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FIA explain grid penalty system that caught Ferrari napping

FIA explain grid penalty system that caught Ferrari napping

F1 News

FIA explain grid penalty system that caught Ferrari napping

FIA explain grid penalty system that caught Ferrari napping

FIA race director Michael Masi has explained the complicated Formula 1 grid penalty system that decided the bottom five positions in Russia and caught out Ferrari.

Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Nicholas Latifi were all handed back-of-the-grid penalties in Sochi for introducing their fourth power unit elements. Three is the limit.

In addition, Red Bull driver Verstappen had a three-place penalty for his incident with Lewis Hamilton at the previous race in Italy.

To further complicate matters, Valtteri Bottas was handed a 15-place penalty for taking the fifth of three PU elements - internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H.

Antonio Giovinazzi, meanwhile, was handed five places for the replacement of a gearbox in his Alfa Romeo, but ended up starting one place ahead of the position in which he qualified.

Explaining the criteria, Masi said: “Effectively, it’s a fixed position penalty is the best way to put it. If it’s a three grid spot penalty, you get all three grid spots and everyone moves around you.

“If the guy qualifies first and he gets a three grid slot penalty, he is fourth.

“The first part is there is a three grid spot penalty, you get the three grid spots in full. If it’s a five grid spot, you go accordingly. So that is the first element of it.

“The rear-of-the-grid penalties are a completely different article, which is in qualifying order at the back of the grid, so you have to apply them in order.”

With an additional three-place penalty, this meant Verstappen would always line up last but with Williams sending Latifi out to complete an out lap in Q2, the Canadian was able to jump Leclerc, who did not set a time in Q2, and start P18 rather than on the back row.

“Jonathan [Wheatley - Red Bull team manager] and all the teams were aware of that because we spoke about it on Friday," continued Masi.

"So there was no confusion whatsoever amongst anyone involved, including the teams. It was the teams that actually said this is the way we read it, all of them.

“I can’t see where the confusion is because it’s rear of the grid and in qualifying order so you all go to the back of the grid.

"Then who qualified in fifth, who qualified in 10th, who qualified in 15th, who qualified in 19th as a hypothetical, and they are in that order.

“It's not that hard.”

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