FIA admits it got it wrong in Singapore


One of the stewards on duty at Singapore last weekend has admitted that Max Verstappen should have received the standard 3-place grid drop for impeding.

The Dutchman was investigated for no less than three occurrences during qualifying, yet the only punishment he received was a couple of reprimands.

For impeding Logan Sargeant the stewards opted to take no further action, while in the cases of the impeding of Yuki Tsunoda and remaining stationary in the pitlane for a couple of minutes - thereby preventing a whole queue of cars taking to the track - the Dutchman was merely reprimanded.

One of the Singapore stewards, Matteo Perini, who is also on duty this weekend at Suzuka, has admitted that the world champion should have been penalised as should Sargeant for another incident involving Lance Stroll.

Perini is understood to have admitted to the error during a meeting with team managers today.

News of the error came after Lando Norris had criticised the lack of consistency on the part of the stewards over impeding, with many expecting there to be further cases during qualifying tomorrow.

"I think there should just be harsher penalties for blocking people, because so many people do it," said the McLaren driver on Thursday. "It ruins your lap it ruins your qualifying, it put Yuki out in qualifying, and he was P1 in Q1.

"No one seems to care enough," he added. "And it's happened a lot this season, it's happened to me quite a few times, especially with certain teams."

"It doesn't matter if you're leading the championship or you're last, if you get in somebody's way you should be penalised for it," added GPDA director, George Russell.

"Maybe now this is allowed. I don't know, I'll ask," laughed Pierre Gasly in Singapore, having received two penalties for separate incidents at the Spanish Grand Prix in June.

"I've had tough decisions against me, with a six-place penalty in Barcelona for impeding, and it was definitely way less than what I've seen yesterday."

In the wake of Singapore, the Verstappen and Sargeant incidents have been erased from the stewards' database, in order that they are no longer used as precedents.

Check out our Friday gallery from Suzuka here.

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Published: 22/09/2023
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