Calls for F1 to change red flag rules

F1 Fanatic round-up

In the round-up: calls to change F1’s red flag rules after the Monaco anti-climax.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

F1’s red-flag rules need tune-up after robbing Monaco of feisty finish (The Guardian)

“The rule allowing work on the cars, and specifically to change tyres under red-flag conditions, has its origins in concerns for safety. Red flags most often occur because of the onset of very heavy rain, which requires competitors to take on grooved tyres. It’s an essential rule but one that now seems ripe for some fine tuning according to circumstance. It would not be too much to expect the race director to decide, given specific race conditions, whether a tyre change is necessary for safety purposes or not.”

Pirelli eyes red flag tyre rule change (Autosport)

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery: “I’ve had a lot of people shout at me from the boats around the harbour and say, why were they allowed to change? It took away something from the race – and the big question was could they have lasted? That is what we were all asking with six laps to go and that was going to be the excitement: would Sebastian hit the [tyre degradation] cliff?”

Lewis Hamilton: I will never stop racing the way I do. I do it because I love racing (Daily Telegraph)

“At the end of the day this is motorsport and we are supposed to see racing. Not many people overtake in Monaco and I tried to do that.”

Remorseful Lewis Hamilton heeds fatherly advice at his lowest ebb (The Times, subscription required)

“There was no one from XIX Entertainment, his new management company, to turn to, only Nicole Scherzinger, his pop-star girlfriend, not exactly versed in Formula One crisis management. But Anthony took only minutes to find his son in the McLaren motorhome to talk him down from the fury that led to his explosive BBC interview that triggered a visit to the stewards for a humiliating apology.”

Kubica’s manager keeps doors open (Daily Express)

Robert Kubica’s manage Daniele Morelli: “I think you have to ask [Gerard] Lopez why he made such a statement that is in clear opposition to what the specialists are saying.”

I tried to the very end (Ferrari)

Fernando Alonso: “Already today, I?ve been talking to the engineers about the new parts we will have in Montreal, but above all, of the steps forward we must take for Silverstone, when we will back at a track which requires a lot of aerodynamic downforce. That?s where we will really see how our season is going to pan out.”

Didcot road to honour Formula 1 legend (Oxford Mail)

“Now South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have agreed to call the road Sir Frank Williams Avenue, to honour the Grove-based F1 boss.”

Thanks to Ben Moody for the tip

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Joey-Poey witnessed the astonishing finish to Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 first-hand:

By the luck of our choice, I watched that accident happen right in front of me.

After the insanity of the lead changes over the last ten laps, we thought JR had it in the bag. I said to my brother ??here he comes?? as they came around, I turned and saw him go high and SLAP!

Everyone was shocked. I hadn?t even been cheering for JR the rest of the race, but when it registered what just happened I started shouting ??GO! GO! COAST!?? We weren?t even sure if he won or not until we heard over the loudspeakers that Wheldon passed him before the line.

As gutted as I am for Hildebrand, I have to say that I?ve been waiting my whole life to get to go to this race and this is a memory I will never ever forget. I feel like I got to see a historic moment that will be repeated again and again for years to come.

I hope it doesn?t sound like I?m bragging, I?m just still on a high that my first time going was so special.
Joey-Poey

From the forum

What other races should we cover on F1 Fanatic Live in 2011?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to The Dutch Bear!

On this day in F1

Gilles Villeneuve scored a surprise win in the Monaco Grand Prix 30 years ago today.

The start of the race had to be postponed for unusual reasons: a fire broke out in the Loews hotel above the tunnel, and water used to extinguish it had flooded the track. Once the surface was declared sufficiently dry, the race got underway.

Nelson Piquet led but crashed out while trying to lap Eddie Cheever and Patrick Tambay at Tabac.

That left Alan Jones in the lead, but he felt the Cosworth engine in his Williams hesitating occasionally. Villeneuve drew him in, and burst past on the start/finish straight to claim victory.

