Should Formula 1 adopt IndyCar’s rule on cleared lap time to trigger red flags in qualifiers? · Race fans

The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix last weekend was the first sprint weekend of the 2022 Formula One season, and the qualifiers took place on a Friday night rather than a traditional Saturday.

In the rain-influenced qualifying session in all three phases, red flags were displayed on a record five separate occasions – the most ever in a three-stage qualifying session since the format was introduced in 2006.

However, instead of those responsible for red flag delays having their qualifications destroyed because they are the cause of the red flag, more drivers seem to have benefited from stopping the session due to their own mistakes.

Carlos Sainz Jnr’s accident at the second Rivazza in Q2 may have stopped his qualifiers, but it also effectively ended the entire second segment of the session as rain began to fall during the ensuing red flag period that followed. With Sainz sitting in second place at the time he spun, he effectively guaranteed his progress in Q3 and starting position for a sprint race in at least tenth place, while those outside the top ten at the time were doomed to elimination.

In Q3, Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc were in the middle of what should have been their first timed lap in the last session when Kevin Magnussen slipped off the track at Acque Mineral, leading to a break in the session. However, Magnussen managed to avoid being dumped in the gravel and pulled his car onto the access road at the end of the gravel trap, turning the car before safely returning to the pits under the red flag. He will eventually rejoin the session and qualify as fourth.

Magnussen finished fourth in Imola’s qualifiers despite challenging the red flag

In the final minutes of Q3 after another red flag for Valtteri Bottas stopped on the track due to an exhaust problem, Lando Norris turned in his lap on the same section of Acque Minerali that Magnussen had rotated earlier, prompting the fifth and final red flag that has effectively completed qualifications. But with Norris in a temporary third before the session resumed, his mistake meant he effectively secured third on the net for the sprint race.

The results of the severely disrupted session led to a heated debate among fans on social media, and many argued that there should be penalties to prevent drivers from giving red flags in qualifying without any flaws, when the circles of all other drivers on the track are affected by them .

The example of Charles Leclerc taking pole position for his home Grand Prix in Monaco in 2021 after crashing out of a pool exit also stands out as a driver error case that actually benefited them by denying rivals a chance to win previous times. .

IndyCar, however, uses a very different approach to red flags that appear during qualifying compared to that used in Formula 1.

In the IndyCar Series 2022 Regulations, Rule 8.3.4 states that “if the car causes a red state [red flag] in any segment, the best two timed circuits in the segment will not be allowed. ” The rule also says that a driver who raises a red flag in a qualifying session cannot continue in the session, and he may also not be allowed to advance to the next qualifying phase if their times are fast enough after deleting the best two times.

So, should Formula 1 consider emulating IndyCar in its approach to red flags in qualifying by erasing the two best lap times of drivers responsible for suspended sessions?


The incident with Norris at the end of the third quarter in Imola is perhaps the greatest example that could be used to argue for an introduction. Carrying out a red flag swirling in his lap, Norris prevented any of his rivals from improving his time at the end of Q3 – not only denying Charles Leclerc the opportunity to fight for pole position, but preventing anyone from taking his third away position. .

Formula One drivers should not be rewarded for mistakes – especially not during the last speed test that qualifies. By clearing the two best lap times for any driver believed to be responsible for raising a red flag in a qualifying session, F1 would help ensure there is no way to take advantage of a big mistake or, worse, deliberately use rules trying to create stagnation.


The most important thing about red flags in every session is security. A red flag should be hoisted to ensure that any danger on the racetrack can be resolved quickly and safely without asking the marshal to come out on the racetrack live during the point where drivers will be the fastest all weekend. If the driver can start again after turning or colliding and rejoining the session, he should not be prevented from doing so as this is an achievement in itself.

There is also the fact that in qualifying drivers have 18, 15 and 12 minutes to secure their place in the next session and their position online. If the driver challenges the red flag in the final moments of the session and prevents rivals from beating them, they probably had enough time before stopping to set the fastest lap time they could instead of at the very end of the session.

I say

What seems like a very easy and simple solution to a problem may need a little more thought before it is applied to Formula 1.

While canceling red flag lap times ensures that no one who collides in qualifying will benefit from it, it also does not insure drivers who have had to leave laps due to red flags with their laps backwards or with lost session time as a result.

There is also the question of whether the risk of losing the two best laps in one session will be too distracting in qualifying – especially with all the street obstacles with obstacles in the current calendar. Will drivers really give 100% in those last Q3 laps in places like Monaco or Baku, where only a small misjudgment can see them in the barriers and lose not only the opportunity for pole position, but also their two best times?

There is certainly an argument that can do this by taking away the best laps from drivers when they challenge red flags, any risk that drivers try to manipulate results in their favor by causing intentional dangers on the track.

Finally, there is also the possibility that the driver will lose a well-deserved position in qualifying due to a mechanical problem with their car that causes a red flag through no fault of the driver – such as Alex Albon’s exploding brakes in Imola.

There should definitely be a debate about preventing drivers from making their way to qualifying success, but perhaps a compromise solution would be better than adopting the current IndyCar rule similar.

You say

Do you agree that Formula 1 should introduce IndyCar’s red flag qualifying rule ‘deleted two laps’?

  • I totally agree (22%)
  • I kind of agree (25%)
  • I neither agree nor disagree (3%)
  • I kind of disagree (12%)
  • I do not agree at all (37%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total voters: 123

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