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Masi explains why Leclerc was only given 'yellow card'

  • Published on 08 Sep 2019 20:45
  • comments 9
  • By: Harry Mattocks

FIA race director Michael Masi has explained to Sky Sports why Charles Leclerc was only given Formula 1's equivalent to a 'yellow card', rather than a full blown penalty during his battle with Lewis Hamilton.

At around the halfway stage in the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton and Leclerc were battling hard for the lead of the race. Leclerc was in front, but Hamilton went for a move around the outside of the turn 3 chicane. The Ferrari driver did not leave a car's width alongside him, meaning that Hamilton was forced off the circuit.

Within a few corners, Hamilton was back on the tail of the Monegasque driver. The FIA then issued a black and white flag to Leclerc, which is used to warn a driver of dangerous driving and to clean up their act. 

Masi explained: "It's quite obvious here that Charles has squeezed Lewis and, consistent with what happened last weekend in Spa with Pierre Gasly, as a result it was the bad sportsmanship flag, or the black-and-white flag, that was displayed to Car 16 for the move and the squeeze in the braking area."

The black and white flag has been available for use in the past, but not really utilised. Masi went on to say that it will be used in the future as a last chance warning for drivers before they get a penalty.

"For small infringements that are, let's call it, a 'professional foul' but don't go beyond the line, we'll be absolutely using the black-and-white flag more and more," he said.

"It's a sign to everyone that the driver's on notice because you only get one for the race. If you do it again, the drivers have all been advised that any other infraction will be referred to the stewards."

This change comes as fans and teams call for drivers to be allowed to race more freely, especially after Sebastian Vettel felt he was robbed of a victory in Canada. 

"If there was resultant contact [in the Leclerc and Hamilton incident] we would have looked at it in a bit more detail, but effectively under the 'let them race philosophy' that the teams, the F1 Group, the drivers and the FIA have worked together on throughout the year, and giving the teams the advice at the last event in Spa, we will be using the black and white flag more often - at their request I must say," added Masi.


Replies (9)

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  • f1ski

    Posts: 473

    Just finished watching lewis in the post race interview. I laughed when he spoke that the nw generation given more leeway. I think he forgets how aggressive he was pushing Massa wide in the tunnel at Monaco how many times he let the car move wide squeezingdrivers off who wouldn’t lift. I thought this was a great race. They let drivers race hard. Lewis forgets how good his car is and has been relative to the field. When it’s level the driver in front won’t move over and let you buy because the bigger picture isn’t let’s finish and save second it’s I am racing for the win. Let’s hope we get more of this.i feel that MB has power in spades available the way Lewis called in for more. I almost wished that Leclerc got passed then repassed Lewis.

    • + 2
    • Sep 8 2019 - 20:56
    • And Hammy, of all drivers, shouldn't be talking about leeway.

      • + 0
      • Sep 8 2019 - 21:33
    • Yeah, let'm race! I saw that Masi explained why there wasn't a penalty. Made sense to me. LeClerc handled the pressure from Ham where Seb has consistently cracked under the same pressure. Really can't wait to see another high score for Ver.

      • + 2
      • Sep 8 2019 - 21:47
    • I am glad with the effort to 'Let them race' but it has certainly been a bit sloppy. Charles did to Lewis what Max did to Bottas last year and got a 5s penalty. In Austria Max did something somewhat similar to Charles and it was investigated for a long time after the race was finished.

      I hate to see penalties decide the outcome of races, but in the interest of safety, I don't think it should be allowed to do what Max did last year or Charles did today. I feel that the only reason people don't agree that this was not ok is that it was a Mercedes and Hamilton.

      In general I feel stewarding has improved massively. We are moving in the right direction, today was just another step in the process towards finding the right balance. Hopefully we don't have to witness an ugly accident before we get clear guidelines

      • + 0
      • Sep 8 2019 - 23:13
    • Also for the record, I think don't think there was any way that Lewis would have stayed ahead of Leclerc if he had made that move.

      • + 0
      • Sep 8 2019 - 23:15
    • Agree AJ, ruling has both been better and more consistent this year.

      • + 0
      • Sep 9 2019 - 06:00
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,159

    No problem, lets hope they are consistent in their rulings.

    • + 0
    • Sep 8 2019 - 23:01
  • JuJuHound

    Posts: 135

    Decision of givin any penalty (5, 10 sec etc) would kill the race. That was the best decision they could give. I just think Derek Warwick makes really great job every time he is out there.
    Just think about giving penalty... the judges would have to leave the track with largest security possible.

    • + 0
    • Sep 9 2019 - 09:24


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