Palmer and Villeneuve criticise use of new 'yellow card'

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF90 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10.
© XPB 

F1's decision to reintroduce the mothballed black-and-white driver standards flag as a 'yellow card' first warning during races has been criticised by two former drivers, following the way it was used in the Italian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc was on the receiving end of it after his block on Lewis Hamilton going into the second chicane on lap 23 send the Mercedes into the run-off escape road.

But former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer felt that using the warning flag in this fashion had allowed the race director to be too light on Leclerc. In Palmer's view, Leclerc should have received a time penalty for his actions.

"In my view, the decision was clear-cut," he wrote in his regular column for BBC Sport. "Much as I didn't want to see a penalty, as it would have inevitably ruined the race, the rules are the rules.

"They must be adhered to for the good of the sport over the entertainment factor of the show," he continued. "You can't do it because everyone wants to see a more balanced [race] for the remaining 30 minutes.

"I found it extremely uncomfortable watching Masi trying to explain the situation after the race," he added.

"The revival of the black-and-white warning flag ... means drivers are potentially allowed to commit one offence in a race and get away with it. What sort of racing is that going to produce? And how is that ethical or fair?"

Race winner Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF90 is congratulated in parc ferme by third placed Lewis Hamilton

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve had a similar view of the situation.

"It's like being allowed to do a stupid action in the race," Villeneuve told Motorsport-Magazin.

"They're going to start abusing it soon - depending on whether the yellow card is transferred to the next race, in which case of course the driver won't have that option."

"When [Leclerc] made the move before the second chicane, at the most dangerous place, if that was on another track - or if it was another driver - that move would normally have been a penalty.

"You have to judge him the same way as any other driver and this Sunday he did 'a Magnussen', that's the truth," he added. "He knew he could risk it, so he played with the limits and it worked for him."

Mercedes principal Toto Wolff was also unhappy with the new yellow card system and agreed it could end up making drivers more reckless.

“I think more cars will be touching and it will be more of a common practice,” he said this week. “My opinion is that it will end up in a collision."

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