Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2022

Race directors’ talk was “very useful” for drivers to understand penalties – Sainz

2022 French Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers praised the steps taken by the series’ race directors to explain recent penalty decisions at a meeting on Friday.

Questions had been raised over a series of penalty decisions which were made at recent events. Friday’s talk “was very, very useful,” said Carlos Sainz Jnr, “because we managed to discuss between us drivers and the race directors why some incidents have a five-second penalty and why others not.”

The race director role is being shared this year by Eduardo Freitas, who is running this weekend’s event, and Niels Wittich. Friday’s meeting was not attended by any of the stewards who are responsible for deciding what if any penalties are issued.

“It was a shame that the stewards were not there to explain to us,” said Sainz, “but the race directors tried their best to explain it to us. We will see if these meetings keep helping our mutual understanding.”

Alexander Albon discussed why he hadn’t been penalised for clashing with Sebastian Vettel during the sprint race at the previous round, when George Russell had been for his collision with Sergio Perez in the grand prix.

“I explained the reason why, what the stewards said, because I think no one in the room understood why I didn’t get a penalty and why George got a penalty,” said Albon.

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“We’ve done it before, it’s not a new thing,” he added. “I think it shows that it’s not that easy for them.

“We know that it’s not an easy job for the FIA, but it’s more about us understanding the difference, for example, why was George given a penalty and I wasn’t? [And] as drivers how can we learn how the stewards police so as drivers we can also know how to fight in combat.”

However Fernando Alonso, who previously complained about penalties he received in Miami and Canada, said the clarifications could be used by drivers to push for penalties in future events.

“Obviously it’s something in order to improve things and to show us some incidents and why they gave penalties and why not,” he said. “So it’s for the good of everyone trying to understand better their approach.

“It has to be seen in the next events, because it can have a double effect, because when you see a video and that was a penalty, then we will have it in our mind. Maybe tomorrow it was exactly the same and [we ask] ‘why you didn’t give a penalty?’ So we could enter a series of video reviews, that could be interesting.”

However he praised the initiative taken by the race directors. “I think there is an approach from the FIA, really willing to improve things and making anything possible, thinking out of the box. We never did that in the past, I’m quite pleased with that.”

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2022 French Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
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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One comment on “Race directors’ talk was “very useful” for drivers to understand penalties – Sainz”

  1. The Race Director taking the competitors and media through decisions that the stewards came to didn’t start this year…
    Whiting did it a bit, Masi did it a lot (and copped loads of flak for it) and so the new ones are doing it too.

    Of course it doesn’t really mean anything when it’s not coming from the people who actually make those decisions – but it sums up F1 pretty well.
    Giving off the appearance of changing for the better, but actually doing nothing at all.
    The biggest issue with stewarding inconsistency is still there because that part of the system hasn’t changed.

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