Formula 1

Wolff Seeking Change to Red Flag Rules in Formula 1 After Lost Track Time at Zandvoort

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Credit: LAT Images

Toto Wolff wants the Formula 1 Commission to look at the red flag rules during free practice sessions when they meet next month, with the Team Principal of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team looking for a change of regulation to enable more running.

Speaking after both of Friday’s sessions at the Circuit Zandvoort were affected by red flags, Wolff says the commission need to work out whether or not continuing the session’s clock is justified. 

Sebastian Vettel’s stoppage in first practice on Friday cost them thirty-seven minutes of running, while further time was lost in the afternoon following Lewis Hamilton’s engine failure and Nikita Mazepin’s spin.

Friday’s sessions were reduced from ninety to sixty minutes ahead of this season, and Wolff says losing valuable time to the red flags is not good for the teams nor the spectators who paid to see the cars circulate.

“I think this is yet another point that we have to discuss in the [F1] Commission,” Wolff is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.

“That, in a similar way like in Spa, we need to find a way, because the sessions are so short now, sixty minutes, that we have more on-track action, the clock stops so that these guys out there see cars.

“In terms of affecting us, it affects everybody in the same way. You have much less time running, the end was certainly compromised for all cars.

“But there is a valuable lesson to learn also that it’s going to be tricky in qualifying with the traffic. This is something we need to address.”

The Formula 1 Commission are set to be busy when they do get together, with talks also likely about the awarding of points when a race is run completely behind the safety car, as was the case last weekend in the Belgian Grand Prix.

And Wolff says a rule tweak is likely needed to prevent a repeat of what happened at Spa-Francorchamps being declared a race when drivers were only able to follow the safety car in heavy rain.

“We need to talk about the regulations that points are awarded for a race,” Wolff added.  “I think we are all racers at heart and we want points to be given for racing, and I think in the future, we just need to discuss in the F1 Commission whether a few laps behind the Safety Car is good enough for points, or whether we actually want the cars racing.

“This is the same for all the teams and I am not dwelling at all about Spa, probably making sure that we give points for an actual race.”

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