Martin Brundle calls for ‘common sense’ after ‘unfair’ Las Vegas GP penalty ruling

Michelle Foster
Ferrari repairing Spanish driver Carlos Sainz's SF-23

Carlos Sainz's SF-23 was damaged by a manhole cover in Las Vegas' FP1.

Forced to start Saturday’s Las Vegas Grand Prix from 12th on the grid and only able to recover to P6, Martin Brundle believes the grid penalty forced on Carlos Sainz was “not fair”.

Putting in the laps in Thursday night’s opening practice session, Sainz’s SF-23 was wrecked when he hit a concrete frame around a manhole cover that had come loose.

That not only shattered his floor, but it also broke his chassis and seat with the driver reporting a “big blow” to his back and neck.

Martin Brundle: It does seem hugely unfair on Ferrari and Sainz

But worse was still to come.

Ferrari had to replace the Spaniard’s engine, Control Electronics, and Energy Store with the latter coming with a 10-place penalty as it exceeded his allocation for the season.

Ferrari appealed to the stewards for a ‘derogation of the Sporting Regulations’, to allow a replacement of the battery without penalty, but this was not permitted.

“Notwithstanding the fact that the damage was caused by highly unusual external circumstances, Article 2.1 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations obliges all officials, including the Stewards, to apply the regulations as they are written,” read a statement from the stewards.

“Accordingly, the mandatory penalty specified under Article 28.3 of the Sporting Regulations must be applied.”

It was, however, suggested that it be put to a vote amongst the teams given the incident was by no means Sainz’s fault.

However, the rules are the rules and even that wasn’t permitted, something Brundle says needs to change in the future.

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“There are hundreds of pages of international sporting code, technical regulations, sporting regulations,” the former F1 driver told Sky Sports F1.

“But nothing to say you can apply common sense and common sense says that it’s not fair that Carlos Sainz had a penalty to carry in the race.

“But you can’t write a regulation that says, you know all those hundreds of pages, if we think that there’s a force majeure or something that’s not fair, we’re going to ignore them actually and make a different decision and it’s very hard to write such a clause.

“It does seem hugely unfair on Ferrari and Sainz but that is the penalty.”

According to Sainz, though, even if it had been put to the vote one team would’ve said no to giving him a free pass.

“For some reason, there will be rival teams pushing for me to get a penalty which surprises me in a way,” he said, not naming names.

“In others, I’ve been in the sport for too long to understand that it’s business.

“There’s too much money involved in the finishing position in the Constructors’ or whatever for a team not to threaten to apply for a penalty for me.

“At the same time, as I said, not surprised. I’m extremely disappointed and honestly very upset with the whole situation, with the sport. I’m very upset, is the right word, and in a bad mood because I just expected more.”

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