Since three new teams entered the sport, the blue flag rule has been a talking point. And the Malaysian Grand Prix highlighted the importance of the rule. In Malaysia, the HRT cars set fastest lap times that were over five seconds slower than the fastest lap set by Raikkonen.
The FIA International sporting code states:
The flag should normally be shown to a car about to be lapped and, when shown, the driver concerned must allow the following car to pass at the earliest opportunity.
Appendix H to the International Sporting Code, article 188.8.131.52 (d)
And www.formula1.com further explains the flag use:
[The blue flag] Warns a driver that he is about to be lapped and to let the faster car overtake. Pass three blue flags without complying and the driver risks being penalised. Blue lights are also displayed at the end of the pit lane when the pit exit is open and a car on track is approaching.
It has been mentioned that it may be healthy for the sport to refrain from adhering to the blue flag rule. I disagree with this proposal, although for the new teams it must be difficult to concentrate on their race while concentrating on the blue flags. There is a balance to strike, how much effort should the slower car make in getting out of the way? Should they even need to leave the racing line? Some notable examples of this rule in action below:
1985: Keke Rosberg v Ayrton Senna.
1988: Jean Louis Schlesser v Ayrton Senna.
1990: Satoru Nakajima v Ayrton Senna.
1997: Norberto Fontana holding up Jacques Villeneuve, allegedly conducted by Ferrari.
2012: Vettel v Karthikeyan.
I think that as these drivers are the best in the world, there should not be a problem with this rule. Vettel made a mistake in Malaysia by driving too close to the HRT, and ultimately it was more costly for the German. His reaction afterwards was foolish, as he may need the help of a HRT car in future races. The rule is needed as otherwise it would be boring to watch the world’s fastest cars being held-up in traffic. The examples above of cars being held up, would have been frustrating to watch. I also think that the cars should wait until a straight to complete the overtake. What do you think? And do you know of any other notable examples?