Branson backs calls for blue flag ban

fat jez

Race Winner
Valued Member
Virgin and Lotus bosses are calling for blue flags to be abolished, claiming they penalise small teams too much.

Virgin Racing's CEO Graeme Lowdon reckons blue flags hurt smaller teams too much, as they lose big amounts of time letting the leading drivers through.

"We get a blue flag three seconds before someone approaches us, and at the moment three seconds is almost a lap and you have to let them by within four corners," he said. "So we have situations where our guys are pulling to one side and the car behind cannot catch up.

"It's a massive compromise over the whole of a race. We do this graph of time against distance, and you look at the graph and you immediately see where the blue flags start because up to a point of the race we are there or thereabouts in terms of pace, but then it drops away.

Source: Autosport
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Interesting one this.

I can see how blue flags totally ruin the races for the back markers but at the same time, why should the leaders risk their race passing drivers who are on a different lap?

I'm not sure where I stand on this, I'll have to wait to see if anyone comes up with a good argument for or against them.
 

fat jez

Race Winner
Valued Member
I agree, if you have (for example) Alonso, Hamilton and Webber all racing for position and they come up on some back markers, they would have to not only be focused on preventing somebody behind them overtaking, but also on planning a suitable overtaking move on the backmarker. Seems like a recipe for disaster to me!
 

RickD

Pole Sitter
I do think they put the blue flags out a little too early at times, I think it should be an automated system when the leader is within 1 second and it should only be two corners to let them by, if anymore breaks this, then give them a drive-through. This way, the back markers would stop getting in the way and also not affect their own races too much (as much as they do now).
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
It's an interesting point.If you look at this in conjuction with C_a_T's post on new technology there appears to be a common trend.
The question I am asking myself at present(becoming ever more disillusioned) with the entire F1 scene is this.
Has F1 lost it's competitve spirit.Anything that is the result of hard competitive racing (see the pics of Rossi and Lorenzo) in Moto GP. and if the stewards do not apply penalties, the teams, the fans espcially start baying for blood.
In my book its up to the drivers to pass slower cars, no matter how difficult that may be irrespective of their position on the track.
Contrary to what everyone says overtaking is possible you only have to look at the overtaking stats to see that this is true.
 

Enja

isn't dead.
Valued Member
What happens in a year or two when the newer teams are within 1s of the lead pace like in 2008/2009? It would be pretty dangerous to have cars like that racing against the front runners.

I can see the point when the cars are 4-5 seconds slower, because eventually they will get past, but as Glock proved in Singapore, they can make life a bit more difficult while looking after their own race and gaining valuable exposure for their own team.

I would have a big problem with cars not much slower, who are being lapped but do not give up the space to let the front guys through.

Not sure though because I do agree with the general sentiment of "if you're the fastest guy on track, you should be able to get past the back markers anyway".

Hmm..
 

F1Yorkshire

Avatar for sale to the highest bidder
Contributor
With modern technology the drivers are informed of a faster car approaching through the radio so the blue flag is now redundant as a safety precaution.

The blue flags we're introduced to inform slower cars that faster cars were coming up behind them so they were prepared to be overtaken. I'm not sure when the rule was made that a slow car had to concede to a faster car or receive a penalty.

With the 107% rule been brought back in for next season any car that is not fast enough to compete will not be taking part in the race, so any significantly slow cars will not be getting in the way of the leading drivers.

I think the blue flag should be kept as a back up incase radio systems fail but there only purpose will be to inform slow drivers that they may be overtaken. They should not have to sacrifice their own race just because a leading car can't overtake.

It would be good for the leading drivers as well so they can improve their overtaking skill as some of them have struggled at passing in the races so far this season.
 

GeoffP

Thank you and good night
Contributor
I can't help but interpreting this as F1 "dumbing down".

If all existing rules regarding passing were applied evenly then, in a perfect world, no individual battles on track would be impacted.

If you take away the responsibility of cars not to impact the front runners you will take away that position as the front runners will be bunched up, and you will cause a risk by having many faster drivers trying to pass slower drivers simultaneously, btw Galahad, would that be an overtake?

What is being suggested here is that since we don't have a perfect world the rules don't work perfectly, so let's have imperfect rules. The use of team radio is being used to support the racing, and should be standardised for use where covering a racing situation, but the blue flags still need to exist to ensure the driver is aware of their on-track situation, and as a type of final warning. My vote is definitely about improving the systems we have to cover for where they fail rather than throwing them away.

Maybe when the 107% rule is re-introduced we should make it that any car going too fast and causing the problem has a rev limiter applied to slow them down rather than excluding the poor slower car.

Or, to put it another way, I thought we turned up to watch racing, seeing drivers and teams compete, not parade!
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Appendix L international sporting code. Code of conduct.
Overtaking, car control and track limits
a) A car alone on the track may use the full width of the said
track, however, as soon as it is caught by a car which is about
to lap it the driver must allow the faster driver past at the first
possible opportunity.
If the driver who has been caught does not seem to make
full use of the rear-view mirrors, flag marshals will display
the waved blue flag to indicate that the faster driver wants to
overtake.
Any driver who appears to ignore the blue flags will be reported
to the Stewards of the meeting.

http://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.ns ... 202010.pdf
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Sorry, it is self-serving tosh for Branson here.

