Charles Leclerc has been given a three-place grid penalty after the stewards ruled he had impeded Oscar Piastri during the sprint qualifying session.
The Ferrari man was heading into the pits and the nature of the Red Bull Ring circuit meant he was directly in the path of Piastri whose flying lap was ruined a few corners before the finish line.
The McLaren man immediately got on the team radio to say he “got massively impeded by the Ferrari” and race control soon announced the incident would be investigated after the session.
Later both Leclerc and Piastri were summoned to meet with the stewards at 1:30pm local time to discuss the incident and Leclerc’s alleged breach of Article 37.5 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.
The stewards then announced that the fault actually lied with Ferrari for failing to give Leclerc adequate warning but the position penalty must be applied as the rule had clearly been broken.
In their reasoning, the stewards said Piastri had told them he had to reduce his speed by 45kmh in order to avoid contact with Leclerc and they later confirmed that the Australian had lost half a second in that minisector.
Leclerc meanwhile suggested his team should have given him more warning and said “if I had been warned I could have done something earlier” while the Ferrari representative admitted that the pit wall “could have done better”.
The stewards ruled that it “was not entirely the fault of the driver” and that the situation could have been avoided if it had not been for the team’s lack of communication.
As a result, Leclerc will start P9 in Saturday’s sprint and Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon will all move up one spot.
It is not the first time this season that Ferrari have failed to give adequate warning to Leclerc and the driver has paid the price.
In Monaco, Leclerc also impeded a McLaren but this time it was Lando Norris who entered the tunnel only to find the slow-moving car of Leclerc.
At the time, Leclerc’s race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros had been giving the driver information on the speed of Max Verstappen rather than warning him of oncoming drivers.