Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit Zandvoort, 2022

Fans throwing flares on track ‘stupid and dangerous’ say drivers after red flags in qualifying

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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The fans who threw flares onto the track during qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix were “stupid” said Max Verstappen after he took pole position for today’s race.

The beginning of Q2 was red-flagged after a flare landed on the circuit on the approach to turn 13. The person who threw the flare was identified and removed from the track by security.

A second flare landed at Tarzan, turn one, as Q3 was beginning. That caused a brief yellow flag before the flare rolled harmlessly out of the way.

Verstappen said it was “very silly” for people to be throwing flares on the track. “To hold flares already, I mean it’s nice but there’s a limit to how much. But to throw it on the track is just stupid.

“I think also the person who did that got removed. Just don’t do that. It’s not good for anyone. You get thrown out so you can’t see the race and for us the session is stopped because it’s dangerous, there’s stuff on the track. So you shouldn’t do it.”

Charles Leclerc, who took second on the grid, echoed Verstappen’s views. “It’s dangerous, so don’t do these type of things,” he said. “It’s good that there was a reaction from the security guys.

Circuit atmosphere, Circuit Zandvoort, 2022
Flares landed on the track twice during qualifying
“This shouldn’t happen. I don’t know if in the future we can do anything to avoid that, I don’t know exactly when it was thrown, but obviously if a car is passing at that time, then it can create unnecessary risk.”

His team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr suggested fans should be told they are only allowed to use flares at certain times.

“I think it’s important to let the fans know when when it’s possible to use the flares and when it’s not,” he said. “I think it was good that in the in-lap when Max took pole they used them.

“But don’t use them in the middle of the race or in lap one when we are in the middle of fights at 300kph with these cars. You don’t want any kind of destruction from smoke, you know.

“So I think hopefully the organisation can do a good job in warning when it’s the time to use them and when it’s not, and of course, even more important, when not to throw them into the track.”

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2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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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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50 comments on “Fans throwing flares on track ‘stupid and dangerous’ say drivers after red flags in qualifying”

  1. I’m surprised the individual behind the earlier throw even got found from a mix of people.

    1. There may have been some cameras at the event.

      1. I assume all the real fans around him/her happily helped to identify the person.

    2. I would think that most normal people around him would be more than happy to point him out to security.
      I wouldn’t want someone that moronic sitting close to me that’s for sure.

    3. He was grabbed by the fans around him, he is arrested by the police.

      1. Well after the negativity we’ve around fans recently – that’s a good thing. Hats off to those who identified him to security. You like to think that’s what would happen, but you never know.

        I’ve done some daft stuff in my time, but nothing like that. I can’t imagine what his thought process was in the moments before doing something so dangerous, and for what? I hope he’s charged, I’m not sure what the exact crime is. In Britain they seemed to invent some weird Dickensian thing for the track invaders this year.

  2. Disappointed by the quotes here. They should be banned, full stop. Somebody is going to get hurt by one of these someday.

    The drivers are also condoning breaking circuit rules – there are signs clearly stating lighting explosive devices is prohibited.

    1. @olpeculier I imagine the drivers don’t want to alienate their own fan bases, so they just call for ‘responsible’ use.

      1. The fans don’t pay the drivers’ salaries so it doesn’t matter whether they’re alienated or not. Cut out the rot before it spreads further. As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, give people an inch and they’ll take several miles with their selfish behavior. It should not be tolerated.

    2. “But to throw it on the track is just stupid.” Will they have to apologize? Like “Fred”?

    3. @olpeculier Different tracks have different policies, but Zandvoort already bans bringing flares to the circuit, due to being next to a major shipping lane (flares are used by boats to indicate distress, so firing a flare close to a shipping lane risks it being mistaken for a boat in trouble).

      The drivers are aware that their comments are considered in light of venues that have various rules regarding the flares.

  3. OK so flares are picturesque. But there are two issues: first, if a bunch of fans let them off simultaneously, it produces a huge cloud of smoke that blocks the view of other fans and can drift onto the track. And two, there is always someone dumb enough to throw one on track. I don’t see how you ensure either of these scenarios never happens without banning flares outright and banning anyone who brings and/or uses one at an event.

  4. I think thy are the opposite of fans. Could be environmental protesters against F1 too

    1. Could be environmental protesters against F1 too

      Of course not @pietkoster, because these protesters don’t hide in the crowd. They act in the open, show their face and let the police arrest them. See what they did at Silverstone. That way, their message is spread in the news.
      Here, you have no environmental or political message, just a stupid action.

