Door open for repeat offenders if FIA not harsh - Binotto
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has sided with the FIA over the thorny subject of penalty points following the debate that followed Lewis Hamilton's transgression during the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was initially handed two penalty points on his super license by the stewards, one for each of his pre-race practice starts in the wrong area at the Sochi Autodrom.
Following further information provided by Mercedes, the points were later rescinded, albeit sparking claims from many drivers that the system was perhaps draconian in its application for minor infringements.
Binotto, though, feels the FIA has to lay down the law to ensure drivers know what is and what is not allowed in the future.
"You may feel them quite harsh, especially if you’re the victim of it," said Binotto. "But on the other side, if you’re not harsh sometimes, you leave the door open for drivers to repeat it in the future.
"I think it’s never easy to judge, [but] I think the FIA, in that respect, is doing a great job. Overall, happy."
Neither of his drivers, however, agreed with Binotto, with both suggesting that points being applied for a practice start in an incorrect position was unfair on Hamilton, and would be on any driver who may be faced with that situation in the future.
"I think if you do some really crazy moves on the track and dangerous driving then they’re justified," said Vettel.
"But if you’re speeding in the pitlane or minor infringements then it’s probably not the point to apply penalty points."
Charles Leclerc echoed his team-mate's sentiments. Speaking at the time Hamilton was standing on 10 penalty points for the last 12 months, two away from a potential ban before dropping back down to eight again, he said: "I have to agree a little bit with Seb on some things.
"A driver like Lewis, I don’t think he’s done a big mess over the year, to be honest. Surely we need to find a way to penalise the drivers in a way they feel it.
"But it’s a bit weird to see Lewis only two points off of a race ban. I don’t think he’s done anything particularly wrong this year. Maybe there’s a better way to do it. I don’t know, it’s not my job. The FIA will look into it."
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