Qualifying sessions in Formula 1 will now be red flagged immediately if a situation comes when double-waved yellows are needed, now confirmed by FIA Technical Director Charlie Whiting.
During the closing stages of Q3 last weekend at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg grabbed pole position going through yellow flag conditions after Fernando Alonso spun his McLaren.
The session would have been immediately stopped after the Spaniard's spin if the regulation were in place.
"The procedure now would be to simply red flag it every time there is a double-waved yellow flag," explained Whiting of last weekend’s qualifying session at the Hungaroring. "It [red flagging the session] will be done routinely if there is a double-waved yellow flag.”
"It just removes the discussion about how much is 'slowing down'.”
"In Hungary, the stewards accepted Nico's explanation, looked through the data and felt he had slowed down, but the question is did he slow down enough and what's enough?.” He added.
"If you can't set a time, then that's out - it removes all of that subjective discussion."
Whiting admits that this could hamper those drivers who are on their final flying lap before the double-waved yellow flagged zone and will be forced to abandon their lap, but the Briton says that it is the best way to enforce the rules to ensure no one gets an advantage.
"If we just say a red flag is only unfair to those who were in front of Fernando and were trying to complete the lap," Whiting continued. "But that's what happened when a red flag goes out anytime."
Whiting believes that it's highly unlikely that this could urge drivers to spin out on purpose to hold their position, with the potential penalties that could be given should the deliberate spin take place.
"If we had an suspicion that a driver had done it on purpose, that would be quite a serious effect," Whiting concluded.
by Michael Terminello