Despite criticisms from drivers during the Singapore Grand Prix, the FIA are not planning to change the blue flag regulations in Formula 1, with Charlie Whiting saying the current 1.2 second ruling is good enough for the time being.
Currently a front-running driver needs to get within 1.2 seconds of a backmarker to trigger the blue flags, which then dictate to that backmarker to move out of the way, but during the race around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, drivers were finding it hard to get within that time, with Valtteri Bottas in particular outspoken about it as he struggled to get close enough to Nico Hülkenberg in the closing stages.
Bottas said over the radio that the 1.2 second gap was too big for a track like the one in Singapore and felt it needed to be opened up to allow front running drivers to get through quicker, but FIA race director Whiting was against this as he feels that would ruin the other drivers race more than necessary.
“This time last year it was one second, and we had discussions, and we opened it up to 1.2s,” said Whiting to Motorsport.com.
“I don’t think we should go any more than that, because then you get into a situation where a driver has to back off and lose a lot more time than he really should to let the other car through, if he’s got to do it at his earliest opportunity.
“If we say, when he’s 1.4 seconds or 1.6 seconds behind, you’ve got to move right over, back off, and lose a lot of time, we don’t want that to happen because it’s not fair.”
Whiting said it seemed to only be Bottas that was unable to get within the time needed to bring out the blue flags, but he insists it is not the responsibility of the FIA to overcome the issues the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver experienced.
“I think it’s reasonable to expect that a driver can get within 1.2 seconds,” he insisted. “Everyone else did except Valtteri.
“I don’t know why that was. Maybe his car wasn’t exactly how he wanted it. I spoke to him earlier and he said he just couldn’t make any headway. That’s not our problem, without wishing to sound unkind.
“Everyone else was abiding by that and had to work to that, so we couldn’t make an exception for him.”