Should drivers who cause red flags in qualifying be penalised?
Max Verstappen does not expect the FIA to change to F1’s qualifying rules, despite calls to penalise drivers who cause sessions to be red-flagged.
The tight confines and unforgiving barriers around the Monaco circuit mean red flags are a common occurrence in qualifying at the Principality, with Verstappen himself having been affected by one last year when teammate Sergio Perez crashed at Portier towards the end of Q3. (see above picture)
The subsequent stoppage meant Verstappen was unable to improve on his final run and had to start from fourth at a circuit where overtaking is notoriously difficult, while Perez would ultimately win the race.
And in 2021, Charles Leclerc’s crash in the final minutes of qualifying meant several drivers had to abort their final runs, with teammate Carlos Sainz notably saying he could have secured pole position had he been able to complete his last lap.
But despite having been a victim of an unfortunately-timed red flag at Monaco in the past, Verstappen simply said the emphasis was on ensuring that a driver’s first run is good enough in case a stoppage occurs later in the session.
“It happens. Most of the time it’s not on purpose,” Verstappen told media, including RacingNews365.com.
“But it happens in Monaco, it happens on other street circuits, so you just have to deal with it.
“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.”
Verstappen: “Painful” to lose lap for others’ mistakes
The Dutchman added that “nothing has been agreed or set” on how such incidents may be dealt with if they appear suspicious.
He did, however, acknowledge that losing a lap because of someone else’s error was a “painful” experience, and noted that other categories of racing, such as Indycar, see drivers lose their best times if they cause a session to be stopped.
“To create a red flag and then basically abort everyone else’s lap, sometimes it’s a bit painful,” 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.”