Verstappen condemns “stupid” F1 fans for use of flares


Max Verstappen has criticised Formula 1 fans who bring flares to races as “silly and stupid” following incidents during qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix.

The second segment of qualifying was briefly red-flagged in the opening stages after a fan threw a flare onto the track between Turns 12 and 13 in the stadium section.

Later in Q3, another flare was spotted, but did not reach the track and the session carried on after a brief yellow flag.

Speaking after claiming pole position, Verstappen was not impressed with the fans who bring flares to races after an increase of the use of them at recent Grands Prix – mainly by his supporters.

“It’s just very silly to do, to hold flares already,” explained World Champion Verstappen to media including, who bagged pole by just 0.021s from Charles Leclerc.

“It’s nice but there is a limit to how much. But to throw it on the track is just stupid.”

The person who was responsible for the first flare was found and promptly removed by security.

“Just don’t do that, it’s not good for anyone,” continued Verstappen.

“You get thrown out so you can’t see the race, and for us, the session is stopped because it is dangerous when there is stuff on the track. [You] shouldn’t do it.”

Leclerc and Sainz agree

The use of flares has become common-place at sporting events in the last 12 months, with multiple games at the end of 2021/22 English football season becoming affected by them.

However the danger presented by a lack of visibility, especially on the opening laps of races such as in Austria this year is of increasing concern.

Leclerc hoped that “in the future, we can do [something] to avoid it”, while Sainz was more expansive, believing fans could use flares, but only at the right times.

“I think it’s also important to let the fans know when it’s possible to use the flares, and when it’s not,” the Spaniard explained.

“It was good that on the in-lap for Max to [celebrate getting] pole they used them, but do not use them in middle of the race or on lap one when we are middle of fights.

“At 300km/h with these cars, you don’t want any kind of distraction from smoke.

“Hopefully the organisers can do a good job in airing when it’s time to use them and when it is not, and of course even more importantly when not throw it onto the track.”

A ban on flares was already in place, but fans breached that.

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