Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff wants the race organisers at the Dutch Grand Prix to implement stricter policies on flares after incidents during qualifying at Zandorvoot. During the second qualifying session, the stewards immediately showed a red flag, as a fan had thrown a flare onto the racetrack.
There have been concerns about such practices over the past few races and similarly, these actions and behaviours have caused altercations between fans. But the bigger problem which remains is the safety of drivers, marshals, and other spectators in attendance as it could be comprised at any time.
Wolff was extremely unhappy with the actions of the few fans as their can flares can lead to a lot of damage on a racetrack. “It’s a shame there are a few total idiots out there who don’t consider what a flare can do to a driver,” he said. “If such a can hits you, it can have lethal consequences, the halo wouldn’t help you in that.”
The Mercedes team principal also wondered if the second flare was aimed at Lewis Hamilton, because of the unhealthy and toxic relationship between his supporters and Max Verstappen’s fans. “We looked at the camera angles and Lewis was going through the pit lane,” added Wolff. “I don’t know if somebody threw it at him, but it happened before he actually was at that point, I hope the organisers have a grip on it.”
The defending F1 champion Max Verstappen addressed the flare celebrations and expressed that everything must have some limits as it is stupid to throw these flares on the track. "To hold flares, it’s nice but of course, there’s a limit to how much. But to throw it on the track is just stupid," Verstappen said.
"Just don’t do that. It’s not good for anyone -- you get thrown out, so you can’t see the race, and for us, the session is stopped because it is dangerous, there’s stuff on the track, so you shouldn’t do it." Verstappen qualified on pole at Zandorvoot ahead of the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz respectively. Lewis Hamilton qualified fourth and Super Max’s teammate Sergio Perez finished fifth.