Mahaveer Raghunathan, F2, MP Motorsport, Paul Ricard, 2019

FIA to examine rules loophole which allowed banned Raghunathan to race

Formula 2

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The FIA will review the rules on driver penalties after Mahaveer Raghunathan was allowed to start Sunday’s F2 sprint race in France despite picking up a ban during the feature race on Saturday.

Raghunathan reached the threshold of 12 penalty points in Saturday’s race which triggers an automatic ban. However the rules state the ban applies from the the “next event”. As Sunday’s sprint race is considered part of the same two-race event, his ban does not apply until this weekend’s double-header in Austria.

FIA race director Michael Masi said the unusual situation was a consequence of F2 adopting the same rules used in F1, where each event consists of only one race.

“It’s probably an unintended consequence,” said Masi in response to a question from RaceFans on Sunday at Paul Ricard. “The penalty points regulations, from my understanding – obviously not having been around when they were designed – [were] obviously designed on a Formula 1 event with one race, not two.

“The regulations are quite specific, being effectively a mirror to a degree of each other, that it’s non-participation in the next event and an event is the entire weekend.

“It’s one of those that we sort of had a long chat about but yeah he [was] allowed to participate today and it’s something we’ll look at with the steering group and go from there. Which is how those regulations are formed.”

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Raghunathan’s ban follows a string of offences in his first nine races as an F2 driver. “That’s why the penalty point structure to be quite honest is the same, [in] F1, F2, F3,” said Masi. “It’s to effectively track behaviour and go from there.”

Mahaveer Raghunathan’s F2 penalties

  • Bahrain race two: Passed the chequered flag twice
  • Baku practice: Failed to stop at the weigh bridge when signalled to during practice
  • Baku race two: Overtook another car before the Safety Car line during a restart
  • Monaco race one: Left the track and gaining an advantage
  • Monaco race one: Collided with Jack Aitken
  • Monaco race two: Left the track and gaining an advantage
  • France race one: Three VSC infringements

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    Dieter Rencken
    Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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    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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  • 19 comments on “FIA to examine rules loophole which allowed banned Raghunathan to race”

    1. That doesn’t sound like a loophole. That sounds like a rule change.
      If an F1 driver gets a penalty point in qualifying and gets a race ban, they’ll still race on Sunday if they qualify.

      1. Yeah i would see it as more of an loophole if he didn’t get to race on sunday and then did get to race next race weekend.

    2. For a minute there I thought the headline was going to read FIA to examine loophole on how a driver follows the going off-course instructions to a T, gains places and gets penalized. Oops…

      1. No need.
        There were 2 rules which should have been followed.
        The driver complied with one of these rules, but decided to show everyone the finger and disregard the second rule.

        And duly received his penalty.

        1. @dallein – Agree fully that the penalty was deserved. But, the way designed for an off-track reentry should not by design be faster than staying on track.

          1. @bullmello

            better to be safe than sorry!
            just because your car is fast doesnt mean you should race in and out of traffic and cut people off where overtaking is not allowed or using turn only lane to cut people off…

          2. It wasn’t faster going around the bollard at any other time, but the first-lap congestion made it faster in that particular case. I’d tend to blame the team rather than the driver, because it would e hard to see the order from inside the car. The team should have spotted it, though.

    3. Neil (@neilosjames)
      24th June 2019, 18:54

      I’d rather they closed the ‘loophole’ that allowed a driver with such an obvious lack of ability to get into F2 in the first place.

    4. How does this matter? He still gets the race ban anyway?

      1. @f1osaurus It probably matters to the frazzled stewards who are sick of the sight of the driver they just banned ;)

    5. I’ve been watching F2/GP2 for a good few years now and this guy is by a decent chunk the most painfully slow driver I can remember. At this round alone, he was 5s off the pace in quali and finished 39s behind the next car in the sprint race (without any incidents/unreliability). And this in a field that I’d say was fairly mediocre by recent standards.

      1. @tomd11
        i hope his dead is not secretly named Lawrence Sheldon Strulovitch :) that would explain why he is still running despite what you are stating (the obvious)

        1. dead? come on autocorrect… “DAD”

      2. John Sidebottom
        12th July 2019, 23:35

        Bearing in mind how off the pace he is, how did he qualify for the necessary license?
        Clearly he has financial backing, but lacks experience/talent.
        How can this be allowed?

        1. Because he had the necessary signatures for participation in previous series, plus a reasonably clean record.

    6. If this is classed as one event surely he can’t do the next two races now?

      1. My thoughts exactly. Rather than being a loop hole that has allowed him to avoid the penalty, this will actually hurt him more as he will miss both races at the next event. That’s still something they should address though, because it would be unfair for drivers to miss different numbers of races when given the same penalty.

      2. @glynh You are absolutely right. This is not a loophole at all. The driver will be excluded for the whole next event:

        If a driver accrues 12 penalty points he will be suspended for the following Event, following which 12 points will be removed.

      3. @glynh Presumably the idea is he’d be excluded from the second half of the current event and the first half of the next one.

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