Haas used black flags to teach drivers a lesson

Date published: May 23 2019

Haas asked the FIA to black flag Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean during FP1 in Monaco.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said they asked the FIA to black flag Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen during FP1 in Monaco.

The American outfit suffered an IT failure during FP1 at the Monaco Grand Prix, meaning the team could not communicate with either driver or receive any data from the car’s telemetry.

The pair failed to respond to their pit boards asking them to return to the garage, so Haas requested the FIA to step in who black flagged them on the pit straight. This led to some confusion, with the rare black flag believed to be a sign of disqualification from the session, though Grosjean and Magnussen returned to the track when the issue was fixed.

Rumours quickly began swirling that the FIA had made the move following Haas’ continued use of the Rich Energy stag logo after the courts ruled it as a copyright infringement against Whyte Bikes, but Steiner confirmed that the black flags were actually their idea.

“We had an issue with the IT equipment,” Steiner told Motorsport.com. “We had no data anymore, nothing, no radio, we couldn’t contact them and we couldn’t see what the car was doing. They needed to come in quick.

“We put the pit board out but they didn’t see it, so we came up with the idea let’s ask race control to give them the black flag so they’ll come in. That’s what we did. Everybody got a little too excited about it.

“We were a little bit creative there, and asked for some help to get them focussed to come in. They got in and then we fixed the problem and we got out the last 20 minutes.

“They should look at the pit board as well! I think they will now in future, if for more than five laps you don’t hear anything on the radio in Monte Carlo something must be wrong.”

Haas would have a less eventful but productive FP2, with Magnussen claiming P7, while Grosjean ended the session P11.

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.