‘Pretty poor’ – Oscar Piastri calls out FIA for controversial stewarding decisions

Michelle Foster
Oscar Piastri looking down as he walks through the paddock

Oscar Piastri admits he's frustrated over the stewards' decisions

A frustrated Oscar Piastri says the FIA’s explanation for him losing third place on the Austria GP grid through a track limits infringement was “pretty poor”.

Although it was Piastri’s McLaren team-mate who dominated the headlines in the wake of his clash with Max Verstappen on lap 64 of the Austrian Grand Prix, Lando Norris was not the only driver questioning the FIA stewards after the race weekend.

Oscar Piastri: ‘They were pretty poor. Let’s leave it at that’

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper

Those issues, along with others, were raised in Thursday’s FIA driver briefing with Piastri wanting answers for his deleted lap time in Saturday’s qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.

The Aussie clocked the third fastest time in qualifying for the Grand Prix only to be pinged for running wide exiting Turn 6 on the run to Turn 7. Replays showed it was marginal at best, prompting McLaren to protest.

Team boss Andrea Stella said: “Our approach to racing is we don’t want what we don’t deserve. But when the penalty is so harsh, then in the interest of sport, not in the interest of McLaren, there needs to be clear evidence.”

But following a stewards’ hearing on Saturday evening, and before the FIA stewards even considered the evidence against Piastri, the protest was rejected on procedural grounds.

Piastri asked for an explanation on all that in the pre-race weekend driver briefing at Silverstone but admits the answers were unsatisfactory.

“Yes, I did,” he told the media, including PlanetF1.com. “They were pretty poor. Let’s leave it at that.”

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Pressed on the subject, he added: “It’s between us and the FIA, but the methodology of deleting the lap was not correct. So that was obviously quite frustrating.

“We tried to appeal, tried to do everything we could to have it looked at, but there’s no way in the rules to do it. That was what was frustrating, especially given the events of the race.”

Those events saw Max Verstappen and Lando Norris collide while fighting for the lead leaving third-placed George Russell to pick up the victory. Piastri was P2.

Asked if the FIA agreed that the helicopter, which provides an overhead shot of the action, should’ve factored into the decision, Piastri replied: “It wasn’t the helicopter thing, apparently that wasn’t used, which is even more concerning given what was used.

“So some discussions to be had. Honestly, we had a good discussion between all the drivers and the FIA on various topics. We had a pretty open chat about things we can improve and I think for the most part it was very receptive.

“I think we genuinely made a lot of progress, just a couple of things, maybe still need some small progress.”

Small progress from all sides with Piastri conceding the stewards have a difficult job keeping an eye on all 20 drivers for every single lap.

“It’s very difficult for everyone involved,” he said. “Of course, all the teams are not going to agree on everything, all the drivers aren’t going to agree on everything, and the FIA is not going to agree with everything we want either.

“I think the system they have at the moment, it’s quite clear that if you leave the track at all then it counts as a track limit, which in some ways is consistent and quite easy to follow.

“But when you’ve clearly not gained an advantage, it feels unnecessarily harsh. But at the moment, it’s very difficult for the FIA to monitor that taking into account every case.

“If it’s happening for 16th/17th whilst there is other action going out on track, I very much sympathise that it’s not an easy thing to do case-by-case.

“So I think that was where it made good progress, understanding where everyone was coming from. I think on all sides, we want to just make the show better.”

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