Last year the FIA changed its position on double-waved yellow flags after incidents involving Nico Rosberg and Sergio Perez. This year, Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer have been the first to be snared in the new regulations relegating them to the back of the grid for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.
While Palmer made a case for losing a second by lifting off in the location of Antonio Giovinazzi’s crash, the stewards felt it wasn’t enough and that both drivers tried to set a meaningful time on their final laps. Can you blame them?
Both drivers were penalized and asses three driver points on their license and it’s a strong message that this will not be tolerated by the FIA.
Grosjean’s boss, Gunther Steiner, wasn’t too happy about the penalty or the nuance to the regulations.
“If they want everybody to stop, they need to throw a red flag,” said Steiner.
“Sometimes you have to be conscious that we actually race.
“Romain backed off. It’s a double yellow, he was – in my opinion – in control of the situation.
“If you look at the [data] trace, he lifted, saw nothing, accelerated, saw the wreck, lifted again.
“Sometimes I don’t get it, but anyway, I’m not a steward.
“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time – we paid a penalty for that one.
“Otherwise we could have made it into Q3, there was a chance.”
It’s a circumstantial situation to be honest as the crash was on the final laps and on the final corner so you can see where the drivers were so close to completing a lap that a small lift was probably the best their heads could manage seeing the finish line so close. It’s also not quite the same as mentally it is easier to see any incident and wave a yellow but a red flag and race stoppages takes a little bit of time for the FIA to assess the full scope of what’s going on, who’s on track, what lap it is and time.
If everyone was outraged last year and they changed to rule to accommodate and avoid repeats, then being outraged this year because contextually the incident had a different impact on the outcome…well, that’s not quite good enough is it?
Hat Tip: Autosport
Photo by: www.kymillman.com/F1