Haas F1 boss Guenther Steiner express his opinion about the IndyCar qualifying rule that Toto Wolff and Michael Masi felt can be looked into after Charles Leclerc’s crash.
In the hours following Leclerc’s accident in Monaco, a few people in the paddock had the feeling that the Monegasque crashed on purpose to maintain his pole position. But his rivals put down that thought, when answering F1 should introduce the IndyCar red flag rule.
The IndyCar red flag rule deletes the best two laps of the driver who caused a red flag during the qualifying session. While Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, the two that were damaged by Leclerc’s crash, thought that the accident was not deliberate, and that deleting times would not be fair, Mercedes Toto Wolff felt the IndyCar rule was interesting.
“I think it’s an intelligent rule that would avoid confusion,” said Wolff then. “By any means I don’t think that Charles put it in the wall deliberately because there’s just too much at stake. But it would be a nice little incentive to make sure that the polemic that such a situation provokes is out of question, is not happening because nobody would doubt it.”
Following the Monaco GP weekend, FIA Race Director, Masi, agreed to look into the rule and see its feasibility in F1. “Like everything when everything arises, the FIA, Formula 1 and the teams look at everything and consider it on its merits,” he said.
“Yes, I know the IndyCar rule, which is also a rule in a number of other FIA international series and domestic championships around the world. We’ll look at it and, together with all of the key stakeholders, determine if it’s suitable or not.”
However, ahead of the Azerbaijan GP, Haas F1 chief, Steiner, didn’t think F1 needs any change. The Italian felt, the topic was brought up, only due to Leclerc’s crash. Even though Wolff and Masi feel they can discuss, but the Haas boss doesn’t think it is required.
“I wouldn’t be a big fan of that one if it was to be implemented,” said Steiner. “It obviously came up because Charles Leclerc hit the wall pretty hard on his last run in qualifying, but obviously it was not intentional. If it had been, the FIA would have seen that, it’s very easy to see that on the data if somebody’s done something intentionally.
“I don’t think there’s a need to start this discussion. What if instead of a red flag there was only a yellow flag and some people slow down and not some others – do we still cancel the lap of the guy who brought the yellow out? It’s worked for a long time as is, and it’s happened once, especially in Monaco where it’s very easy to crash by the way, I don’t think it’s a problem we need to fix at the moment.
“It’s part of the risk you take though if you go out late in qualifying. If people had gone out earlier maybe it wouldn’t have happened. I think if somebody does something on purpose there should be consequences, but this wasn’t the case in Monaco,” summed up Steiner.
Leclerc managed to set the fastest time during his first lap, while other drivers needed a two-lap preparation to obtain the best from their soft tyres. His accident pushed the media into questioning if the driver “parked” his Ferrari like Michael Schumacher did in 2006, or like Nico Rosberg did with his Mercedes in 2014.
Here’s what drivers said then on deliberate crash
The story was written by Lorenzo Liegi