Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024

Perez given grid penalty for driving damaged car, Red Bull fined €25,000

Formula 1

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Sergio Perez has been given a three-place grid penalty for the next race for driving a damaged car on track during the Canadian Grand Prix.

Red Bull admitted they told Perez to drive back to the pits to avoid triggering a Safety Car period. His team mate Max Verstappen was leading the race.

Perez damaged his car when he spun into a barrier at turn six during the race. He was able to drive away with much of the rear wing hanging off his car.

The stewards noted parts were falling off Perez’s car as he drove back to the pits, potentially endangering other drivers.

“After making contact with the barriers in turn six, the driver continued on track for the remainder of the lap with a significantly damaged car and thereby lost several carbon fibre parts on the way back to the pits. The team confirmed in the hearing that the driver had been advised to bring the car back to the pits as they were trying to avoid a Safety Car situation.

“The stewards determine that, as well as a financial penalty for the team, a sporting penalty is necessary due to the safety implications of the incident. The penalty is imposed in line with precedents.”

Perez was not given any penalty points for the incident. He already has eight. Red Bull was fined €25,000 (£21,000).

Before the stewards issued the penalty Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted it had been “a horrible weekend for Checo”. He was eliminated in Q1 and also collided with Pierre Gasly on the first lap before his race-ending crash.

“Obviously we picked up some damage,” continued Horner, speaking to Sky. “So he’ll need to come back strong in Barcelona.

“Thankfully Ferrari had a shocker today so didn’t get any points so that let us off the hook somewhat. But we need both cars scoring. We got away with it today but we need Checo back up there where he was at the beginning of the year from Barcelona onwards.”

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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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52 comments on “Perez given grid penalty for driving damaged car, Red Bull fined €25,000”

  1. … Were WCC points penalties possible (according to bylaws) for this?

    1. @mxmxd Only by reference to the International Court of Appeal, unless the stewards felt a team disqualification was appropriate.

  2. So can we assume if Max wasnt leading the race he would of parked it back on the track?..
    He really is taking the roll of ‘Tail Gun Charlie’ seriously…

    1. Oh, didn’t think about this, but yes, that’s definitely a possibility, though I’ve seen several cars get back to the pits with broken rear wings.

      1. Indeed I thought that was much beter as only his rear wing was broken he drove slowly back it happens in the past often enough so why a penaulty.

        Strange he didn’t pickup penaulty point but that is because he is on 8 …

        1. * penalty, there’s no ‘u’

          Other than that, it’s illegal to drive a car around a live track which is a danger to others, in this case broken to the point where it is likely to drop large parts on the track when other cars may be passing. Perez’ car was definitely in this state, it was dropping bits as it went around and the entries ready wrong could have dropped off at any point.

          Other cars have been penalised for this, and RBR have specifically avoided this by proving that their wing couldn’t have fallen off in specific circumstances before. They knew exactly what they were doing and didn’t care that it was against the rules.

    2. Why no points on his license?

      1. Indeed, the points are meant to be for dangerous behaviour, and what’s more dangerous than scattering carbon fibre around Dick Dastardy style! He deserves at least a point.

        Reply moderated
      2. He’s not Hamilton.

      3. Because the standard penalty points for this would have put him on 11 total points, and we know how F1 feels about issuing race bans.

  3. Carlos Slim is sending them the check already.

  4. The team confirmed in the hearing that the driver had been advised to bring the car back to the pits as they were trying to avoid a Safety Car situation.

    Isn’t that just wrong? Not the morality of the action itself, but isn’t there spots around the track a car can safely stop without impacting the race? Or is that not possible in Montreal?

    1. Is there any track nowadays where there are such spots?

      1. @f1mre Perez did pass a gap in the barriers on the straight leading to Turn 8 in Montreal where he could have parked the car that would have been out of the way and next to a marshals post, which is where the marshals were also storing a recovery vehicle to move cars off the track.

      2. doesn’t matter if he switch off the car it’s automatic a SC or VSC as marshals have to pull the car while on track.

