Was Verstappen waved off too early?

(Motorsport-Total.com) – The confusion immediately after the end of the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka was not only great because it was initially unclear whether Max Verstappen would become world champion prematurely or not. Aside from having full championship points, even though only 28 of the 53 scheduled laps were completed, the timing of the race’s end also raised questions.

Winner Max Verstappen saw the checkered flag in Suzuka after 3:01:44


Was Verstappen waved off a lap too early? At Alpine, they think so. “Based on our systems, which are linked to those of the FIA, I’m sure Max was on the last lap when he crossed the line,” said Alpine Sport Director Alan Permane.

Permane thus refers to the crossing of the finish line by the victorious Red Bull driver. As already mentioned, this took place after 28 laps. But the deciding factor: It took place after a total race time (including the stoppage) of 3:01:44.

“There were still five seconds on the clock. That is why he should have finished the round,” says Permane and therefore believes that Verstappen was waved away one lap too early. The sports director of the Alps bases his assumption on the two-hour rule.

This two-hour rule in the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations literally says: “If two hours elapse before the target race distance is completed, the leader will receive the end-of-session signal when he crosses the line at the end of the lap.” , which follows the lap in which the two-hour limit has been passed.”

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But: there is another passage in the regulations, the three-hour rule, so to speak. And that’s exactly what happened in Suzuka on Sunday. It reads: “In the event of a race break, the duration of the break will be added to that time, up to a maximum total race time of three hours.”

In plain language this means: three hours after the start, a race, however long it was interrupted, ends with the checkered flag at the end of the lap in which the three-hour mark was reached. In contrast, the two-hour rule states that after reaching the two-hour mark (actual driving time), one more lap must be completed.

Alan Permane was not aware of this at the Alpine command post and so, referring to his assumption mentioned at the beginning, he says: “We have yet to check that. We have sent messages back and forth asking if the race was also canceled asked. We all agreed that was the case. But the FIA ​​seems to have a different opinion.”

And McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl, who has already taken responsibility for the confusion surrounding the awarding of points, noted: “As I said before, I feel responsible. We (the teams and the FIA; note d. Red) .) get together every winter. Every team has the opportunity to tackle areas that are not clear.”

“In the coming winter, we are all responsible for closing the loopholes, if there are any or if there are different interpretations,” says Seidl. Indeed, as Suzuka Sunday has shown, several interpretations still exist…

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