Formula 1 drivers praised the steps taken by the series’ race directors to explain recent penalty decisions at a meeting on Friday.
Questions had been raised over a series of penalty decisions which were made at recent events. Friday’s talk “was very, very useful,” said Carlos Sainz Jnr, “because we managed to discuss between us drivers and the race directors why some incidents have a five-second penalty and why others not.”
The race director role is being shared this year by Eduardo Freitas, who is running this weekend’s event, and Niels Wittich. Friday’s meeting was not attended by any of the stewards who are responsible for deciding what if any penalties are issued.
“It was a shame that the stewards were not there to explain to us,” said Sainz, “but the race directors tried their best to explain it to us. We will see if these meetings keep helping our mutual understanding.”
Alexander Albon discussed why he hadn’t been penalised for clashing with Sebastian Vettel during the sprint race at the previous round, when George Russell had been for his collision with Sergio Perez in the grand prix.
“I explained the reason why, what the stewards said, because I think no one in the room understood why I didn’t get a penalty and why George got a penalty,” said Albon.
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“We’ve done it before, it’s not a new thing,” he added. “I think it shows that it’s not that easy for them.
“We know that it’s not an easy job for the FIA, but it’s more about us understanding the difference, for example, why was George given a penalty and I wasn’t? [And] as drivers how can we learn how the stewards police so as drivers we can also know how to fight in combat.”
However Fernando Alonso, who previously complained about penalties he received in Miami and Canada, said the clarifications could be used by drivers to push for penalties in future events.
“Obviously it’s something in order to improve things and to show us some incidents and why they gave penalties and why not,” he said. “So it’s for the good of everyone trying to understand better their approach.
“It has to be seen in the next events, because it can have a double effect, because when you see a video and that was a penalty, then we will have it in our mind. Maybe tomorrow it was exactly the same and [we ask] ‘why you didn’t give a penalty?’ So we could enter a series of video reviews, that could be…