Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2023

Perez given formal warning after saying “the stewards are a joke” on radio

Formula 1

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Sergio Perez has been given a formal warning by the stewards of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for insulting them after he was given a penalty.

The Red Bull driver told his team “the stewards are a joke” on his radio at the end of the race. He was unhappy about a five-second time penalty he had been given for colliding with Lando Norris, which dropped him out of the podium places.

Perez was also given two endorsement points on his licence for his tangle with this McLaren rival at turn six. He claimed the inside line for the corner but the pair made contact as they rounded the left-hander and Norris took to the run-off area.

The stewards held Perez responded for the collision, stating: “Coming into turn six, notwithstanding that car 11 [Perez] was alongside car four [Norris], the driver of car 11 dived in late, missed the apex of the corner and understeered towards the outside of the corner colliding with car four.”

Perez’s two penalty points mean he is now on a total of seven for the current 12-month period. Any driver who reaches 12 points receives an automatic one-race ban.

He got himself in further trouble with the stewards after crossing the line. Told by race engineer Hugo Bird his penalty had dropped him from second place to fourth, Perez vented his frustration about the decision.

“The stewards are a joke, man,” he replied. “I cannot believe it. They have been very bad this year but this is a joke. That was really a joke.”

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“I don’t know what they were looking at,” Bird agreed. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told him: “You don’t deserve a penalty for that. If anything it looked like a racing incident.”

The stewards summoned Perez for a breach of article 12.2.1.k of the International Sporting Code which forbids “Any misconduct towards […] officers or member of the staff of the FIA” and others. The original document stated the incident occured at 4:31pm, around half an hour before the start, but a later document revised that to 6:31pm, when the race concluded.

Perez apologised to the stewards for his comments. The stewards told him “they had no issue with someone disagreeing with their decisions, however comments that amount to personal insults are a breach of the International Sporting Code.”

“The driver made a genuine and sincere apology to each of the stewards and explained that he made the comments in the heat of the moment and did not consider the fact that they would be broadcast, and the impact of that,” they continued. “He expressed his regret that his comments caused offence to anyone or harm to the sport, which he said he was concerned to avoid. The stewards accept his statements and accept his apology.

“The stewards also note that the driver is not known for making such comments and has always been extremely respectful in Stewards hearings. He was also reminded that the stewards are always available to explain their decisions when requested by a driver or team representative.

“The driver, team manager and the stewards had a constructive discussion about the use and broadcast of team radio messages. The incident itself was also reviewed in detail with the driver and although he still disagreed with the decision he stated he could understand the stewards’ perspective of the incident.”

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The stewards also acknowledged the unusual circumstances that they were ruling on an incident which involved themselves. They said they were “obviously conflicted in this matter as they were the subject of the radio statements and that normally this would be referred to the next panel of stewards however as this is the final event of the season, the matter needed to be dealt with here.”

Speaking before the second verdict was announced, Horner said his driver’s frustration was understandable given the circumstances. “You can understand drivers’ frustration,” he told Sky. “I mean, how often do we see football players venting their frustration?”

Horner received a similar sanction in 2021 after blaming a penalty Max Verstappen received at the Qatar Grand prix on a “rogue marshal.”

“The problem is that everything is broadcast to a global audience,” Horner added. “For Checo to lose that podium after such a great drive, you can understand a bit of frustration.”

Speaking to media after the race Perez explained why he disagreed with his penalty. “To be totally honest I think we ended up contacting, which was unfortunate,” he said. “But to make contact you require both parties.

“I think Lando also had some responsibility on that because he turned in to me as if there was no one there. We ended up making contact tyre to tyre as I was fully alongside him. He cut the corner, he gained time and I still had the penalty. So I honestly don’t agree with the decision but there’s nothing you can do.”

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Perez insisted Norris was equally to blame for the collision. “He didn’t lose anything with it, if anything he gained,” said the Red Bull driver.

“To have that sort of contact you require both cars to do that. I think he had some responsibility in it as well. In my opinion it was 50-50, but he didn’t end up losing anything, if anything he gained. Hard to understand why I got a penalty if I’m totally honest.”

Norris expressed astonishment at his rival’s driving, saying he hadn’t been defending his position and couldn’t understand why Perez had hit him.

