Dieter Rencken has made the case for teams to not be allowed make unpenalised repairs in red flag circumstances, after such an occurrance at last weekend's British Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton take victory at Silverstone despite incurring damage on the first lap.
Hamilton had been racing title rival Max Verstappen into Copse corner when the pair made contact. The Red Bull driver was eliminated on the spot, while Hamilton picked up some minor front wing damage, as well as a damaged wheel rim. However, the immediate red flag enabled Mercedes to make the necessary repairs for Hamilton to resume the race after the stoppage.
"We need to step back a bit, we need to look at what happened at the end of the first lap, which was a red flag," Rencken told Thomas Maher on the latest RacingNews365 podcast.
"Now, had it not been for that red flag, we wouldn't be having this discussion at the moment because Lewis would probably not have finished. And if he had, he would have been well down the order."
Rencken made the point that if a driver requires repairs under a red flag, the driver should be shuffled to the back of the starting grid, and that parc ferme rules should apply.
"So what actually enabled Lewis to finish, first of all, was the red flag and a regulation which permits you to repair your car under a red flag," he said.
"I think that is totally wrong. I do believe that, under a red flag, it should be parc ferme circumstances or conditions, regulations, that if somebody's car does necessitate a repair then, by all means, repair it to ensure that it can continue or that it is safe, allow the mechanics to check over.
"If they see it there's a problem here or there because, let's not forget in this case, there is one car involved in that accident. Occasionally, you've had two, three or four cars involved in an accident, which of which have been triggered a red flag. And I believe that if you do need to repair your car, absolutely. But then you start from the back of the restart grid. And I think that that is the first area that we need to look at going forward."
Rencken stressed that he didn't feel Hamilton had done anything wrong, and that he and Mercedes were simply doing exactly what the rules permitted them to, but that perhaps this is a regulation that needs revising.
"That said, I do believe that Lewis and the team obviously did exactly the right thing. I can't fault them for that. They did what the regulations allow but I don't believe the regulations should have allowed that," he said.
"That, of course, gave Lewis an immediate advantage in that the damaged wheel, that he had that his engineering chief Andrew Shovlin said would have caused the DNF, enable them to change that. Therefore, Lewis was able to continue. What do I think about a driver being able to win a race that he's actually caused his main rival to retire from, go to hospital?
"It does leave a bit of a peculiar taste. But again, Lewis did absolutely nothing wrong. He did what he's paid for. He's paid to go and win races. And that's what he did after the red flag was was over."
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