The FIA has revealed the tweaked rule to be implemented in Formula 2 (F2) as well as Formula 3 (F3) from 2020 onward after the case with Mahaveer Raghunathan.
In a rare situation, MP Motorsport’s Raghunathan twice had 12 penalty points on his superlicense in a season. The Indian first accumulated 12 points during the feature race at Paul Ricard in France and was banned to compete at Red Bull Ring.
He could, however, start in the sprint race in France. Even though the points remained on his superlicense, it was a clean sheet to re-start the cycle for the remainder of the F2 season. Unfortunately, he hit the 12 mark again during the practice session in Abu Dhabi.
The rule was such that he could see-through the weekend with no issues and since it was the last race of the 2019 F2 season, he has no race ban, whatsoever, even for Round 1 of the 2020 season, should he choose to stay back in the championship.
The FIA stewards, at that time, handed him a pitlane start penalty. There were calls during the season as well as in Abu Dhabi for a changed rule, which the governing body has now released under the Article 38.3 of the FIA International Sporting Code for F2.
All of the rule will remain the same as it is with an added update, which goes: “With the exception of a reprimand or fine, when a penalty is applied under the FIA International Sporting Code or Article 38.3 the stewards may impose penalty points on a driver.
“If a driver accrues 12 penalty points during a free practice or qualifying, he will be suspended for the remainder of the Event. If a driver accrues 12 penalty points in a race, he will be suspended for the following Event.
“After the suspension has been issued, 12 points will be removed.” The only change that can be clearly ascertained here is that should a driver accumulate 12 points in a practice and or qualifying session, he/she can be barred from racing that weekend.
This solves the case like what happened with Raghunathan in the F2 finale, where he was penalised in the practice session but he could still race both on Saturday and Sunday. It is not clear though if there will be anything carried forward to a new season.
At the same time, it is also not clear what happens if the driver gets 12 points in the feature race, then whether he only gets a sprint race ban and or he is allowed to race on Sunday but gets a full weekend suspension in the following event.
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