Haas boss Steiner thinks F1 should scrap its blue-flag rule

Haas boss Gunther Steiner thinks Formula 1 should consider scrapping its blue-flag rule because it would help spice up racing

Haas boss Steiner thinks F1 should scrap its blue-flag rule

The issue of blue flags has emerged again after the race leaders had difficulty passing backmarkers in Singapore a fortnight ago.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton struggled to find a way past the battling Romain Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin, while Valtteri Bottas lost time being unable to close up enough on Nico Hulkenberg to trigger the warning flags towards the end of the race.

Although race director Charlie Whiting said after the race he saw no reason to change the rules, others have suggested F1 would be better off forcing leaders to find their own way past lapped traffic.

"I would agree with that," said Steiner. "It's part of racing, and for the general public as much as you can say 'I'm the leader I can do what I want' they always say they have no racing.

"But if there would have been no blue flag, [Max] Verstappen would have caught Hamilton and we would have had a fight, and we would have had more action by scrapping the rule which only advantages the guy who is first anyway.

"We keep on saying we need to get the field close, but what we are doing is saying the guy who has an advantage in front will get even more of an advantage by letting him through, so it's effectively all for the rich."

One of the biggest problems in Singapore was that it was hard for drivers to get within the 1.2 seconds of the backmarkers that they needed to for the blue flags to be triggered.

Bottas said the 1.2s rule was never going to work everywhere.

"Sometimes this new 1.2s rule is good and sometimes it's a bit tricky to get close enough to trigger the blue flags, like what happened to me in Singapore, but it is also going to be a compromise, it's never going to be perfect," he said.

"In the end, for all the lead cars lapping, it is the same. Sometimes you get more luck with it, sometimes more unlucky and that's how it goes. For now it's fine."

Fernando Alonso added: "I think [with] the cars we have now it's quite complicated to set a system that's OK for all circuits.

"Spa is quite easy to get close to one second to the car in front, in Singapore it's quite difficult. Just because of the nature of the circuits, and some different layouts we have in the championship.

"But it's probably more complicated to have a variable gap to show the blue flags. At the same time there are other series that don't have blue flags. You need to play your cards, your strategy, with those cars in front of you.

"There are opinions either way and F1 has been with this current system for I think for the whole history, so we should not be too worried about only one race problem."

Kimi Raikkonen reckoned dfficulties with backmarkers will remain until rules are tightened up to punish offenders more.

"As long as there are not really really strict rules that you get penalties straight away if you do not move over it will never really change," he said.

"I think there's too much freedom in many ways when you are lapped to wait a certain time, and we all know when it is because these things have been discussed in drivers' meetings pretty much every time."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Haas F1 Team
Author Scott Mitchell
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