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Formula 1 Monaco GP

FIA urged to delete best laps of F1 drivers causing Monaco red flags

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz is one of several Formula 1 racers urging the FIA to revisit the idea of ensuring drivers who cause red flags in Monaco qualifying have their best lap time deleted.

Marshals wave a red flag

Yellow and red flags in qualifying can be particularly disruptive on the tight confines of the Monte Carlo street circuit, something which has been exploited in the past.

In 2006 Michael Schumacher parked up on purpose at Rascasse to prevent Fernando Alonso from improving on the German's provisional pole time.

Schumacher was put to the back of the grid by the race stewards as they deemed his action deliberate.

But even incidents that don't happen on purpose, or can't be proven to be, have equally been problematic.

Watch: Ayrton Senna Inspired Special Livery! | McLaren's 2024 Monaco Grand Prix McLaren Livery

That includes Nico Rosberg securing pole in 2014 with an off at Mirabeau that brought out yellow flags and denied Lewis Hamilton a chance to improve, while Sergio Perez's Q3 crash in 2022 at Portier also prevented Max Verstappen from overhauling him.

In IndyCar, there is a mechanism that drivers who cause a yellow flag lose their best time in that segment, and those who trigger a red flag lose their best two laps.

That system not only eliminates any wrongdoing but also prevents the shroud of any unsporting behaviour lingering over the result.

Ferrari driver Sainz says the FIA should revisit the idea of deleting lap times for offending drivers.

"There have been very clear cases in street circuits where, between us drivers, we've spotted people on purpose generating red flags," Sainz said.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid, locks up under braking.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid, locks up under braking.

Photo by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

"The FIA hasn't been maybe as convinced about them being on purpose, because as drivers we know what's on purpose and what's not.

"So, it will be interesting to see what approach they take into this weekend.

"It's always a topic around Monaco. I just hope that for the benefit of the show and the fair play and fair racing, we all go out there in Q1 and Q3, giving it all without taking unnecessary risks."

GPDA director George Russell and Alpine's Esteban Ocon were among the drivers making similar comments. Perez, whose 2022 accident prompted the initial debate about the topic in the first place, is also on board.

"That should be something sensible to be doing, because we've seen in the past drivers causing issues and the others not being able to do a lap," said Ocon.

"That should be something that the FIA monitors, I think."

Perez added: "Yeah, definitely. I think it is how it should be. We've been trying to do that sort of push in the last few years, but it doesn't seem to happen."

The idea was briefly brought up in the wake of Perez's 2022 crash, but it is understood the FIA felt it wasn't necessary to take any further measures. However, Thursday's comments suggest it will likely be brought up again in Friday evening's drivers' briefing.

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