Carlos Sainz fumes at ‘unacceptable, too severe’ Fernando Alonso collision penalty

Henry Valantine
Carlos Sainz signs a Ferrari flag. Australia April 2023.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz signs a fan's piece of Scuderia memorabilia. Australia April 2023.

Carlos Sainz has bemoaned the five-second penalty he received that ultimately dropped him out of the points in Australia on Sunday, labelling it “unacceptable” and “the most unfair penalty I’ve seen in my life.”

The Ferrari driver had contact with compatriot and Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso during the second restart of the red flag-interrupted Australian Grand Prix, tagging Alonso’s tyre and sending him into a spin.

Further contact throughout the field caused the race to be red-flagged again, with Sainz having restarted the race in fourth.

Additional reporting by Michael Lamonato

While the positions in the field were reset, meaning Alonso would take the rolling restart to cross the line ahead of Sainz in third, the Ferrari driver was hit with a five-second penalty as he crossed the line for causing a collision.

This is not normally the harshest punishment at the FIA’s disposal, but the finish of the race taking place under yellow flag conditions meant the drivers were tightly bunched together, meaning Sainz was dropped to last of the classified runners when his penalty was applied, taking no points back with him from Melbourne.

The Spaniard was furious when he was initially informed of his penalty over team radio before the rolling restart for the race’s final metres, pleading to have his case heard by the FIA before they made a decision on his collision.

“No, it cannot be, Ricky [Adami, race engineer], this will put me out of the points,” he said.

“No, it’s unacceptable. Tell them it is unacceptable, tell them they need to wait until the race is finished and discuss with me.

“Ask them please, please, please, please, please, to wait and discuss with me, clearly the penalty is not deserved, it’s too severe.”

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His ire had clearly not calmed after the race finished either, with the Ferrari driver wanting to speak to the stewards to clarify his position on the issue on the penultimate lap.

He told media including PlanetF1.com after the chequered flag: “It’s the most unfair penalty I’ve seen in my life, so before talking to you and saying really bad stuff and bad words I prefer to to go back to the stewards, have a conversation with them and then maybe I can come back and talk to the media because now I honestly I cannot do it. I think it’s too unfair and I don’t feel well to speak.”

Following Charles Leclerc’s retirement on the first lap of the race, it left Ferrari without a point following the race in Australia on Sunday, down on 26 points in P4 in the Constructors’ Championship, 30 points behind Mercedes in third.