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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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46 comments on “Perez given formal warning after saying “the stewards are a joke” on radio”

  1. The joke is man in the fastest car finishing where he has all season

    1. You mean second in the WDC, beaten only by the other guy with the same machinery?

      Where’s the joke?

      1. Mmmm, this comment seems to be coming from someone only looking at the standings and not watching the actual races and especially quali sessions.

        Even in that case, is the point difference between verstappen and perez normal to you?

      2. Perez looked like he was driving a mercedes or a ferrari, not a red bull this year!

  2. Perez should boycott the FIA Gala, show them he means business.

    1. Only Max I’d allowed to get away with moves like that.
      Maybe he should have sent regards instead?

  3. This is utterly pathetic.

  4. The stewards these days are acting like the Balestre of old. I’ll never understand why they make the decisions they do (other than some potential hidden dealings.)

    They can’t handle any criticism at all and never admit they ever do anything wrong. The only right decision is their decision on all matters ever no matter how much criticism it receives.

    There needs to be a change in the process for the good of F1.

    Nothing has changed since Masi and it’s a matter of time before it happens again.

    1. Massi was not a steward

      1. Massi was not a steward

        Who exactly said he was?

  5. Perez screws up and says “he pushed me off”, or “he turned in on me”. This trick is getting old. Own up to your actions.

    1. Even with the constant media abuse Perez got this year (sometimes deservedly, sometimes utterly undeservedly, but generally it was full abuse mode which resulted in his performance loss), most agree that this penalty was beyond unacceptable. Norris gained, Perez lost time there, nobody was hurt. Never seen anything like that honestly. And 2 penalty points as well. Ridiculous.

      1. “Most agree that this penalty was beyond unacceptable.” I don’t know who are these “most” that you speak of. It’s probably your biased view. Perez overshot the corner and understeered into Norris. Completely avoidable with more sensible driving. Well deserved penalty. What is mind-boggling is how Alonso didn’t get any penalty for brake-testing Hamilton. He waived on the straights and then slowed down well before the braking zone. If that isn’t worthy of a penalty, I don’t know what is.

        1. Most = what I’m seeing from comments across the web + the entire F1TV crew.

          1. the entire F1TV crew

            Just stating something does not make it true. Sure, many of them thought it was harsh, but not all, and even those that did think it harsh did not seem to suggest it was ‘beyond unacceptable’.

            At a personal level, I think the penalty was well justified. Norris was certainly entitled to take the line he did, leaving racing room for Perez. If Perez chose to go too fast to controllably negotiate the available space, and causes a collision in doing so, why wouldn’t that be a slam dunk penalty.

    2. Exactly; it’s always somebody else’s fault with Pérez.

      “Hard to understand why I got a penalty if I’m totally honest.”

      It’s not hard to understand at all, as the FIA stewards were right on, quoting:

      – Car 11 dived in late
      – missed the apex
      – understeered towards the outside of the corner
      – colliding with Car 4

      Every part of that was in Pérez’ control.

      It’s not the rest of the grid’s problem that he can’t put that car where it belongs in qualifying, and has to resort to these rough and tumble races in a desperate attempt to recover some ground. He hasn’t even been on the podium 10 times all season.

      1. I think you don’t understand the nature of penalties. Penalties are not given for “hey, this guy is the reason we didn’t have a season” or “why did he qualify only in P9”. Penalties are given when someone makes a bad move and the other loses ground. This time, Norris gained on that. And it wasn’t 100-0 really, Norris turned like nobody is there. I’m glad he didn’t gain position on this, and in fact, he lost on it, because of Leclerc.

        1. I think you’re also on the wrong path. Penalties are given for – as in this instance – causing a collision, which Perez did. Norris even gave a lot of room, turned for the corner very late and on the outside of the racing line. Still Perez didn’t hit the apex at all and drove into Norris. He caused the collision and thus is fully to blame and penalise for it.

          1. +1 – you can see Perez open the wheel after he missed the Apex and his car went into Norris.

            Penalty deserved

            I’m sure Perez will change his position after watching the video.

          2. No, he will look at his teammate who has run many people off the track this year, insulted them, damaged their cars, etc,, taken advantage and say to himself, Lewis was probably right back in Monaco, a number of years ago. And unfortunately with all the fake politicizing these days, its probably true.

