Winnie Harlow NOT to blame for flag blunder, FIA confirm

Monday, 11 juny 2018, 06:40 , by Matthew Scott

Supermodel Winnie Harlow has been absolved of any blame after she waved the chequered flag too early and caused the Canadian grand Prix to be called two laps short. Although the blunder did not impact upon the final result of the race, Daniel Ricciardo lost the fastest lap to Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.

Harlow was in attendance at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as a guest of world champion Lewis Hamilton, but ended up taking the spotlight as the race drew to a close after appearing to wave the chequered flag at Kimi Raikkonen - a potential misunderstanding as his fellow Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was coming around the final lap to win.

In Harlow's own words, the FIA delegate "had one job", which didn't go to plan and motorpsort's governing body insist the error was not the 23-year-old Canadian's.

"It was a miscommunication between the start platform and the guy they call the starter here," FIA race director Charlie Whiting told Reuters.

"He thought it was the last lap and asked them at the top to confirm it, they confirmed it. They thought he was making a statement when in fact he was asking a question.

"He told the flag waver to wave it a lap early. It was as simple as that, it wasn't anything to do with the fact it was a celebrity flag-waver.

"The celebrity was not to blame."

Vettel caught the incident on television screens across the track and radioed his team to highlight the error. He later said that a fear of fans making their way onto the track - a post-race tradition at many events - was on his mind.

Vettel told a press conference: "Fortunately we had radio, fortunately I had the lap count in the car and the pitboard was accurate – but if you lose radio and maybe the pitboard is not there, then you back off.

"I was just worried, I told them also on the last lap, then people don't jump on the track, waving flags and celebrating, because we're still going at full pace. I don't know what happened."

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Comments (28)

  • Chris Duggan
    "The chequered flag was shown a lap early because of a miscommunication with the guy that they call the starter here, who starts and finishes the races," said Whiting. "He thought it was the last lap, he asked race control to confirm it, they confirmed it, but they thought he was making a statement when he was asking a question. "He just showed it a lap early, or he told the flag waver to show it a lap early, so it wasn't anything to do with the fact that it was a celebrity flag waver."
  • Federico Tombolini
    You laugh ... It's shameful, other than. The waving of a flag is an official act in a car race and this would already be enough to make it do to competent people. This not only was wrong to make a lap too early, in the right turn "waved" the hand with the flag while the other was arranging her hair for the benefit of her image!.
  • Alistair Schuller
    Let's just say if an F1 fan had to wave the flag he/she would have known the lap count and would have waited till the end of lap 70 to wave the flag. She had no idea what was going on and that's what you get for using celebs to do an important function as waving the flag. Look what the consequences of this spectacle was.
  • Elita
    F1 is getting uninteresting to me when they start to care celebrities which have no interest in autosport, yet just to their fame.. there are stark fans out there which much competent than those celebs.. such a shame.. And then next what? Celebs, models, famous people will be in charge as pit crews?
  • Alfred Maliqi
    the fact that this error is main event of weekend and not the race this shows how far down the spectacle in F1 it is,the Liberty Media should do something to turn this around
  • Joey Bridges
    In a sport where things are regulated down to a millionth of a millimeter, they give the checkered flag to some dimwit bimbo. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
  • Martin Hossell
    “Supermodel Winnie Harlow has been absolved of any blame after he waved the chequered flag too early”, so Winnie Harlow is a guy now? No who’s doing a blunder
  • Matt George
    Of course, a "famous" 20-something makes a mistake and suddenly everyone jumps around saying it was someone else's fault.
  • Caine Szymkow
    So it wasn’t her fault. But it’s not like it’s a skilled job. Like say turning the letters on wheel of fortune
  • Bujar Bejta
    She's meant to pose, not to take such diffucult tasks for god's sake..what were fia thinking
  • Joshua Hege
    I knew she'd be in trouble when Sky tried to interview her track side and she said she had no interest in F1.
  • Barbara Gouin
    Vettel finished the 70th lap so Daniel Ricciado should have fastest lap not Max Verstappen
  • Joel Arthur
    Seriously pointless to have some random person waving the checkered flag
  • Dinu Florian Cosmin
    And if someone bet 500-1000 Ricciardo win the fastest lap? What then?
  • Jeremy Dyer
    It was a miscommunication *Fans outright blame her anyway* I'm not surprised.
  • Evan Browne
    She seemed more interested with pics being taken of her than waving the flag.
  • Paul Harte
    Funnily enough, I read this on sky sports this morning.
  • Klaus Cassar
    Sei Grande Winnie Harlow di adoro
  • Barbara Gouin
    The starter is Charlie Whiting so it is his fault
  • Luis Boinho
    What a nice way to boost her even more

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