Race director Masi explains Perez’s penalty

Michelle Foster


Sergio Perez may be feeling aggrieved by his French GP penalty but FIA race director Michael Masi feels he gained an advantage by cutting the corner and therefore deserved the penalty.

Perez was hit with a five-second time penalty at the French Grand Prix that cost him a possible points finish.

He went off the track at Turn Three on the opening lap and followed the regulations that were laid out ahead of the race weekend for how to rejoin; yet he still received a penalty.

Masi says it is because he gained an advantage by leapfrogging two cars. Had the SportPesa Racing Point driver given those positions back, there wouldn’t have been a penalty.

“If Sergio had chosen going out of Turn Six to drop back behind those two cars I think we would have looked at it and said he’s created his own disadvantage, effectively, and dropped into where he should have,” Masi told RaceFans.net.

“When someone rejoins they must firstly rejoin safely and two must not gain a lasting advantage.

“In looking at the in-car, particularly when you look at Lance [Stroll’s] who was immediately behind him, Sergio’s locked up, chosen to go to the left and bypass the bollard and come out in front of both Albon and Magnussen.

“That was part of a discussion that was actually had following Monaco at a drivers’ meeting where the drivers actually requested that they need to be behind, effectively, who they entered [ahead of].”

Masi added that by the drivers’ own requests, Race Control only informs them of the need to give back positions to avoid a penalty if it transgression takes place at Turns 1 and 2 of a grand prix.

“We’ve discussed this with the drivers at a drivers’ meeting and they actually agreed that the line should be drawn at sort of Turn One, or Turn One-Two depending on the way the combination of corners are,” he said.

“So here it would be a Turn One-Two scenario, we would do that type of instruction. It was an open discussion with him in Canada I think it was and they all said ‘you need to draw the line somewhere’.”

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