    2. There are places to park safely but not easy to get to safely necessarily.

    3. There were several easy exit areas. It’s simply difficult to use them without putting marshals on the track.

  5. When has this rule changed? Years ago bringing a damaged car back to the pits was almost encouraged. Why is a certain Safety Car better?

    1. Safety car is largely for show. Pérez could have parked at any of the dozen gaps in the barrier, and the marshals would have pulled him back a bit. A classic yellow flag case, or VSC at best.

      Hamilton did just this in Australia. But the likes of Bottas and Pérez never seem to get the memo.

    2. Nikos (@exeviolthor)
      10th June 2024, 12:57

      I think that the problem is not that he brought the car back to the pits, but that the car was in such a condition that bits and pieces were being dropped on the track.

  6. If any incident were worthy of penalty points it was this one. That was reckless and dangerous from Perez, and the fact he was told to do it by his team is no excuse. He ought to have known better.

    1. Yeah but penality points are only given up until someone has 8-10.

    2. Yeah, I was really fearing for everyone’s lives…

    3. Drivers all the time drive back to the pits with a broken car. Driving around the track with 3 tires, no front wing, severely broken front wing – big gaps in the sidepods – broken suspension etc
      Why is Perez driving back suddenly so reckless? He didn’t drive recklessly – he just returned to the pits at a reduced pace but still faster than if he had a flat tire.

      The stewards have the option to wave the black/orange flag – which also signals the driver your car is damaged – return to the pits which is exactly what Perez did.

      It is utterly ridiculous the weird rules that suddenly come out of the woodwork.

      Same for during qualifying with Max – the rule doesn’t align with how the pitlane is set-up. Because cars were already in the pitlane it was impossible for Max to get into the Fastlane. Meaning cars leaving their pitbox later than Max by this rule would be allowed to go first before Max only because Max didn’t have a wheel in the Fastlane???
      The McLaren could have moved forward allowing Max to move forward but then he would have cut ahead of Tsunoda.

  7. This new rule is ridiculous. In fact, it seems like all of a sudden there a bunch of new and ridiculous Mickey Mouse rules I keep seeing flash up on the screen. They tried to give Albon the same penalty for driving back to the pits with a single wobbly wheel after smacking the wall. Do they really prefer a red flag or safety car anytime a car gets even slightly damaged? They’re turning F1 into a joke.

    1. The rule has been around for years and they even have a specific flag for it.

      Don’t remember the last time a team ordered a driver to get back to the pits with such obvious damage.

      1. Black and orange flag exactly means: your car is damaged, Return to the pits. Just what Perez did. You see drivers returning to pits with damaged cars in all series.

      2. I’ve been around for years and this is the fear season I’ve seen “unsafe condition” flashing up on the screen for anything other than a team releasing a car with a loose wheel…

    2. Everything is reported and everything is an investigation. I wonder why they didn’t penalize Sainz with a 3 race ban for knocking out Albon while spinning.

      1. Maybe he’ll get a race ban and a 10 grid spot drop.

      2. @f1mre The stewards can’t issue anyone with a ban (just a disqualification, and Sainz effectively DSQ’d himself with that crash), though I had expected an investigation at least.

    3. There’s a specific rule for loose wheels, which is why the stewards tried to penalise Albon for it (and why it accepted “captured by the retaining nut” as reason not to issue the penalty).

      No specific rule exists for shedding parts, but there is a calculation to be made between safety options and it looks like Red Bull chose wrong.

  8. He’s now the big favorite for struggler of the year, ahead of Sargeant and Magnussen.

  9. I didn’t quite see a grid penalty for the Spanish GP coming, but ultimately fully justifiable.

    1. Strange enough Albon with a broken rear wheeel did the same and got nothing?

      1. I guess the fact that parts weren’t falling off was the difference. There were multiple cars who got this warning flashed.

    2. In what sense is a grid penalty for driving a car back to the pits justifiable?

      1. None. But they’ll make someone ridiculous argument that someone could have been killed due to a tiny piece of debris falling off the car. They might as well have speed limits.

