Chinese GP called two laps early after checkered flag mix-up

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The FIA has confirmed that the official result for the Chinese Grand Prix came two laps before the end of the race after a mix-up with when the checkered flag was due to be waved.

The race was due to run – as it always has done – for 56 laps at the Shanghai International Circuit. However, for some reason, the checkered flag was waved at the end of lap 55.

Race leader Lewis Hamilton immediately radioed his Mercedes team to ask why it had been shown early, but they told him to continue pushing and ignore it. The live timing from FOM and TV graphics also did not take it into account, suggesting that it was simply a misjudgement.

However, the FIA has since confirmed that this was – albeit accidentally – the official end of the race.

Result declared at end of Lap 54/56, in accordance with Article 43.2 of sporting regulations,” a note with the official result read. “Checkered flag was shown to leader at end of Lap 55.”

Article 43.2 reads: “Should for any reason the end-of-race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the line before the signal was given.”

Thankfully, there was just one change of position during the final two laps. Kamui Kobayashi and Jules Bianchi had been embroiled in a close battle for 17th place during the closing stages, and Kobayashi finally found a way past with two corners to go, securing the position for Caterham. However, this has now been reversed, with Bianchi being classified in 17th place ahead of Kobayashi.

Strangely, this is not the first time that there has been a mix-up with the checkered flag. At the 2002 Brazilian Grand Prix, national soccer legend Pele was busy chatting to the stewards when race winner Michael Schumacher crossed the line, and therefore failed to wave the flag when he was supposed to. Instead, it was waved at Jordan driver Takuma Sato, who was some two laps down on the leader.

Pirelli reveals new super-hard, hyper-soft F1 tires in Abu Dhabi

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Pirelli has confirmed it will add two new tires to its range for the 2018 Formula 1 season, launching the ‘super-hard’ and ‘hyper-soft’ compounds in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Pirelli currently makes three of its five dry compounds available to teams for each race weekend, and despite varying selections across the course of the season has struggled to offer much in terms of strategy options, with one-stop races being the norm.

The hope is that the addition of two new tire compounds and a re-alignment of their durability will offer teams more choices in races.

Pirelli confirmed plans to introduce a new softest tire below the current ultra-soft earlier this month, inviting fans to pick a name.

The pink-colored compound will be known as the ‘hyper-soft’ from next year, with the arrival of a new ‘super-hard’ (colored ‘ice blue’) also being confirmed at a launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola said.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Besides the seven dry compounds made available, there will be the two rain tires – wet and intermediate – taking it to a total of nine for the 2018 season.