The Monaco Grand Prix took place last weekend and it had surprises. What appeared to be a Ferrari weekend turned into a party for Red Bull, who were the winners of the race led by Max Verstappen. With this result, the Dutch driver positioned himself as the leader of the drivers' championship, displacing Lewis Hamilton to P2. For his part, the fourth position of Sergio Perez helped the Austrians to be leaders of the constructors' championship. On the other hand, despite the fact that Carlos Sainz managed to finish in second place, all the attention laid on Charles Leclerc and his failed race.
The home driver had very good results during free practice on Thursday and Saturday, laying all hopes for pole position on him and his teammate. During qualifying, the Monegasque driver managed to advance to Q3 without problems. Upon reaching this last stage, Charles managed to set the best time of the session and taking provisional pole. After setting that time and with only 18 seconds left in the session, Charles was on his way to another fast lap attempt, when at the exit of the swimming pool, his Ferrari had hit the wall. This caused a red flag to be shown, preventing many drivers from finishing their fastest lap, including his own teammate, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, who were the most likely to slow down the Ferrari driver. Consequently, Charles kept pole position, however, a gearbox problem thanks to his crash, would make Leclerc unable to start the Grand Prix.
Currently, in two of the most important categories in the United States (IndyCar, IMSA), there is a rule which stipulates that any driver who crashes during the qualifying session and causes a red flag, said driver will lose his fastest timed laps. This rule is under the eyes of Formula 1, however, not everyone agrees. Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas commented that they do not believe that its implementation is necessary to the highest category of motorsport, however, Toto Wolff said that adding this rule to F1 would be a wise decision by the FIA. Michael Masi, who serves as Formula 1's race director, commented (during an interview with motorsport.com) that its implementation will be discussed at subsequent FIA meetings.
“Like everything when it happens, the FIA, Formula 1 and the teams look at everything and consider it on its own merits. Yes, I know the IndyCar rule, which is also a rule in many other international categories and FIA national championships around the world.” Michael Masi stated.
"We will analyse it and, together with all the key factors, we will determine if it is suitable or not."
The gearbox incident was not the most controversial, but many people claimed that the Monegasque driver had crashed on purpose so that no one can beat his lap and thus, stay in pole position. It is clear that it was not like that, so much so that the gearbox was damaged and losing the possibility of a victory or even a few points, which are key in their fight for third place in the constructors' championship against McLaren. Michael Masi also shared his thoughts on this and he claims it was unintentional.
“After having looked at it [the accident], having looked at the data and also having listened to the communication of the team, I do not think that any driver would go out to seriously damage his car up to that point or in any other circumstance, due to the consequences that may arise from that." The F1 race director commented.
Lately this American rule has been quite popular, however, there is still more. Other people suggest that after the crashed car has been removed from the track, a certain amount of extra minutes be added to the session, so that drivers who were interrupted during their fastest lap and who were improving their times, have the opportunity to repeat. This would eliminate any attempt to keep a certain position thanks to a red flag. Just to clarify, we're not saying that Charles crashed his car on purpose, but for the next few times. It will be a matter of time to see what race control, together with the teams and the FIA, decides in order to avoid any misunderstandings.