        1. Why only risking a safety car for debris on track when you can have a guaranteed one for a car stopped on track…

      2. Because the stewards would have issued a time penalty had Perez been able to continue, but Perez didn’t continue, so couldn’t.

        1. But why should he receive a time penalty? Why would rejoining with a broken rear wing be worse than continuing with any other type of damage?

          Effectively you’d prefer for a team to pit, spend 20 mins fixing the car, return to the race, get a 5s penalty, serve it 15 laps down, then retire anyway?

    3. And it is impactful given the nature of the circuit in Barcelona. Why that is on the calendar remains a mystery. Such an uneventful track

  10. Man, Perez is absolutely useless.
    How he got 2-year extension, to drive for the best team, is completely beyond me.
    He is literally driving on the level of the 80s back-marker pay-driver.

    1. Andrea De Cesaris was way better. Speaking of ‘80s pay drivers. So many had the most bizarre sources of sponsorship.

    2. His whole job is to make Max look like a superhero. The worst he does the better it actually becomes for RedBull as their star gains more credibility. All a marketing plan.

      1. He’s like Bottas, but even worse in that sense…

    3. Konstantinos
      10th June 2024, 21:03

      It seems like a hard thing to balance, someone who is good enough to be getting podiums but not to get in Max’s way. Maybe there is less risk in hoping that Perez can pick up the pace rather than getting someone new?

      There is also the issue of Perez’s marketability, apparently he is big in some parts of the world and probably making Red Bull money? I also read the idea
      that he could be attractive as a face for Ford in Mexico when they come in but I have no idea if that has any basis in reality.

    4. He’s willing to put up with one of the toughest gigs in F1. That is not exactly a coveted seat Checo is occupying, and the people who do covet it are the wrong fit for the role, with the possible exception of Tsunoda who’s allied to Honda and thus not in Red Bull’s long-term planning.

  11. I, once again, despair for this sport.

    It’s as though the stewards insist on having a half baked rule for every scenario. Is anyone really arguing that cars shouldn’t be allowed to return to the pits? How much damage is ” 3 place drop” and how much is just a fine?

    Alonso drove a car with 2 punctures and a broken nose cone at Baku 2018. No one knew if the suspension or rear wing were damaged and I’m sure most race directors would have demanded he stop. He finished 7th and picked up 6 points – Force India were 10 points behind at season end and Sauber 14.

    We can’t administer rules on the basis that the other car is leading the race or that the car looks damaged. The only people who can assess how feasible a return to the race is are his mechanics – he shouldn’t be penalised at all here never mind compromising next weekend with a grid drop.

    1. 100%. And penalizing drivers for using common sense to safely cross a track. Throwing red flags for gravel. Investigating Max for having his nose in the pit lane, penalties for touching wheel’s while racing, etc. It’s one big joke.

      It’s the reason why once Hamilton and Alonso retire I’m likely done with F1. They’re basically the only remaining connection with the sport I’ve loved for 30 years. If they went back to light weight, much smaller cars (that were actually entertaining and sounded good instead of this relevant tech charade to please auto makers), started racing in heavy rain again, stopped treating cars pulled off safely to the side of the track like an automatic SC or RF, etc. I’d happily continue to watch regardless of who was driving.

  12. What a silly rule.

    If a car can be driven back to the pits then doing so should be encouraged, Not only to avoid unnecessary safety cars but to also allow damaged cars to potentially be repaired and be able to rejoin the race.

    One of the most iconic bits of footage thats used over & over is Gilles Villeneuve dragging his Ferrari back to the pits at Zandvoort in 1979. And even something like Schumacher coming back on 3 wheels at Spa ’98. Are we really saying that such things are essentially banned in modern F1?

    Are they just looking for every/any opportunity to have a ‘valid’ reason to throw a Safety car nowadays?

    1. I’d add senna in adelaide 1989, also a wet race and he lost a wheel while lapping brundle, like schumacher he went into the pit box before the 2nd placed driver caught up.

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