Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Singapore, 2022

Perez keeps Singapore Grand Prix win despite penalty for Safety Car violation

2022 Singapore Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez has been confirmed as the winner of the Singapore Grand Prix following an investigation into his driving behind the Safety Car.

Perez was given a reprimand and a five-second time penalty for two separate incidents. However as he took the chequered flag 7.5 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc, he keeps his win.

The stewards found Perez failed to stay within 10 car lengths of the Safety Car when required to while it was on-track on two separate occasions.

He was given a reprimand for the first incident which occured during the Safety Car period which followed the collision between Zhou Guanyu and Nicholas Latifi. The stewards noted: “It was admitted while the lights of the safety car were still on, Perez failed to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car between the exit of turn 13 and turn 14.

“When questioned during the hearing Perez said that the conditions were very wet and that it was very difficult to closely follow the Safety Car with little heat in his tyres and brakes.”

They did not fully accept his explanation, but decided to issue a reprimand for the first incident.

Gallery: 2022 Singapore Grand Prix in pictures
“Although the track was wet in parts, we do not accept that the conditions were such as to make it impossible or dangerous for Perez to have maintained the required less than 10 car-length gap. Nevertheless, we took into account the wet conditions and the difficulties highlighted by Perez as mitigatory circumstances for this incident and, accordingly, determine that a reprimand ought to be imposed.”

During a subsequent Safety Car period, Perez again dropped too far back. This time race director Eduardo Freitas warned Red Bull that Perez needed to follow it more closely. The team passed the information onto him.

The stewards explained that as they issued a reprimand for the first infringement, a stiffer penalty was chosen for the second. “As this was the second breach of Article 55.10 by Perez during the race and followed an express warning from the race director, we determined to impose a five-second time penalty on Perez.”

Perez was also given two penalty points on his licence, which are his first two of the current 12-month period.

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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...

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79 comments on “Perez keeps Singapore Grand Prix win despite penalty for Safety Car violation”

  1. I assumed it would be a 5s penalty – once he built that gap at the end, it made the FIA’s decision easy.

    1. @petebaldwin by leaving the penalty until after the race, it does give the impression that the stewards were waiting to see how far ahead Perez might be at the end, and then decide to adjust the penalty accordingly to ensure that any penalty he received would not prevent him from winning the race.

      1. Indeed.
        Overall consistent and effective stewarding (and race management) hasn’t really improved since last seasons.

    2. It should have been a 5s penalty, true… But separately for each incident at least. There is precedent that it should be a 5s penalty, and the conditions were not bad enough that he should be given almost complete leniency for the first incident. Then, penalising the second incident which came after an explicit warning the standard, precedented penalty is just farcical.

      F1 stewarding and officiating certainly hasn’t improved much this season, in spite of all the promises. I mean, I guess we haven’t had the officials completely ignoring their own rules… Yet. We still have time, though at least they probably won’t change the result of this championship in doing so.

      1. @drmouse I’m not sure I can remember anyone being penalised for this in recent memory. I’m not trying to be argumentative, I’m just genuinely curious as to when this was last enforced.

        On a similar noted, people have been falling much more than 10 car lengths back on formation laps in recent years and have never been punished.

        1. I remember Vettel was penalized for the exact same offense in Hungary 2010. He received a drive through during the race.
          I’m surprised the stewards didn’t issue a similar penalty. But I assume nobody from 12 years ago is still around so they just choose was feels right for them.

          1. @x303
            Herbie Blash is still around btw. I don’t know if he is part of the FIA race operations or he is just there in an advisory role to the race direction. I remember Vettel’s reaction at the time when he was furious with him arguing about the penalty that cost him a race he controlled brilliantly from the start.

          2. @x303 I think the difference now compared to 2010 is that in 2010, 5 and 10 second penalties didn’t exist, and therefore a drive-through was the most lenient sporting penalty there was. Since the time penalties have been introduced in around 2014/15 iirc, penalties in general seem to have been more lenient. Exceeding track limits has gone from being a drive-through to “just” 5 seconds, while causing a collision now gets (usually) 10 seconds or so as opposed to a drive-through or stop-go, so I expect the reasoning for this just being 5 seconds is that everything else has become more lenient, so they should be more lenient here as well?

          3. Oh, that’s true, I wasn’t watching in the vettel era, but the italian commentators said the last time such an infraction happened was indeed that time with vettel, so around 20 sec lost vs only 5 now.

