Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2023

FIA expands powers of misconduct rule used to punish Perez radio comments

Formula 1

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The governing body of motorsport, the FIA, has broadened the scope of its rule against ‘misconduct’ used increasingly in Formula 1.

The FIA has introduced new restrictions and modified areas of its International Sporting Code for 2024.

The code outlines the underlying principals and procedures that act as a basis for the rules and regulations for all national and international motorsport competitions which fall under its governance.

The newest edition of the code, coming into effect from January 1st 2024, features a handful of changes that will have an impact on Formula 1 and other major championships.

A key change comes to the controversial article 12.2.1 (k), which previously outlawed any ‘misconduct’ by participants to ‘officials’, ‘officers or member of FIA staff’, ‘organisers or promoters’, ‘doping control officials’ among others. While separate from article 12.2.1. (f), which forbids “any words, deeds or writings that have caused moral injury or loss to the FIA, its bodies, its members or its executive officers”, article 12.2.1 (k) has been cited multiple times in Formula 1 over the last three seasons.

After Red Bull driver Max Verstappen lost his best qualifying time at the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix for a yellow flag infringement, team principal Christian Horner received an official warning from the stewards as he was deemed to have breached both articles for comments to the media blaming the penalty on a “rogue marshal”. Haas team principal Guenther Steiner was reprimanded for breaching the ‘misconduct’ article earlier this year after driver Nico Hulkenberg was penalised for a rash move on Logan Sargeant on the first lap of the Monaco Grand Prix. Steiner criticised the stewards’ decision the following weekend in Barcelona and was cited for referring to the stewards as “laymen”.

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Following the final grand prix of the 2023 season in Abu Dhabi, Sergio Perez received a formal warning from the stewards after he was deemed to have made “comments that amount[ed] to personal insults” towards the stewards on team radio after the race due to his anger at receiving a time penalty for a clash with Lando Norris late in the race. Again, Perez was cited for a breach of article 12.2.1 (k) on misconduct.

However, in the 2024 edition of the International Sporting Code, article 12.2.1 (k) has had all specificity about officials, organisers, promoters and other individuals removed and now simply reads that “any misconduct” will be deemed as a breach of the rule.

2023 International Sporting Code excerpt

Article 12.2.1 (k) Any Misconduct towards, but not limited to: licence-holders, officials, officers or member of the staff of the FIA, members of the staff of the Organiser or promoter, members of the staff of the Competitors, suppliers of products or services to (or contractors or subcontractors to) any of the parties listed above; doping control officials or any other person involved in a doping control carried out in accordance with Appendix A.

2024 International Sporting Code excerpt

Article 12.2.1 (k) Any Misconduct

The FIA has also increased the maximum fine that its stewards are permitted to enforce on competitors as punishment for regulation breaches. Previously limited to €250,000 (£215,487), the maximum fine applicable in Formula 1 will quadruple up to €1 million (£862,393). For other world championships – such as Formula E, the World Endurance Championship or the World Rally Championship, the maximum fine has increased three-fold to €750,000 (£646,777), while FIA championships such as Formula 2 and Formula 3 will see maximum fines double to €500,000 (£431,330).

After controversial incidents involving the use of flares by fans in the grandstands at the Austrian and Dutch Grands Prix in recent years, the possession and use of ‘pyrotechnic products’ – defined as ‘including but not limited to flares, smoke bombs and fireworks’ – are prohibited at FIA competitions by event attendees and participants “unless authorised in writing by the FIA”. Enforced under the new article of 12.2.1 (p), the provision is likely to mean flares will be outlawed from grands prix in 2024 and beyond.

In other changes, the deadline for participants of FIA competitions to submit a request for a Right to Review has been shortened from 14 calendar days to 96 hours from the end of a competition. The International Sporting Code now formally applies to all esports competitions organised by the governing body also.

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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...

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26 comments on “FIA expands powers of misconduct rule used to punish Perez radio comments”

  1. I would always argue that a broad rule with an objective coverage rather than a prescriptive list which will need review and revision all the time.

    Unfortunately that requires trust and cooperation by the regulators and officials and competitor’s etc. Something sadly lacking for more than 4 decades.

  2. well generally ‘misconduct’ means breaking some other rule doesn’t it? On its own it doesn’t mean anything!

    So this is carte blanche to punish pretty much anything that’s not worshipping enough

    1. On its own it doesn’t mean anything!

      It actually means absolutely anything.
      Are we heading toward a scenario of “looking at me in a funny way” as in “Not the Nine o’clock News”?
      Constable Savage

      Hope I got the link stuff right…

      1. lol, this is it! Now nobody will dare ask if they really need a second pudding, that’s the last one

  3. Give it time.
    Just give it time.

    Eventually, a seat on the FIA board will only be available to family members of former officials.
    Any person who questions their decisions will be banned from motorsport for life.
    Doubt or dissent from drivers and teams will not be tolerated at any level.

    Drivers and teams …. what do they know about F1?

    1. Or Pérez and the other people mentioned could just not make these silly comments.

      They can make the same points in better ways.

