Alfa Romeo request review of penalty which cost Raikkonen points finish at Imola

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Alfa Romeo have formally applied for the penalty Kimi Raikkonen received in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to be reviewed.

Raikkonen was given a 10-second stop-go penalty for being in the wrong position when the race restarted on lap 34.

The stewards found Raikkonen had spun off at Tamburello earlier in the lap and was passed by Lewis Hamilton and Yuki Tsunoda. Under the rules, Raikkonen should have either regained the lost places or entered the pit lane and started from there.

Raikkonen’s radio messages indicate there was confusion at Alfa Romeo over whether he was allowed to regain his position. He was originally told, correctly, to repass his two rivals, but that order was later overruled.

Earlier in the race Sergio Perez was given a penalty for overtaking two drivers who passed him during a Safety Car period. As Raikkonen went off the track during a restart procedure, he was required to regain his position.

However the stewards acknowledged the potential for confusion in the rules in their original verdict on Raikkonen. Article 42.6 of the sporting regulations “indicates that should a driver fail to take his position he must enter the pit lane and can only re-join the race once the whole field has passed the pit exit,” they noted.

However another article, 42.12, “indicates that during a rolling start, once the safety car turns its lights out, ‘No driver may overtake another car on the track until he passes the Line…’ In this case, the driver caught up to the cars ahead of him between turn 13 and 14, but the Safety Car turned its lights out at approximately turn 10.

“This would appear to be a contradictory instruction and the team instructed the driver to not regain his position, fearing that this would create a safety issue in the wet conditions. They radioed the race director, but there was no time for a response between their call and the restart.

“The stewards consider it to be a further contradiction that when the cars are behind the Safety Car during a Safety Car period, the are prohibited from passing, but when they are behind the Safety Car for a restart, they are permitted to – even though the reasons for a rolling start are that the track conditions don’t permit a standing start.

“However, the rule requiring a car to enter the pit lane if it fails to regain its position is consistent amongst several championships, has been in the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations for several years and has been consistently applied.”

The stewards had no choice but hand down a 10-second stop-go penalty as it is mandatory under the rules. As it was issued after the race, it was converted into a 30-second time penalty.

That relegated Raikkonen to 15th place. Esteban Ocon moved into ninth in place of him, and Fernando Alonso rose to 10th, scoring his first point of the season.

The review will be conducted via a video conference at 5pm today.

Raikkonen’s radio messages from the restart

Discussion between Raikkonen and his race engineer Julien Simon-Chautemps prior to the final restart:

Simon-ChautempsKimi you are allowed to gain back your position.
RaikkonenWe are?
Simon-ChautempsYes. Wait. Okay standby, stay where you are at the moment, I’ll come back to you.
RaikkonenCome on, tell me.
Simon-ChautempsOkay we have to stay there, apparently. We have to stay there. Stay where you are.
RaikkonenCan you not overtake before the Safety Car Line?
Simon-ChautempsNo, apparently no, negative.
Simon-ChautempsSo Kimi we are P10, that’s on the right-hand side.
Simon-ChautempsIt’s a rolling start, rolling start, remember.

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23 comments on “Alfa Romeo request review of penalty which cost Raikkonen points finish at Imola”

  1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
    1st May 2021, 13:13

    Apply or appeal? Hope they get their points back though.

    1. someone or something
      1st May 2021, 14:12

      @omarr-pepper
      Not a chance in hell. The rule may be stupid or not properly thought through, but it was applied correctly.
      The article notes a ‘contradiction’ between 42.6 (regain your position or enter the pitlane) and 42.12 (no overtaking after the SC lights are out).
      But in reality, this isn’t a contradiction. It just means that the first option to comply with 42.6 (regain your position) had become impossible. Option 2 however (enter the pitlane) was by no means affected.
      Räikkönen didn’t enter the pitlane – slamdunk penalty.
      It’s really not rocket science.

      1. As much as the rule is quite stupid, I have to agree with you here. The restart is not a normal SC procedure, hence why different rules apply here as opposed to Perez in the first SC. It’s a case of the spirit of the law being completely wrong, but the letter of the law being applied perfectly and crucially, consistently. For all the fans complaining about inconsistent stewarding, they got the call exactly right here even though it seems like a stupid thing to do.

