FIA to reduce use of black and orange flag warnings

Instead, it will be up to teams to ensure their cars continue to operate safely even after sustaining damage in incidents, and then prove this to be the case to in-competition investigations raised by the governing body.

The black and orange flag is used as an instruction to competitors ordering them to the pits for repair if they sustain damage and their continued participation is deemed unsafe, with drivers to enter at the end of the lap after being given the Warning.

Its use in the 2022 season has made headlines since the 2022 United States Grand Prix after the Haas team protested the results of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Alpine rider Fernando Alonso because it thought they each finished the race running with damage, breaking safety rules.

This followed Haas driver Kevin Magnussen who received the black and orange flag instruction at three races earlier in 2022 – Canada, Hungary and Singapore – after suffering damage to his front wing endplate in each of those runs that let the piece come loose.

This was deemed unsafe by FIA officials at these races and he duly came for repairs.

But Haas was furious, feeling he was being treated differently than other teams in this matter, while that didn’t happen for Perez in the race at Austin (his damaged endplate fell off five laps after he touched it). opening with Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas) and Alonso finished the race despite running for several laps with his right mirror bouncing and then falling.

Haas’ protest against Perez was dismissed because Red Bull had provided photos to the FIA ​​to show that the damage to the endplate was not moving in a dangerous way, which the FIA ​​accepted and the stewards agreed. accepted this call.

But the USA team’s protest against Alonso was initially ruled valid and he was then given a 30-second extra time which cost him his seventh place finish last weekend.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522, collides with Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522, collides with Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

This was later overturned after a long saga in decisions over why Haas’ protest was allowed to proceed in the first place.

When Alonso’s penalty was waived in Austin, it was revealed that FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem had launched a review of the future use of the black and orange flag.

Motorsport.com understands this was passed unanimously with F1 teams and follows the Austin stewards saying they were “concerned” that Alonso was allowed to continue driving with his rear-view mirror suspended.

This is at the heart of the controversy over the use of the black and orange flag in 2022, as the incidents involving Magnussen follow the wording of the rule regarding its use in the FIA ​​sporting code, but confusion and anger ensued after that it was not shown to Alonso at the Circuit of the Americas.

The FIA ​​International Sporting Code on the use of the flag states: “This flag must be used to inform the driver concerned that his car has mechanical problems likely to endanger himself or others and means that he must pit in the next lap.

“When the mechanical problems have been corrected to the satisfaction of the Chief Technical Steward, the car may resume racing.”

The use of the black and orange flag was discussed at a meeting of F1 team bosses at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track ahead of the opening practice of the 2022 Mexico City GP on Friday.

Ongoing discussion concerns how the flag will be used at future events, with the understanding that officials will now be less inclined to issue the automatic warning as F1 teams have so much data to prove that a part, even damaged, will not suddenly become a security issue.

This leaves F1 in a different arrangement with other categories covered by the ISC, where the lack of corresponding data means that drivers can race without knowing they have damage and therefore it falls to race officials to correct them. require them to stop for repairs in order to ensure safety.

It is understood that no rule changes for F1 are expected as a result of the FIA ​​review, with the governing body instead decided to leave it up to the teams to ensure their cars perform in a proper manner. safe at all times – although it will intervene. and make immediate inquiries in cases where the damage is clearly visible.

A problem with this approach could be when disagreements arise over the safety of damaged cars following incidents such as Alonso’s with Lance Stroll in Austin, with competitors naturally inclined to push the boundaries of the rules and others teams likely to oppose to gain a competitive edge.

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