Black and white flag for Mazepin in Sochi

Nikita Mazepin

Amidst all the chaos going on in the race, where our eyes were busy looking at the numerous overtakes and predicting the weather, Nikita Mazepin was shown a black and white flag.

Now, on a typical race weekend, we mostly come across few flags. Those are the yellow, blue and red (not to mention the obvious green and the chequered). But the black and white flags are not that frequent. So, why was the black-and-white flag waved at the home Grand Prix of the Haas driver?

Bad Sportmanship

The FIA International Sporting Code states that the black-and-white flag “should be shown once only and is a warning to the driver concerned that he has been reported for unsportsmanlike behaviour”.

If the driver doesn’t pay heed to the warning then a black flag is shown alongside the car’s number. A black flag means the driver has to come back to the pits immediately. Red card in football, anyone?

Unsportsmanlike conduct can mean intentionally driving another car off the track, getting out of the car and starting an argument with another driver. And at times it’s shown when a driver continuously exceeds track limits.

Mazepin blocked Tsunoda

The F1 race director, Michael Masi explained the incident leading to the warning,

“Going through Turn 12, it was just the move that he came across so late with Yuki, who was overtaking with DRS.

“It’s one of the things that we’ve said a few times and that we’ve issued black-and-whites for before, that it’s unsportsmanlike conduct and not something that we would tolerate.”

However, his additional comments were not harsh towards Nikita, despite the rookie’s history of incidents.

“He’s probably had a few stewards’ visits, but I think if you went through and had a look at it all there are probably other drivers that are up there, or have had more.”

“I wouldn’t suggest there is anything untoward or a concern.”

“We look at and investigate each incident on its own merits. If it is worth investigating obviously the stewards will investigate it, and they have a look at it based on the evidence that is before them, and then deem if a penalty is or isn’t necessary.”

Masi, Latifi on the driving style of Mazepin

Mazepin’s driving style has always got a bad shade but every driver has a different style, isn’t it? This is what Masi had to say,

“We always analyse specific incidents, not complaints about someone’s driving in general.”

“If you start picking on driving styles, you know, there are 20 drivers in Formula 1, and each has his own style. Yes, some visit the stewards more often in a season, but I wouldn’t say there is something particularly disturbing about this case.”

Williams’ driver, Nicholas Latifi also had something to comment about Nikita’s driving style,

“Nikita always moves very late in his defence.”

“But there is nothing wrong with that. It’s just Nikita’s style – it’s how he drives the car.

“In my opinion, it doesn’t seem to go beyond the scope. He always just delays his move until the last moment. Sure, it’s not the best situation for us, but what can you do?”

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