Raikkonen glad FIA "woke up" regarding warning flag
Kimi Raikkonen supports the use of the black and white warning flag in Formula 1, and says he is pleased that the FIA has “woken up” to its existence.
The unsportsmanlike conduct flag was reintroduced by new race director Michael Masi at the Belgian GP, and used in the race when Pierre Gasly was deemed to have moved in the braking area.
The flag had fallen out of favour over the previous decade, and prior to Spa was last shown to Lewis Hamilton at the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Masi sees it as a useful tool, and a public alternative to warning drivers via radio messages to teams.
“We used to get it when we raced in go-karts,” said Raikkonen. “It’s a normal thing, but it had never been used in F1 for some odd reason. The flag was designed for that, so they have now woken up to the fact we actually have that flag.
"I think it’s good, because in a lot of things it’s crazy to give a penalty straight away, because that’s only what they can do in their own rules. But we also have the flags and for sure it wakes up people. If you then still do something, then it’s fair enough.
“You’re warned once and if you do it again you get the penalty. The flag has been there probably for 100 years, so use it! We’ll see how it works out.”
Raikkonen doesn't believe that re-introducing the flag would encourage drivers to try to get away with a first offence.
“It depends on what you’re doing. Small things you can get away with one hundred times, others will get you a penalty the first time.
“If you have some complete stupidity you’re obviously not going to have the warning flag, you’ll get the penalty, but for small things it’s there. I’m not even sure they used it in the last race.”
Raikkonen's compatriot and fellow Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas also supports the flag's introduction, suggesting that it gives the FIA an extra option.
“I do welcome it,” said the Mercedes driver. “I think it’s a good warning at times. Maybe it gives slight flexibility. Sometimes the penalty seems quite sudden, sometimes even unexpected. So I think it’s a good thing.
“We all like racing hard and not being too regulated through penalties. So maybe that can add a bit of flex.”
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