Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Baku City Circuit, 2018

Stewards reject Williams’ request for a review of Azerbaijan GP incidents

2018 F1 season

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The Azerbaijan Grand Prix stewards have rejected a request from Williams to review their verdicts on five incidents which occurred in the race.

The team requested reviews of incidents involving Sergey Sirotkin and Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly, and Esteban Ocon and Kimi Raikkonen. They also called for the collision between Sirotkin, Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg to be reconsidered and queried Alonso’s driving after that collision.

Williams asked for Sirotkin’s penalty to be reviewed taking into consideration how other incidents during the race had been handled. But following a preliminary hearing by teleconference the stewards ruled Williams had not presented any new evidence which merited them re-examining the incidents.

“The stewards decide, unanimously, that there is no new significant and relevant element present, ‘which justifies a review of any of the five incidents referred to in the request’,” said the stewards in a statement.

The stewards upheld the three-place grid penalty handed down to Sirotkin because they viewed it differently other crashes on the first lap of races which did not receive penalties, as Sirotkin had driven into the back of another car.

Williams’ claim that the 10-second penalty issued to Kevin Magnussen for his collision was “inconsequential” was rejected on the grounds stewards do not take the effect of penalties into consideration when issuing them, and that the penalty was consistent with past precedents.

The complaint raised against Fernando Alonso for his driving on lap one was rejected as the McLaren driver was deemed to have brought his damaged car back to the pits in a safe manner. The stewards also pointed out to the team that as it had been aware of Alonso’s return to the pits at the time it cannot be considered a “new element” which merited investigation.

The team was also told it had failed to protest the lap one incident between Alonso, Sirotkin and Nico Hulkenberg within the permitted time limit. As it had not done so, that incident cannot be reviewed.

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Stewards’ ruling on Williams’ request for a review of Azerbaijan Grand Prix incidents

The stewards issued the following reasoning:

1. In relation to the incident described in Document 34 ([Sirokin/Perez]) it is noted that this was a case where one car crashed into the rear of another, and was not similar to other first lap incidents where cars were side-by-side. The penalty was similar to other penalties for similar collisions and was consistent with the minimum grid penalties given previously.

2. The fact that the written decision in Document 34 did not reach the team until 1728hrs was not deemed relevant because this was well before the time for any protest or appeal had expired. This is mentioned in the context of the team’s argument that some other incidents were not penalised or were not penalised sufficiently

3. In relation to the incident described in Document 43 ([Magnussen/Gasly]) the team, in its written request for review, argued that the penalty on [Magnussen] was “inconsequential”. The team is reminded that since the meeting of 2013 between the FIA and representatives of the teams and drivers, the consequences of penalties are not taken into account.

4. Further to the above, and in relation to other penalties, since the beginning of 2016 there have been a total of 87 incidents involving alleged “causing a collision” in the Formula One Championship. Of these, as a result of the “let them race” policy, 55 have resulted in No Further Action. 14 have resulted in 10 second penalties and 9 have resulted in 3 grid position penalties for the next race. A very small number involved other penalties. Therefore the penalties imposed on [Magnussen, Ericsson and Sirotkin] were entirely consistent with previous practice and with the penalty guidelines. The cases of No Further Action were also consistent with previous practice.

5. The Race Director specifically referred to the actions of the driver of Car 14 [Alonso] in returning to the pits after his incident in lap one and noted that firstly, the Safety Car was present, and secondly that the driver took care to avoid the racing line, avoid following traffic and minimised risk.

6. Williams Martini Racing was aware of the actions of the driver of Car 14 [Alonso] as it occurred. Their team at the “mission control” in the UK saw it on the live television feed and the team on the pit wall would have seen the driver of Car 14 enter the pits, as it had to drive past them. Therefore it cannot be argued that this is a “new element”.

7. In relation to the incidents referred to above, all “no further action” incidents were well promulgated prior to publication of the results. Therefore the team had ample opportunity and time, being aware of all the other penalties above, to lodge an appeal where no penalty was imposed (noting that no appeal is permitted where time penalties or grid penalties are imposed).

8. In relation to the incident involving cars 14, 27 and 35 [Alonso, Hulkenberg and Sirotkin] on lap one, as the stewards took no decision on this matter, the team could have protested the matter within the permitted time limit, but chose not to exercise this right.

