McLaren points Massa warning over mechanical flag leniency

McLaren’s Andreas Seidl has reminded System 1 to contemplate Felipe Massa’s life-threatening 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix accident when adopting a lenient method to flagging down vehicles for operating in a probably harmful situation.

McLaren F1 group boss Seidl was requested to remark following an issue that raged forwards and backwards in the course of the latest United States and Mexican Grands Prix.

Having been on the receiving finish of a number of black and orange mechanical ‘meatball’ flags – proven to vehicles when they’re thought-about unsafe and forcing them to pit for repairs – Haas protested Fernando Alonso’s Alpine after the US GP for racing to the end with a damaged wing mirror.

F1’s stewards initially dominated in favour of Haas and declared the Alpine unsafe, earlier than Alpine overturned this ruling in Mexico following a evaluate.

However that evaluate reinstated Alonso on a technicality – that the Haas protest wasn’t lodged in time – not as a result of the Alpine was really thought-about protected in any case.

In actual fact, the stewards stood by their authentic assertion which mentioned they had been “deeply involved” Alonso’s automotive was allowed to race to the end in Austin with out pitting for repairs – and certainly his damaged wing mirror flew off the automotive within the closing laps whereas he was racing Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

In the identical race, Sergio Perez escaped a mechanical flag regardless of operating with a damaged entrance wing endplate which then fell off the automotive.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship United States Grand Prix Race Day Austin, Usa

The inconsistency of the occasions of Austin, in comparison with how Haas was handled earlier within the season, left an essential query hanging over the Mexico Metropolis paddock: did the stewards’ authentic judgement in Austin imply F1 vehicles any longer would all the time be pressured to pit for repairs for minor harm?

The stewards’ judgement advised they might, however Alpine’s Alan Permane revealed F1’s groups had satisfied the FIA to U-turn on this place, saying “small damages like a mirror, like front-wing endplate, if it’s non-structural like a brake duct, one thing like that, won’t be thought-about to be a black and orange flag offence”.

Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin was in favour of exhibiting leniency when utilizing the black and orange flag, saying “we’ve survived quite a lot of years the place they had been used accurately and sometimes, and we do want to only let the drivers get on with driving and never be too afraid of getting close to one other automotive”.

Formula 1 Grand Prix, Hungary, Saturday Qualifying

Massa suffered life-threatening accidents when an errant spring indifferent from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn throughout qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian GP. Massa missed the remainder of the season recovering from a fractured cranium, concussion and eye harm.

A spring is clearly a a lot heavier and extra harmful element than a wing mirror, however Seidl’s warning raises an essential additional query about the place to attract the road when it comes to security in relation to the structural integrity of F1 vehicles and their constituent elements.

Had a marshal or driver been struck and injured by Alonso’s wing mirror, or Perez’s endplate, there would definitely be no clamour for leniency to be present with mechanical flags.

“My view is that generally, when you may have elements on the automotive that are in danger to fly off the vehicles, you get known as in,” Seidl mentioned. “As a result of I haven’t forgotten what occurred to Felipe Massa in Hungary.

“And we should be conscious one thing can occur anytime [when] such a component is falling off of a automotive. So I feel that’s our duty in that case, to name the automotive in.

“I suppose it’s simply essential now transferring ahead, with none feelings, have a great dialogue between the groups and FIA and simply put in place clear pointers, what all of us need within the curiosity of security.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Mexican Grand Prix Practice Day Mexico City, Mexico

“And take it away from any present feelings round opportunistic views of the place everyone seems to be within the championship or what occurred previously.

“However once more, security all the time wants to return first. Don’t overlook what occurred to Felipe Massa. This may occur anytime if a component like that is falling off and I simply assume it could be the incorrect factor to really bear in mind that one thing is free and will fall off and simply settle for it and preserve going.”

Seidl’s feedback suggests there isn’t any unanimous view amongst groups on this topic, so additional discussions shall be wanted with the FIA to resolve the place greatest to attract the road between permitting vehicles to race on and stopping them for repairs when they’re broken.

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