Blue flag rules changed for Baku

The FIA have altered the rules for slow cars reacting to blue flags after criticism from top drivers about the situation.

Before this season if a car was being lapped a blue flag signal would show when the faster car was 1.5 seconds behind. This was changed to 1 second for 2017 with the teams expected to warn their drivers when the gap is 3 seconds.

However because of the nature of the new cars this has come under fire. Due to the increased downforce of the cars the ‘dirt air’ effect is more prominent meaning it is more difficult to keep up with other cars at close range.

Thus many drivers have lost out due to being unable to catch and overtake lapped cars.

The issue was brought up by Kimi Raikkonen in the Canada, the Fin feeling he lost the win due to backmarkers when leading the Monaco grand prix. As well as Max Verstappen who believed the same problem cost him a podium in China.

Despite counter arguments from backmaker teams, who say changing the rules would ruin their own battles, race director Charlie Whiting has changed the rules to bring out blue flags at 1.2 seconds rather than 1 second.

A note sent to the teams from Whiting read: “When the faster car is within 1.2s of the car about to be lapped blue flags will be shown to the slower car (in addition to blue light panels, blue cockpit lights and a message on the timing monitors) and the driver must allow the following driver to overtake at the first available opportunity.”

The FIA will review the change after Baku and decide is any further changes need to be made.

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