Leclerc gets two time penalties, Ferrari fined

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc gets two time penalties at Suzuka; Ferrari fined.

Charles Leclerc gets two time penalties at Suzuka; Ferrari fined.

Charles Leclerc has been given two time penalties for separate incidents at the Japanese Grand Prix, while Ferrari were fined €25,000.

The first incident came at the race start when Leclerc collided with Max Verstappen through Turn 2.

Leclerc was forced to pit with a damaged front wing, but Max Verstappen was sent into a spin and retired shortly after due to the damage.

Verstappen was left furious when the stewards said that no further action would be taken over the incident, but shortly after they changed their mind and said they would investigate after the race.

The Ferrari driver has now been handed a five-second time penalty and two penalty points for causing the collision.

“Car 16 and Car 33 were side by side as they transited Turn 1 and approached Turn 2 on the first lap, with Car 16 on the inside,” read the stewards’ report.

“As the cars approached the apex of Turn 2, Car 33, which was marginally in front, stayed wide and allowed sufficient room to the inside but Car 16 lost front grip in the wake of the car in front and abruptly understeered towards the outside of the track, contacting Car 33 and forcing it off the track.

“While the loss of front grip on Car 16 caused the contact and was not intentional, that loss of grip in close proximity to the car in front should have been anticipated and allowed for by Car 16.

“Car 16 is judged predominantly at fault for the incident. This is a somewhat unusual first lap incident, as only these cars were directly involved, so few of the normal mitigating circumstances exist.”

Leclerc ignored instructions to pit and stayed out after the incident until Lap 4 with a broken front wing endplate, so the FIA have also applied a ten-second time penalty for staying out when told to pit on safety grounds.

Lewis Hamilton, who was closely behind Leclerc at the time, complained over team radio, saying: “How he’s not been given a warning flag I don’t know,” while he was also hit by several pieces of debris from the SF90.

“The Stewards reviewed audio and video evidence, heard from the driver of car 16 (Charles Leclerc), and team representative,” the stewards said.

“Car 16 received front wing damage in an incident on lap 1 at Turn 2. The car continued on after the incident and did not pit at the end of lap 1.

“During lap 2, anticipating a call about the car, the team told the Race Director they were calling the car into the pits at the end of lap 2.

“During lap 2, at Turn 11 one section of the front wing detached from the car. Later on that lap, after Turn 14 a larger section of front wing detached from Car 16 and impacted Car 44 which was closely following Car 16.

“This piece of wing narrowly avoided an impact in the area of the cockpit of car 44 and destroyed the right-side mirror of car 44.

“After this second piece detached, the team felt the car was now in a safe condition and despite previously telling the Race Director that the car would be called to the pits, they told car 16 to remain out and not to pit.

“On lap 3 the Race Director called the team and directed the car be brought to the pits for inspection. Car 16 pitted at the end of lap 3.

“By not bringing Car 16 into the pits at the end of lap 1, immediately after the incident for a safety inspection when there was damage clearly visible and then by telling the driver to remain out for an additional lap after telling the Race Director otherwise, the team created an unsafe condition on the circuit which only narrowly avoided being a major incident and also increased the likelihood of additional incidents after the one noted.”

Ferrari have also been handed a €25,000 fine for the incident.

Daniel Ricciardo as a result of all this moves ahead of Leclerc into P6.

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.