June 14, 2024
Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez was awarded a three-place grid penalty for the next grand prix for driving his RB20 in an unsafe condition, but was his punishment too harsh?
Sergio Perez was handed a three-place grid penalty for the Spanish Grand Prix after returning his RB20 to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve pits in an unsafe condition.

The 34-year-old found the barriers on lap 52 of 70 in Montreal, spinning at Turn 6 and severely damaging his rear wing. Despite it being evident he would be taking no further part in the race, he limped his ailing Red Bull back to the pits to retire, instead of parking up and abandoning it.

The stewards felt he had driven the car in an unsafe condition, and he – as well as the team – were subsequently called before the FIA. Upon hearing from Perez and a team representative, and having “reviewed video, team radio and in-car video evidence”, both team and driver were deemed at fault.
In the decision document, it read: “The Stewards determine that, as well as a financial penalty for the team [which was €25,000], a sporting penalty is necessary due to the safety implications of the incident. The penalty is imposed in line with precedents.”

However, given less than half of F1 fans felt Perez agreed with the decision, with 43.19 percent voting that the penalty was not too harsh in a recent poll conducted by RacingNews365, it appears that the sanction handed out is deemed out of proportion to the offence committed.

This may, in part, be due to the fact that the Mexican driver was instructed by Red Bull to bring the car back to the pits, with the decision document also stating: “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.”

Therefore, the highest proportion of voters felt the punishment was not deserved. Further still, it was almost a majority of fans who felt the penalty was too harsh. This also begs the question: was Red Bull’s punishment for the incident too lenient?

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