Stewards ‘took their time over a non-issue’ with Perez penalty decision – Horner

2022 Singapore Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner criticised the length of time taken by the stewards to confirm Sergio Perez as the winner of the Singapore Grand Prix.

The stewards announced before the race was over they would rule on an investigation into Perez’s driving after the chequered flag. Red Bull duly warned him he could face a penalty, and Perez pulled out a seven-and-a-half second margin over second-placed Charles Leclerc at the flag, to reduce the impact of any penalty.

The investigation concerned whether Perez had fallen too far behind the Safety Car when it appeared on two separate occasions during the race. The stewards eventually handed Perez a reprimand and a five-second penalty, which meant he kept his win.

Race director Eduardo Freitas warned Red Bull at one stage that Perez had fallen too far behind the Safety Car. The race leader is required to keep within 10 car lengths of it until its lights are extinguished ahead of a restart.

However Horner doesn’t believe the Perez’s infringement was serious enough to deserve a penalty. “The Safety Car could have been a real stumbling block but how many times have we had to deal with a Safety Car lap and how many precedents are there?” he said.

Gallery: 2022 Singapore Grand Prix in pictures
“For us, this time, it really was a non-issue. The stewards took their time with it, but they reached the right decision. It would have been a incredible shame to have taken that victory away from Checo.”

Horner praised Perez’s performance on his way to his second victory this year. “It was a massive result for him and we are super-proud of him,” he said.

“That was world class from Checo,” he added, “it is right up there as one of his best drives. He was always fighting and even though he had a lot thrown his way he managed to stay on top.”

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2022 Singapore Grand Prix

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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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13 comments on “Stewards ‘took their time over a non-issue’ with Perez penalty decision – Horner”

  1. Taking away the win would’ve indeed been a shame, but rightly so, this didn’t happen.

    1. As long as the pack is running in an equally spaced position, is it really an issue if he did fall back more than 10 car lengths?

      It’s not as though he would really gain any advantage or holding other cars back from the pack (such as Bottas – Jeddah 21, without penalty).

      He got 5 seconds, which is fair enough, although it is something the stewards should be looking at throughout the field at every safety car.

      1. Just as an addition, if it was such an obvious issue, why did it take the Stewards. Ore than 2 hours to confirm this after the race?

      2. If I remember rightly, Bottas wasn’t required to be 10 car lengths back in the incident you’re referring to. He had to keep to his delta, which he did and so wasn’t in breach.

      3. @maddme

        I think it was a rule introduced to prevent some of what we used to see in the past with the leader slowing to a crawl to create a gap to the sc so he can then floor the throttle to put some heat in the rear tires only to slam the brakes on to put heat in the brakes/front tires.

        We saw a number of near misses in the past as well as the odd bit of contact or cars going off in avoidance as a result.

        Having to stay within 10 car lengths and driver at a more consistent pace with less hard accelerating/braking were things done to make it easier for drivers to know what those around them are doing and avoid cases where a car ahead doing something unexpected catches out those behind in an unsafe way.

  2. The precedent is obviously Vettel in Hungary in 2010. He got a drive through, which felt very harsh at the time (given what he did had no material effect on the race, as far as I could tell), and that would have been the “logical” penalty to give here. They should have announced it as soon as they knew he was guilty, most especially seeing as he had already done it once.

    But it was an amazing drive by Perez and I’m glad he keeps the win. As others have said, what is the crime here? Not a drive through worthy one surely? I am certain that his 5 second penalty should have been announced before the end of the race. Resolving it all afterwards is rubbish for everyone.

    1. @frood19 Back in 2010, a drive through penalty was the most lenient sporting penalty there was, although it was, as you say, rather harsh. They’ve since been superseded and mainly replaced by 5 and 10 second penalties, but these weren’t introduced until a few years after Vettel’s penalty (one in 2014 and one in 2015, can’t remember which was 5 and which was 10 sec tho).

  3. I get a chuckle out of Horner’s comment about precedents. Either F1 has rules in the rule book that are enforced, or they don’t. Race Control was nice enough to give a warning to Red Bull about it which to me shouldn’t happen because you know in some other race a team won’t be warned and just penalized.

  4. the safety car driver is too erratic. going fast in one section and too slow in the other, looks like the dude is trying to get the drivers penalised.

  5. I really feel there was ample time to decide on this way earlier. Also, it’s really annoying that the stewards didn’t give a clear info on what exactly was supposed to be the issue during the race.

    After the surprising reasoning why they postponed the start by so much, and a few other isssues, I must say I am not too impressed with the way this race was handled from the side of the FIA.

  6. Horner has an organ devoted solely for whinging. They agonised over stripping the win from Checo, searching high and low for a reason not to do it.

  7. Horner was wrong, in that he was arguing for no penalty.
    Simple question is does the rule state a distance? = Yes.
    Did Perez exceed the distance? = Yes.
    Did the stewards take a silly long time to render a judgement on something that was obvious in every video shot shown? = Yes.

    If Perez couldn’t get a large enough gap between the incident and the end of the race he would lose the place.
    As it was, he did get a large enough gap and kept the place.

    It seems to me that the long delay and post race judgement was an element of showboating by the stewards.
    Guys, if you want to appear in NetFlix just say so, but you need a better scriptwriter.

  8. Well, lets hope Wednesday turns out to be a non issue. Although it is already an issue: either RB broke the rules or Toto will have to leave the sport because of too many fraudulent narratives and obtaining non released information. There is no middle ground here.

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