Blue flags should not be banned, we want to see a reasonable fight at the front, and if that means Lucas di Grassi failing to pass Bruno Senna for 17th, then so be it.

The problem is if we don't have one of the Lotus/Virgin/HRT level cars being lapped, but instead (say) Michael Schumacher in a Mercedes; fast enough that he can't easily be passed, slow enough that they hold up the leader.

That isn't right. And imagine Monaco!
 

F1Yorkshire

Avatar for sale to the highest bidder
Contributor
teabagyokel said:
The problem is if we don't have one of the Lotus/Virgin/HRT level cars being lapped, but instead (say) Michael Schumacher in a Mercedes; fast enough that he can't easily be passed, slow enough that they hold up the leader.

That isn't right. And imagine Monaco!

Monaco has minimal passing as it is even with the backmarkers jumping out of the way. If the blue flag rules are changed I can see more action like we saw at Singapore.

If the Virgins had not been where they were I don't think Hamilton would of got near enough to Webber to attempt the overtake. I know the move ended badly for Hamilton but at least he got the opportunity to attempt it.
 

Grizzly

Bear
Contributor
The new teams need to shut up and speed up. end of. (IMHO of course :) )

GeoffP said:
Maybe when the 107% rule is re-introduced...

I see your thinking, but the new teams are within that already so would unfortunately make no difference

RickD said:
I do think they put the blue flags out a little too early at times...

Yes, (though i disagree they should have less time to concede) i have particularly noticed this in the last two races. Ive seen the leaders coming up on the new teams at opposite ends of the straight and their getting waved at already! 3/4 of a lap before the leaders would actually catch them under normal racing. The back marker then has to slow down before he reaches a fifth flag, damaging his race. That's bad stewarding, but has nothing to do with the rule book. I was wondering if this element has anything to do with less experienced stewards at these flyaway races...?

Really for him (them, whatever) to even suggest they go is a daft comment, in part because the drivers can't be trusted to do anything that is not to their own benefit. The blue flags were enforced because of numerous incidents involving back markers i seem to remember. I remember Minardi's etc moving over for one car then blocking the other on purpose because they are in bed with one driver and not the other.

What the new teams are suggesting in a round about way is, we want to enter the sport with a shit unreliable car, then do everything in our power to block the fast cars coming past because its not fair!
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
I fact it was Tony Fernades who made the proposal to ban blue flags.Not Branson.

.
"Fernandes, whose team has made its Formula 1 debut this year, said earlier this season that he believed the sport would benefit from not having blue flags.

"Drivers are paid to overtake, whether they are back markers or at the front," said Fernandes back in May. "I think it would be good for the sport to get rid of blue flags. In the days of Ken Tyrrell, he would never let any car pass."

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/87186
 

Muddytalker

Points Scorer
RickD said:
I do think they put the blue flags out a little too early at times, I think it should be an automated system when the leader is within 1 second and it should only be two corners to let them by, if anymore breaks this, then give them a drive-through. This way, the back markers would stop getting in the way and also not affect their own races too much (as much as they do now).

A quick answer, because I'm about to leave for home - But this is the whole argument of the smaller teams - 3 corners (or in your case 2) is not enough for a car to get past without the smaller car having to come to a relative stop. Take Hungary for example, 2 corners might be just 150 yards, and yet you want a car to gain 1 second in that time?

I actually agree with getting rid of them, or at least only use them when a lapped car is blocking/oblivious to being lapped (ref: Arnoux, de Cesaris, etc).
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Regarding the unreliability issues these have been mainly hydraulics.These are caused by the Cosworth/Extrac engine transmission package.
The engines and transmissions are supplied and maintained by Cosworth.Not the teams themselves.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
I have the sneaking suspicion that the underlying reason for the complaint from Virgin is that, by having to allow the leaders through with something approaching alacrity, it reduces the amount of time that their car appears on the TV screen!

Without the blue flags, things could get very ugly. If a car is, say 5% slower than the leaders, in an 80 lap race, they will be lapped 4 times! Multiply the problem times 6 (for each of the new-team cars) and the problem for the leaders is magnified alarmingly! The results would undoubtedly be heavily, and probably negatively, impacted by the presence of the newbies.
 

snowy

Champion Elect
What exactly does Richard Branson know about F1 racing? Answer: Bugger all. What does that tell us about Tony Fernandes? Answer: He knows bugger all also.
Should Tony Fernandes be running an F1 team? Answer: No!
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I agree entirely with Grizzly. Either the faster cars are going to disrupt the battle for 18th position, or the slower cars are going to disrupt the battle for 1st position. Given the choice, I'd prefer the former situation than the latter, hence retaining blue flags (though not being premature with their deployment. Better an early flag than none at all, though).

As for the moaning, just get on with it, honestly.
 
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