          3. so when Max made the same move on Russel (even though he was behind Russel in the turn), it was ok to give the penalty to Russel instead of max? Norris turned into Perez, not only that but Norris knew from way before that Perez was coming and was gonna overtake him. He knew he was in the inside, he knew he was gonna be overtaken, and still turned the wheel all the way to stop Perez from making the move. Also in case you didnt know, the first car who gets to the apex of the turn, he has the advantage and the otherone needs to give him space. So if your argument is that norris gave enough space, he had enough space on the right to not turn that aggressively and crash into Perez. Max did it to le Clerc in Vegas, and if the ferrari wouldve turned normaly he wouldve also crashed

    3. Except all you have to do is watch the replay. Norris turned aggressively in to Perez.

      1. LEOL, what? On which planet? Which version did you watch?!

      2. Norris turned aggressively in to Perez.

        LEOL I am unsure how turning necessarily into a corner where a competitors car appears whilst understeering due to a poorly executed maneuver constitutes aggresively turning in to the other car?

    4. Both RBR have been doing this all season long. It’s a move made popular by Verstappen – get along side and run the driver out of the apex, leaving them nowhere to go. No chance to come back. It needs addressing, it’s not clean racing it’s just dirty. You should always leave a space all the way around.

  6. The joke is once again finishing off the podium in the most successful F1 car design ever.

    1. He finished 2nd (Leclerc let him pass, say 3rd), job done. I’m tired of the mindless Perez bashing.

      1. It’s not mindless

      2. It’s not job done to score half your team mate’s points…

  7. For Checo to lose that podium after such a great drive, you can understand a bit of frustration.

    3rd from 9th in the fastest car? Is that really a “great” drive??

    1. after rb making the car only for max, and not for checo, yes!

  8. I don’t think it deserved a penalty but I’m not a fan of those moves. He had plenty of room but still knocked Norris off the track

  9. He was at fault. But I don’t think he deserved a penalty because neither car was damaged and he didn’t gain an on track advantage.

    1. He knocked Lando out of the way and took the position, how is that not gaining an advantage?

      1. Because he didn’t take the position

    2. @oweng

      He opened up his steering wheel when he was on the inside to make sure Norris couldn’t turn in. To be honest, Perez could have made a cleaner move, but chose not to. It was a penalty deserved in my opinion.

    3. @oweng If the penalty was “leaving the track and gaining an advantage”, then it would be relevant. But this was “Causing a collision”, damage or advantage is completely irrelevant… As it should be.

  10. Yup it was way too harsh. Anyway maybe there’s a hidden agenda to favor Fezza with more wind tunnel time, LOL.

    1. Judging from previous seasons, I think mercedes could use wind tunnel time better than ferrari could overall.

  11. Perez loses a bit of control of the car and had to counter steer so he has gone wider than he should perhaps have.

    I am going to say if it looks like he opened the steering he is forcing the other car wide unless they touch of course.

    Did Lando steer in tighter or was it he was in control and had better grip so held his line?

    1. Good news for fans – Stewards have access to data and video to answer your questions and they they still found Perez at fault. :)

      1. Even if a driver is most on iosuly at fault they should not be getting a warning for just saying the resulting penalty is a joke. What’s next? Drivers thrown in the makeshift FIA motorhome prison?

  12. That part was inaudible, though, but getting a warning is still weird.

  13. The stewarding is a bad joke. Next time Perez needs to call him an idiot and take out part of his car. Lolz. Lewis was right back in Monaco, not only are they a joke, they can’t take one, and they’d rather the ‘weaker’ driver take the blame. Cause thats the only consistency I see in their application of the rules this season.

  14. I think if someone was at fault it was perez for hitting norris, but considering the 0 advantage gained, they could’ve let it slide.

    Not surprised the stewards took offense at being called a joke, even though they didn’t exactly do a good job with stewarding, and for a long time.

  15. Well, it’s Pérez signature overtaking “style”, divebomb, hope for the best, and when the inevitable contact ensues, blame the other driver. Just look at Monaco 2013 for a few examples in a single race.
    His excuses and never owning up to his errors are tiresome, particularly in the most dominant car F1 has ever seen.

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