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Should Lapped Cars Be Able to Fight Leaders for Position?

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Gif: Formula E (YouTube)

The relative merits of a driver’s ability to unlap himself by fighting for position with the leader of a race has been a pretty hotly debated subject this week after IndyCar’s race at Mid-Ohio. And I need to know what the fans think.

The big question was raised by Chip Ganassi Racing driver Felix Rosenqvist after the race. While I think his question is pretty leading (I’d probably have phrased it as “should lapped cars be able to fight to unlap themselves or maintain position”) I was still kind of surprised by the responses:


For some reason, I was under the impression that more people would have been in the “let them race” camp! I had to do a double take to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.

This has been bothering me ever since I saw the poll, and I decided I needed to take it to the people of Jalopnik. Should racing series’ be more liberal with the blue flag, or should they just like drivers race it out?


I’ll be honest—I’m definitely Team Let ‘Em Race. Maybe that’s just because I somehow always end up rooting for backmarkers and seeing them contend with race leaders makes it easier to pretend they’re doing well. But I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole blue flag business.

I think the flag has its uses. When a driver is obviously slower than the leader who’s coming up to lap him, or when he’s driving like a complete asshat just to ruin the lead driver’s day, then yeah, blue flag him. If Driver A is twenty laps down on a road course and is holding up Driver B, I guess I could see it.

But if a driver is still on the lead lap and being passed will mean he does a lap down, or if that driver is only a lap or two (or three (or four...)) down, then I think it should be the race leader’s problem to make the pass. You shouldn’t get preferential treatment just because you’ve made it to the front. But at the same time, the driver you’re passing shouldn’t overtly be a dick just because he’s having a bad day.

This is one of the few places where I’ll indulge in a little rose-tinted glasses nostalgia. I miss the days when drivers would have to fight through slower traffic! So what if leaders lost a lot of time trying to fight a slower car? That keeps things interesting!


There’s obviously a lot of regulations-based nuance to get into here, but for the sake of argument, I’m just gonna make you pick a side: are you for blue flags or against ‘em?