Formula 1

FIA launches investigation into early Japanese GP chequered flag

The FIA has launched an investigation into why the chequered flag light display panel was shown a lap early at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Suzuka race was supposed to run to 53 laps, but it is understood the chequered light was displayed on lap 52.

Formula 1’s regulations strictly dictate that the race is declared as soon as the chequered flag is shown.

Article 43.2 of F1’s sporting regulations states: “Should for any reason the end‐of‐race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the Line before the signal was given.”

This means the final result of the Japanese Grand Prix has to be declared at the completion of lap 52 rather than 53.

It does not change the results of the leading cars, but it means some shuffling further down the order.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez will now be credited with a ninth placed finish.

Perez had got involved in a tangle with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly on what should have been the final lap and ended up in the barrier.

Nico Hulkenberg gets moved down to tenth place, with Lance Stroll dropping from 10th to 11th.

The FIA is uncertain why the chequered light panel got illuminated too earlyand is currently looking into the details.

It is not the first time in recent F1 history that the race has been officially declared early, with model Winnie Harlow waving the flag two laps early at the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix.

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