FIA not thinking about changes to qualifying red flag rules – Verstappen

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen expects Formula 1’s qualifying rules will remain unchanged despite calls to penalise drivers who cause red flags.

The Red Bull driver was frustrated in qualifying for last year’s Monaco Grand Prix when he was unable to complete his final lap due to a crash which happened ahead of him. Sergio Perez crashed at Portier, which meant he started ahead of his team mate Verstappen, who was on course to improve his lap time before the session came to an early end.

There have been many other recent examples of drivers benefitting from red or yellow flags they caused in qualifying sessions. Charles Leclerc took pole position in Monaco two years ago after setting the fastest time on his first run and crashing on his second. In the last round in Miami, Leclerc crashed again, meaning Verstappen was unable to complete his second run in qualifying.

Some drivers have been accused of deliberately causing yellow or red flags during qualifying to ensure they do not lose a strong grid position. In 2006 Michael Schumacher was sent to the back of the grid in Monaco after the stewards ruled he deliberately stopped his car at Rascasse in order to prevent other drivers beating his time. Eight years later Nico Rosberg stopped his car at Mirabeau during Q3, triggering yellow flags which ensured his pole position time was unbeaten, but was not penalised.

“It happens, most of the time it’s not on purpose,” said Verstappen. “But it happens in Monaco, it happens on other street circuits so you just have to deal with it.”

Lando Norris, McLaren, Monaco, 2023
Gallery: Monaco Grand Prix practice in pictures
The Red Bull driver said “nothing has been agreed or set” on how such incidents will be dealt with if they appear suspicious. “But it has happened now a few times already that there was a red flag in the second run. I just need to make sure the first run is good.”

Other series such as IndyCar have for many years had rules which ensure drivers cannot benefit from causing a red flag. But F1 has not introduced a similar regulation and Verstappen believes the FIA is not interested in doing so.

“To basically create a red flag and then basically abort everyone else’s lap, sometimes it’s a bit painful,” he said Verstappen. “In other categories we’ve seen that when people cause a red flag, they lose their all their laps in that qualifying.

“It’s maybe something to think about but it doesn’t seem like the FIA at the moment is really thinking about that. So we’ll see. Like I said, we just need to do a good lap ourselves.”

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2023 Monaco Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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6 comments on “FIA not thinking about changes to qualifying red flag rules – Verstappen”

  1. Max probably would’ve liked starting further back at Saudi Arabia 21 since he caused the crash that ended Q3.

    I’d argue there are too many variables to actually implement rules against it proper.

    -Tyres will be scrubbed and their best performance is already gone if you go out again if you pushed for even 1 sector. Will teams get another new tyre to compensate for the run lost?
    -Are we just going to reset the clock or add time so nobody loses out on their 2nd run and give time for people to actually warm their tires in the way they want?
    -Weather. Will it rain a few minutes after the crash? When will we do the 2nd run then with track conditions compromised?
    – Will you penalize the final driver in the line that crashes or only those in front of him so that his lap can’t be ruined? If so the last driver can take all the risk knowing the others have to play it safe creating an unfair advantage.
    – What is ‘deliberate’? As stated above Rosberg in 14 was pretty suspicious and can be called ‘deliberate’ but did not get a penalty. Can you make a difference from a driver making an error fighting for pole compared to a driver in P10 for the final run? Are we going to use 2 bars to measure a penalty now?

  2. I agree, cause a red flag then you start from the pit lane.

    1. Great idea. Try to drive a little bit faster in qualifying and completely destroy your entire event to the point where you may as well not even bother starting the race on Sunday, and would certainly have nothing to fight for if you did….
      How could that possibly be seen as a negative consequence?

      1. If you’re not good enough to keep it on track then you deserve your weekend wrecking instead of spoiling another drivers weekend. Not crashing should be a quality is rewarded more than someone overdriving then getting off scot free for a mistake. I don’t care if a drivers weekend is ruined because of their mistake.

  3. Good for them because no one’s perfect, mistakes can & will inevitably happen when pushing on the limit.
    Penalizing would be justified only if one actually caused red-flagging or yellow caution for manipulative purposes, which, of course, no one does, except Schumi in 2006, so FIA would have to be very careful not to penalize unfairly by looking at telemetry data & hearing the relevant driver(s) to be absolutely sure if they’d done something even half-intentionally.
    A probable unintended consequence would be less incentive to push on the limit if drivers got penalized for genuine errors, in which case better reintroduce the 2003-05 single-lap format.

  4. I don’t think there should be any changes because mistakes can happen & more often than not the mistake itself is a penalty (For both driver & team if they need to rebuild a damaged car) so handing out an additional penalty on top of that in terms of deleting lap times or whatever is just unnecessary.

    If It’s suspected that something is done intentionally then investigate it & if you can prove it then exclusion from qualifying is an acceptable penalty (Schumacher at Monaco in 2006 for example) but other than than I think things are fine as they are.

    Plus if you start deleting lap times or excluding people from qualifying for causing yellow & red flags you open up an additional set of problems.

    We have seen yellow flags come out unnecessarily in qualifying for cars that have simply run a bit wide to get out of the way and we have also seen red flags called too soon with the car thats gone off able to recover. Is it fair to delete qualifying laps in those cases?

    What if a driver stops due to a mechanical failure, Of if an accident is caused by a car failure or puncture which is outside of the team/drivers control? What if you have situation where it starts to rain & a driver on slicks goes off or if it’s going from wet to dry & someone goes off due to having to go a bit offline onto the wet part of the track to get out of the way of a car coming up behind.

    There are a lot of unintended consequences to think about which could end up seeing drivers losing qualifying times unfairly if you just have a blanket rule but then if you don’t you end up with situations coming down to interpretation which could lead to inconsistencies.

    Things are fine as they are & don’t need changing.

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