Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Baku Street Circuit, 2022

Latifi given penalty point after passing 12 blue flag light panels in front of Gasly

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Nicholas Latifi was handed a five-second post-race time penalty and one penalty point on his super licence for ignoring blue flags in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

However the Williams driver insisted he had been trying to help Pierre Gasly, who was trying to lap him at the time.

The Williams driver was deemed to have failed to yield for Gasly during the race by the stewards after passing 12 blue lights shown on marshals’ posts between turn seven and the start-finish line at the end of lap 42.

Gasly was under pressure from Lewis Hamilton for fourth place when the pair came behind Latifi, who was running last. Despite multiple blue flag warnings, Latifi failed to yield.

He was investigated by the stewards for breaching Appendix H, Article 2.5.5 E of the FIA’s International Sporting Code, which outlines that when receiving a blue flag, a driver “must allow the following car to pass at the earliest opportunity.”

The stewards found Latifi was in violation of the rules and handed him a five-second time penalty. It was eventually added to the end of his race time, though as he finished last it made no difference to his final result.

“Car six [Latfi] was shown the blue flag on multiple occasions,” the stewards confirmed. “The blue lights were displayed for 12 panels, between turn seven and the finish line, prior to car 10 [Gasly] being able to pass.”

However, speaking to media including RaceFans after the race, Latifi explained he had not pulled over to allow Gasly by in order to ensure he did not leave the AlphaTauri driver completely exposed to Hamilton behind with DRS.

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“The blue flag [penalty], I understood I took longer than maybe in terms of the marshalling sectors to let him by,” Latifi said. “But I spoke to Pierre after, telling him what I wanted to do and he agreed with what I did.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku Street Circuit, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in pictures
“I just basically wanted to give him the DRS, because if I let him by a few corners before then he was going to have no DRS and he was going to get penalised from Hamilton catching him through that dirty air up before.

“So I said ‘okay let me at least give him the DRS and try and negate whatever I held him up and he agreed. He said ‘yeah you did the right thing’.”

Latifi was also given a penalty point on his super licence, putting him on a total of four. At the previous race in Monaco he and team mate Alexander Albon were accused of holding up the Ferrari drivers while being lapped, but neither incident was investigated by the stewards.

The five second penalty was the second that Latifi was hit by during the race after serving a 10 second stop-go penalty in the early laps due to a starting grid infringement when a Williams mechanic was on the grid beyond the deadline allowed by the regulations. The penalty left the Williams driver half a minute behind the nearest car of Mick Schumacher in 19th.

“It’s unfortunate that the penalty undid everything before it even started,” said Latifi. “I feel like there should be some leniency applied for what the infringement was as I was just pushed back, and nothing was changed to the car.

“It was tricky being so far off from the pack then the cycle of blue flags and getting caught by the leaders very early on. The race ended up being a very long and lonely one.”

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2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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28 comments on “Latifi given penalty point after passing 12 blue flag light panels in front of Gasly”

  1. His exact quote regarding the matter is why he got penalised. He is intenting to effect the outcome of the race positive or negatively (positive for Gasly, negative for Hamilton) where as he should have just got out of the way of the fight. Honestly I can’t understand why his intentions were any different than other races he has been lapped, strange thing to say in an interview.

    1. I guess his point was he held up Gasly and let Hamilton catch him so he tried to give him DRS to negate the damage he’d already caused. I can see what he was trying to do but even so, it’s a slam-dunk penalty (as Albon should have got in Monaco.)

    2. And that’s the issue. F1 and this whole “get out of my way” is nonsense. It isn’t ‘pure racing’ or ‘pure sport’ it’s “get out of my way I shouldn’t have to pass you.”

      Nonsense. Still watch every week, but still, nonsense.

  2. Why? What a strange thing to do. Why is he trying to help Pierre? When I first saw 12 blue flags post I thought it was ridiculous, but his explanation is even weirder.

    1. @bernasaurus Beats me & the weirdest part is openly admitting his somewhat bias-based intention as if drivers are supposed to make sure no one gets exposed to an attacking driver with DRS.
      The first time I’ve heard anyone having such intention for choosing when to let someone lap.

    2. @bernasaurus it’s a very weird explanation – the whole point of the blue flag system is that Latifi should have been moving aside at the earliest practical point to let Gasly through, meaning that, if he was disrupting Gasly, that should be a sign that he wasn’t doing the right thing in the first place.

