be able to unlap themselves. All it does at the moment is simply manufactures a false result.

    Yellow Flags: No pitting for the changing tyres. Do it in your own time. Don’t allow an advantage just because you have been lucky with the timing of the flags, or Safety car.

    I also don’t agree with competitors having to pull over and simply let a faster car through. Why should they have to pull over and damage their own prospects. If drivers are good enough to lap someone, let them lap them under their own steam, don’t gift them places.

    While we are at it, let’s spice it up by making it mandatory to use all three tyre compounds during a race in whatever order teams choose. They could race harder, more pit stops would create more strategy options.

  71. So lets say its the final race of the season. The leader of the race is also the championship leader but he needs the race win for the championship. Its that close. In front of him some backmarkers have a huge crash and the debris damages his front wing. He had nothing to do with the crash but now he will not be allowed to fix his car under the red flag and he will lose the championship with no fault of his own.

    1. That will only apply if his name is Lewis Hamilton. All others can have repairs.

  72. +1 Totally agree. This has been irking me for a while.

    While they’re at it they should also fix the qualifying repair rule too. As if you flat spot a race tyre, you don’t get a free new set to put on before the race. Totally unfair.

  73. Red-flag repairs need to be permitted. The race has stopped, the cars are already back in the pit lane, and the circumstances under which red flags happen usually mean every team needs to at least check over their car in the garage. Under these rules, that could not happen, which has safety problems – people will inevitably not check the cars over, which means crashes will inevitably happen because safe running was disincentivised. Apart from the obvious safety problems, that means more yellow/red flags and more Safety Cars, for no good reason, which penalises everyone – drivers and fans alike.

    Banning repairs also unfairly penalises anyone who was intending to stop for repairs anyway, potentially turning repairable incidents (even those unrelated to whatever caused the red flag, or who were obliged to run through debris of people ahead to get to the pits) into DNFs.

    Banning tyre swaps is a bad idea as well; since everyone already needs to “stop” to check their cars over, a tyre swap wouldn’t have cost any more time than a checking stop.

    1. @alianora-la-canta

      The race has stopped, the cars are already back in the pit lane, and the circumstances under which red flags happen usually mean every team needs to at least check over their car in the garage. Under these rules, that could not happen

      Why not? Checking cars out in the garage is one thing. Actually putting equipment to the car and making repairs or adjusting parts is another. Mechanics could be completely free to conduct a visual inspection of the tyres and car parts during a red flag and begin planning how to carry out any needed repairs, but face penalties if they actually begin to work on the car before the red flag is withdrawn.

      Also, banning repairs under red flags doesn’t penalise unfairly those who were going to make repairs anyway—they are free to do so as soon as the red flag is withdrawn, which is what they would have had to do if there weren’t a red flag to begin with.

      1. @markzastrow

        Checking cars out in the garage is one thing. Actually putting equipment to the car and making repairs or adjusting parts is another.

        Not in the eyes of the regulations. In its perspective, the issue is taking the cars out of the fast lane of the pits (where all but the most cursory visual inspections should not be occurring, and no action to be taken on such a car until next lap as the visual should only occur while the car is parallel to the garage). There is no distinction between pulling a car out of the fast lane to check if a puncture needs replacing and pulling the car out to replace every single damaged surface on it – all are treated as being out of the fast lane of the pits.

        Banning repairs under red flags prevents repairs from being done until everyone can be sure there is no red flag. Some repairs cannot be interrupted midway without losing progress (the more complex, the more true that is). Some are unsafe to interrupt (fires, anything involving leaking substances). Most require inspection prior to/during the repair, which is unenforceable unless banning any sort of entry into the pit lane during red flags (which is unsafe).

        Allowing planning of how to do repairs isn’t enforceable at all, and would definitely have to be permitted whatever else is done.

        1. @alianora-la-canta I’m afraid I’m not following your first point. We are, of course, talking about whether changes ought to be made to the regulations, so naturally, they would need to be altered…

          Uncertainty about a red flag preventing teams from starting repairs seems like a rather unlikely scenario. If an incident is severe enough to cause a red flag, the red flag is probably going to come out without a long delay. You’re not likely to return a damaged car back to the pits, diagnose a complex problem, and begin a complex repair before the red flag is issued. Of course, there are inexplicable exceptions, like Masi’s delayed red flag decision at Baku. But generally, it’s an unlikely scenario — certainly less likely than those that banning repairs under red flags would prevent.

          And such a policy is entirely and demonstrably enforceable — it’s exactly how IndyCar handles them. Teams are allowed a limited number of personnel into the area where the cars are parked, with visual inspections allowed but not work on the cars. Safety exceptions are granted — like the examples you’ve cited of fires or leaking substances. Damaged cars can be returned to the pits or garage, but no work can be done on them unless related to safety. Any cars that do receive work before the red flag is withdrawn restart from the back of the field (as they effectively would have if they had needed repairs and the race had not been stopped).

          None of this is exceptionally difficult. Sometimes it feels like F1 rationalises away solutions by inventing problems. No method of stopping a race and restarting it is going to be perfectly fair, but there’s nothing preventing F1 from adopting this approach, which other series show can and does work.

          1. @markzastrow My first point is that you’d have to change several definitions to get the effect you want, which will have unanticipated effects on other parts of the regulations (in this case, on VSC/safety car situations involving the pit lane, and pit lane starts and parc fermé handling). It would also require assessment methods that don’t currently happen, which will be easier to “game” than the current system (where the location of a car shows whether it should be treated as “in line” or not.

            I’d have thought not being able to start a repair due to worrying about a red flag would stop the repair from happening. Red flags often don’t have a “short delay” – most of the last few have followed barrier inspections to confirm a safety car/VSC won’t be sufficient or deciding the marshals were not happy about clearing an incident through other means, both of which typically take multiple laps in F1. The “inexplicable” decisions regarding red flags have become the norm in F1, not the exception – Baku’s were only remarkable because the necessity of stopping were unusually obvious to observers not at the track.

            F1 has repeatedly demonstrated that it cannot enforce “safety exceptions” consistently (unlike Indycar), which in this context will lead to problems.

  74. I’m in favor of no work being done under Red Flag.
    At the very lease no tire changes, as tire strategy
    has been selected as being a major competitive point
    of F1 currently.
    Yes, I remember the 2011 Monaco. Did not like or
    agree with the result because of the reasons listed

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