Formula 1 Racing

New red flag rule will stop drivers ‘ruining qualifying for everyone’ · RaceFans

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A new rule which will see Formula 2 and Formula 3 drivers who cause red flags in qualifying lose their times has been welcomed by team bosses.

The addition to the sporting regulations for Formula 1’s leading support series will see any driver who is deemed “solely” responsible for triggering a red flag in qualifying sessions potentially have their best times deleted by the stewards.

The new red flag rule mirrors one already enforced in other motorsport series like IndyCar. However, the rule will not be applied in Formula 1 this season, despite complaints over drivers benefitting from errors on past occasions, such as Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez’s crashes during qualifying in Monaco in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Speaking to media including RaceFans, Hitech team principal Oliver Oakes applauded the introduction of the new qualifying rule.

“I actually agree with it, because I think there’s nothing worse than someone goes and takes pole by almost ruining the session for everyone else,” Oakes explained.

“I guess it depends if it’s your driver who’s made an innocent mistake or not. I always say with rules like that, you kind of sometimes want them, but then you hate them later on.”

Campos team principal Adrian Campos said he would still expect drivers to push to the limits in qualifying, even with the threat of having their best times deleted if they crash or spin out of sessions.

“In the end, qualifying is qualifying – it’s where you need to take risks,” he said. “Also if you have an accident because you’re risking too much, you will start from the back of the grid in both races. So it’s a risk that every driver needs to take even with this rule.

“I don’t think it will change a lot. Of course, we don’t want anyone causing a red flag on purpose to keep provisional pole until the end, so this also will help for that. But this is something that, obviously, we never thought about, so it doesn’t change a lot for us.”

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Although Formula 1 has not introduced the same punishment for drivers who disrupt qualifying sessions, F2 team principals are not concerned by the inconsistency between the feeder series and the world championship.

“I don’t know why they don’t implement it also in F1, to be honest,” said ART team principal Sebastien Philippe. “Maybe because they have fewer red flags and maybe we are trying something to try to avoid having that many red flags, but…

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