Here are the final laps of the race:

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79 comments on Calls for F1 to change red flag rules

  1. James_mc (@james_mc) said on 31st May 2011, 0:10

    I’m not sure about the changing of the red flag rules. While I’m all for the situation we had the other day not happening again (i.e. the chance for a really exciting finish), there is a risk of meddling too much “for the show” which would actually detract from it as it would be making the sport more contrived. It reminds me of the random safety car last season (or the one before?) in China or Malaysia which was to rescue a few bits of carbon fibre off the racing line and essentially close the field back up.

    • sojcarter said on 31st May 2011, 0:23

      I disagree, if anything, changing the tyres was infact meddling with the race already.

      The red flag was essentially the pause button as such, and in the future, if safety allows of course, if a race is to be restarted, it should be done so that the conditions of the “new race” are as identical as possible to the “old race.”

      By having new tyres put on the cars, that was more meddling that was ever necessary.

      • Damon (@damon) said on 31st May 2011, 10:06

        I disagree, if anything, changing the tyres was infact meddling with the race already.

        Putting the safety car on track was meddling with the race already – and this always works AGAINST the leader.

        Imagine Vettel had a 50sec lead and bad tyres as he did. You’d take his lead away and leave him on bad tyres, which would cost him a race he would’ve otherwise won!

        • DVC said on 31st May 2011, 14:23

          You’re both right. Get rid of the safety car and change the red flag rules.

        • Puffy (@puffy) said on 31st May 2011, 14:24

          I’ve been thinking about this a lot since it’s always bugged me that the safety car interferes with the race so much. The safety car is there for the safety of the drivers and the marshals on track and really shouldn’t have any bearing on the race. I was trying to think of ways to avoid the issues while still maintaining safety standards and yesterday was wondering if the following could work:

          Instead of having a safety car, when it would normally be necessary to have one, all the cars are required to immediately slow down to a designated speed and the race is red flagged. All drivers line up on the start line in order of position. No changes can be made to the cars at this time. Once the race is ready to be resumed, all drivers are released one at a time with the difference between releases being the difference in time between the drivers when the race was red flagged and no overtaking until the following lap.

          Obviously this is a very rough idea and there are problems, ie lapped drivers, it takes longer etc. However I feel it might be a starting point and has a lot of merit. Namely, no drivers gain or lose an advantage based on time or strategy due to the safety car. Much safer for the marshalls to work as the cars will not continue to go by. Finally, the fans will not be deprived of racing laps by having to watch the cars trundle around the track slowly in formation.

          • DVC said on 1st June 2011, 2:03

            Puffy, that’s a good starting point. I have often thought that should be what they do. That will take a while though. I suggest that the race director should have two options at their disposal.

            a) The one you just suggested (the race distance would need to be reduced by a lap in that case).
            b) A full course speed limit.

            You use (a) when there is likely to be a long delay. You use (b) when the delay is expected to be short.

        • Fixy (@fixy) said on 31st May 2011, 14:59

          This aspect you pointed out has literally made me think again. Now I don’t know what I’m for and what I’m against.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st May 2011, 0:32

      I can understand the reasons for wanting to do it and I think it should be possible to frame it within the rules without risk of “meddling” too much.

      But we should keep in mind this is a rare set of circumstances: F1 races do not get red-flagged and restarted in dry conditions very often. The last such example I can think of was when Luciano Burti had his crash at Spa – and that was ten years ago!

      • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 31st May 2011, 0:38

        So rare that as soon as I saw the red flag I simply assumed that the race was over. When the cars lined up on the grid I was pleasantly surprised!

        • Leon said on 31st May 2011, 11:49

          As did most of us including Brundle and Coulthard our ace, seen-it-all-before commentators. And even while the cars were being worked on, on the grid, they were assuming that new tyres would not be allowed.
          The fact that those tyres were changed ruined the prospect of a terrific spectacle as Vettel fought off Alonso and Button with the tyres on his car shot and toasted.

          Would have been a historic finish.

      • sato113 (@sato113) said on 31st May 2011, 2:14

        they should simply change the rules to says it’s up to the race director to decide whether it’s safe or not to continue without tyre changes.

