Addressing the press during the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix weekend, FIA race director confirmed that the FIA will trial automatic lap deletion of timings for ignoring double yellow flags. The method is being implemented as a result of the controversy surrounding Fernando Alonso being unsanctioned for yellow-flag infringement in qualifying at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Speaking to the onsite media at the Turkish Grand Prix, Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi said:
“Let's see what we do in Austin, 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.”
Fernando Alonso absolved of infriging yellow flag rule in Turkey GP qualifying
After Alonso’s yellow-flag infringement was investigated in Turkey, stewards found that the Spaniard had slowed down considerably after the double yellows were waived. The double-world champion was unable to set a competitive laptime under the yellow flags, and it was in the next lap that he set his flying lap, which was 3.5 seconds quicker than the previous one.
Despite the stewards' decision, many other drivers who aborted their laps under the double yellows felt it was an unfair decision. In the wake of the controversy, the FIA will trial a system where the lap times of the drivers infringing the yellow flags are automatically deleted, similar to the system they have for infringing track limits.
Explaining that there were discussions in the wake of the incident, Masi said:
“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, and [after] some discussions today, there's some refining that we can probably do to make it clearer for everyone."
On being asked if the system was ready to be introduced at the Austin Grand Prix weekend, Masi felt that it could be, saying:
“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”.
The Australian motorsports director further added:
“So you need to comply with the requirements within the ISC [International Sporting Code], about double yellow flags...So we'll have a look, probably trial something else in Austin, and see where we go.”
The Austin Grand Prix, held at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, is scheduled for the weekend spanning October 22-24, 2021.