          4. RandomMallard,
            Time penalties were indeed given in 2010. In the 2010 European GP, 9 drivers have been handed time penalties for speeding behind the safety car. Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg, Rubens Barrichello, Robert Kubica, Vitaly Petrov, Adrian Sutil, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Sebastien Buemi and Pedro de la Rosa were given 5s penalty and Timo Glock was given 20s penalty for ignoring blue flags.

            The thing is Charlie Whiting’s line was very tough and his philosophy was that the penalty should be harsher considering the the infringement so the drivers will not abuse the rules. The thing is with the current race direction and as demonstrated by Alonso, if you respect the rules you may get penalised. Alonso pointed out to this and did a demonstration with regard to cutting corners and gaining positions in the first lap and getting away with it.

            Hamilton last year cut the chicane in the 1st lap of Abu Dhabi and gained first position from Verstappen and then reinstated the time advantage he gained in the 3rd sector where overtaking is nearly impossible. In case of Perez the stewards were waiting to see how the race will terminate and then issue penalties accordingly so the race result will not be altered.

          5. In case of Perez the stewards were waiting to see how the race will terminate and then issue penalties accordingly so the race result will not be altered.

            If that is actually the case, it’s outrageous and scandalous. It shouldn’t matter how it affects the race, the penalty should be issued (by the FIA’s own rules and agreements) based only on what the driver (and/or team) did. Neither the consequences of the driver’s/team’s action not the consequences of the penalty should be considered.

            If the stewards specifically chose penalties such that they wouldn’t change the result, that would give them leeway to do do the opposite (give a harsher than normal penalty in order to affect the result), and the biggest problem in F1 officiating (inconsistency) would get even worse.

            Note: I don’t actually think this is what happened and just think it was bad and inconsistent stewarding again, I’m just pointing out that if it were what happened it would be a really bad thing for the sport.

          6. @tifoso1989 Interesting, I did not realise they had been handing out 5 seconds post-race penalties in 2010. However, my understanding is that was still quite a limited practice (though I may be wrong), as it appears the “official” introduction of a 5 second penalty occurred in 2014, along with the 10 second penalty the year after.

            @drmouse I agree. In the unlikely event that this was something more than incompetence (feels like a bit of a Hanlon’s Razor moment), then it really is a bad sign. I really hope it was just the on-brand dose of inconsistency though.

          7. RandomMallard,
            In the 2010 FIA F1 sporting regulations rulebook time penalties were indeed present and the ten seconds penalty was explicit :

            The stewards may impose any one of three penalties on any driver involved in an Incident :
            a) A drive-through penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane and re-join the race without stopping ;
            b) A ten second time penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop at his pit for at least ten seconds
            and then re-join the race.
            c) a drop of any number of grid positions at the driver’s next Event.

            Though I didn’t find the base article with regard to the 5s penalties given at the 2010 European GP. I need to look more thoroughly in the rulebook to find it but Whiting at the time surely had a solid legal case to issue a 5s penalties for 9 drivers that were not challenged by the way.

            https://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.nsf/65EE8F15945D0941C12576C7005308AE/$FILE/1-2010%20SPORTING%20REGULATIONS%2023-06-2010.pdf

          8. @tifoso1989 Is that penalty description not the description of a 10 second stop-go penalty? The wording (and the 30 seconds post race time it is linked with) seems to suggest it is, especially when you compare it to the modern description of a 10 second stop-go:

            A ten second stop-and-go time penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop in his pit stop position for at least ten seconds and then re-join the sprint session or the race.

            And when compared to the “post-race” element of the modern 10 second time penalty, which the 2010 regulations appear to lack:

            The relevant driver may however elect not to stop, provided he carries out no further pit stop before the end of the sprint session or the race. In such cases ten (10) seconds will be added to the elapsed the sprint session or race time of the driver concerned.

          9. And for the record, this is the full article that covers a “modern” 10 second time penalty:

            A ten (10) second time penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop in his pit stop position for at least ten seconds and then re-join the sprint session or the race. The relevant driver may however elect not to stop, provided he carries out no further pit stop before the end of the sprint session or the race. In such cases ten (10) seconds will be added to the elapsed the sprint session or race time of the driver concerned

            What sets this apart from the 2010 regulations, in my interpretation, is the option for a driver not to stop again and have 10 seconds added post-race, as opposed to the 2010 regulations requiring the driver to stop within 3 laps, and the post-race penalty being converted to 30 seconds instead of 10.

        2. The ten car lengths rule doesn’t apply to formation laps. That rule is actually even more strict, demanding that “the formation must be kept as tight as possible”, which never happens – and is never penalized.

