Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner has criticised the FIA for what he felt was an overzealous application of the black and orange flag in recent races.
Sometimes dubbed the ‘meatball flag’ for its appearance, the black and orange flag is waved at a car that is deemed to have mechanical problems or loose bodywork that presents a risk to other drivers, with the recipient of the flag immediately obliged to come into the pits to resolve the issue.
The flag has been rarely used in Formula 1 in recent years, but has been shown twice to Haas driver Kevin Magnussen during the 2022 season – first in Canada, where a radio message from Esteban Ocon over Magnussen’s bent front wing appeared to influence the FIA to throw the flag; and then in Hungary, where his damaged front wing endplate was listing to one side.
Magnussen had been running inside the top 10 at the Hungaroring, but the resulting unscheduled pit-stop to install a new front wing dropped him to last, and condemned the Dane to a lowly 16th-place finish.
Speaking exclusively to RacingNews365.com, Steiner said there had been no need to force the Dane into a pit-stop, as the damage to his wing did not pose a danger to other drivers.
Steiner: There was no need for the flag
“In Hungary, there was absolutely no need for [the black and orange flag],” Steiner told the 9 August edition of the RacingNews365.com
“It was agreed between team managers and Race Control that Race Control would call up the team and ask what they think about the damage on the car, because the team knows better than Race Control how it is constructed.
“And that didn’t happen, which was very disappointing, and you don’t have a chance to complain about it because you need to come in next time to the pit lane, so you haven’t got a chance to react.”
Steiner added that he intends to talk to the FIA with a view towards revising the process behind the deployment of the flag.
“I will bring it up after the summer break that this is not correct,” said Steiner.
“When we inspected the broken part of it, there was no need at all for it, there was no danger that this part would fall off or could injure anybody, and it destroyed our race.
“I think it was the wrong call. Obviously, we need to go through the motions, why it was done, [but] it will never fix that it was done and destroyed Kevin’s race in Hungary.”