Red flag from Sainz in China, teams want more clarity in the regulations

The Ferrari/Aston Martin affair at the Chinese Grand Prix, after Carlos Sainz's red flag, caused confusion. Both teams requested that the regulations be revised to provide greater clarity.

Published on 28/04/2024 à 10:40

Yannis Duval

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Red flag from Sainz in China, teams want more clarity in the regulations

Ferrari and Aston Martin, in the same car. ©DPPI

The red flag caused by Carlos Sainz during qualifying in China raised a lot of questions around article 39.6 of the Sporting Regulations of the F1. Indeed, when the Spanish driver spun in the last corner, the session had to be interrupted because the Ferrari No. 55 was stopped on the track for more than a minute. Finally, Carlos Sainz was able to leave and continue the session, which annoyed Aston Martin and who hastened to lodge a complaint with the commissioners.

“Any driver whose car stops on the track during the qualifying session or sprint qualifying session will no longer be allowed to participate in that session,” article 39.6 of the F1 Sporting Regulations.

The commissioners were ultimately lenient and explained why, in their opinion, Carlos Sainz did not deserve a penalty. This lack of penalty was mainly due to the fact that the Spaniard did not receive outside help to be able to restart. The FIA ​​nevertheless wanted to point out the lack of clarity around this article in their report:

“Typical time would be around 30 seconds (to find out if the judgment is final, Editor's note), although this varies depending on the circumstances. The teams said they had already tried to agree on what they considered a reasonable amount of time before a car would be allowed to move again or considered "stopped." Unfortunately, they were unable to agree on the maximum time allowed. »

An answer soon?

Following this incident, Ferrari and Aston Martin requested that the regulations be reviewed for next season.

“It's just about clarifying things and ultimately talking to the commissioners and respecting the decisions they've made, says Tom McCullough, Aston Martin's performance director. “We hope things will be clarified and less ambiguous in the future, because the messaging system clearly indicates that the car has stopped. And the article says that this car should no longer take part in qualifying. So this will be clarified in the future. »

For his part, Frédéric Vasseur also demands more clarity in a regulation which is becoming far too complex.

"I don't know if it's clear, but we certainly need to understand what happened, assures the main Ferrari team. We asked the race director if we could go again, he said 'yes', and that was the end of the story. The situation must be precisely defined. But the regulations are becoming more and more complicated. When I took office, the sporting regulations were 20 pages long, today they are 75 pages. We are all trying to find loopholes and the regulations are more and more complex; but in this case, the clarification will be easy. »

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