American Guenther Steiner told Sky Sports he wants the FIA to reassess how it decides restart orders in Formula 1 if a red flag is needed before a timing sector has been completed following a standing start.
F1’s Sporting Regulations state that if a race is suspended “in all cases the order will be taken at the last point at which it was possible to determine the position of all cars”.
Because the field had not made it through the first timing sector, race director Niels Wittich decided to restore the order from before the restart to complete the one remaining lap behind the Safety Car.
Haas were the big losers of the decision as Nico Hulkenberg had jumped up to fourth after avoiding contact, and would have been in contention for his and the team’s first podium following Carlos Sainz’s five-second time penalty. The German was ultimately classified seventh.
The American team saw a protest against the result dismissed by stewards. While in that submission Haas acknowledged the limitations of GPS, Steiner would like to see it combined with other technology to try and make things clearer for spectators.
Reflecting on the ordering procedure, Steiner told Sky Sports: “They wanted to do the ordering on a timing line. With the technology that we have these days, GPS is accurate enough – we use GPS for the blue flag for example.
“They say it’s not accurate enough for a finishing position yet it’s accurate enough for a blue flag – we need to make our mind up what it is and what it isn’t.
“I really think there needs to be a lot of thinking. We could have frozen everything, via camera and via GPS, at the exact moment when the red flag came out.
“I think it will come up at our next F1 Commission next week. Let’s see what comes up – people are a lot less outspoken in meetings like this about it but everyone will have their opinion.
“I think in general, we need to do it for the fans. For me, the biggest thing was to make people wait half an hour for a race result knowing that it will not change anymore. We only had to go around another lap and a half.”
Steiner also pondered if the FIA could have just used the Safety Car to negotiate the final lap and a half, and therefore remove the need to alter the order, rather than throw out the final red flag.
“The third red flag was completely unnecessary and just delayed the finish of the race for half an hour,” said Steiner ahead of the publication of his new book Surviving to Drive: A Year Inside Formula 1.
“Everybody knew at the second restart that if there was another red flag the race would start behind the Safety Car and go to the end behind the Safety Car, why not put the Safety Car out straight away and finish the race and let everybody go home?
“I think there needs to be some discussions on how we can do this better.”