    • David BR said on 31st May 2011, 0:56

      It’s clear this was a rule loop-hole, the teams ‘exploiting’ the fact the rule allowing tyres to be changed imagined deteriorating track conditions.

      But that raises the question of why this race was red flagged? To ensure the race didn’t finish under the safety car, right? Basically it was for the ‘show,’ not because of safety issues. I’m not against the decision, it’s much better, but since the race set a precedent – stopping to ensure the end was fought – at least make sure it’s done properly! That means not allowing the teams to change tyres, do repairs, swap parts etc.

      • Macca (@macca) said on 31st May 2011, 6:45

        The rule should say…

        “Teams may only change tyres if they are switching from dries to wets or vis versa”

        • Tim said on 31st May 2011, 8:05

          That would then exclude any driver with a tyre damaged by the red flag incident.

          The red flag rules allowed McLaren to fix Lewis Hamilton’s rear wing before the restart. What if the Alguersuari incident had caused a slow puncture instead? Or if a driver passing through the accident zone on the way back to the grid had damaged a tyre on debris. It didn’t happen but it’s entirely possible that it might happen.

          Rulemaking is never as simple as it may appear – you have to consider the desirability of the consequences in all possible situations, not just the last one.

          • SubFl said on 31st May 2011, 8:34

            Ok, weather, tire damage as a result of the event causing the red flag incident (may be tough to prove but allows whole grid to replace tires if a points position team has a puncture or obvious tire damage) and not due to concerns of degraded tires from over extending them during the race from a team or teams.

          • SubFl said on 31st May 2011, 8:37

            And no other car repairs as well. Either retire the car or bring it in when the track goes green.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2011, 6:49

        No the race was red flagged because the ambulance standing on the pretty narrow track around the swimming pool and they were extracting Petrov.

        As they were right on the track, running around there with the cars behind the SC but still going at speed was dangerous. Just look at how the SC slows down to a trot as they all passed that on track.

      • Damon (@damon) said on 31st May 2011, 10:37

        It’s clear this was a rule loop-hole

        There is no loop-hole!
        The rules are perfect.

        By deploying the Safety Car, you rob the drivers of everything that they’ve worked out on the track with their performance (i.e. lead over the following car).

        So if you throw that to the dustbin by unfairly equaling everybody on the track, then you should also give them equal conditions for then starting the race from zero.
        This way you’ll minimalize the impact of the SC on the race to smallest possible.
        Otherwise, you’re just helping the slower cars.

        Ultimately, the faster driver will win. And that’s what a race is about.
        —————————
        Like I said – just imagine Vettel had a 50sec lead over Alonso when the race was red-flagged.

        • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 31st May 2011, 11:57

          It didn’t give all the drivers equal conditions though. Button, for example, didn’t have any super-soft tyres left, while Alonso and Vettel did.

        • David BR said on 31st May 2011, 17:48

          @ Damon, better to say every case is unique. In this instance the three lead cars were bunched as close as possible – just as though off the grid. So restarting with the cars in the same condition (not counting the reduced tyre wear and fuel use of course) would have been as close as possible to resuming where they’d left off.

    • Chalky (@chalky) said on 31st May 2011, 8:56

      I would agree. The red flag rules allow work on the cars, as they may have suffered damage during the incident that caused the reg flags. There was plenty of carbon fibre shards out on track after the crash and disallowing tyre changes would be potentially dangerous.

      You cannot change a rule set up for safety just to make the race more exciting. In reality the race should have just stopped at lap 72 when the red flag came out, as it upset far too many Eastenders fans on BBC1 with the overrun. :)

  2. StefMeister said on 31st May 2011, 0:32

    Something to consider about changing the red flag/tyre rules is what happens if like on Sunday they had all driven through a lot of debris which brings in the possibility of punctures.

    While changing the tyres under the red on Sunday did harm the restart, Would it have been any better if they hadn’t changed tyres & 1 or more cars ended up having punctures as a result of running over the debris from the crash?