  5. I thought it was bad enough that these self centred losers were spoiling other peoples view of the race.
    Now they are actually throwing flares onto the track?

    Come on FIA.
    Crack down hard on this before something bad happens.

    1. @nullapax this was already happening in the Austrian GP, where Max was complaining that at least one flare was being thrown towards the track on the opening lap of the race.

      In that case, we were fortunate that the flare fell short of the track and burnt itself out without causing too much harm – however, the lack of any punishment, given there was no investigation into that incident in Austria, seems to be why we’re seeing similar behaviour here today.

      1. Exactly what I was thinking at that time. After the Austrian GP RB Media didn’t do a anything other than issue the usual PR statement “We condemn every kind of action…” bla-bla-bla. It seems as if they are afraid of losing paying customers, so they let them get away with everything.

        At least the people in charge at the Dutch GP did something about it. People engaging in such kind of stupid actions shouldn’t be allowed at any kind of social events.

        1. @srga91 FIA needs to hold track owners heavily responsible with heavy fines when theyre not enforcing the ban with perpetuate for any smoke bombs & flairs. If they’re caught not doing they’re job screening attendee’s as they entering, then they should be heavily fined, pretty much the only thing they’re afraid of; hit them in their pockets. Track owners prefer to keep fans happy, buy a lot of booze and buy way more tickets. Tracks like Austria & Holland have no interest in ruining the party vibe and don’t even search people as they enter the gates.

          Don’t forget the owner of Red Bull also owns the Austria track. Dietrich Mateschitz loves the orange army and seeing the crowd and probably has no problem with orange smoke bombs.

    2. Seann Sheriland
      4th September 2022, 0:32

      They need to ban and abolish any incendiary items.
      To make a point, to get the fans to help stop these self centered, idiots.
      Call a red flag.
      Then get everyone of the flare perps, be escorted out of the race, and not allow them into a race for at least 5 years.
      And be charged for the delay of the race.

    3. Also, if something isn’t done soon, how long before a race result is affected? A driver needs a safety car to bunch up the field, so a “fan” throws a flare onto the track…

      Seriously, there are so many good reasons to ban flares and to come down hard on anyone who flouts the ban, and few (if any) to allow their use.

  6. At some point a fan is going to throw a flare to affect the outcome of a race or qualifying.

    As for those that believe the flares add to the atmosphere of a race must stare at shiny objects for hours on end.

    1. @jimfromus It almost happened today. If it weren’t for the gradient…

  7. Sainz:

    “I think it’s important to let the fans know when when it’s possible to use the flares and when it’s not,”

    Oh, that’s an easy one, Carlos – if there’s a race event on, then the whole weekend is a “NOT” and any other day of the year it’s fine.

    1. Unless you’re doing it next to a shipping lane (as Zandvoort is), in which case it’s banned every day of the year.

  8. Just ban them completely.

    No need for them at any sporting event.

  9. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    3rd September 2022, 17:02

    I’m in agreement with the consensus on this one. While it is a spectacle to watch and it’s great to see the passion, there is an element of the Dutch fans that go too far and from what I’ve heard, they aren’t F1 fans, they are Max fans, nationalistic and stupid.
    No true F1 fan would ever throw something on the track.
    Max’s F1 fans took action it would appear which is great.
    I don’t want to see a football crowd at an F1 event.
    We’re better than that.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      3rd September 2022, 19:54

      So Max fans are nationalistic and stupid, great to know.

      It is not like there were no British/Lewis fans cheering when Max crashed with 51G or there were no British fans on the track at Silverstone or British/Lewis fans booing at Max, or send death threats to Latifi aren’t nationalistic and stupid just because they are British?!?

      Fans that cheer when someone crashes, that are booing a driver or throw things on the race track are stupid, period. Doesn’t matter if they are British, Dutch, Italian, Max or Lewis fans.

      1. @jelle-van-der-meer You conveniently neglected to mention the British crowd at Copse also cheered when they saw Verstappen climb out of the car signifying he was ok. You further neglect to mention Dutch racism, drunkenness, violence towards opposing fans in Mercedes fan wear, and misogynistic behaviour towards women all exhibited at Spielberg. British and Dutch/Verstappen fans are clearly not the same. The Dutch appear to be exhibiting all the behaviours which made Jos Verstappen so notorious.

