F1 race director explains why chequered flag was waved a lap early in Canada GP

13 days ago

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Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting says a "miscommunication" was to blame for the chequered flag being waved a lap early in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix - and he insisted the error was nothing to do with the fact a celebrity was chosen to do the honours.

Winnie Harlow, a Canadian model and close friend of Lewis Hamilton, waved the flag on lap 69 - one lap before the scheduled 70 lap race limit, after being instructed to do so by the official on the start/finish stand - known as the 'starter'.

There was confusion on the track as some marshals began waving all their flags as they thought the race was over, while the drivers continued on for the final lap.

In the end the result was taken from the 68th lap, as per the regulations. There were no significant changes of position, though it did mean Daniel Ricciardo lost his fastest lap to team-mate Max Verstappen.

After the race Whiting explained what had led to the error. He said: "The chequered flag was shown a lap early because of a miscommunication with the guy that they call the starter here, who starts and finishes the races.

"He thought it was the last lap, he asked race control to confirm it, they confirmed it, but they thought he was making a statement when he was asking a question.

"He just showed it a lap early, or he told the flag waver to show it a lap early, so it wasn't anything to do with the fact that it was a celebrity flag waver."

He added that a mis-reading of the lap counter may have contributed to the problem.

“I think people who don’t work in Formula 1 sometimes are confused by the graphic that they see on the screen where it says 69 out of 70," he said.

"We all know that means we’re on lap 69 but to someone who’s a slightly more casual observer, might think ‘that must mean it’s the last lap’. I think that’s where the doubt originates.

“We obviously need to do a better job briefing these people.”

The result was taken at lap 68 because of the regulations. The specific rule states: “Should for any reason the end-of-race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the [finishing] line before the signal was given.”

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Comments (7)
  • So why is a skimpily dressed female model allowed to wave the flag, when Grid Girls are banned?

    11 days ago
  • For all the ridicule aimed at "stone age" nascar, I can't remember a race mis-flagged. This one counts as the second i know of in the modern era. Let the celeb's wave a green at the start. Only the lights matter at that point and we wouldn't be wasting bandwidth on Winnie Harlow.

    12 days ago
  • We had that happen at a race, Half the field saw the white come out with two to go, then the flagman pulled it back. That left half the field thinking the next lap was the last. What happened was a car slowed and we didn't ... so we had lift off to the moon with the driver seeing the stars briefly. We had no radios, I would think with the comminucations from crew to drivers in F1 this would have been a little less uneventfull. Stuff just happens sometimes, I wouldn't blame the girl for the mistake, I doubt any flagman knows the running order with out the scorekeepers telling them.

    12 days ago
    1 Bump
  • i know it's not her fault but come on. She's not even looking at the bloody track. would they please pick someone that has even the slightest interest in f1 next time

    12 days ago
    1 Bump
  • #NoHarmDone ? Tell that to Daniel who lost his announcement on Fastest Lap!

    13 days ago
    4 Bumps

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