9. Differing penalties imposed or incidents where no further action was taken, cannot be regarded as a new element.

10. In relation to the media reporting tabled by Williams Martin Racing in its request for a review, these reports are not considered significant and relevant.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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37 comments on “Stewards reject Williams’ request for a review of Azerbaijan GP incidents”

  1. Good riddance!

    1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      8th May 2018, 13:19

      Too right!

      They were not far from bringing the sport into disrepute.

      1. Sonny Crocket
        8th May 2018, 16:10

        What on earth has happened to the once great Williams?

        There was a very brief resurgence following the switch to Mercedes and with the introduction of the Martini branding but once again they are in the doldrums.

        They need to concentrate on (a) developing a car that benefits from a hugely powerful engine; and (b) introducing a driver line-up that that doesn’t scream “PAY DRIVERS!”

        Brainless stunts like this one do nothing more than alienate those few fans that still have a soft-spot for the team.

        1. ‘untalented daddies Kid’s out of their depth culture’ is helping destroy this once powerhouse team.
          You need to respect and believe in the ability of the people you work, to be able to preform at your best.
          AJ predicted this slide and the effect on the employee’s moral.

  2. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
    8th May 2018, 13:06

    No more data-info, so obviously Williams protest got rejected.
    I reckon that move was mostly a political move, rather than a racing one…

    1. @miltosgreekfan – yeah, it’s hard to believe that Williams didn’t know they didn’t have any new information, so one has to wonder what their motivation was.

      the team […] argued that the penalty on MAG was “inconsequential”. The team is reminded that […] the consequences of penalties are not taken into account.

      Again, this is racing 101, so I’m once again disappointed at this peculiar powerplay by Williams.

      I was charitable & open-minded in my earlier comments towards Williams, but with the additional information provided above, I am quite disappointed with their pointless request.

      1. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
        8th May 2018, 13:24

        @phylyp I reckon dissapointing is the ideal word to describe the whole 2018 for Williams.

  3. Don’t know what Williams were trying to achieve with this anyways. Almost seemed like a joke of an appeal to begin with. glad it was shut down so unanimously.

    1. Absolutely

    2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      8th May 2018, 14:03


    3. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      8th May 2018, 17:30

      If they were serious, why challenge so many decisions in this way? This ludicrous political move has just made the stewards rightly throw the whole thing out as it comes across as undermining. A one off appeal on the matter that directly impacts the team may have been taken a tad more seriously or at least in better spirits.

  4. Williams need to spend more time making their car / drivers faster to gain more points, not get other teams punished to have points removed.

    1. My belief as well. After making a complaint using a car number that isn’t competing this year, I’d have thought it was better to hide away and hope no one notices.

  5. Apparently Williams have been under pressure from their sponsors (Muttley! Do something!). I refuse to believe that an experienced F1 team realised a week later that they had missed or misunderstood multiple incidents, which happened during the race. The stewards’ response basically translates as “Don’t be silly”.

    1. @girts – that does make sense, that pressure might have been applied to lodge the protest/review request.

      People have said that Williams have gone down a slippery slope by accepting pay drivers into their ranks; and if this latest incident around this request is in fact due to sponsor pressure, then it will be harder to distinguish between the Williams racing outfit (which has a long and respected history), and the sponsors they’ve hopped into bed with; Williams’ reputation will be tarnished by association.

      1. Honestly for me Williams have been down a slippery slope reputation-wise since May 1994, especially how they handled it all and the theory they invented as their defense, only escalating as the case in Italy proceeded. Results followed very soon. I think their last chance was the partnership with BMW, but somehow that fell through as well. Now nothing that Williams do can surprise me anymore. I was thinking maybe they should sell the team (McLaren became a great team when Ron Dennis bought it), but I wonder if even their name is an asset anymore….

    2. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
      8th May 2018, 16:04

      My exact thoughts, @girts @phylyp. Like they needed to do it because someone gently asked them to do it. Williams we all know can’t be so dumb, but again maybe they needed to.

  6. ColdFly (@)
    8th May 2018, 14:25

    No new evidence?
    They introduced a whole new car (#17) as evidence :p

    1. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
      8th May 2018, 15:37

      Not superstitious but the could choose a different number

      1. @m-bagattini speaking of numbers and superstitions I wonder how it’d be if they get MAL back.