          1. Michael, for as long as I can remember, I’ve got annoyed at the antics on the formation lap, where the front of the grid is lined up, tyres and brakes getting cold, whilst the people at the bottom end of the grid pootle round like they’ve got all the time in the world, holding everyone up. I never knew there was a rule about it. To be honest, I don’t really see the point of a formation lap any more. What does it achieve?

          2. MichaelN and AlanD, I completely agree with both of these. If they’re gonna clamp down on the SC restarts then they need to clamp down on the formation laps as well.

  2. OK, so this whole situation is a farce as Perez should’ve known whether he had won or not when he crossed the line.

    But…

    …now they’ve decided on his punishment, couldn’t it be argued that, by delaying the decision but also letting Perez know that he was under investigation, they gave him ample time to counter-act any potential punishment by building a gap to Leclerc?

    1. @sonnycrockett LeClerc should have kept within the 5 second window, simple as.

    2. A gap LeClerc could have closed, armed with the same information.

      1. Leclerc knew too though didn’t he?

        1. Assuming ferrari told him! Wouldn’t be a surprise if they didn’t, but they don’t broadcast all team radios, so haven’t noticed if they did.

          1. the team radio to LEC was in the world feed

  3. I assume the stewards will now issue the same penalty EVERY TIME a driver lingers more than 10 car lengths behind the SC or the car in front (during formation lap and SC).

    I’ll have my 20 measuring tapes ready before the next race :P

    1. A reprimand but no penalty seems fairly consistent with all previous infringements of this rule, so I expect them to keep it going, sure.

      Now I am also sure if you do it twice like Perez did, a more severe punishment like the 5s given here is appropriate.

      1. @sjaakfoo there have been a few claims that Perez might have actually infringed that regulation three times, not just twice. There are suggestions that there were two separate infractions during the first safety car period, but the stewards were initially prepared to grant Perez a little leeway for the first infraction due to the track conditions and only issued a verbal warning to Red Bull.

  4. But how can he get one penalty for two violations?

    1. He didn’t. He got a reprimand for the first and a 5s penalty plus 2 penalty points poor the second.

      1. So, pretty much nothing for the first and then the normal penalty which they have handled out before for the second, which came after an explicit warning… Yeah, seems legit!

        1. the normal penalty which they have handled out before for the second, which came after an explicit warning

          Serious questions:
          When did they give a 5s penalty for the 10 car lengths rule?
          When/How did he (RD?) give the ‘explicit warning’?

          1. Precisely my point, I just feel they gave the 5 seconds because it wouldn’t matter. If he opened an 11s gap to Leclerc they might have penalized him with 5s per incident.

          2. I read above there was a Vettel incident 12 years ago.
            https://www.racefans.net/2022/10/02/perez-keeps-singapore-grand-prix-win-despite-penalty-for-safety-car-violation/#comment-4864326
            Didn’t recall that one, but do recall many occasions during which a gap of more than 10 car lengths was opened and not punished.

  5. Once again fia has let us as fans down.

  6. So let’s get this straight, Vettel gets a drive through penalty even though his radio was broken for the same exact offense but Perez does it twice and only gets a 5s penalty?

    What a joke with the stupid consistency.

    1. A drive-through penalty equates to a 25 second post-race time penalty. It’s pretty obvious that the FIA stewards intentionally waited around until the end of the race so they could give a meaningless time penalty that made no difference to the result. That’s the kind of officials the FIA keeps around.

      F1 is not quite WWE-levels of scripted, but it’s definitely sports entertainment.

      1. But they summoned him after the race and to ask him and “heard from him” to see his explanation of why he didn’t keep the distance, wouldn’t that be a valid reason to wait after the race if they want to give a chance to the driver to explain?

    2. Vettel’s was 12 years ago when Drive Thru’s were the most lenient penalties available under the rules.

    3. Also in the Vettel cause the 5-10 seconds penaulty didn’t exsist but i have seen multiple drivers dropping much bigger gaps and never got penaulized.
      But the start of the investigation was done very late and the first was not even reported. This kind of things must be done before the end of the race. Perez never get in front so the SC was a bit new to him and the conditions were also not fine for him.

    4. And you forgot about the many occasions where people have done it in between Vettel and Perez and the FIA haven’t even looked at it. I think you’d struggle to find a single example of a safetycar period where one car didn’t drop 10 lengths behind the car in front….

