FIA investigating checkered flag 'systems error' at Suzuka

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FIA race director Michael Masi says F1's governing body is conducting an investigation into the "systems error" that led to a premature end to last Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

The race was scheduled to last 53 laps but the checkered flag light panel was erroneously activated and shown to race leader Valtteri Bottas at the end of lap 52.

However, the confusing discrepancy between the light panel and the scheduled lap tally led drivers to continue at racing speed for an extra lap.

Masi pinned the untimely activation of the electronic checkered flag on a systems error, the origin of which is still uncertain.

"From what we have seen it is a system error," the Aussie said.

"It is something that we have to investigate. I am not going to pre-empt what it is, was, or wasn’t. It was a system error."

Masi wouldn't dismiss a human mishap rather than a computer glitch as the cause for the flag snag.

"That is why we have to look at exactly what happened, reconstruct it and go from there," he added. "We will have a look at what it is.

"It is very unfortunate, I will be the first one to say that.

"We pride ourselves on doing things perfectly, but it is one of those that hasn’t happened before with the chequered flag board, and we have just got to investigate why."

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel argued that Formula 1 should rely only on its traditional waving of the checkered flag to signal the end of a race.

However, last year's Canadian Grand Prix was also terminated prematurely when super model Winnie Harlow, who was entrusted with the checkered flag, was ordered to wave it two laps earlier than planned.

That blunder was precisely why the electronic system was implemented at the start of the 2019 season.

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