Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says he was being creative when he asked the FIA to black flag both of his cars during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Less than 20 minutes into the first practice session on Thursday, race control issued a message that it had shown the black flag to each of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, which signals a disqualification. It transpired that Haas was unable to contact either driver or see any telemetry, and so Steiner says the only way to force the drivers to pit was by using the FIA.
“We had an issue with the IT equipment. We had no data anymore, no radio, nothing — we couldn’t contact them and we couldn’t see what the car was doing,” Steiner explained. “So they needed to come in quick. We put the pit board out, but they didn’t see it, so we came up with the idea, ‘Let’s ask race control to give them the black flag so they come in.’ That’s what we did.
“Everybody got a bit too excited about it, but we got a little bit creative there, and asked for some help to get them focused to come in. They got in, we fixed the problem and then they got out for the last 20 minutes.”
With Haas allowed to rejoin the session once the issue was rectified, Steiner says the drivers were unfazed by the call, but was surprised himself that neither of them noticed a problem when they had not received any radio communication for a number of laps.
“Not really. It was, ‘Oh what happened?’ And then we told them and they realized nothing was working and then they came in. I think for them it was just another day.
“They should look at the pit board! I think they will now in the future. If for more than five laps you don’t hear anyone on the radio in Monte Carlo, it’s likely something must be wrong! Normally you get traffic here, and it’s like ‘Why does nobody tell me about the other cars?’, but we had no traffic. They just kept on going, so we needed to do something about it. But it all ended up good.”