Andreas Seidl still mindful of Felipe Massa accident amid new F1 flag rule
Andreas Seidl wants the FIA to ignore “opportunistic views” and remember Felipe Massa when it comes to black-and-orange flags.
There has been an increased focus on the black-and-orange flag, also known as the ‘meatball’, after Kevin Magnussen was shown it multiple times and Fernando Alonso crucially was not.
The flag is waved when a car is deemed to be damaged or the driver has a mechanical problem, requiring it to return to the pits so the problem can be fixed.
Haas’ Magnussen has been shown the flag on three occasions this season, all in regard to his front wing endplate, while Yuki Tsunoda was also waved down in Baku for a faulty rear wing.
The issue has come under an increased spotlight recently though after neither Alonso nor Sergio Perez were shown the ‘meatball’ flag in Austin despite riding with damage on their car.
Haas protested the lack of a call, with the FIA finding Red Bull had been in contact with the authorities and as a result, the appeal was thrown out.
Alpine were not so fortunate, only avoiding a 30-second time penalty for Alonso after Haas’ initial protest had been filed after the deadline.
With that in mind, the FIA reportedly decided to be a little less eager to wave the black-and-orange flag, but McLaren team principal Seidl has warned that may be a bad idea.
“My view is that in general, when you have parts on the car which are at risk to fly off the cars, you get called in,” said Seidl, quoted by The Race. “Because I haven’t forgotten what happened to Felipe Massa in Hungary.”
The incident Seidl is referring to came in 2009 when Massa was struck by a discarded spring from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn.
The Brazilian was hit near his left eye, even though he was wearing a helmet, and he was put into a life-threatening condition. He went on to make a full recovery.
“We need to be aware something can happen any time [when] such a part is falling off a car,” added Seidl. “So I think that’s our responsibility in that case, to call the car in.
“I guess it’s just important now moving forward, without any emotions, to have a good discussion between the teams and the FIA and just put in place clear guidelines, what we all want in the interest of safety.
“And take it away from any current emotions around opportunistic views of where everyone is in the championship or what happened in the past.
“But again, safety always needs to come first. Don’t forget what happened to Felipe Massa. This can happen any time if a part like this is falling off and I just think it would be the wrong thing to actually be aware that something is loose and could fall off and just accept it and keep going.”
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