      1. True, but in normal working relationships you just sit down and have a chat. Reading the rule change, it doesn’t have to be nefarious though, but is very vague now and most of things can now be lumped in there. I don’t think it’s an improvement as the old one also had the line:”towards, but not limited to.”

    2. Careful there! You could be in breach of the 2024 International Sporting Code, article 12.2.1 (k) and liable of penalty under such. Of course, it would be limited to $1,000,000 so no worries.

      1. Careful there, could be cut up and shipped out in a suitcase…

  4. Coventry Climax
    14th December 2023, 18:02

    The title reads as if Perez will receive punishment retroactively.
    That’s not in the article though, or am I misreading anything?

    Otherwise: Won’t be long before they’re racing in Russia again, with the FiA officials wining and dining and smalltalking cozily with Putin, ofcourse.

    Ofcourse abuse in the direction of the referee should not be tolerated, but this is a bit beyond all that, isn’t it?
    This is ‘respect’ in a one-way direction.

    1. I don’t think Putin is right wing enough for the FIA.

    2. ” That’s not in the article though, or am I misreading anything? ”

      Just cickbait to keep the ad people happy in the off season. Wouldn’t read anything into it.

  5. It’s like the flipping Gestapo, You will not say anything negative against us or suffer the consequences!!!

  6. Sieg heil! Is this another reincarnation of the Holy Roman Empire or an episode of Allo Allo?

    1. Coventry Climax
      15th December 2023, 0:15

      Allo Allo makes me laugh, this makes me cry.

  7. MBS needs gone now. We can all see where this is headed. Middle Eastern oil dictatorships want the glitz and glamour connection F1 brings with none of the dissent. Saudi Oil Fund or whatever I fully expect will aggressively buy over F1 at some stage. Yet more crappy desert races and, far worse, absolute control of the narrative. The Hamilton’s and others of the world will face harsh penalties for even raising simple issues of inequality or injustice. And for those Max fans out there don’t worry they’ll come for you too soon enough so no need to gloat or say anything about wokeness in reply to me as I’m sure you will.

    As for flares, funnily enough, maybe they should actually set up their own coloured flares at events, I don’t mind a little bit of the spectacle but the Dutch fans just went way overboard and for people attending to not be able to see the start of the race you paid good money to see cos you’re enveloped in a cloud of orange it was way too far.

  8. So the drivers’ feedback of some not even being able to afford a million dollar fine is ignored wholesale.

    That the misconduct no longer needed to be “towards” a related entity to the FIA makes me wonder if that’s how Hamilton has been able to get out of punishment thus far. His comments are generally sweeping aimed at global issues but no doubt have caused “moral injury” to some of the members.

    Time will tell what comes of this all… The drivers should fight for some agency. They are selling away their human rights and all it takes for some is one “fine” for that price to be reduced to naught.

    It would be a joke if it weren’t so scary.

    1. the fia is insecure. its too politcally sensitive, just like a lot of other bloated political exercises in the us/eu. the irony being, real diversity is the only thing holding back these kinds of things from being sustainable. but ‘banning’ things is the only thing some people know how to do. perfection is lost on those who cant see themselves in a mirror.

  9. Is Kimi Raikkonen available to run for FIA president?

  10. Good changes.
    Makes perfect sense for the FIA to align themselves with the rest of the world of business – because that’s what they are: a business, with a highly public interface.
    An employee or contractor to any other significant business would also expect repercussions from public badmouthing.
    Do it in private like everyone else, if you must – but airing it in public is just poor form and shows a complete lack of respect. No athlete needs to be involved in anything the FIA operates or endorses – it is entirely voluntary and you are free to go and do something else instead if they bother you that much.

    And the flares thing is way overdue. Should have been done decades ago.
    Actually, it shouldn’t even need to be done at all – but this is where people and society are at these days. Right up there with a bag of peanuts plastered with warnings that this package may contain nuts….

    1. its just a sign the FIA is insecure. And weak. And in need of a class action law suite.

      1. Weakness is allowing themselves to be baselessly defamed in the media, so they have implemented a stronger means to protect the entire FIA organisation – and ultimately, all of their members and properties (including F1).

        What would a lawsuit achieve, when everyone remains free to say and do whatever they like in their own private time and via their own private media interfaces?

  11. So it seems the FIA is doing everything we were warned against when they went towards higher fines and stricter rules about critisizing the FIA. I guess soon we might be back to where Mosley abused the “bringing the sport into disrepute” to threaten to silence any and all critique then.

    Well, I guess it’s par for the course for a Saudi big whig to look at oppression as a means rather than reform and building a solid FIA operation.

    1. That’s the way. Get all racially discriminatory about it because one particular staff member out of the entire FIA network happens to come from a particular background/ethnicity.

      What about all the other FIA members from all around the world/other ethnically diverse backgrounds who agree with this change? Or possibly even brought it up themselves?

      The FIA is not one person. Nor is it one ethnicity or location.

  12. Feck FIA, i want to listen to every word from drivers and teams, UNFILTERED. Want some money? put a a swear jar.

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