Carlos Sainz highlights ‘a few’ intentional red-flag incidents from fellow F1 drivers

Thomas Maher
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina, November 2022.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina, November 2022.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has called for a rule to be introduced to tackle qualifying red flags, and said he believes there has been “a few” intentional incidents.

The Spaniard was speaking in the wake of rumours surfacing after the Sao Paulo Grand Prix that Sergio Perez had crashed on purpose in qualifying for this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, with the Mexican spinning at Portier on his final flying lap.

Sainz explained that the topic of introducing penalties for yellow or red flags in qualifying, which have the effect of compromising or ruining drivers’ flying laps, has been brought up, but he now believes it’s a process which should be expedited.

The Ferrari driver was asked for his thoughts on the alleged Perez incident as he spoke to media on Thursday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“Without commenting if it was on purpose or not, I think it’s for real now that all drivers – we want some kind of a rule,” he told media, including PlanetF1.

“If you generate a red flag or a yellow flag, even if it’s intentional or not, there should be something done to that driver, because you’ve compromised the other nine on purpose, or maybe not.

“But you should get a penalty for it. If not, we’re all gonna start playing with it.”

Sainz then hinted that intentional spins and crashes may have occurred more frequently than imagined previously: “I’ve seen over the last few years a lot more play around with it, than what you might even have picked out in the media.

“I’m not gonna go into whether if it was on purpose or not, I think all 20 drivers in ourselves, when we analyse these kind of incidents, we know immediately if the driver has done it on purpose or not, because we’re not stupid.

“But I’m not going to comment. It’s an incident of the past. I’m just going to say that, if there would be a rule, it wouldn’t even go through your head. Even I think apply it to Q3 lappers, because it means that, in Q3, there’s a lot to win, but also something to lose. So you need to put a really good lap together with no mistakes if you want to take pole position.”

Pressed for examples of incidents he felt were intentional, Sainz laughed and said he would “need to take the media out without microphones and tell a few stories”.

Asked by PlanetF1 whether the drivers had reached a consensus on a proposed penalty system, Sainz said: “No, but I think it’s yet to be discussed. I think we’ve raised it a few times, but it’s never been concluded into something. I think for next year, that should be done.

“[There’s been] a few. It’s not regular. But it’s been enough times already that should there should be some kind of a rule.”

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