Should drivers be penalised for causing red flags?

In recent years, there has been red flags being raised in qualifying after someone crashing but now it seems they are appearing more frequently and not just one per qualifying…

But recently, Formula 1 drivers are backing a potential FIA initiative to penalise those who trigger red of yellow flags in qualifying, ruining the laps of rivals.

For a second time this season it had become quite a big talking point, especially after Imola and most recently Azerbaijan. In the latter, Fernando Alonso went down an escape road towards the end of Q1 bringing out a yellow flag and spoiling the laps of anyone behind who might have had the chance of beating the Spaniard.

Alex Albon who was immediately behind the Alpine driver, made it clear that he thought Alonso had gone off track in a deliberate effort to frustrate his rivals.

The issue of drivers playing such games, especially at street tracks, made the headline back in 2006 at the Monaco GP. On that occasion, Michael Schumacher was excluded from qualifying after the stewards determined he deliberately stooped in track at Rascasse, effectively ending qualifying early and securing pole position.

A similar incident occurred at the same venue in 2014, when Nico Rosberg went down the Mirabeau escape road, ruining the final effort of his teammate, Lewis Hamilton fast lap. The German driver, survived an investigation without sanction.

The F1 sporting regulations already contain an article that can be applied to anyone taking an escape road or going off into a run-off are and which reads: ‘Drivers must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not leave the track without a justifiable reason.’

The stewards have the discretion to delete any or all lap times if a driver is deemed to have committed an offence that falls within that description.

Awarding penalties for an actual accident that ends a session early, like those involving Charles Leclerc in Monaco 2021, and Sergio Perez this year would probably require a further discussion.

Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon are just a few of the drivers who support the ideas of penalties. A few of them suggesting deleted lap times could be the way forward.

My Opinion-

I think if they were to delete lap times for the driver who crashed or penalise them somehow then that is justified. But if a driver done it deliberately I think the FIA will have a harder time trying to penalise them, as the drivers will say they didn’t etc and there won’t be any physical proof…


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