Protest lodged by rival team over Carlos Sainz red flag in Chinese GP qualifying

Thomas Maher
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz brought out the red flags in Q2 when he crashed his Ferrari at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz’s seventh-place grid position has been protested against by a rival team, following the Spaniard’s red flag incident in Q2.

Sainz brought out the red flags with seven minutes remaining in Q2, with the Ferrari driver crashing his car at the final corner – managing to recover to the track and continue as the action was neutralised.

Carlos Sainz brings out the red flags

Sainz was on a push lap midway through Q2 at the Chinese Grand Prix, when he lost the rear of his car exiting the final corner. But, thanks to some quick thinking while travelling backwards, Sainz managed to keep his impact with the opposite barrier to nothing more than a thump.

While he picked up some damage, he was able to get the car going again as the red flags were shown to cover the stoppage. With front wing damage, he recovered to the pits for a checkover, a new wing, and new tyres, before going on to qualify in seventh.

But Aston Martin isn’t satisfied with the situation and has lodged a protest about the result of qualifying.

Documents from the FIA confirmed the protest, calling representatives for Aston Martin and Ferrari to call to the stewards at 6 pm local time.

“Any team representative(s) needed in relation to the protest lodged by Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team about an alleged breach of Article 39.6 of the 2024 Formula One Sporting Regulations during the Qualifying session for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix are required to report to the Stewards at 18:00,” said the FIA.

“Any other concerned parties may also attend this hearing.”

Article 39.6. states “Any driver whose car stops on the track during the qualifying session or the sprint qualifying session shootout will not be permitted to take any further part in that session.”

While Sainz had kept his car running and was able to return to the track, Race Control had noted Sainz as being “stopped” on track following his incident – therefore triggering the red flag.

The protest thus threatens Sainz’s seventh-place grid slot, with the argument set to focus on the definition of what a driver being “stopped” is. Ferrari’s position will be that Sainz’s engine was running and, with minimal damage, just needed some time to reset and resume the track, with the red flag thrown during his time attempting to recover.

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Carlos Sainz: I managed to crash at the right angle

With Sainz’s preventative measure while sliding backwards saving his day as he steered away from a harder hit with the barriers, the Spaniard was quite happy with salvaging seventh in qualifying.

Speaking after the session, Sainz was asked whether he’d found it difficult to control his adrenaline after such an incident.

“Not easy at all,” he told Sky F1.

“I had a big moment there, obviously right at the last moment, I managed to crash in the right angle.”

Sainz was able to take preventative action to ensure he didn’t cause any catastrophic damage to his Ferrari.

“I turned the wheel a bit to make sure I didn’t crash straight with the rear tyre, and be more sideways,” he said.

“This probably saved the day.

“Obviously, from there on, high heart rate and adrenaline, but I managed to put together a very strong lap later in Q2 and recover well from that moment.”

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