Photo from official Winnie Harlow Twitter page

F1 still talking about supermodel throwing premature checkered flag at Canadian GP

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It remains to be seen whether Formula One officials will continue to use celebrities and others to wave the checkered flag after Sunday’s embarrassing incident at the conclusion of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Well, let’s make that a conclusion that came two laps early instead of the scheduled 70-lap event.

The reason the race was “shortened” had nothing to do with weather or track conditions. Rather, supermodel Winnie Harlow was given the honor of waving the checkered flag in Sunday’s race.

The only problem is she waved the flag one lap early! Ergo, the race finished two laps shorter than advertised, much to the chagrin of competitors, teams and fans.

F1 rules state that if a checkered flag is waved too early, the race is considered over at the end of the last completed lap. Because Harlow waved the checkered flag before Lap 69 was over, the race outcome reverted back to an official completion after Lap 68.

According to various reports, Harlow was instructed to wave the flag by a race official after there was apparently a miscommunication or misunderstanding between race control and officials in the start/finish flagstand.

Ergo, an official next to Harlow told her to throw the checkers, even though there was still one more lap to be run.

As a result, F1 officials ruled the race complete after Lap 68, two laps prematurely.

Harlow took to Twitter to give more of her side of the situation.

The incident was downplayed by F1 officials because it likely would not have changed the outcome of the race. Winner Sebastien Vettel led the entire race and likely would still have won even if the race went its scheduled length, unless he wrecked or ran out of fuel in the two laps that were never run.

Vettel was concerned at what happened, not so much because of the mistake, but from a safety standpoint.

“Some of the marshals were already celebrating,” Vettel said. “I was just worried that people don’t jump on the track and start celebrating. We’re still going at full pace.”

Once the confusion subsided, at least one driver, seventh-place finisher Niko Hulkenberg, tried to make light of the situation.

Harlow’s miscue wasn’t the first time a similar event has occurred. Back in 2002 at the Brazilian Grand Prix, legendary soccer star Pele was late in waving the checkered flag. And then in 2014 at the Chinese Grand Prix, the checkered flag was waved one lap early.

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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.