  2. happy for the Kimi and Alfa if it goes through because this was quite farcical

  3. Thus is ridiculous. It’s clear as day what 42.12 refers to, and that getting in the right order before the start would take precedence in that situation.

    Alfa should know the rules. I’m really annoyed about this as you can tell, it is absolutely clear that during a formation lap you should regain positions unless you drop to last place. It’s not a normal safety car.

    Anyway, I hope they throw this appeal out.

    1. someone or something
      1st May 2021, 14:16

      @john-h

      Thus is ridiculous. It’s clear as day what 42.12 refers to, and that getting in the right order before the start would take precedence in that situation.

      Disagree. There is no precedence in following rules. 42.6 required Räikkönen to either regain his position or enter the pitlane, but 42.12 forbade him from overtaking any cars. In other words, he would’ve had to enter the pitlane, that would’ve been the only way not to break any rules.

      1. It’s clear that 42.12 is to prevent overtakes for position in the normal circumstances. If he can’t do that before the SC line then yes, he has to pit. Nobody made him go off the track on the formation lap.

        1. someone or something
          1st May 2021, 14:41

          @john-h

          It’s clear that 42.12 is to prevent overtakes for position in the normal circumstances.

          Absolutely not.
          It is clear that 42.12 is to prevent overtakes, … period.

          Quote from the Sporting Regulations:

          No driver may overtake another car on the track until he passes the Line (see Article 5.3) for the first time after the safety car has returned to the pits.

          No driver. Not a single one.
          Consequently, your following quote is incomplete:

          If he can’t do that before the SC line then yes, he has to pit.

          It should be: If he can’t do that without breaking any other rules before the SC line then yes, he has to pit.

          1. Isn’t that first quote for a safety car restart? It isn’t a safety car restart, it’s a safety car rolling start and they are on the formation lap.

          2. (sorry your middle quote).
            Just to reemphasize, it’s clear they are on the formation lap and they should retake the correct position. It’s not a regular safety car, it really isn’t.

          3. Ok, I’ve now read it in context. It does apply to a rolling start, but:

            42.12:
            “As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the FIA light panels will be extinguished and
            replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line.
            No driver may overtake another car on the track until he passes the Line (see Article 5.3) for the
            first time after the safety car has returned to the pits.”

            In that context it’s clear they are referring to the period when the SC is pulling into the pits. It needs to be read in context, which is what I presume the FiA will mention later today. I’m sorry but Alfa still don’t have a case.

  4. Alfa must invest in an expert who knows the rule book from start to finish. This was not the first time they have tripped up, although a quick reply from the stewards was called for in this case.

    I would also say the rules need a Napoleon to make them less contradictory. Maybe Lewis could take this up when he retires?

    1. Rodber does not disappoint.

    2. I’m doubtful Lewis cares about anything not involve race

    3. @Rodber I think Lewis is many things, but someone who enjoys readings thick volumes of text, rewriting legislation and spending the afternoon in the court of appeal over whether a Sauber finished 9th doesn’t really seem likely. That after 13 years he still doesn’t know who Franz Tost is doesn’t bode well.

      I suspect he’s more interested in learning to play the guitar (badly) in retirement than learning 42.12.

  5. The stewards consider it to be a further contradiction that when the cars are behind the Safety Car during a Safety Car period, the are prohibited from passing, but when they are behind the Safety Car for a restart, they are permitted to – even though the reasons for a rolling start are that the track conditions don’t permit a standing start

    This statement is the key. This is a strange contradiction in the rules for fans and teams both. Rules for safety car should be same (irrespective of whether it is a safety car for a restart or for regular SC period).

    Just for a second, imagine the 2016 Brazilian GP. The race was red-flagged. Post-which, it started under safety car and the safety car stayed for 3 laps (due to bad weather); after that it was a rolling restart. By current rules, you would have 42.12 apply for the 1st lap under safety car and then have 42.6 apply for the next 2 laps. Imagine in 2021 Imola, if the safety car decided that it needed another lap to assess the conditions and then decide to go in, would we have 2 separate rules for the 2 laps. So, if Kimi would have spun on 2nd lap and not taken his positions back, it was ok. But for the first lap, not taking your positions back is a 30 second stop and go penalty. That is too confusing. Why have 42.12 at all?

