Doriane Pin Penalized For Not Realizing Race Was Over, Winning Too Hard

Before this day, I never required an answer to the question, What would happen if a race car driver won a race, failed to realize that the race had ended, and so continued on to do another lap at full speed? The reason is obvious: Even if there were no checkered flag at all, a team will inevitably hop on the radio and congratulate the driver on her race win, upon which she will know to slow for the cooldown lap.

Unfortunately, Doriane Pin, a 20-year-old French driver currently participating in F1 Academy (an Formula 1–sponsored single-seater series for women which was founded after the W Series was liquidated), failed to see the checkered flags—the flags were not visible from her onboard, and there were no other indicators for the end of the race—while also suffering what she said was a radio issue. After she crossed the start-finish line at race pace again, race control had to wave red flags to get her to stop. Per Pin’s account to fellow drivers Abbi Pulling and Maya Weug, the subsequent conversation with her race engineer went like this:

Engineer: Doriane, what are you doing? It’s the checkered flag.

Pin: You didn’t tell me!

The answer to the question turned out to be an exceedingly harsh 20-second time penalty, which demoted Pin down from P1 to P9 after she had dominated both races in the inaugural weekend of the F1 Academy season. Without the penalty, Pin would have gotten pole position and the race win in both races. As it stands, Pin will have to settle for double poles, one race win, one fastest lap, and third in the championship, with 12 more races to go.

Racing in the F1 feeder leagues is far more complicated than racing in F1. For Pin, F1 Academy is hardly the only series she will be participating in, much less the most prestigious—she made her single seater debut in 2023, finishing second in the Formula 4 SEA Championship, despite only participating in two out of the three rounds. Before racing in single seaters, Pin had a remarkable showing in endurance racing, including a race win in the European Le Mans Series. She made her prototype car debut with Prema Racing in the World Endurance Championship in 2023 and finished the season with a podium under her belt. After the exit of Prema Racing—and the entire LMP2 category—from the WEC (this should paint a neat picture of the overturn in endurance racing), Pin is now racing with the Iron Dames in the LMGT3 category; that team finished eighth in the opening race of the 2024 WEC season, and there are still many more races to come.

That is to say that even with the penalty, Pin will be perfectly fine—after all, the only way she could lose a race this weekend was by winning a little bit too hard.

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