30-second penalty dumps Kimi from Imola points

Date published: April 18 2021

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen will not take home any points from Imola after landing a 30-second time penalty for a race restart infringement.

Under the regulations Raikkonen was entitled to retake his position after a spin at Turn 3 on the lap before the race restart following its suspension, one brought about by a collision involving George Russell and Valtteri Bottas.

That was as long as Raikkonen did so before the first Safety Car line, and from here contradictions from Alfa Romeo, as well as a lack of communication between the team and the race director, led to Raikkonen taking the restart incorrectly.

With the team telling him to hold position rather than regain the lost places, he should have then started from the pit lane instead of taking the rolling re-start.

Raikkonen had finished P9, but with 30 second added to his race time he now drops to P13, promoting Fernando Alonso into the points.

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“The stewards heard from the driver of car 7 (Kimi Raikkonen), and the team representative and reviewed multiple angles of video evidence, telemetry and team radio,” their report stated.

“On the lap before the re-start following the race suspension, Raikkonen spun at Turn 3, Art 42.6 indicated that the driver may retake his position, as long as he does so prior to the first Safety Car line. At first the team instructed him to do so, but then told him to hold his position.

“Art 42.6 then indicated 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 lights turn out, ‘no driver may overtake another car on the track until he passes the line’. In this case the driver 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 driver not to 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, and has been in the FIA Formula One sporting regulations for several years and has been consistently applied.

“The penalty is a mandatory penalty, and therefore the stewards consider that they have no alternative than to apply this penalty for reasons of consistency.”

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