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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Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

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It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

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