Verstappen wants red flag qualifying rule rethink

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez crashed RB18 lifted by the marshals. Monaco May 2022

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez's crashed RB18 lifted by the marshals at the end of the qualifying. Monaco May 2022

Unable to fight for pole position because of a red flag late in qualifying in Monaco, Max Verstappen has urged Formula 1 to change the rules.

For the second year running Verstappen had to back off on his final hot lap in qualifying around the streets of Monte Carlo after another driver put the car in the wall.

While in 2021 it was Charles Leclerc, his crash actually securing pole position, this season it was Sergio Perez who handed the Monégasque driver P1 on the grid.

The Red Bull driver lost the rear of his RB18 as he rounded the Portier right-hander and crashed backwards into the barrier.

He was than collected by Carlos Sainz, the Ferrari driver hitting his right-front wheel before the session was suspended by red flags.

Verstappen, who was behind them on the track, had to abort his lap, Leclerc taking pole position ahead of Sainz, Perez and the reigning World Champion.

“It is irritating and a pity of course that the one who put it in the wall was my team-mate,” Verstappen said.

“But in the end you don’t get a penalty for that.

“So if you know you have a good first run, then you can think: ‘ah well, you know what, I’ll park it and tactically send it into the wall.’ You could do that.”

Asked if the rules needed to change to prevent a driver from gaining an advantage when he is the one responsible for the red flag, Verstappen replied: “That’s something we’ve been working on for a while.

“It’s nice for the person who hangs it in the wall. But for me it’s a bummer, of course.”

Last season when Leclerc crashed, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff suggested Formula 1 implement an IndyCar style rule for red flags in qualifying.

While F1’s sporting regulations have no penalty for causing a red flag, under IndyCar rules the driver would have to forfeit his two best lap times.

“I didn’t know that that was the rule in the US but I think it’s an intelligent rule that would avoid confusion,” said the Austrian.

“By any means I don’t think that Charles put it in the wall [deliberately] today, because there’s just too much at stake.

“But it would be a nice little incentive to make sure that the polemic that such a situation provokes is out of question, is not happening because nobody would doubt it.”


A year ago, though, Verstappen wasn’t in favour of the driver who crashed being penalised.

“I don’t think his lap should be deleted in the future if they want to make a rule change,” he told The Race at the time.

“I don’t think that would be fair, because we’re all trying so hard and it’s not so easy around here, especially on the limit.

“It’s easy to make a mistake.”


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