    For that matter, when was the last time a safety car was used for a restart? In all the recent 2020’s red-flagged races, never was a SC used, am I right? Prior to 2020, we did not even have too many red-flagged races. And red-flagged races always had a rolling restart then. Don’t seem to recollect if anyone spun behind them then. Why make a new set of rules (42.12) for a situation that hardly ever occurs. You can just apply the regular safety car rules.

    1. I can understand your point here. However, while you claim the rules for SC should be the same, if you change them you then get different rules for the first start and a red flag restart. In answer to your later question, article 42.12 exists as almost a word-for-word copy of article 26.9, which governs the same situation on a formation lap.

      In answer to your other questions, last rolling restart from a red flag was in Baku 2017, and the last wet one was the one you mention in Brazil 2016. However, I think the 2017 rules changes, or PU evolution, has made the cars a bit less stable in the wet especially when the tires are cold (see Kimi and one of the ATs in Imola, and the high number of spins on cold tires in Turkey last year).

      With regards to that Brazil 2016 situation, I believe Kimi would have had to either regain his position, or return to the pitlane before the restart. This is because article 42.10 allows multiple laps behind the SC in the wet, and this appears to be governed by Red Flag Restart procedure, not SC procedure.

      1. Thanks for your response Anon and ‘someone or something’ below

        So as per 42.10, multiple laps under SC (at the start of the race or restart of a race) are governed by 42.12 and all these multiple laps will be treated as formation laps. This seems to be in contradiction to what ‘SoS’ is saying below. ‘SoS’ is saying that 42.6 applies but you seem to say 42.12 applies.

        Also, if multiple laps are treated as formation laps, you are allowed to regain your position before safety car line, right? Is it safety car line before the last formation lap or the same formation lap in which you spun? More confusion, right?

        However, if a race starts under a safety car – Fuji 2007 – then the safety car laps will also have to be treated as a formation lap right? (Ironically, in such situations, the formation lap itself stands cancelled). Also, at Fuji 2007, Liuzzi apparently managed to get himself lapped while under the safety car (Wikipedia) and Race Control allowed him to unlap himself. So this is race control themselves did not follow 42.12, right?

        These rules are confusing. That is why I feel, there should be just 2 sets of rules: 1) one rule for laps behind SC and 2) one rule for formation laps (when there is a formation at the end of such a lap)

        1. Firstly, a minor correction. 42.6 is a copy of 36.9 not 26.9 (the latter doesn’t even exist).

          And now a more major correction, I got my numbers mixed up! SoS is correct in saying 42.6 applies, not 42.12.

          If there are multiple formation laps, the car needing to overtake has until the SC line on the final SC line, as prescribed by 42.6:

          Any driver who is delayed when leaving his position in the fast lane or during the lap(s)
          behind the safety car may overtake to re-establish his original starting position provided
          he does so before he crosses the first safety car line on the lap the safety car returns to
          the pits. Should he fail to do so he must re-enter the pit lane and may only re-join the race
          once the whole field has passed the end of the pit lane after the race has been resumed.

          Regarding Fuji 2007, unlapping under the SC is different to overtaking to regain position I believe. Additionally, the Sporting Regulations do change year on year and it is highly likely the rules on these procedures are not the same as they were almost certainly changed between now and then.

  6. someone or something
    1st May 2021, 14:33

    I think you’re misinterpreting what 42.6 and 42.12 mean.
    42.12 always applies. Whenever a Safety Car announces its return to the pitlane by switching off its lights, overtaking is forbidden.
    42.6 however only applies to formation laps before a standing start or a rolling restart. You need to be in the correct position by Safety Car line 1 before the restart happens, or else you need to enter the pitlane.

    Consequently, your Brazil 2016 example wouldn’t have worked that way. The Safety Car was sent out to prepare a rolling restart. That made it a 42.6 situation: Overtaking to regain positions was fine and required to avoid penalties. The fact that the Safety Car stayed out for additional laps didn’t change anything about that fact. This was still a rolling restart procedure. Had a driver spun on the first lap behind the Safety Car and e.g. pulled a Räikkönen by driving down the escape road only to find it blocked, and thus having to go back, it wouldn’t have mattered if he didn’t regain his position in the same lap. What matters, is being in the correct position at the restart, i.e. when crossing Safety Car line 1 right before the rolling restart happens.
    42.12 only came into play when the SC’s lights went out. No overtaking past this point and before the start-finish line.
    42.12

    1. someone or something
      1st May 2021, 14:34

      @ sumedh

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