  7. Good for Perez, he thoroughly deserved the win. But the FIA… I guess they needed all the time to find a decision that
    a) doesn’t change the outcome of the race and
    b) isn’t contestable despite the infringement beeing pretty clear.
    Honi soit qui mal y pense: Had his lead been under five seconds it would have been a couple of reprimands only?

    1. Ofcourse, because now Red Bull will report any infringements from other teams straitgh away.

  8. I saw a reprimand/5-sec combination as one possible outcome & ultimately, perhaps the fairest.

    1. It’s fair to give a driver a slap on the wrist for one occident, which has gained penalties from 5s to drive throughs for drivers doing the same in the past, followed by a 5s penalty when he does the same thing later in the race after being explicitly warned about it by the officials?!?! I think your definition of “fair” is significantly different to mine…

      1. @drmouse I see what you mean, but I disagree about the fair definition part.
        I probably should’ve typed ultimately the right decision.

        1. If this was the right decision here, then does that indicate you think the first offence of this in a race by a driver should always/normally just gain a reprimanded? Or is this now that you think that the overall result of the race was right/what you want, and so you’ll accept inconsistent and unfair application of the rules to allow that result to stand?

          Fyi, I believe Perez deserved a win today. He drove brilliantly and I was rooting for him. I just strongly disagree with the stewards’ decision, as it is far more lenient than anything remotely similar in the past. Whether it is or not, it makes it look like the stewards waited to the end so they could choose penalties which wouldn’t take the win away from him.

      2. Perez was never being warned by the FIA in the race only him engineer said once to keep with the SC. Perez was surprised when he heard he was under inverstation and went full speed after that. Charles had to give up as he was done.

        1. During a subsequent Safety Car period, Perez again dropped too far back. This time race director Eduardo Freitas warned Red Bull that Perez needed to follow it more closely. The team passed the information onto him.

          The warning was issued by the officials, and the team passed that on to their driver. The FIA don’t speak directly to drivers during a race. This is standard practice and had been for decades.

  9. Sorry that just doesn’t wash. If he couldn’t keep up in T13-14 it’d be the same every lap and it clearly wasn’t. There was no mitigation for the first one and it should have been 5s for the first and (at least) 5s for the second (you could possibly argue it should be more severe for a second offence).

    It’s a shame as he raced brilliantly apart from that – I think he should think himself lucky to keep that win.

    1. I think it definitely should have been more severe than 5s for a second occurrence after a warning from the stewards…

      1. I don’t know, seems it’s a base 5 sec penalty, mitigating circumstances make that 0, so once the mitigation is gone that’s 5.

        1. Even if the mitigating circumstances make the first one zero, the aggravating circumstances of the second (that he had already been warned but did it again anyway) should result in an increased penalty for that one. So I could have gotten on board with a reprimand for the first, as long as the fact he completely ignored the warning he was given and did the same thing again later was punished more severely than the baseline.

  10. They gave him a bailout with the reprimand and then punished him properly for the second incident so Ferrari will not mount a post race protest. Two different penalties for the same infringement committed by the same driver in the same race.

    If Ferrari did have a Toto in charge of the racing team, he would have dragged the entire FIA in the mud so next time they will be forced to apply the rules properly despite their incompetence. Now they think twice about ever SC situation not out of good will to enforce the rules but out of fear of Toto and Mercedes…

    RBR team do have a point to breach the budget cap rules because they know in advance the clowns in charge of the FIA are more concerned about losing their high paying jobs than enforcing rather than proper officiating the championship.

    1. Altough I don’t agree with the 5s penalty I also think its strange to apply two different penalty’s. But its F1 so we got used to it.
      I can understand that you have to apply the rules but can anybody tell me why this was a saftey issue?

    2. Now they think twice about ever SC situation not out of good will to enforce the rules but out of fear of Toto and Mercedes…

      I don’t think the people of the FIA are afraid of Wolff or Mercedes. They just don’t want to lose face in front of the world.

    3. The last part is key. The stewards may not be in it for the money, but being an F1 steward is definitely worth bending a few rules to be part of ‘the club’. At least, for some. And it’s exactly those people that the FIA gets for the gig. They have no use for sticklers for the law. They’d just cause problems and make the big corporate teams uncomfortable.

      There’s a benefit for the FIA, too. By having a huge 100+ page rule book but terribly inconsistent enforcement, they have an effective tool to meddle in the races. Like Alonso said, it was a bad idea to disagree with race director Whiting. Doing so tended to attract the attention of the stewards.

  11. What excuse do the stewards have for not making a decision before the end of the race? They weren’t swamped with incidents that needed investigation.

