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Leclerc handed double time penalty

NEWS STORY
13/10/2019

Charles Leclerc has been handed two time penalties following today's Japanese Grand Prix, thereby demoting the Ferrari driver to seventh.

The first penalty of 5s was awarded to the Monegasque for forcing Max Verstappen off track on the first lap of the race.

Having viewed video evidence and spoken to both drivers, along with their team representatives, the stewards deemed that Leclerc and Verstappen were side by side as they entered Turn 1 and approached Turn 2 on the first lap, with the Ferrari on the inside.

As the cars approached the apex of Turn 2, Verstappen, who was marginally in front, stayed wide and allowed sufficient room to the inside but Leclerc lost front grip in the wake of the car in front and abruptly understeered towards the outside of the track, contacting the Red Bull and forcing it off the track.

While the loss of front grip on the Ferrari caused the contact and was not intentional, that loss of grip in close proximity to the car in front should have been anticipated and allowed for by the Monegasque, who was judged predominantly at fault for the incident.

In their opinion, the stewards felt that this was a somewhat unusual first lap incident, as only those two cars were directly involved, so few of the normal mitigating circumstances exist.

For this offence Leclerc was handed a 5s time penalty and 2 penalty points.

The youngster was further penalised for driving his car in an unsafe condition, in that he received front wing damage in the incident in Turn 2 and continued on after the incident and did not pit at the end of lap 1.

On lap 2, anticipating a call about the car, the team told the race director that it was calling Leclerc into the pits at the end of lap 2.

During lap 2, at Turn 11 a section of the front wing detached from the car. Later on that lap, after Turn 14 a larger section of front wing detached and impacted Hamilton's Mercedes which was closely following.

This piece of wing narrowly avoided an impact in the area of the cockpit of the Mercedes and destroyed its right-side mirror.

After this second piece detached, the team felt the car was now in a safe condition and despite previously telling the race director that the car would be called to the pits, they told car Leclerc to remain out and not to pit.

On lap 3 the race director called the team and directed the car be brought in to the pits for inspection. Leclerc pitted at the end of lap 3.

By not bringing his car into the pits at the end of lap 1, immediately after the incident for a safety inspection when there was damage clearly visible and then by telling the driver to remain out for an additional lap after telling the race director otherwise, the team created an unsafe condition on the circuit which only narrowly avoided being a major incident and also increased the likelihood of additional incidents after the one noted.

As a result, a 10s time penalty was imposed after the race in accordance with Article 38.3 d) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, while Ferrari was fined €25,000.

The two penalties mean that Leclerc drops from sixth to seventh, behind Ricciardo.

"Charles just drove into the side of my car," Verstappen told Sky Sports shortly after retiring. "From my side I don't think I could have done anything different there.

"We all know that you lose downforce behind a car so that is not an excuse, he's experienced enough to know that. For me, the weird thing is that initially they don't investigate it, the whole car was destroyed, there were just holes in the side of the car. Now they've started to investigate it but it's after the race, what more should he do to get a penalty? I like hard racing but this wasn't hard racing, just irresponsible driving.

"They had a bad start so he was trying to recover but there's only so much you can do in a very long race. It's a shame that it happened."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Suzuka, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Pavlo, 14/10/2019 20:17

"@Young Slinger: did you hear that radio exchange? We don’t know exact choice of words, so can just speculate. In general if someone says “I’ll do it, I know I must” it’s pretty strange to reply “I instruct you”.
In any case staying on track and causing damage to another car is a violation. As often in the sport they had number of options with different level and probability of risk; sometimes you get lucky, sometimes not."

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2. Posted by Young Slinger, 14/10/2019 13:43

"@Pavlo. The team first informed the stewards that they were bringing him in, before the stewards contacted them, therefore they should have instructed the team prior to that, making it an instruction."

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3. Posted by Pavlo, 14/10/2019 9:16

"@Young Slinger - the stewards actually DID direct them to bring the car in, but team "changed their mind". Therefore second +5s."

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4. Posted by Young Slinger, 14/10/2019 8:48

"Whilst not a fan of Ferrari, I enjoy watching Tis I, Leclerc race. It was totally the fault of the team as the subsequent damage to another car and the potential damage to others with the carbon fibre scattered over the track. The Stewards should have directed them to bring the car in and not leave is for another lap."

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5. Posted by WokingLad, 13/10/2019 22:53

"No penalty for Sebs jumping the red lights ????
Whaaaat is going on."

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6. Posted by C5, 13/10/2019 22:45

"Stewards not immediately putting out the meatball flag: Ridiculous.
Stewards not imposing a penalty during the race: Ridiculous.
Only 5 seconds penalty for causing a collision: Ridiculous.
Only 10 seconds penalty and no penalty points for clearly driving an unsafe car - just note the shower of carbon fiber parts taking out Lewis' mirror: Totally abhorrent.
Time penalties in general: Ridiculous.
Charles getting away with only two penalty points: Beyond belief (though regrettably very much in line with similar lenient penalties imposed in recent times).

On the positive side:
ANY penalties actually issued for douche driving: Good.
Verstappen moaning about lenient penalties: Downright hilarious.

And we got treated to a pretty good race, some nice overtaking moves, Ferrari surprisingly not messing up their own strategy (other than pitting Leclerk late to go for fastest lap, but who really cares?), and a very deserved race winner.
"

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7. Posted by Pavlo, 13/10/2019 21:23

"Pity to have this decision after the race. Knowing it during the race, Charles would have just skipped 3rd stop and didn't lose the place."

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8. Posted by Pavlo, 13/10/2019 21:03

"Funnily, when Max says "I don't think I could have done anything different there", he forgot his own words a year ago in Japan: "He could have waited for me to understeer wide". A year ago Max got exactly 5s for ruining the race of another Ferrari very similar way. It's karma :)"

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9. Posted by Stitch431, 13/10/2019 11:08

"Totally ridiculous. If there was any doubt that Leclerc would be favored wherever possible, then that doubt has now completely disappeared. If Max had done this, he would have been severely punished. As a matter of fact, Max did this move once on his teammate and was punished so severely that he was not able to finish in the points, and was handed banning points on top of that. Leclerc getting such a lame penalty that he can still take away points from this race is a farce! Max left him so much room that Leclerc really had to dive-bomb into his side to hit him. Besides he was already so far passed, that he cannot possibly claim that he did not see him. This was totally and absolutely a deliberate move. But it is good knowing upfront that you have the son of the FIA-boss as your manager isn't it? FIARRARI KILLS F1 RACING"

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10. Posted by Batman, 13/10/2019 10:26

"As everyone could predicted, here it is the crying young boy, appealing for stewards to see in Suzuka what they haven't seen in Austria. Such a flexible concept of hard racing, don't you Max boy?"

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11. Posted by klmn, 13/10/2019 10:07

"Honda was not happy with stupid Leclerc. Max should ram a Ferrari at Monza next time"

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