The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stewards took issue with what they perceived as “personal insults” from Sergio Perez, but a sincere apology has watered the punishment down to a warning.
Perez was handed a five-second penalty during the race for causing a collision with Lando Norris, who went off the track at Turn 6 after banging wheels with Perez, who was trying to overtake.
That cost Perez a podium finish with P4 instead his result once the penalty was applied, his reaction over the radio after the chequered flag fell then landing him in hot water with the stewards.
Stewards take Sergio Perez outburst as “personal insult”
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Perez allegedly branded the stewards a “joke” over the radio, which understandably did not go down too well with said stewards.
But, with this the final race of F1 2023, the stewards needed to decide their course of action there and then, Perez apologising to a sufficient level to escape with only a formal warning.
“The stewards explained to the driver that they had no issue with someone disagreeing with their decisions, however comments that amount to personal insults are a breach of the International Sporting Code,” the verdict reads.
“The stewards note that they are obviously conflicted in this matter as they were the subject of the radio statements and that normally this would be referred to the next panel of stewards, however, as this is the final event of the season, the matter needed to be dealt with here.
“The driver made a genuine and sincere apology to each of the stewards and explained that he made the comments in the heat of the moment and did not consider the fact that they would be broadcast, and the impact of that.
“He expressed his regret that his comments caused offence to anyone or harm to the sport, which he said he was concerned to avoid. The stewards accept his statements and accept his apology.
“The stewards also note that the driver is not known for making such comments and has always been extremely respectful in stewards hearings. He was also reminded that the stewards are always available to explain their decisions when requested by a driver or team representative.
“The driver, team manager and the stewards had a constructive discussion about the use and broadcast of team radio messages. The incident itself was also reviewed in detail with the driver and although he still disagreed with the decision, he stated he could understand the stewards’ perspective of the incident.”
Christian Horner uses football analogy for Sergio Perez outburst
Discussing Perez’s radio antics with media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher, Horner said it was comparable to when a football player does off on a rant.
The difference is that there is no microphone attached to them to pick that up, which unfortunately is not the case for a Formula 1 driver.
“I think he was just voicing his frustration,” said Horner.
“I think the problem is, if you’re a football player, you have a rant, you haven’t got a microphone on your shirt. Whereas you can understand his frustration that he’s lost a podium, he’s driven a great race, so he’s had a vent. But unfortunately, that vent has been broadcast.”
Perez can take a major positive away from Abu Dhabi though as he secured P2 in the Drivers’ Championship, giving Red Bull their first-ever one-two result.