Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Zandvoort, 2021

Verstappen at risk of penalty for overtaking under red flags

2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen faces the threat of a penalty as the Dutch Grand Prix stewards are looking into whether he overtook another car while red flags were shown during practice yesterday.

The stewards announced the Red Bull driver is under investigation for overtaking Lance Stroll during a stoppage in second practice. The Red Bull driver overtook the Aston Martin on the approach to turn 11, Hans Ernst.

The incident Verstappen is under investigation for was shown on the world television feed. It occured when red flags were shown after Lewis Hamilton came to a stop due to a power unit problem on his Mercedes. Verstappen’s team warned him about the red flag after he passed Stroll’s car.

If Verstappen is found to have passed another car during a session stoppage, past precedents indicate a grid penalty is likely. At the Styrian Grand Prix last year Lando Norris was given a three-place grid penalty for overtaking under yellow flags – a less serious offence.

However it is not unheard of for drivers to be cleared over similar investigations. Charles Leclerc and Kimi Raikkonen avoided penalties after the stewards investigated whether they failed to slow sufficiently for red flags at the same event.

Verstappen and a representative of his team have been summoned to meet the stewards at 10:45am local time. Final practice starts at noon, and qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix begins at 3pm.

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

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41 comments on “Verstappen at risk of penalty for overtaking under red flags”

  1. Looking forward to the reason it is not a penalty

    1. Looks fairly open and shut, they’d have to really bend over backwards to avoid handing him a penalty.

      1. Not at all tbh. When the red flag was dropped Max was on a hot lap, Stroll meanwhile was driving very slowly. There was a huge pace difference. If Red Bull can provide data that Max immediately braked upon seeing the red, I can see him getting a pass for this one.

        Reply moderated
        1. How can they show that when he immediately overtook and not slowed down.

        2. Lewis would’ve been Heavily Penalised

    2. if Verstappen adheres to 31.6 he’ll be fine (basically slow down as soon as you see the red flag). There will (I imagine) be a small amount of discretion on the immediate instance of when the red flag is shown as you can have occasions when a car is at speed and another car is not that makes overtaking in the fractions of a second after a red flag is thrown impossible to avoid. From the onboard it looks as if Ver lifted as soon as he saw the red.

      Unless the FIA have other data, they’ll publish something like “Verstappen was deemed to have slowed in line with the regulations, due to the nature of the speed differential he didn’t do anything worthy of penalty”

      1. I’d like to see the onboard, to see when the flag showed.

        1. There’s a ton of replies floating around. Looks like he slowed (in a safe manner) when he saw the red. The FIA don’t want a situations where drivers slam on the anchors to avoid overtaking at the exact point of red flag because this would be very very dangerous. He’ll be fine unless the FIA have other data.

          1. Until we see the onboard, we’re just speculating… the fact is, if the onboard showed a red flag and he didn’t slow, it’s a penalty.

  2. Max was quite far away from the previous int where Mazepin spun into the gravel and he was already running slowly when the team informed him. So he did act responsibly. It’s not like he did half a lap at full pace under a red flag. Maybe he was concentrating on Stroll (given the reputation and the almost run ins Max has had with Stroll driving slowly and not paying attention to his mirrors) and maybe because of that he saw the red flag/lights a second later or something. But it’s a hard case to make to say he endangered anyone.
    Seeing and they let Lewis off the hook for going full barrel past Bottas in the gravel it would see some leniency is possible.

    1. It looks to me like he adhered to the letter of 31.6 from the onboard. The stewards will have some discretion with regard to when red flags are shown at the moment of two cars being close to each other with big speed differentials.

  3. I did wonder that from the replay. Looks an obvious decision.

    At least we’ll get to watch him try and overtake.

  4. From the footage I saw, it seemed like Stroll was slowing down to let him past, and the red flag appeared just as he was about to overtake with a massive speed differential. I don’t believe there was any way for Max to have not passed Stroll given the speed difference. As the article mentions, he slowed down even before his team informed him of the red flag. Would be a super harsh penalty for me. I think perhaps a reprimand might do.

    1. @mashiat I think it could be a similar situation to Norris not entering the pits in Baku, i.e. very soon after the red flag was called, but it was an offence so they have to penalise him. Norris was given 3 places because of how soon the red flag was called relative to him needing to enter the pits, whether Verstappen could get the same leniency I don’t know

  5. It does look pretty clear cut. They penalised Norris in Baku for not entering the pit lane for a similarly “early” offence in the context of the red flag (only a couple of seconds after it was called). I expect a penalty, probably 3 or 5 places (they said Norris’ would normally have been 5 in Baku, but because of the short notice they only gave him 3. Will be interesting to see if similar logic is applied here).

