FIA race director Michael Masi says Sergio Perez could have avoided his penalty in the French Grand Prix by giving back the places he gained by going off the track on the first lap.
“If Sergio had chosen going out of turn six to drop back behind those two cars I think we would have looked at it and said he’s created his own disadvantage, effectively, and dropped into where he should have,” said Masi.
Racing Point did not ask race control whether Perez should give back the places he had gained, said Masi. He confirmed race control only advise drivers to relinquish positions to rivals if they have gained them in the first corner or combination of corners.
“We’ve discussed this with the drivers at a drivers’ meeting and they actually agreed that the line should be drawn at sort of turn one, or turn one-two depending on the way the combination of corners are,” he said. “So here it would be a turn one-two scenario, we would do that type of instruction. It was an open discussion with him in Canada I think it was and they all said ‘you need to draw the line somewhere’.”
Perez complained he had been given a penalty despite following the instructions on how to rejoin the track after going off at turn three. But Masi pointed out drivers are also forbidden from gaining positions by going off the track.
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“When someone rejoins they must firstly rejoin safely and two must not gain a lasting advantage,” Masi explained. “In looking at the in-car, particularly when you look at Lance [Stroll’s] who was immediately behind him, Sergio’s locked up, chosen to go to the left and bypass the bollard and come out in front of both Albon and Magnussen.
“That was part of a discussion that was actually had following Monaco at a drivers’ meeting where the drivers actually requested that they need to be behind, effectively, who they entered [ahead of]. So that was one part.”
Masi said the configurations of the routes through run-off areas at Paul Ricard, which were new for this year, will be reconsidered ahead of next year’s race.
“There was the turn-one-turn-two going-off set-up [which] was new for this year as was the set up in the run-off between turn three and turn five. It’s not an exact science it’s a trial and error.
“I think it’s certainly improved the rejoin from a safety perspective and given the drivers some better vision, following some feedback we had from them on Friday night. It’s certainly something that we will review and part of the constant improvement to be quite honest.”
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10 comments on “Perez could have avoided penalty by giving places back”
24th June 2019, 8:09
Well, that all seems quite sensible, and indeed ‘trial and error’ but at least, it is being tried to improve things, in consultation with the drivers. And, not quite surprised that a driver still complains bc. he was found to be on the wrong side of the rules, but, that’s why there are stewards and it’s not just self-regulating drivers.
24th June 2019, 8:16
I was under the impression (wrong, as it now turns out) that the bollards were to force a car into a more time-consuming path back on track.
Based on this penalty, I presume the bollard is only to orient a car in a direction that makes it safe to reason (i.e. in the direction the other cars are flowing)?
24th June 2019, 8:25
It has double function – both to slow down the car and to lead it safely back on track.
Yes, it failed on the first part (to slow the car).
Maybe they should have installed road bumps there, or place additional soft barriers, which drivers must navigate by “snaking” around – they will surely fix it next year.
Anyway – following “bollard procedure” doesn’t remove requirements to follow other rules. Like not overtaking someone by cutting the track.
24th June 2019, 8:58
@dallein – thanks for that. Yes, soft barriers – like what’s at Monza’s turn 1 escape road – makes a lot of sense.
24th June 2019, 8:20
Was it Vettel’s effect, or was Perez that silly on his own?!
Mr.Masi just stated the obvious – the rule which has been in place for God knows how long – you can’t overtake by cutting the track. If you do – return the places gained, and the Stewards will look at you with due leniency.
Instead Perez decided to write his own rule – “If I join the track safely, I can overtake anyone up to the driver I was at the start of the Race”…
And to all “fans”, who complained yesterday that rules are stupid and Perez was punished for nothing, – were you serious? Or did you just miss the moment Perez overtook some drivers?
24th June 2019, 8:58
Not Vettel effect, as you yourself said the bollard in this instance failed in 2nd part of function which meant even though Perez followed instructions to cross bollard he wasn’t slowed enough not to gain an advantage. like Monza race direction should have directed installation of those zig-zagging bollards to slow cars even more than normal.
24th June 2019, 10:05
Perez said post race that he didn’t know exactly who was ahead and behind him before and after his excursion off track. Which seems reasonable for a driver, but should clearly be the team’s job to check.
The only link to Vettel is that it’s made completely obvious that what a lot of us have been saying is true: if he’d been adjudged to have returned to the track safely, he’d instead have been penalised for gaining an advantage by leaving the track.
24th June 2019, 17:43
Vettel didn’t gain an advantage in Canada though. Hamilton clearly came alongside when before he was 7 or 8 tenths behind.
24th June 2019, 17:21
So Masi is saying it’s up to the teams to determine what position their car is in and manage their relative position accordingly? I can understand that at the mid-point of the race when the field is strung out, but on the first lap, I don’t see why that responsibility should lie with the teams. In my opinion, the race director should have informed the team that they must get behind a specific car and then if the team/driver do not comply, hit them with a penalty. This seems quite lazy on the part of the FIA and the race director.
24th June 2019, 17:46
The team could have asked race control where they wanted Perez. Now they know it’s only going to be a 5 second penalty and they probably decided they would rather have that instead.
That’s a bit of an issue with these “yoke” penalties. I’m pretty sure there are more penalties because they are almost meaningless. It’s better to try an illegal block or illegal overtake and hope it works. At worst you will get a 5 second penalty which puts you back where you otherwise would have been anyway. So it costs them (usually) nothing. Unless you rack up a few of them like Ricciardo did of course
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