    Its funny how sometimes people only complain about a regulation when it goes against what they wanted to see.

    Cars have been repaired under a red flag before (Montoya’s rear wing was changed at spa in 2001 during the red flag) & tyres have also been changed under red flags many times before with no complaints.

    • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 31st May 2011, 0:40

      Ah, I remember that… the infamous occasion that Ralf Schumacher was left up on his jacks on the grid because they’d ran out of time to fix his car!

      • james_mc said on 1st June 2011, 20:42

        Was that really Spa where Ralf was jacked up? I thought it was in the US or Germany? It was hilarious though!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2011, 6:47

      Well, I would rather change it anyhow. Just make it that the tyres stay, unless the team show evidence of a puncture or other damage to them (just like they can to do after Q3 if they want to change tyres) for the FIA to allow such a change.

    • Leon said on 31st May 2011, 12:06

      OK…say the incident with all the cars involved in the Petrov crash had happened on the steep slope down from the tunnel to the chicane. And then imagine that all the cars involved ended up in the run-off area well clear of the racing line. (Quite possible at the speeds they come down that hill at !)

      In that case the race would not have been stopped, no repair or tyre changes allowed, and a potentially exciting race finish still on the cards…but

      You would still have had lots of carbon fibre debris all over the track, the risk of punctures would still have been the lottery it always is. Some risks should not be eliminated…they are all part of the stunning spectacle of F1.

      And still the tyres in this event should not have been changed in the way they were.

  3. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 31st May 2011, 0:35

    Happy birthday Dutch Bear :)

    I was just thinking, isn’t it about time Mark Hughes releases an updated edition of his excellent Lewis Hamilton biography? I know there’s only been 3 and a half years since the original was released, but he could quite easily write a book on Hamilton every year, so eventful has his career been!

    • The Dutch Bear (@the-dutch-bear) said on 31st May 2011, 8:02

      Thanks, Ned. Going to have my first driving lesson this afternoon. You have to be 18 for that here in the Netherlands. I thought the race was over too, as we were way past three-quarter distance. The red flag wasn’t that bad as without the race would have finished under the Safety Car. We still got Webber overtaking Kobayashi and the action with Maldonado and Hamilton. Red flag tire changes only in case of a puncture or weather changes. I doubt whether Alonso would have overtaken Vettel though

  4. alig2605 (@alig2605) said on 31st May 2011, 2:28

    How would it work if they aren’t allowed to change tyres? Will the use of tyre warmers be enough to keep the tyres at a reasonable temperature for the restart? If they all have cold tyres at the restart it would be a recipe for further crashes.

    While I too would have liked to see them keep the worn tyres, there’s no point if there’s going to be a crash and another safety car a lap after the restart.

    PS not that Ali G :)

  5. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 31st May 2011, 2:37

    They need to change the rule as the race was dry there wasn’t a requirement of changing the tyres.

    I am seeing things that since Hamilton have broke with his Dad things didn’t turn good for him.I don’t know what happened between them but their combination was great.

    • Burnout (@burnout) said on 31st May 2011, 11:29

      It was more personal then. Like that excerpt from the Times says, nobody from Lewis’ current management team was around after the race to talk to him and calm him down. OTOH during every race between 2007 and 2009 there would be at least one shot of Anthony Hamilton wearing black earmuffs and a silver shirt/jacket.

  6. rfs (@rfs) said on 31st May 2011, 2:53

    With regard to the red flag rule… if a team is allowed to fix a rear wing under a red flag (like what Mclaren was doing with Hamilton’s car), then why can’t they fix (i.e. change) tyres too?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2011, 6:45

      But by that reasoning, they should be able to change only badly flatspotted tyres or tyres with a puncture (like they are allowed to do before the race, if the FIA gives them their consent).

      • JerseyF1 said on 31st May 2011, 19:56

        Not really – he didn’t suggest that teams without broken rear wings not be allowed to change them if they want!

