The US Grand Prix could be hosting a new test. FIA is indeed convinced to try something different to make drivers and teams respect the double yellow flags zone without speeding up and creating controversies.
The technicians and experts are set to eliminate the laptimes that are obtained in this period during both the free practices and qualifying. The reason why FIA decided to trial something different is that it wants to promote equality in treatment and to avoid possible controversies, like the one that happened recently with Fernando Alonso
At the moment, drivers are expected to slow down in the double flags zone, so that the time is not important anymore but many of them still race at their fullest and you can’t tell if they slowed down but not as much as it was required or they just ignored it. The Alpine driver found himself stuck in the yellow flags during his first meaningful lap and he was reported to the stewards as he finished that lap with a pace that was just as fast as the others who didn’t run in the yellow flags zone.
With this basis, how can a steward be sure to have applied a sanction correctly?
In the Spaniard case, Fernando Alonso avoided the penalty because the stewards found out that his next valid lap was over three seconds faster. However, Michael Masi reported the need of a solid set of rules on the matter to avoid inequalities of treatment and make the flags to be respected at the same time.
“Let's see what we do in Austin, - Masi said to Motorsport.com - We've done it when it happens for track limits. We can investigate what areas will work best, and just make sure that there's no unintended consequences. It sounds on the face of it that it could be a good resolution. But you just need to talk through it all. We've got a sporting advisory committee [meeting] scheduled anyway this week, and that's one of the ones on the agenda.”
“There's probably a little bit of tweaking of wording that we can do. It's been as it has been for quite a while – he keeps explaining – and [after] some discussions today there's some refining that we can probably do to make it clearer for everyone.”
At this point, it is important to understand if this trial will be already tested in Austin, with the laps eliminated and he said “quite possibly”.
“It's in my event notes. It's not even a regulation change. It's effectively, the legal terminology would be, it's a test. So you need to comply with the requirements within the ISC [International Sporting Code], complying with double yellow flags. But effectively to prove that you've done that, the test is being meaningful lap times scenario,- he added – So we'll have a look, probably trial something else in Austin, and see where we go."