In his post-race debrief the sport’s technical (and PR) boss backed-up Charlie Whiting’s claims that the model was the innocent victim of a miscommunication.
“Supermodel Winnie Harlow was an innocent victim at the end of the race,” said Brawn. “She was asked to wave the chequered flag, but was told to do so after 69 of the 70 laps had been completed.
“I was sad to see her so heavily criticised when, as race director Charlie Whiting explained, it was all down to a misunderstanding between two officials,” he added, referring to criticism Harlow received on social media in the wake of the error.
“Winnie simply followed the instructions she was given and I want to apologise for the grief she received and thank her for supporting Formula 1,” added Brawn.
Ignoring the fact that F1 chose to use a “supermodel” to wave the chequered flag just two weeks after making such a song and dance about talk of organisers in Monaco using grid girls, one has to ask why, in every single picture shown of Harlow waving the flag she is looking into the camera and not at the track.
“Something similar happened in China in 2014,” said Brawn, “but in that instance it wasn’t a celebrity waving the flag.
“As the saying goes, ‘to err is human’ and all of us – drivers, managers, engineers, mechanics, journalists and fans – make mistakes,” he added. “The important thing is to learn from them and try to prevent them happening again in the future.”