Deliberate crashes in qualifying happen, admits Sainz


Admitting that it is known that some drivers have deliberately crashed during qualifying, Carlos Sainz believes the practice should be heavily punished.

Crashing one's car during qualifying in a bid to wreck the hopes of others immediately brings the likes of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg to mind.

Both had 'incidents' at Monaco clearly aimed at thwarting the hopes of their rivals, and in the aftermath of last weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, it appears that Sergio Perez may have emulated the German pair.

Max Verstappen's refusal to yield to his Mexican teammate over something that happened "in the summer" is thought to relate to his teammate's crash in the final moments of Q3 which caused the session to be red-flagged, thereby ending any hopes of the Dutchman securing the precious position on the grid.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi today, Carlos Sainz, who clouted Perez's stranded car moments after he'd lost it at Portier, suggested that the practice is not uncommon.

"Without commenting if it was on purpose or not, I think it's for real now that all drivers want some kind of a rule that, if you generate a red flag or a yellow flag, even if it's intentional or not, there should be something done to that driver, because you've compromised the other nine on purpose, or maybe not," the Spaniard told reporters.

"You should get a penalty for it," he insisted. "If not, we're all going to start playing with it.

"I've seen over the last few years a lot more play around with it than what you might even have picked out in the media," he continued.

"I think all 20 drivers, when we analyse this kind of incidents, we know immediately that whoever has done it on purpose or not, because we're not stupid. I'm not going to comment - it's an incident of the past - I'm just going to say that if there would be a rule then it wouldn't even go through your head.

"I think it would reward Q3 laps, because it means that in Q3, there's a lot to win, but also something to lose," he added. "So you need to put a really good lap together with no mistakes if you want to take a position."

Asked if such incidents are a regular occurrence, he replied: "Not regular, but there's been enough times already that there should be kind of a rule for it.

"It's yet to be discussed," he added. "I think we've raised it a few times, but it's never been concluded into something. But I think for next year, it should be done. I think either laps cancelled, though, or three or five places penalty if you put a yellow flag or a red flag in qualifying, which means the incentive of doing that goes away immediately. It also forces us drivers to behave and to be committed to the lap, but also with a level of maybe leaving half a percent on the table.

"We haven't talked about it that much, I think since Monaco, since the last race that something like this happened. I don't know if some drivers would bring it up in tomorrow's meeting or not? Maybe I will... I'll think about it."

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Published: 17/11/2022
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