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Whiting: Grosjean's blue flag incident "one of the worst I've seen"

  • Published on 17 Sep 2018 10:09
  • comments 11
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting has described Romain Grosjean's failure to get out of the way of race leader Lewis Hamilton during the Singapore Grand Prix was one of the worst cases he's seen in F1.

Grosjean was being lapped by the Briton but was embroiled in a close battle with Williams' Sergey Sirotkin. Grosjean received multiple notifications to let Hamilton past but was intent on getting ahead of Sirotkin before doing so.

Hamilton lost his gap to Max Verstappen behind due to the traffic, and Grosjean was later penalised for the incident. The Frenchman received a 5-second time penalty and is now just three points away from a race ban, after having two penalty points added to his licence.

"Romain just completely forgot the golden rule of blue flags and that’s if you’re in a battle you’ve got to forget your own battle and move over,” said Whiting. “I’ve drilled that into them many times.

“I think he completely forgot about it. He was so intent on his battle with Sirotkin that he just didn’t… the light panels were flashing with his race number on them, Lewis was much faster, it was probably one of the worst cases of ignoring blue flags that I’ve seen for a long time.”

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was heard complaining over the radio about Nico Hulkenberg in front. Bottas was attempting to stay ahead of his compatriot Kimi Raikkonen and was disgruntled that Hulkenberg wasn't moving over. However, Whiting explained that the Renault driver was entitled to hold his ground.

“Valtteri didn’t get close enough to deserve a blue flag so there was no issue there with Nico not respecting the blue flag,” he said. "Blue flags are only shown to drivers when they are less than 1.2 seconds ahead of a car which is trying to lap them."

Replies (11)

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  • The enforcement of endless rules is killing the sport. I think blue flags should be banned and we focus on the show, rather than giving the top cars, yet more advantage. The show should come first.

    • + 1
    • Sep 17 2018 - 10:39
  • Why is this corrupt sellout concentrating on this harmless incident? He should better explain, why he did nothing to stop a maniac, who deliberately crashed into two cars.
    They introduce "halo" to keep the drivers... I mean the advertisers and manufacturers safe, but they allow criminal behavior on track?

    This Whiting character is more dangerous than the lack of halo.

    • + 1
    • Sep 17 2018 - 10:54
  • Blue Flags should be banned, passing backmarkers was a driver skill the likes of Jim Clark, Jackie Steward, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher had. Waving drivers to let the leaders through is stupid, remove the flags and get these modern pampered drivers to learn how to deal with traffic. As for Whiting apologising to Lewis on TV, that's disgraceful and shows just how much power Hamilton has. Get rid of the flags and force the drivers to earn their pay for once.

    • + 1
    • Sep 17 2018 - 11:48
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,168

      Blue flags could be banned. However you will have issues around second team behaviour. Will an Williams hold up an Ferrari or an Sauber hold up an Mercedes or an Torro Roso hold up Renault worse if lets say one of their main team come bye?

      The big issue which has nothing to do with blue flags. It is that there are allegiances within F1 that allow teams to go past certain team very easy. For me the biggest example is the way that Hamilton can overtake an Force India, that team is effectively an rolling road block for the likes of Ferrari and Redbull.

      I think that there should have been more effective punishment toward Perez and the Stewards did not act in best interest of the sport. Since Charlie was the race director he should have made sure that Perez was tempered after the Ocon incident.

      • + 1
      • Sep 17 2018 - 12:29
  • blade

    Posts: 341

    I see sense in most the arguments below - Ive said it before, we have to do-away with B teams - they are no good for the sport - and I see it as an easy way for aa A team to expand its spending, recouping more dat and bringing in economies of scale - bypassing rules to suit themselves. F1 is broken at the moment and the owners need to realise this before its too late. I hear Liberty are now backing down on plans for major engines mods in 2021. Shameful.

    • + 0
    • Sep 17 2018 - 14:38
  • There rules for blue flags have been the same for many years now. They did lost Hamilton an astonishing amount of time and nearly affected the outcome of the race. I haven't seen too many complaints before, but now suddenly "they are killing the sport," I am no Lewis fan, but it seems clear to me that people are whining because he was involved in this incident. The only thing as despicable and annoying as some of Lewis' post race interviews are the absurdity of the complaints about those who hate everything he does

    • + 0
    • Sep 17 2018 - 16:11
  • As much as I'd like to see the B-teams gone, if we dont have them the grid would be down to about 7 teams right now, maybe fewer. I dont think they should go, but the FIA need to restrict the kinda influence an A team can have over their B teams. I also dont think the blue flags can go in a realistic fashion. There are room for improvement for sure, but I think we should aim at tighten up the grid first.

    • + 0
    • Sep 17 2018 - 18:18
    • We've had blue flags for a long time. People have been penalized in the past, those penalized have always complained. We all agree the system worked in order to prevent back-markers from radically changing the outcome of a race on a regular basis. This only became a problem because the one involved was Lewis Hamilton. Had it been anyone else people wouldn't have cared.

      • + 0
      • Sep 18 2018 - 00:09
    • Honestly, most people/ a loud minority seem to be pretty peeved by them. And I can understand that in concept, but I think F1 would turn into a shitshow without them. People thought it worked well in the olden days, and tend to forget all the problems we had with the rules of the olden days.

      • + 1
      • Sep 18 2018 - 06:57
  • If doing away with blue flags is not an option because of B teams blocking, how about this:
    Give the car being passed 1 lap to find a way to let the leaders through with out screwing their own race in the process. And, if the faster car wants to not wait, they can pass them before that and take the risk. Besides, if they are lapping the other caar then they should be fast enough to get by without too much trouble.

    • + 0
    • Sep 17 2018 - 21:36
  • Bhurt

    Posts: 320

    Blue is a pretty color.

    • + 0
    • Sep 18 2018 - 00:22

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