    1. MAybe they there is some internal directive not to impose podium changing penalties before hearing the parts involved.
      Other than that, just poor stewarding.

    2. They wanted to talk to him and ask him why he didn’t keep the distance, in case he had a valid explanation

  12. Seriously weird wording there. “We don’t accept that conditions were a mitigating factor, but actually, we do so no penalty”. Since when has a wet track been a reason for a driver to fall unnecessarily far behind the safety car? Everyone knows the rule. This appears to me to be the stewards trying desperately not to make the dreadfully unpopular decision to strip a driver of a win. The easy solution would have been to issue a drive through penalty. It seems like a silly precedent they’re setting here.

  13. FIA made it easy for us to criticize them. If they would have given the penalty before end of the race it would have been easier to swallow. But after they did what could have been avoided. They get themselves in even bigger trouble.

  14. Penalty is a penalty but how you give it makes a lot of difference

  15. Or just finding him not guilty at all. Had Perez finished 4.9s in front, the penalty wouldn’t be handed. The result defines the application of the sporting code in F1 now.

    1. Agree. And if he managed to win by 11 seconds, he would have been given 2 5s penalties. There was no need to speak with the driver after the race.

  16. Lewisham Milton
    2nd October 2022, 22:17

    These time penalties are crap, they deny us a race. Especially when both teams pre-empt there FIA judgement.

    If I could afford to watch F1 live, I would have switched off and given one-star reviews to all its sponsors.

  17. It is a spectator sport after all. The show does have to be considered. I think the stewards made the right call, although far too late. It should have been two 5 second penalties. But I am so glad they didn’t take the win away from him after the race. That would have been pitiful.

  18. For a moment I thought that maybe they were investigating him for his gesture at the SC (I think that was also the first one? OR was it the second one?) complaining about it going so slow. Annoying how little information they were giving during the race.

    Not impressed by race control and the stewarding this race.

  19. And yet another race where the comissioners pull the light on them. I’m a bit confuse on how the same penalty (it was the same right?) has 2 different outcomes.
    I have a doubt regarding the comissioners, are all the same on the all season or not? And if not shouldn’t they be the same ?

  20. Hard to say if I agree with the decision, but I think perez deserved the win, however some people, including the italian commentators, said they should’ve given the penalty during the race, maybe in this case yes, but if you think back about canada 2019, when vettel didn’t have the pace to pull a gap on hamilton, that ruined a great on track duel. In this case it didn’t cause after a nice battle leclerc didn’t have the pace any more to keep up with perez and wouldn’t have even with an in-race penalty, but that doesn’t always happen, in fact I would’ve thought perez would’ve had to defend till the end.

  21. That’s both right and extremely stupid.

    1. Seems Perez still not ready to lead more races.

  22. I am glad PER kept the win. Hopefully he will learn from this, he needs to improve on his SC driving and pay more attention, this is the second SC incident this year (the prior being RUS passing him when track went green earlier this year).

    Norris and Verstappen were definitely driving at racing speed not SC speed right before the track went back to green and Stewards said nothing about it. For Norris to drive at that speed he would’ve to be more than 10 length-cars behind from HAM or whomever was in front of him. So, stewards are being consistent of being inconsistent.

  23. The FIA have no credibility so I’m not really surprised at this latest farcical decision.

  24. Obviously…. The moment I heard he will be investigated after the race I knew that he will keep the win.

    PS: when was the last time a driver lost the win after the race?? 2008 Spa?

  25. Does this set a precedent that other teams can take advantage of in future? You now get a free pass to leave a bigger gap once if you want to?

    1. I cannot see the benefit of leaving a bigger gap when the SC lights are still on.

      I hope though that RD/stewards start penalising the unnecessary delays during the formation lap.

  26. Sergey Martyn
    3rd October 2022, 8:33

    I hate all of the post-race hearings but glad that Checo got his well-deserved win. His tyre management at the end of the race was absolutely stunning. Charles just blew his chances wiggling a lot. I believe the stewards got some unambiguous messages from Mexican radio :-)

    1. Sergey Martyn
      3rd October 2022, 8:36

      Or Ferrari just told Leclerc to keep within 10 sec window, as they were sure Checo will get two fivers.

      1. They didn’t on Race, i mas nota aware od. I’ve seen the GP with the onboard on Lec and Marcos Padros referes to Lec to always to try and keep under the 5 sec Gap, they only talked about a possible two five second penalty on their way to the boxes after the end off the Race.

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