      If anything, it’s probably just going to raise even more questions about what was happening back in Monaco too and the way in which the Williams drivers seem to be arbitrarily reinterpreting the regulations.

      1. Yeah, it is really a strange way of thinking. If he had wanted to stay out of the way, he could have moved over far earlier (and follow the rules by doing so). And even if he wanted to give DRS to Gasly, he could have done that at the start of the straight, before Gasly was largely stuck behind the far slower Williams with a car that was only second to the Alpines in a straight line in Baku.

        I am glad he got a penalty, since it was a bit of a repeat offence after having clearly been in the way in Monaco, as Anon mentions.

  3. Oh… Canada…

  4. The Baku bothered to do what the Monaco panel didn’t, but Latifi’s explanation is weird.

    1. ‘Baku stewards’

  5. lol such a gentleman.
    This Williams duo seem to make their own blue flag rules. It doesn’t matter. What can be taken from them anyway?

    Maybe lower their cap or something. You get a blue flag you move out of the way as soon as possible. What’s so difficult?

    1. @Edvaldo Yes, a different sanction might be in order since both have openly & directly admitted to making their own blue flag rules.
      Only they seem to find letting by on the ‘first available opportunity’ difficult (albeit only in the most recent events), while every other lapped driver moves aside sooner.

  6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    12th June 2022, 19:05

    What I don’t get is why albon wasn’t punished in monaco what he held up the leaders for even longer than this…

    1. @thegianthogweed Nor Latifi for holding up Sainz until the tunnel.
      Monaco stewards simply didn’t bother doing what they were supposed to do.

    2. Because the stewards for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix were Garry Connelly, Matteo Perini, Mika Salo, and Danil Solomin. In Monaco, the people handing out penalties – or rather refusing to do so – were Garry Connelly, Andrew Mallalieu, Derek Warwick, and Jean-Francois Calmes. The FIA and F1 call this merry-go-round of inconsistent decisionmakers ‘proper governance’.

      1. @MichaelN Ironically, Garry Connelly was in both panels.

      2. If I was the FIA & F1, I would assume Garry was there for consistency. However
        Not getting it right, is a fundamental part of the F1 show :) Where is the fun, in the FIA always doing the right thing? F1 wants people to talk about how unfair x was last Sunday. Drama means eyeballs, more eyeballs means higher marketing fees.

        1. Bringing back Masi will give the FIA & F1 a huge drama boost – He is the Hero/Villain all in one. Every decision he makes will be written about.

  7. Latifi and Cordeel, perfect pairing for 2023., in the spirit of Williams and Haas teams. They have so much in common, at least on track. When I think how many talents couldn’t get their chance, or lost it too soon because of jokers like this.

  8. Why was he being pushed back at the start? Has he missed his grid slot?

  9. So Canadian of him. As a reward have a point.

  10. Funny how Tsunoda and Alfa Tauri have gotten away with penalty yesterday and how even smaller teams dont care about stewarding decisions anymore

    1. Yes, these penalties aren’t threatening for a team like williams, I’ve said it before, there needs to be a deterrent, someone suggested a lower cap, but that would be huge since williams as far as I know is already significantly under the cap.

  11. This is too funny. Latifi is so nice that he’s willing to break the rules for something he believed it was a good courtesy.

  12. Maybe you should focus on scoring a point or not constantly crashing, my dude.

    Just a suggestion.

  13. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but at this point it’s not even funny.

    Abu Dhabi 2021: Latifi crashes thus helps Verstappen to title. On it’s own not actually suspicious.
    Monaco 2022: Albon and Latifi ignore blue flags thus blocking Ferraris who are racing Red Bulls. Albon is still a Red Bull driver, easily could’ve been intentional on his part, more to gain than lose.
    NO PENALTIES
    Azerbaijan 2022: Latifi literally admits he was helping fellow Red Bull junior Gasly out when ignoring blue flags. On a side note Alonso allegedly blocks Albon in qualifying, we all know Alonso likes to test the rules to prove a point, perhaps he heard about Albon’s blue flag antics in Monaco and wanted to make a point.
    PENALTY for Latifi, probably only because he admitted it.

    Taking the Red Bull/Williams conspiracy theory out of this, it’s still absolutely ridiculous and the penalties are inconsistent. I hope Latifi is replaced sooner than later.

    1. Ignore the part where I call Latifi a Red Bull junior, haha, dream on kid.

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