    1. Really? What is so clear cut about it? There is always nuance.

  6. Maybe the FIA will have a change of heart re: DRS zone on the main straight after all.

  7. Does a driver need to be warned about Red Flags? I thought it was supposed to be highly visible and even displayed on the steering wheel.
    I hope they don’t have cause to disrupt this race with a penalty, both for the fans and for competition.

    1. 31.6 states a driver needs to slow down as soon as red flag shown, which Max appears to do. There’s a level of discretion so I can’t see how they;d give a penalty for this.

  8. Seb got a penalty for overtaking under red in 2015 Canadian GP FP3, so another precedent.
    Max’s move happened outside the world feed coverage, so this came as a surprise.

    1. @jerejj I think Max’s move was shown on the world feed so I’m not too surprised. I’m more surprised actually that it’s taken them this long to investigate

      1. Well, Anthony Davidson did an interesting remark yesterday about this action like ‘I hope nobody did see this minor detail, but if the FIA didn’t noticed it, I glad to help them to remember it’

        Reply moderated
      2. @randommallard I’m sure I would’ve noticed if it was. Definitely not as a replay.

        1. @jerejj Fair enough. I rely on the F1TV highlights for my practice coverage and they seemed to be showing the onboard of him overtaking Stroll as the red flags came out. It may have just been edited together.

    1. @rvg013 The red flag also displays on Verstappen’s dash as well as on the panels so he should be able to see it there as well. 3 places or a reprimand imo

      1. Have you got video of the red flag flashing on his dash prior to being shown on the board?

        This fits well within FIA discretion.

      2. Red flag came 2 seconds before he saw the panel.

      3. Correct. It should be displayed on the steering. The problem is we don’t know when is the red flag shown on the steering. From outside flag it looks like he passed before the red was out. The speed difference is so big that I think he would be fine and no penalty. This is so nip and tuck.

        Norris Baku is different. He had time to ask his engineer if he should come in. The hesitation by the engineer caused Norris not being able to box. But he knew he should have boxed and should not wait for confirmation from his engineer.

      4. It was yellow displaying (not sure it was double or not) before he passed stroll. If it was double yellow (I assume it would be before the red) still would be penalty.

        Also his engineer was saying hopes that stewards let that be (not give penalty). Considering how sensitive red bulls are when it comes to flags and safety, it is appropriate they receive the penalty like a man, as they burn midnight oils to advocate for safety when someone else is to be found.

    2. Unless the FIA have any other data, this fits well within steward discretion. not sure what other people are watching who think it’s a slam dunk penalty.

      1. Wow… are you Maxs legal representative? You’re good!!!

    3. I think it all depends on when the red was actually showed on Verstappen´s steering wheel. If it was at the exact moment as it was displayed in the live broadcast I think he could get away unharmed or with reprimand, because on the live feed the red flag came really late and Stroll was pretty much “strolling” of the racing line so the speed difference between him & Verstappen was significant.

      Reply moderated
    4. Per that video. He passes a marker board showing no signal at around 0:10. The next marker board becomes visible over the crest of the circuit at around 0:13 and looks to already be showing red. At this point it is already too late to avoid passing Stroll with his momentum. The question is, did the red flags come out (and appear on Max’s dash) at 0:11, 0:12 or 0:13? We have no way of knowing from the on-board given.

  9. Watched onborad a few times, cannot see the steeringwheel but on track before the pass there’s no red flag, immediately after the pass there is, imho he will be excused because the red flag on the steeringwheel must have lit up during the highspeed pass of Stroll.

    1. @melbourne-96 That’s the same situation when Hamilton got a grid penalty in Austria though. There was no signal before the location (yet) and just about as he was passed the location it came on there.

      You can just see the red light over the crest before passing Stroll. Plus it would have been visible on his steering wheel even before that.

      Would be daft if they give a penalty for this, but they keep giving these ludicrous penalties to Hamilton, so you never know.

      1. @f1osaurus Hamilton’s penalty was for not slowing sufficiently for yellows, instead of overtaking I believe. The FIA’s verdict says that Verstappen did slow sufficiently and immediately upon the red light illuminating on his dash, and the simple laws of physics carried him past Stroll.

        1. @randommallard Still same thing with the lights. They weren’t on when he looked and only when he passed the next one they just came on.

  10. No penalty issued.

  11. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    4th September 2021, 10:52

    What nationality is Max? Dutch.
    Where are we? Netherlands.
    Verdict: 5 place grid penalty to Car #44 for causing red flag when #33 was on track.

    Lmao jk. In all honesty I don’t think he’ll get a penalty because Stroll was driving really slowly. Probably a reprimand at worst.

  12. I don’t see how he could’ve avoided passing stroll. stroll was well off the line and crawling to give verstappen a clear path on his flying lap before the red flags.
    From the onboard it seems that even if he sufficiently braked as soon the red flag popped up he would’ve still passed stroll.

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