Carlos Sainz was one of eight drivers scrutinized for their use of DRS under yellow flags during the Brazilian Grand Prix, according to FIA race director Michael Masi.
Sainz was promoted to third place after Lewis Hamilton’s time penalty for hitting Alex Albon, but was forced to wait for confirmation of his maiden podium while the FIA analyzed his use of DRS in a double waved yellow sector after Valtteri Bottas stopped on track. Kimi Raikkonen had reported the incident to his Alfa Romeo team at the time and stood to benefit after finishing fourth, but Masi said the stewards felt a number of drivers reacted in the right manner.
“I think it was eight (drivers)… all in that period,” Masi said. “We looked at it, and the overriding factor was double yellow flags is the requirement to slow, and significantly slow, and that’s what we looked at with all of them. All of them complied with that.
“Yes, a few of them did activate DRS for a relatively short period of time. I’ll call it muscle memory. There isn’t the ability of isolating single DRS zones to turn them off. It’s either, they all get turned off, or (none do). We had the stewards look at that and decide no investigation was necessary. The overriding factor of slowing for the double yellows was absolutely complied with.”
However, Masi did admit that the topic was discussed with the drivers during their briefing on Friday ahead of the race, and he had told them not to use DRS in such situations.
“Correct, and the discussion on Friday was that the expectation is that DRS isn’t used in a double yellow flag, but the overriding factor is to comply with the double yellow requirements,” he said. “If you look at it, having a DRS opened is against the philosophy of slowing.
“It’s one of those things, you can’t make a rule to suit every situation. The reason we have stewards is to make determinations on things. As I said, the overriding factor is that they slowed, which they all did.”
With no clear rule in place regarding the use of DRS when there are double waved yellows, Masi said the FIA will see if there is an effective way of incorporating the topic into the regulations.
“It’s already something we’ve started discussing collectively. That component of it. The way double yellows, you have to give up your lap in qualifying, works well. In the race it’s a little more difficult to do that but it’s definitely something which needs more refining.”