Vettel violation won’t change red flag rules

Date published: October 20 2018

Sebastian Vettel: Red flag violation

FIA race director Charlie Whiting does not think red flag rules need to be reviewed following Sebastian Vettel’s three place grid-drop in the US.

Vettel felt he slowed down sufficiently when red flags came into effect in FP1 on Friday at the Circuit of The Americas.

But Whiting and the stewards had all the data available to them to show that was not the case and the correct punishment was enforced.

“It shouldn’t need it,” Whiting told Sky Sports when asked if the rules required some further tinkering.

“Seb actually took nearly 28 seconds to get down to the reference time which is quite a long time, quite honestly. It’s normally well under 10, i.e. less than one of our marshalling sectors.”

“We’ve got a loop at every marshal light so here we’ve got 20 different sectors.

“We look in real time, we can see, we know what the reference time is and the drivers’ time for that sector is green if he’s positive, red if he’s negative. It’s very simple to check.”

Some drivers sympathised with Vettel and what they felt was a “harsh” penalty for the German; Whiting, too, can also understand given the severity of the penalty.

“I have some sympathy of course because it’s quite a big penalty,” he added.

“The precedent was set in Australia this year when Daniel [Ricciardo], he got mixed up between positive and negative as I understand it, but that was the precedent that was set and the stewards have been trying to follow that precedent.

“It’s just an extension of the rules that we apply to Virtual Safety Car] and [Safety Car] situations. What the drivers have to now under red flag is exactly what they’ve been doing for years under VSC and SC.

“They follow a speed that’s been sent to their dashboards, they have a reference lap and they have to stay positive to that reference lap., i.e. slower. And Seb didn’t.”

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