        More importantly, why allow anyone a free fix when everyone else who broke their car in the race had to retire. Best answer to not allow any fixes or tyre changes (barring possible exclusions for rain, but even then why potentially give someone a free tyre-change to wets if everyone else had to pit to make that change).

  7. drezone said on 31st May 2011, 3:26

    The red flag rule should allow the teams to make changes to the car especially if they were affected by the cause of it (i.e. Hamilton’s body damage)………..

    however they should not be allowed to change the tyres, since this was brought in this year to provide strategy to the races and last 6 laps of monaco proved that killed the finale and tyre strategy of the race.

  8. Hamish said on 31st May 2011, 4:01

    A bit off topic, but:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/motoring/5079968/The-634kW-SUV-No-Limit-rally-car

    Unfortunately not driven by Prost.

  9. bigredbears10 (@bigredbears10) said on 31st May 2011, 4:22

    Amazingly the NASCAR Sprint Cup race that night also had an amazing and similar finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was heading for sure victory and ran out of gas in the final turn, only to be passed before the start finish line. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1oWMc98D3g

    Both drivers have JR in their name, both drive cars sponsored by the National Guard, both lost it in the final turn after heading for sure victory.

    Unlucky for the National Guard (a reserve military force) as it was Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. to remember our veterans.

  10. xmurrx said on 31st May 2011, 4:27

    I know most of you don’t like NASCAR, but their rules on red flags are very good and I think F1 should adopt the same set of rules. In NASCAR if there is a red flag (which is a lot more common than in F1) teams are allowed to make repairs to their cars if necessary but are not allowed to change tires under any circumstances.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 31st May 2011, 9:21

      What about punctures (due to debris/accident damage)? Do those count as damage to be fixed?

      With that proviso, yes, that seems like a pretty good rule.

      Although even then, F1 races have in the past mostly been red-flagged due to sudden changes of weather making the track unsafe – in those circumstances, safety still demands a change to the tyres.

      I suppose that a “changes to fix damaged parts (including tyres) and other changes mandated by the race director for safety, but no other” line might be appropriate.

    • WarfieldF1 said on 31st May 2011, 9:25

      I love NASCAR ( and most naything with an engine) although its harder to see this year in the UK without taking out ever more subscriptions………….it does seem like everyone knows the NASCAR rules; the BBC radio5 coverage actually stopped as they didnt realise the race would be re-started…….with new tyres there seems little point restarting in monaco for a few laps AND it would have givewn Maldondo a few points!!

    • DeadManWoking said on 31st May 2011, 17:15

      No one is allowed to do anything at all to the cars during a Red Flag stoppage in NASCAR. When the race is to be restarted they switch the Red Flag to Yellow and start the cars for several laps behind the Pace Car. Under Yellow they can do anything they like to the car including changing tires, but only in their proper pit stall or back in the garage, no work can be done where the cars are stopped be it on the track or in the Pit Lane.

    • DeadManWoking said on 31st May 2011, 17:39

      See this video at 24:00 for the famous 2002 Daytona 500 Red Flag Penalty incident that cost Sterling Marlin the win.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-MahxAtmoo

  11. MVEilenstein said on 31st May 2011, 4:30

    It would be great if we didn’t call for changes to the rules every time a race doesn’t end the way we want.

    • Shomir said on 31st May 2011, 5:43

      Yep, if during those last 5 laps Alonso or Button Passed for the win people wouldn’t be complaining about it…

      • DVC said on 1st June 2011, 2:26

        I would hope that they would still be complaining about it. The fundamentals of the rules and their fairness or otherwise isn’t dictated by an individual result.

    • SubFl said on 31st May 2011, 8:52

      Why shouldn’t the teams strategy play out? Fixing/adjusting wings, changing tires/tire pressuresand whatever else that was done to allow the previous laps to mean little to the last few sprint laps after the field was gathered back up

    • montreal95 said on 31st May 2011, 9:19

      That absolutely is not why I want it and for sure not why Pirelli want it. It’s simple logic really: why the drivers should be allowed to change tires if there’s no danger? It should be at race director’s sole discretion whether to allow tire change. That’s how it always shoud’ve been, and the only reason why it wasn’t changed yet is the rarity of the case(as Keith said the last case was almost 10 years ago!). I’m also pretty sure there are another rarely used F1 rules that are as flawed as this one.

