Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says an IndyCar-style rule penalising drivers for disrupting qualifying sessions could be introduced to the world championship.Charles Leclerc secured himself pole position by crashing at exit of the Swimming Pool section of the circuit, while he already had the fastest time of the session.
Red flags were waved so Leclerc’s car could be retrieved, which prevented anyone from improving their lap times.
In IndyCar, drivers who bring out red flags – and, in some cases, yellow flags – in qualifying sessions are penalised by having lap times deleted. This prevents anyone from securing an advantageous grid position by deliberately thwarting the laps of others.
Speaking after the Monaco Grand Prix, Masi said F1 is prepared to consider a similar rule.
“Like everything, when everything arises, the FIA, Formula 1 and the teams look at everything and consider on its merits.
“I know the IndyCar rule, which is also a rule in a number of other FIA international series and domestic championships around the world. And we will look at it and together with all of the key stakeholders, determine if it’s suitable or not.”
Last weekend was not the first time a driver has hit trouble at a critical moment in a Monaco qualifying session while provisionally on pole. Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher stopped on track at Rascasse in 2006, earning himself exclusion from the qualifying session and having to start from the back of the grid.
In 2014 Nico Rosberg was investigated over a similar incident when he went down the Mirabeau escape road, which prevented his pole position time from being beaten. The Mercedes driver was cleared, though his team mate Lewis Hamilton voiced suspicions at the time.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was among those who suggested F1 should consider adopting IndyCar’s rule to prevent similar incidents in future.
“I didn’t know that that was the rule in the US, but I think it’s an intelligent rule that would avoid confusion,” Wolff said.
“By any means, I don’t think that Charles put it in the wall because there’s just too much at stake. But it would be a nice little incentive to make sure that all the polemic that such a situation provokes is out of question, is not happening because nobody would doubt.”
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