Sergio Perez picks up four penalty points in F1 Japanese GP as he and Christian Horner reflect on a disaster of a run.
Things are going from bad to worse for Red Bull’s Perez and it was like that in F1 Japanese GP at Suzuka in a race where the team sealed the 2023 constructors’ championship and the Mexican was forced to retire after multiple collisions.
It all went wrong at the start when Perez was sandwiched with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the left and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on his right. He was forced to pit under the safety car to change the front wing which set him at the back of the field.
It seemed like it will be a recovery drive for Perez but he was handed a 5s time penalty for safety car infringement which was later cleared that while on the way into the pits, he passed Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso which is not allowed.
“The Stewards reviewed timing and video evidence,” the stewards note said. “PER overtook ALO just before entering the pit lane under safety car conditions.” To go with the time penalty, he got two penalty points on his superlicense too.
In a hurry to get back in the Top 10, Perez then made an optimistic move on Haas’ Kevin Magnussen at the left-hander and he tapped the side of the Dane to spin him around. The Mexican suffered another front wing damage as he was eventually called in to retire.
“PER was trying to overtake MAG on the inside of turn 11,” the stewards note said. “The Stewards determine that PER was predominately to blame for the collision. Applying the 2023 Driving Standards Guidelines for overtaking at the inside of a corner, the Stewards noted that there was no significant portion of car 11 alongside car 20 and therefore determined that car 11 was not entitled to racing room in turn 11.
“PER did not manage to do the overtaking manoeuvre in a safe and controlled manner.” A further 5s time penalty and two penalty points took his race’s tally to four and overall tally to now seven from the 12 that is given to any driver in a year.
On October 2, two points will cut away to bring it back to five. Since he retired from the race just when the penalty was announced, there was a chance for it to be converted to a grid drop in Qatar and to avoid that, Red Bull repaired the car and sent him back.
He eventually returned to serve the penalty and retired again. “I had a horrible start and basically going into Turn 1, I was just a passenger,” said Perez to media. I had Sainz on my right, Lewis on the left, and they just took the whole front wing endplate off.
“We changed the front wing and I still had no front end, so I think there were a lot more things damaged on the car. I was struggling quite a lot on the braking with the front end. I just wouldn’t stop in time and it was my mistake, obviously.”
The extent of the damage is unknown with the team undergoing analysis, as Horner noted of the known broken front wings while adding a possible damage to wheel hub from the start contact. “It got off to a bad start,” he said. “He got sort of pinballed on the way down to Turn 1, that was unlucky for him.
“He then had damage with Lewis and broke the front wing. He then passed Fernando on the way in under the safety car, picked up another penalty. He goes out a little bit too optimistic, probably out of frustration trying to pass Magnussen…another front wing and the steering damage.
“So, the only decent thing we managed to get out of today was not carrying a penalty through into the next race in Qatar. In terms of damages, he had already done one front wing and the wheel hub. I haven’t seen the complete damage report but it is possible that there could have been other damage.”
While Perez admitted to his mistake down to a broken car, Magnussen concurred with Horner in noting about frustration and desperation for their contact. “I got hit on the rear tyre, it was a pretty desperate move, but it is what it is,” he said.
“I got spun around, and then we had to pit – that was too early for the two-stop strategy with the tire degradation that we have on our car. It made the situation a lot worse by pitting at that point and I didn’t want to do a three-stop, so it really ended our race.”
Here’s the crash between Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2023-japanese-grand-prix-perez-tips-magnussen-into-a-spin-after-lunge-at-turn-11.1777897881937636664.html
Here’s how F1 Japanese GP panned out