Esteban Ocon, Force India, Suzuka, 2018

Ocon given grid penalty after radio confusion causes red flag error

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon has been given a three-place penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix for failing to slow sufficient for red flags.

The stewards found the Force India driver did reduce his speed as required but then increased it when he became confused by some beeps he heard on his car’s radio.

“The driver informed the stewards, and the telemetry showed, that he had slowed down for the red flags,” the stewards noted.

“However, after Turn 4, he heard some beeps on his radio that suggested that he was too slow and sped up briefly to regularize his speed. In doing so, he briefly exceeded the delta by a maximum of -1.68 over three mini sectors. As a result, he had failed to maintain the speed delta required under the regulations resulting in an infringement.

“He acknowledged the infringement and attributed it to the confusion caused by the beeps and the system currently being used by the team in such situations. In the end, given the importance of observance of the speed restrictions while red flags are being shown and recognising the limited extent of the breach, we decided to impose the above penalty.”

Ocon was also given two penalty points on his licences, his first of the current 12-month period.

The penalty drops Ocon to 11th on the grid and promotes Sebastian Vettel to eighth position ahead of Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc.

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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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12 comments on “Ocon given grid penalty after radio confusion causes red flag error”

  1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    6th October 2018, 9:59

    So that promotes Vettel to 8th. Shame for Ocon.

    1. And he starts on dirty side of track with less grip.

  2. José Lopes da Silva
    6th October 2018, 10:15

    Let’s hope that this message means: “red flag is red flag, in every circumstance”.

  3. Very stupid penalty. If he was not in the accident zone, he could be given a reprimand. considering the margin.
    What I’m curious to know is, can you drive too slowly under red flag conditions

  4. I understand the grid penalty but how on earth does it justify penalty points ?

  5. Certainly seems to me that the penalty doesn’t quite fit the crime… but I can’t recall what previous penalties have been applied.

    1. Ricciardo got the same penalty for the same offense in Melbourne.

      It’s a new thing for this year where drivers are given a speed on the dash display which they need to stick to under a red flag (Similar to what they do for a VSC) & if a driver exceed’s it the system automatically informs race control who then send it to the stewards for review.

      1. Thank you for the reply – I now recall he got the three-place grid penalty – but can find no mention of ‘licence points’…
        Can you help, please…

  6. So one less driver for Seb to overtake to get to P5 behind the top-4 on the grid. The right decision from the Stewards nevertheless.

  7. Maybe the FIA can find some more victims to get VET further up the grid.
    Like places 6 and 7 driving a fomula1 race with an gp2 engine. Good for a lot of penalty points and a big grid penalty

  8. Vet will still be cryin.

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