Ferrari fined for ‘grossly incorrect’ radio messages

Date published: May 28 2022 - Editor

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc on track during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2022.

Six drivers were summoned to see the stewards following the final practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix, including Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Several blocking and impeding moments were noted during the session with a number of summonses issued as a result.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who finished FP3 in third place and is one of the pole position contenders, was called up for an alleged block on Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll 20 minutes into the session.

The Spaniard escaped a sporting penalty, but has been fined €25,000 for blocking and was given a reprimand (his third of the 2022 season).

“Approaching Turns 17 and 18, the driver of Car 55 [Sainz] was given a series of grossly incorrect messages, by radio, about the gaps to the cars behind,” the stewards decreed.

“It is unclear to the Stewards why such misleading information was given to the driver, who was under the impression that there was no car immediately behind him. Due to the poor rear visibility at that part of the circuit, the driver was relying entirely on the team’s messages.

“Notwithstanding the above, it was noted that the driver of Car 55 almost came to a stop on the circuit. This is unacceptable and hence the penalty of a Reprimand is imposed. We note that similar behaviour by any driver during Qualification may involve much more severe penalties.”

The stewards noted a similar situation between Sainz and Sebastian Vettel later in the session, where Ferrari also fed Sainz incorrect information.

“It is also noted that a similar situation occurred in relation to the incident involving Car 5 [Vettel] later in the session,” they stated, “where once again incorrect information was passed by the team to the driver, and again the driver of Car 55 was driving slower that can be considered reasonable in view of the location and circumstances.”

Stroll himself summoned for a separate incident which, ironically, was for allegedly blocking Sainz just a few moments after the initial episode.

Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu was also called up after an alleged block on Red Bull’s Max Verstappen through the Swimming Pool complex. The Chinese driver was given a formal warning for the transgression, with his team given a €10,000 euro fine as a result of failing to warn him about the approach of the Dutch racer.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who was fastest in FP3, also received a summons for allegedly impeding George Russell, who complained about the incident over the Mercedes team radio.

On Friday, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was given a reprimand for blocking Kevin Magnussen during FP2, taking him to his fourth reprimand of the season. A fifth reprimand would result in a grid penalty.

Separately, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel has been given a fine for speeding in the pits. The four-time World Champion was clocked at 61.6 km/h during the third practice session. With the speed limit set at 60 km/h, Vettel has been slapped with a €200 fine.