      2. LH registered 45g at the last GP and kept racing until the car gave up!
        All this whining about 51g. Max wasn’t even hurt! Only his ego. Jeez move on. 51g, the guy walked away from the car himself! He only went to hospital because the rule said he had to.

      3. didnt see a lewis fan throwing flares on the track in silverstone.

      4. He’s not saying that all Max fans are “nationalistic and stupid”, just that the kind of person who would throw a flare on the track is. Tbh, I’d say that anyone who brings explicitly-banned incendiary devices to a track next to a major shipping lane is either short of a few brain cells or verging on sociopathic, no matter who they follow or where they were born.

        Having been at Silverstone last year, I didn’t see any fans cheering the crash. I saw fans cheering, and was one of them, when Max left the track, but there was near-silence as soon as we saw how big an impact it was until we saw he was OK, at which point we all cheered to show our happiness that he was fine.

  10. Why is that turn called ‘Tarzan’?
    I assume it refers to the ‘king of the jungle’.

    I could look it up, but maybe I’m not the only one who doesn’t know the story behind it.

    1. Not quite, apparently, , though that is certainly the origin of the Tarzan name

      1. gah, there was a link there. link there

        1. Thank you, what an interesting link.

    2. Something to do with the guy that used to own that piece of land.

  11. Max fans never disappoint with the thug life.

    1. This culture started way back when the Netherlands dominated the rave scene and the early 90’s gabber culture, now most of the ravers are in their late 40s they found a new avenue to vent their life stress by supporting wunderkind. Also unlike the UK where F1 is fighting against other massive domestic and international sports leagues the recent lack of national sports success in the small nation of the Netherlands has created a huge nationalistic vacuum plus the demonizing of Lewis Hamilton as the woke villian and painting wunderkind max as the next Jesus Christ further adds to the supermax hysteria.

      Blame goes on Liberty media for promoting fake drama alerts and astrotufed engagement bringing more fans to the sport (amazon aws. reddit and microsoft azure are all official F1 partners for a reason as they are responsible for the trollfarm upvote bots on social media done create more engagement in attempt to bring a younger more diverse demo into F1) breeding toxic sectarian, nationalistic and cultural conflict in F1 which as not been seen before .

      Blame also goes to the complicit F1 media most notably sky(comcast) for its close relationship to liberty media which creates an echo chamber without any pushback or critique of the out of control orange army adding more fuel to the fire..

    2. Thanx for feeding the current polarisation

      1. They only have themselves to blame. Nobody’s forcing these people to act like this.

  12. This is why we can’t have nice things. If you ever wonder why a stupid rule/law exists, it’s because someone did something stupid and ruined it for all of us.

    1. Flares at tracks aren’t “nice things”. They should have been banned much earlier.

  13. I think “fans” already crossed the line when they created a huge cloud during the first lap of the Austrian GP, but actually throwing a flare onto the track is borderline stupid! This doesn’t add any kind of atmosphere to the race, is unhealthy and may even present a safety issue.
    This is almost as stupid as the activist who ran onto the track during the 2003 British GP.

    There are much better ways to support your favourite athlete. Why not display a huge Dutch flag with Max Verstappen #1 writen on it?!

    1. Nah, they’ll just set it on fire and then throw it on the track.

  14. Disgusting. This can easily get dangerous, when things are thrown onto the track. Dont want to think about what comes next.

  15. In Argentina flares are banned from all sporting events after someone got killed a long while ago by one. What they used to do at Buenos Aires racetrack back when I used to attend races was that the circuit put flares in specific points of the infield, so in the warm up lap or the lap before the grid, they’d active them, and drivers would salute the grandstands. That meant people enjoyed the show, and it looked good on TV too.

    It might be wise to ban people from handling the flares and Zandvoort itself organizing something safely… That way you still have the best of both worlds. And by controlling the flares you can stop them happening altogether if the conditions are not deemed safe (like the weather or something).

  16. About 300 fans pointed to the culprit so it was easy for security personnel

    1. @pietkoster Yes, I think the majority of fans present were as appalled as the majority of fans watching on TV or the internet.

  17. Did anyone ever burned a flare? I did once (not on a race track but celebrating New Year) and found afterwards my jacket and hat with a lot of tiny holes burned through the fabric with sparkles flare spits out. That can be VERY dangerous to nearby people especially if they wear shirts and don’t have eye protection. Lifetime ban and some real punishment for such dimwits.

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