The Azerbaijan Grand Prix stewards have rejected a request from Williams to review their verdicts on five incidents which occurred in the race.
The team requested reviews of incidents involving Sergey Sirotkin and Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly, and Esteban Ocon and Kimi Raikkonen. They also called for the collision between Sirotkin, Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg to be reconsidered and queried Alonso’s driving after that collision.
Williams asked for Sirotkin’s penalty to be reviewed taking into consideration how other incidents during the race had been handled. But following a preliminary hearing by teleconference the stewards ruled Williams had not presented any new evidence which merited them re-examining the incidents.
The stewards upheld the three-place grid penalty handed down to Sirotkin because they viewed it differently other crashes on the first lap of races which did not receive penalties, as Sirotkin had driven into the back of another car.
Williams’ claim that the 10-second penalty issued to Kevin Magnussen for his collision was “inconsequential” was rejected on the grounds stewards do not take the effect of penalties into consideration when issuing them, and that the penalty was consistent with past precedents.
The complaint raised against Fernando Alonso for his driving on lap one was rejected as the McLaren driver was deemed to have brought his damaged car back to the pits in a safe manner. The stewards also pointed out to the team that as it had been aware of Alonso’s return to the pits at the time it cannot be considered a “new element” which merited investigation.
The team was also told it had failed to protest the lap one incident between Alonso, Sirotkin and Nico Hulkenberg within the permitted time limit. As it had not done so, that incident cannot be reviewed.
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Stewards’ ruling on Williams’ request for a review of Azerbaijan Grand Prix incidents
The stewards issued the following reasoning:
1. In relation to the incident described in Document 34 ([Sirokin/Perez]) it is noted that this was a case where one car crashed into the rear of another, and was not similar to other first lap incidents where cars were side-by-side. The penalty was similar to other penalties for similar collisions and was consistent with the minimum grid penalties given previously.
2. The fact that the written decision in Document 34 did not reach the team until 1728hrs was not deemed relevant because this was well before the time for any protest or appeal had expired. This is mentioned in the context of the team’s argument that some other incidents were not penalised or were not penalised sufficiently
3. In relation to the incident described in Document 43 ([Magnussen/Gasly]) the team, in its written request for review, argued that the penalty on [Magnussen] was “inconsequential”. The team is reminded that since the meeting of 2013 between the FIA and representatives of the teams and drivers, the consequences of penalties are not taken into account.
4. Further to the above, and in relation to other penalties, since the beginning of 2016 there have been a total of 87 incidents involving alleged “causing a collision” in the Formula One Championship. Of these, as a result of the “let them race” policy, 55 have resulted in No Further Action. 14 have resulted in 10 second penalties and 9 have resulted in 3 grid position penalties for the next race. A very small number involved other penalties. Therefore the penalties imposed on [Magnussen, Ericsson and Sirotkin] were entirely consistent with previous practice and with the penalty guidelines. The cases of No Further Action were also consistent with previous practice.
5. The Race Director specifically referred to the actions of the driver of Car 14 [Alonso] in returning to the pits after his incident in lap one and noted that firstly, the Safety Car was present, and secondly that the driver took care to avoid the racing line, avoid following traffic and minimised risk.
6. Williams Martini Racing was aware of the actions of the driver of Car 14 [Alonso] as it occurred. Their team at the “mission control” in the UK saw it on the live television feed and the team on the pit wall would have seen the driver of Car 14 enter the pits, as it had to drive past them. Therefore it cannot be argued that this is a “new element”.
7. In relation to the incidents referred to above, all “no further action” incidents were well promulgated prior to publication of the results. Therefore the team had ample opportunity and time, being aware of all the other penalties above, to lodge an appeal where no penalty was imposed (noting that no appeal is permitted where time penalties or grid penalties are imposed).
8. In relation to the incident involving cars 14, 27 and 35 [Alonso, Hulkenberg and Sirotkin] on lap one, as the stewards took no decision on this matter, the team could have protested the matter within the permitted time limit, but chose not to exercise this right.
9. Differing penalties imposed or incidents where no further action was taken, cannot be regarded as a new element.
10. In relation to the media reporting tabled by Williams Martin Racing in its request for a review, these reports are not considered significant and relevant.
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