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Raikkonen loses 9th place following penalty

NEWS STORY
18/04/2021

A 30s time penalty sees Kimi Raikkonen lose his 9th place finish in today's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The stewards heard from the Finn and an Alfa Romeo representative, in addition to reviewing multiple angles of video evidence, telemetry and team radio.

On the lap before the re-start following the race suspension, Raikkonen spun at Turn 3.

Art 42.6 indicates that the driver may retake his position, so long as he does so prior to the first safety car line (SC1).

At first the team instructed him to do so, but then told him to hold his position.

Art 42.6 then indicates that should a driver fail to take his position he must enter the pit lane and can only re-join the race once the whole field has passed the pit exit.

Art 42.12 indicates that during a rolling start, once the safety car turns its lights out, "no driver may overtake another car on the track until he passes the line..."

In this case, Raikkonen caught up to the cars ahead of him between Turn 13 and 14, but the safety car turned its lights out at approximately Turn 10. This would appear to be a contradictory instruction and the team instructed the Finn to not regain his position, fearing that this would create a safety issue in the wet conditions.

They radioed the Race Director, but there was no time for a response between their call and the restart.

The stewards consider it to be a further contradiction that when the cars are behind the safety car during a safety car period, they are prohibited from passing, but when they are behind the safety car for a restart, they are permitted to - even though the reasons for a rolling start are that the track conditions don't permit a standing start.

However, the rule requiring a car to enter the pit lane if it fails to regain its position is consistent amongst several championships, has been in the Sporting Regulations for several years and has been consistently applied.

The penalty is a mandatory penalty, and therefore the stewards considered that they had no alternative but to apply this penalty for reasons of consistency.

The offence usually warrants a 10s stop-and-go time penalty. However, as this was assessed after the race it was converted to a 30 second time penalty in accordance with Art 38.3 of the Sporting Regulations.

As a result, Raikkonen drops from 9th to 13th position.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Imola, here.

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