Miyata criticises "harsh" red flag rules after losing Fuji times

Ritomo Miyata feels losing all of his qualifying times for this weekend’s Fuji Super Formula round due to causing a red flag following a mechanical failure is overly harsh.

Ritomo Miyata, Kuo VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S

Toyota protege Miyata was eighth-fastest in Saturday’s rain-affected 30-minute qualifying session, and would have been promoted to seventh on the grid with Ryo Hirakawa subsequently losing his best lap to a track limits infringement.

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However, the 22-year-old was stripped of his times because the second of three red flags in the session was caused by his TOM’S car losing power, forcing Miyata to park up on the outside of the track at the Turn 13 right-hander in the final sector.

Super Formula rules dictate that any driver responsible for a red flag loses his or her qualifying times, regardless of the cause, meaning Miyata is set to start Sunday’s race from down in 20th position.

But Miyata believes that losing his grid slot for something out of his control is unfair.

“It was force majeure,” Miyata told Motorsport.com’s Japanese edition post-qualifying. “It’s not like me, the team or the Toyota engineers want something like that to happen, and I don’t agree that I should have all my times deleted because of it.

“All of our efforts came to nothing… we didn’t do anything on purpose, so it’s frustrating, although I don’t want to blame anyone. I think losing my times is harsh.”


Miyata added that he did everything possible to get his stricken TOM’S car in a safe position once he lost power, something for which he doesn’t yet know the root cause.

“I knew that I had to get the car as far away from the track as possible,” he said. “I’d heard that if I could stop near the ‘fire station’ [marshals’ post with a fire extinguisher], there would be no red flag, but there is a slope there and I couldn’t reach it at that speed.

“We did what we could. What I want people to know is that we didn’t do it on purpose, it was just a car problem. I want that to be factored in when the result is decided.”

Miyata also questioned why Super Formula has different rules to Formula 1, where a driver keeps his qualifying laptime even upon crashing and causing a red flag.

“If you look at F1, in Monaco the driver who crashed can still be on pole,” he pointed out, referring to Charles Leclerc's 2021 pole at the principality. “Why should the rules be different in Japan?”

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