Ferrari Formula 1 racer Kimi Raikkonen was left confused by his 10-second stop/go penalty during Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix after being adjudged to have failed to slow for yellow flags, but was glad to recover to fourth place at the checkered flag.
Raikkonen was running fourth when the FIA stewards penalized him for not slowing down for yellow flags shown for Max Verstappen’s stricken Red Bull.
The Finn reacted angrily on team radio when informed of the decision, dropping back to seventh after taking the penalty.
Raikkonen fought back up to fifth before a Safety Car period allowed him to close up on the lead pack again, eventually passing Valtteri Bottas to nick fourth place at the checkered flag.
“Overall, we have been quite competitive this weekend,” Raikkonen said. “In the race the car was good on the soft compound, while with the ultra-softs, after some laps, I was struggling with the rear the first laps were OK, but then I was sliding around.
“When I saw the yellow flags I was on the straight, on the right side and I’m sure I did not go any faster than on any other lap. The penalty was not ideal, but luckily there was a Safety Car and we could recover something.
“I overtook Bottas and then I tried to get close to Ricciardo, but we did not have enough speed to overtake him as he was surprisingly good in race conditions, with good speed in the right places.
“I guess the result of today could have been worse, but for sure I was looking for more. We have to take the good things, we learned from this race and we’ll try to do better next weekend.”
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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