Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer was left furious by the pair of reprimands which came Sergio Perez’s way at the Portuguese GP.
The Mexican collected his first reprimand for an incident also involving Pierre Gasly during qualifying at the Algarve International Circuit, and he was then handed another for a second incident with Gasly during the race.
“They didn’t touch,” Szafnauer commented on the race incident, as quoted by RaceFans.net.
“Sergio moved first before Gasly did. Sergio is allowed to make that move in defence. You can’t move twice, but you’re allowed to move once. Gasly got out of the throttle and there was no contact. So why the reprimand?
“On lap one Sergio is hit by Verstappen, who comes back onto the track after being off-track, comes back on acutely in order to get his car in a position so he can have grip again and runs into Sergio, and they do nothing.
“Sergio and Gasly didn’t touch. Isn’t that what the fans want? Hard defending, good racing? If we start reprimanding drivers and punishing them for racing hard but safely, where is that going to take our sport?
“I am bringing this up [with the F1 Commission] because it’s a big issue.
“To me, when I saw that, I thought, that’s good, hard racing.”
Those two reprimands now mean that Perez is one away from a 10-place grid penalty.
Though Szafnauer’s claim that Perez has “never” been reprimanded isn’t accurate as RaceFans.net report that he received “two in 2012, one in 2015, two in 2017 and one last year”.
“Sergio in his whole career has never been reprimanded ever, he’s got two this weekend,” Szafnauer continued.
“One of which was in qualifying where he made a mistake in one of the sectors, didn’t realise Gasly was on a fast lap behind him, got out of the way but not quickly enough: Reprimand. Well, Gasly got through Q2 into Q3, it didn’t cause him any harm: Reprimand. You saw the other incident: Reprimand.
“Now for the rest of the season, he’s got to drive like a saint. He’s not going to be able to fight hard because there is a risk of a reprimand and then you get a 10 grid place penalty. So I think that’s quite harsh. You may not think that reprimand was harsh, but it is.”
Szafnauer also brought up Lance Stroll’s incident where he was punted out of the Russian Grand Prix by Charles Leclerc, but no action was taken by the stewards.
“You’ve got to look at a collision. The Gasly-Sergio thing was not a collision, it was a good, hard defending,” he said.
“And you punish that but then when somebody does collide, you don’t do anything?
“That’s two times in a row – I don’t know if you saw Leclerc and Lance, it was a very similar thing. You cause a collision and then nothing.”