  7. Quote a disgraceful situation, when nationalist stewards can do whatever they want and FIA is just hiding behind procedural rules. There were so many talks about prejudiced stewards with poor judgment and there it goes. Instead of improvements, Todt just effectively supports all that mess.

    1. Nationalist stewards? I’m sorry but I was under the impression that Fernando Alonso is Spanish not Azerbaijani?

    2. Yes, how terrible that a Danish steward punished a Russian driver and not a Spanish one.

      … wait, what?

    3. Maybe stewards’ decisions are not always purely objective and consistent, but they are definitely not dictated by nationalism. And certainly this request for an appeal was a complete joke, with no merit and it also strikes me as odd for being so late.

  8. They should be handed a fine for not offerring new evidence, and wasting the stewards’ time.

    1. @wsrgo Agreed.

  9. Still think the Sirotkin penalty is ridiculous given how it wasn’t as serious as others that went unpunished.

    What Hulkenberg did a bit further up the road & what Magnussen did at times through the race were IMO far, far worse & far more worthy of a penalty.

    As for Alonso. I get why they would want it looked at as there was a ruling some years ago regarding not driving back to the pits with a damaged car & the FIA have in the past asked drivers to stop (Vettel in Australia 2009 for instance) due to the risk of parts falling off & been left on the track causing issues for other cars.

    1. @stefmeister Magnussen indeed was rightfully penalized for his incident with Gasly, but concerning the incident a little after the one which led to Sirotkin getting penalized; Yes, I can agree that it was more worthy of a penalty than the turn 2-incident, and the same with the Ocon-Raikkonen incident a few hundred meters later on the same lap.

      1. @stefmeister Of course, I meant (was supposed to type) that the Hulkenberg-Sirotkin-Alonso incident was more worthy of a penalty than the Sirotkin-Perez incident.

    2. Probably because the Sirotkin-Perez one can’t really go down as a lap one incident as the stewards said, Sirotkin just outbraked himself and went into the back of Perez, which could’ve put Perez out of the race. And as they also explained during the Magnussen-Gasly incident, the consequences of the action aren’t taken into account, only the action itself. So even though Perez was fine to carry on and get a podium, that doesn’t mean it was a nothing incident.
      the Hulkenberg-Sirotkin-Alonso one the stewards also got right, as it was just 3 into one. If you look closely, you can see that Hulkenberg only came across because slight contact was made from Sirotkin’s front right to his left rear, which forced him across the track making it look much worse than it was. Was just a case of 3 cars trying to fit into a gap meant for, and a lap 1 racing incident, like the stewards also pointed out as they were side by side.

      1. @hugh11, in the case of Magnussen and Gasly though, many felt that Magnussen’s actions were worse because Magnussen seemed to be intentionally trying to hit Gasly.

        Even the stewards note in their judgement against Magnussen that he was driving in an “unpredictable” manner and “unnecessarily” kept steering to the left until he collided with Gasly, and that he “was wholly to blame for the collision.” The subtext of their assessment seems to imply that there was intent on Magnussen’s side to hit Gasly, or at the very least he was driving in a far more reckless manner than Sirotkin was and wasn’t making any effort to avoid a collision.

        In that sense, despite the fact that the verdict from the stewards seems to be more critical of Magnussen’s behaviour and seems to imply his driving was more reckless, his penalty does seem to be more lenient than Sirotkin’s penalty was.

    3. ColdFly (@)
      8th May 2018, 18:39

      I think the ‘real steward’ it quite well in the 10 points mentioned above.
      And as much as I like to disagree with Connelly, they are probably a better pick than you and 2 other fans ;-)

  10. Good.

  11. Pathetic. Williams has sunk so low in every respect. It used to be only performance, but then it was multiple pay drivers, bad management that keeps getting worse, drivers who disregard team orders, and now recently, abject pettiness.

  12. Williams seem like a business out of control, with weak leadership and too much influence from the money providers. Someone within Williams should have shut down these ‘back of a fag packet’ review requests before they were issued, it’s tarnished their reputation for no gains. I really do fear for Williams future.

  13. Martijn (@)
    9th May 2018, 12:50

    I am surprised nobody somehow turns this topic into blaming Verstappen for everything

    1. Good point well made. Definitely Crashstappen’s fault.


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