      • Damon (@damon) said on 31st May 2011, 10:17

        It should be at race director’s sole discretion whether to allow tire change.

        No. Because if it’s the last race of the season then his decision may effectively decide who becomes the new world champion.

        And we don’t want that, do we?

        • Snow Donkey said on 31st May 2011, 16:10

          I disagree! We’re not talking about giving the race director the option of flipping a coin to decide weather they get to change tires or not.
          Think of it the same way as Parc Fermé between quali and the race. You may not work on the cars unless you can show a good reason to. Hamilton’s wing would qualify, as would an unusable tire. Vettel had already made the gamble to stay out for the rest of the race. He should not be gifted a pitstop because of a red flag. He made his bed, he should’ve had to sleep in it too.
          Giving the stewards/race director sole discretion over changes/repairs, with obvious guidelines to establish what would meet the criteria, seems like a good way to go.
          ex: puncture picked up, fresh set of boots. Wing falling off? see if you can fix it in time. flat spot? probably only if it happened related to the incident or if it we’re deemed so badd as to be a danger.

          Feel free to pick appart this logic, maybe I don’t see the whole picture, but if things can’t be changed between quali and the race, this would seem like a logical extension to me…

          • DVC said on 1st June 2011, 4:50

            If you’ve damaged your car why should you be allowed to fix it outside the pit lane though? In ever other circumstance you have to bring the car in to fix it.

  12. The Limit said on 31st May 2011, 4:36

    @Xmurrx.

    Good point. That is one rule that NASCAR has that I do like. I must admit, I was disappointed when I saw the mechanics at Monaco changing the tyres prior to the restart. It pretty much negated the advantage Alonso and Button had on Vettel prior to the red flag coming out. However, the crash itself cancelled that out as Vettel had time to cool his worn out Pirellis’ in time for the restart. As long as he maintained the lead into the first turn it was always going to be difficult (new tyres or not) for Alonso or Button to attempt a pass. Also, if not for the red flag Lewis would be sat on his first DNF of the season so that does bear bearing in mind but yes, changing the tyres was a mistake in my opinion. I can see the FIA changing that rule in the future.

  13. Elreno (@elreno) said on 31st May 2011, 6:14

    This could be the most useless fact of the year but here goes. I’ve worked out that of the six races so far the slowest representative (i.e. a driver having put in a decent number of laps) time in the fastest laps list has been slower than 107% of the fastest lap time on four occasions and faster on two occasions.

    Slowest was Monaco where Karthikeyan’s best race lap was 108.5% slower than Webber’s fastest lap of the race.

    Go for your life and get some sort of meaning from that stat!

    • Scalextric (@scalextric) said on 31st May 2011, 6:30

      HRT has remarkably low maximum downforce? What was the other slow track?

      • Elreno said on 31st May 2011, 6:45

        The other ones were all only just over 107%. I dunno what it all means but it would be nice if those three “slow” teams could be a second a lap faster. It would make for a more interesting battle for the scraps.

    • Klon said on 31st May 2011, 10:19

      We can draw from that the knowledge that the Hispania is not as good in long runs, which is why it is not so easy to actually challenge Virgin.

  14. BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st May 2011, 6:42

    Happy birthday to you Dutch Bear! gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag.

  15. DavidS (@davids) said on 31st May 2011, 6:53

    It should be an instant 30s time penalty added to their finishing time.

    If you have a puncture, change your tyres and you can still finish the race. The time lost will be almost equal to the time taken to limp to the pits and change your tyres, so it’s not unjust punishment for the unlucky.

    If you are looking for points, putting yourself 30s down the grid when it’s still bunched up will be disastrous.

    If the race is red-flagged earlier in the race, it may create for some interesting strategies, as drivers have to somehow make up the 30s penalty.

    Best of all, the rule is simple and easy to understand.

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