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FIA looking to automate chequered flag?

NEWS STORY
14/06/2018

Surely it is no coincidence that weeks after Sean Bratches declared that Formula One is about celebrity, glamour and fashion, and Liberty boss Greg Maffei claimed that the sport is about selling glamour and parties, a supermodel was invited to wave the chequered flag to signal the end of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Unfortunately, as all and sundry at both FOM and the FIA have been keen to point out, the mishap which saw "supermodel" Winnie Harlow wave the flag too early was the result of a technical miscommunication and absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the "supermodel" herself.

With the Formula One World Championship set to celebrate its 1,000th round next year in China, it's interesting that on only four occasions has the chequered flag been waved incorrectly.

Juan Manuel Fangio got it wrong in Argentina in 1978 incorrectly waving it to the wrong Lotus, while in 2002 football legend Pele waved the flag after Michael Schumacher had already crossed the line.

In 2014, in China, the flag was inadvertently waved a lap before it should have been, and then came Ms Harlow's - sorry, the FIA's - gaffe on Sunday.

So, of the 983 races that have comprised the Formula One World Championship since it began in 1950, the chequered flag process has been messed up on four occasions, a failure rate of around 0.4%.

Nonetheless, with an eye on all those other celebrities that could fall victim to the FIA's gaffes and thereby made to look slightly foolish or even uninterested in the job in hand, the sport's governing body is considering introducing an automated system.

"The chequered flag is traditional, but it's something that is prone to mistakes," said Charlie Whiting.

"You could, and it would be quite straightforward for us, make the big black panel that you see show a chequered flag at the appropriate time," he continued. "But if you're going to do it automatically, then you've got to think about exactly when you're going to do it, when you're going to activate it. It's not completely straightforward, it needs a little bit of thought.

"We need to try and get to the situation where drivers only look at the chequered flag on the light panel," he added. "If they don't see that, then the race hasn't ended. Whether we need to go to that length to rectify a situation that happens every 10 years is arguable. But it's something that I'll certainly be looking at."

Ensuring that everyone gets the message that Ms Harlow was not to blame and that there is no reason celebrities shouldn't wave the flag at future events, Whiting insisted: "The celebrity was not to blame, I don't think that that is anything that we need to consider, certainly not at the moment, anyway.

"We may need to look at other things, like the amount of people that get up there sometimes," he admitted. "That can be a little bit difficult. It's the same at the start, you often get people up at the start, and they tend to bring friends with them, and it gets a bit busy up there."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Yeyox02, 21 hours ago

"Faced with the human inability of the FIA to do something as simple as waving a flag, they are now looking for a computer to do it."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by elsiebc, 16/06/2018 17:19

"So they want to remove the human element for waving the checkered flag so that there can be no mistakes. Two months ago they were considering removing the automation to signal the end of a pit stop and putting it back into human control so that there will be no more mistakes."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by FormerF1Fan, 15/06/2018 10:50

"At least the pit babes don't make this sort of mistake..."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by TokyoAussie, 15/06/2018 4:28

"Yes, we can all see that the most pressing issue in F1 is the lack of an automated chequered flag. Why do people keep banging on about "passing moves" and other trivial shit?"

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by alvarezh3, 15/06/2018 0:17

"@ FQITW "I know! What about at the end of the last lap when the leader goes by? A bit like you do now with the Checkered flag.

That would work wouldn’t it?"

Absolutely!

But it's hard to predict how the FIA's rule makers think. Can someone inform me of another race-car series where the start is signaled with a BLACK color? Red light off is a black light-board which means GO! I guess F1 has to be unique and that "black means run" is part of the glamour. Thank God they do show green flags after a safety car restart, they have not messed that up.......YET!

I tell ya!"

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6. Posted by Uffen, 14/06/2018 22:51

"Another step to make F1 more impersonal and corporate and entirely passionless.
So, the flag wave was mistimed, so what? No one was fooled and it had no impact on the results.
It's not as if automated systems never mess up! Right. "

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7. Posted by Ro, 14/06/2018 18:51

"Well thats what you get when you have a dippy model/actress/wannabe wave the flag. It should be an official at the track. Stop all this "celebrity" interference. Its motor racing, not a photo shoot!"

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by FQITW, 14/06/2018 17:27

""But if you're going to do it automatically, then you've got to think about exactly when you're going to do it, when you're going to activate it. It's not completely straightforward, it needs a little bit of thought.

?????

I know! What about at the end of the last lap when the leader goes by? A bit like you do now with the Chequered flag.

That would work wouldn’t it?

@imejl99 You are no more grumpy than quite a few of us on this forum i.e. we all hate and are genuinely alarmed & saddened at the relentless dismantling of our much loved sport - keep being grumpy - I know I will!
"

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9. Posted by ryanhellyer, 14/06/2018 17:14

"I face palmed when I found it wasn't already automated. I never would have guessed they relied on a human to pass on that information. They've had a functional lap timing system working for decades, yet they haven't automated the flag system. This seems quite bizarre to me."

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10. Posted by Greg, 14/06/2018 16:08

"Should habe been laughing smiley faces. Sorry"

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11. Posted by Greg, 14/06/2018 16:07

"Maybe like they do in thise stadium events. As the winner crosses the line skyrockets and other fireworks ignite shiwering down golden rain on ghe track. I am already a grumpy old man 🤣🤣🤣🤣"

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12. Posted by Ro, 14/06/2018 15:52

"What next ? Change the flag so it can be easily seen on television?"

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13. Posted by imejl99, 14/06/2018 15:34

"That`s the way forward, focus energy and resources to fix something that has 979-4 record...

I just realized that I am commenting more and more, becoming grumpy old man as if not already one. Like, I am not quite sure how something can be declared prone to mistake, just to be described as something that happens every 10 years in few sentences later. Nevermind

As I am grateful to pitpass.com for allowing us to voice our opinions and reactions, I will try not to be that negative in the future, and to tune down comments a little bit. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

14. Posted by 69seven, 14/06/2018 15:07

"Four failures in 983 races is approximately 0.4%."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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