Carlos Sainz wants FIA action after ‘very clear cases’ of deliberate red flag loophole

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez crashes in qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez crashes in qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz has renewed the call for IndyCar-styled red flag rules having “spotted people on purpose generating red flags” during qualifying.

Formula 1 is gearing up for the Monaco Grand Prix, a race where the result can already be decided on Saturday in qualifying.

Carlos Sainz wants ‘fair play and fair racing’

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

It’s also a race weekend where red flags are the norm given the twisty, narrow streets that make up the layout of the Grand Prix circuit.

From Michael Schumacher parking at Rascasse in 2006, for which he was penalised when it was determined to be a deliberate action, to Nico Rosberg’s 2014 off at Mirabeau and more recently Sergio Perez’s 2022 crash at Portier, accidents have not only decided the grid but also pole position.

It has often led to calls for Formula 1 to penalise any driver who brings out a red flag by deleting their fastest lap time.

This is done in IndyCar while such a rule was introduced into Formula 2 and Formula 3 this season.

That regulation states that “any driver who in the opinion of the stewards is the sole cause of the issuance of a red flag during the qualifying practice session will not be permitted to take any further part in the session and their fastest lap time during the session may be deleted.”

Carlos Sainz believes that’s a rule that should also be used in Formula 1.

“There have been very clear cases in street circuits where, between us drivers, we’ve spotted people on purpose generating red flags,” the Ferrari driver told the media including

“The FIA hasn’t been maybe as convinced about them being on purpose, because as drivers we know what’s on purpose and what’s not. It will be interesting to see what approach they take into this weekend.

“It’s always a topic around Monaco. I just hope that for the benefit of the show and the fair play and fair racing, we all go out there in Q1 and Q3, giving it all without taking unnecessary risks.”

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Esteban Ocon supports the call, and revealed the FIA are, after a discussion with the drivers during one of their Friday briefings, looking into it.

“I think, if I’m correct, that’s being looked at by the FIA. I think recently we’ve discussed that in some drivers’ meetings, that a situation where a driver would cause a red flag would be monitored,” he said.

“So I think that should be something sensible to be doing because we’ve seen in the past drivers causing issues and the others not being able to do a lap. Yeah, that should be something that the FA monitors.”

Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman George Russell added: “I agree with Esteban. We obviously have laps deleted all the time in qualifying for track limits. I think if you were to cause a yellow flag or red flag, you should probably have your best lap deleted.”

As for Max Verstappen, the triple World Champion called it a “good idea”.

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