One of the talking points of the Austrian GP was the number of penalties doled out to the drivers by the race stewards. No less than seven different drivers were penalized. This has left the world of F1 divided as some feel that these penalties were on the harsher side while others think that they were just. FIA race director Michael Masi has now explained why all these penalties were given
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I'm your host Dillon Shelley and first up on Formula World:
Why Were There So Many Penalties At The Austrian GP?
Masi started off by looking at the penalty McLaren’s Lando Norris received at the start of the race
“Obviously, the stewards had a look at all three. In Sergio’s case with Lando, he was wholly alongside Lando and therefore there is an onus to leave a car’s width to the edge of the track. And then the same in the reverse with Checo [Perez] and Charles at the exit of Turn 4”
He further explained the penalties received by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez
“And then Checo and Charles again at the exit of Turn 6, [the stewards’] view was - and I don’t sit in the stewards’ room to deliberate - that in all three circumstances, a car’s width should have been left to the edge of the track because the two cars were alongside each other”
One complaint levelled at the race stewards was that they were inconsistent with their ruling during the first lap. Masi addressed that next
“All Lap 1 incidents are treated in a more lenient manner and that has been the case for a number of years, under the ‘let them race’ principle, let’s call it. So that’s the general principle because particularly in circumstances like that, everyone has asked to look at things in a much [more lenient] way”
He signed off by explaining if the penalty points system in use currently, according to which a driver will receive a race ban if they accrue 12 points in a year, is harsh
“I don’t think they are harsh. It was discussed late last year… and the consensus was at the end of last year involving everyone, the teams, the FIA, everyone, that there shouldn’t be a change this year and it’s not something we’d ever change mid-year”
McLaren’s Lando Norris has explained that “it’s downhill, easy to run wide and it was just what happens” at turn 4 in Austria
“You watch Formula 2 or Formula 3 or any category and people who try to go around the outside there and don’t commit to it end up in the gravel”
“That’s just the way that corner runs. So, [Sergio Perez] took the risk, and not me”, Lando added
F1’s managing director Ross Brawn is of the opinion that Norris “delivered a sensational qualifying performance and followed it up with a great race”
He also accepted that “there were some tough decisions regarding penalties in the race, one of which impacted Lando”
“No one, including the stewards, want to see penalties and they will be debated for a long time”
“But equally, we can’t have unregulated aggression on the track. It’s not what we want to see either. Finding that balance isn’t always easy”, Brawn suggested
The Australian GP scheduled for November 19-21 at Albert Park in Melbourne has been cancelled
A spokesperson for F1 stated that they “are confident [they] can deliver a 23-race season in 2021 and [they] have a number of options to take forward to replace the place left vacant by the Australian Grand Prix”
They “will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks and will provide further updates once those discussions are concluded”
McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo’s performance at the Austrian GP “gives [him] encouragement going into this Sprint Qualifying” at Silverstone
Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski says they “are still figuring out some adjustments to the rear wings after the FIA’s famous technical directive, which [they] are quite bitter about, to be honest”
They “feel a bit like the collateral damage of the teams up front fighting for the title trying to undercut each other by throwing a banana peel at each other, looking for problems with the other’s car”
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko feels that as they “are on equal grounds in terms of engine, it comes down to the chassis and the driver”
“In the past Max always had to take more risks. Mercedes will fight back, but [Red Bull] have proven that [they] can be competitive at any circuit”
Marko also implied that “for a long time there was no pressure on Hamilton. There is now, and [Red Bull] are increasing that pressure”
This according to Marko was why “Lewis made a mistake by damaging his car, presumably on the kerbs”
Were the penalties during the Austrian GP fair?
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