Brawn apologises to Winnie Harlow for chequered flag debacle

Winnie Harlow (CDN) Model, on the grid. 10.06.2018.
© XPB 

Formula 1's director of motorsports Ross Brawn has apologised to super model Winnie Harlow for the embarrassment caused at the end of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Harlow was handed the flag and told to wave it prematurely after a miscommunication between the official starter and an official in the starter's tower.

"Supermodel Winnie Harlow was an innocent victim at the end of the race," said Brawn this week, wanting to make clear that she had done nothing wrong.

"I was sad to see her so heavily criticised when, as race director Charlie Whiting explained, it was all down to a misunderstanding between two officials.

"She was asked to wave the chequered flag, but was told to do so after 69 of the 70 laps had been completed.

"Winnie simply followed the instructions she was given and I want to apologise for the grief she received and thank her for supporting Formula 1."

Brawn pointed out that there had been a similar incident in Shanghai in 2014, when the flag was shown prematurely by a race official rather than a celebrity.

"As the saying goes, 'to err is human' and all of us - drivers, managers, engineers, mechanics, journalists and fans - make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them and try to prevent them happening again in the future."

Under FIA rules, the race result has to be rolled back to the end of lap 68 rather than the full 70 lap distance.

While the mistake didn't alter the finishing order, it did deprive Daniel Ricciardo of fastest lap honours which he set in the final two, now deleted laps.

However, the FIA has said it will review the finish procedure to ensure that nothing similar happens in future.

"The celebrity was not to blame," Whiting said. "I don't think that [changing] that is anything that we need to consider, certainly not at the moment, anyway."

"I think we'd need to probably think about having a better end of race signal," he mused. "The chequered flag is traditional, but it's something that, as we've seen today, is prone to mistakes."

An automated system has been mooted. However Whiting said such a change was "not completely straightforward, it needs a little bit of thought."

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