Formula 1

F1 race director Masi baffled by Perez’s French GP penalty angst

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says he does not understand why Sergio Perez was so upset at his French Grand Prix penalty.

Racing Point’s Perez was handed a five-second penalty at Paul Ricard for gaining places after cutting across the run-off areas at Turns 3 and 4 on the opening lap, and Perez said he was baffled by the decision.

Perez had followed the procedure by going around the track limits bollard, but the FIA penalised the driver for gaining an advantage by rejoining ahead of cars that had been in front of him at corner entry.

In race notes sent to teams before the race, Masi made it clear drivers could only rejoin the track when it was safe to do so and without a lasting advantage.

Asked by Autosport after the race about Perez’s situation, Masi revealed drivers had asked the FIA to punish those who gained places in a similar fashion to Perez’s Turns 3 and 4 conduct.

“The overriding point is that when someone rejoins, they must first rejoin safely and must not gain a lasting advantage,” said Masi.

“In looking at the in-car [footage] particularly, when you look at Lance Stroll’s – who was immediately behind him – Sergio’s locked up, chosen to go to the left and bypass the bollard and has come out in front of [Alex] Albon and [Kevin] Magnussen.

“That was part of a discussion that was actually had following Monaco at a drivers’ meeting, where the drivers requested that they need to be behind effectively [the order of] who they entered [the corner previously].”

Masi clarified that no instruction had been given to Perez to give the positions back.

This was because drivers had requested that, in the event of gaining positions, they should only be advised of problems that happen at the very first corner.

“It was an open discussion with them in Canada and they all said ‘you need to draw the line somewhere and once we get out of that [first] sequence, where it is what it is, we will live with that decision’,” he said.

Masi explained the one way in which Perez could have avoided a penalty.

He said: “If Sergio had chosen coming out of Turn 6 to drop back behind those two cars, I think we would have looked at it and said he has created his own disadvantage actually.”

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