Whiting will red-flag qualifying sessions to avoid speeding controversies

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Double waved yellow flags in qualifying will no longer be used and the session will be stopped if needed, the FIA race director Charlie Whiting has confirmed.

At the Hungarian Grand Prix, there was controversy generated by Nico Rosberg after he set the pole lap under the double yellow flags. The new ruling means that even if drivers are ahead of the incident, when the red flags go out they would have to abandon their current lap.

For future qualifying sessions, Whiting will not hesitate to red flag the session. To stop discussions from happening about whether or not drivers had slowed down enough for yellow flags.

“That’s what I intend to do in the future, just to remove any discussion about whether a driver slowed down or not,” said Whiting to Motorsport.com.

“I think most drivers decided to call it a day and stop their attempt at qualifying, but in Nico’s defence, he had only one yellow sector to go through, and that was a short one, whereas the other drivers had two yellow sectors to go through. So there is a difference.

“I just don’t want to get into these discussions where you need to try and decide whether a driver has slowed down enough. If you apply the double waved yellow flag rule absolutely to the letter it says you must be prepared to stop.

“I think that’s a difficult one to call really. It’s a little unfair to those who were in front of Fernando and were trying to complete the lap, but that’s what happens when a red flag goes out any time.

“Pascal Wehrlein was caught out by the third red flag in Q1. He was about to set a time and a red flag came out less than a second before [the line], and his time didn’t count. That’s what happens, unfortunately.”