Carlos Sainz was in no mood to talk after F1 Australian GP as Fernando Alonso reckons the penalty to be harsh and Frederic Vasseur concurred.
Already on the way to the grid for the final lap, Ferrari’s Sainz was distraught after hearing about the penalty, the Spaniard was in no mood to talk post-race either. On radio, he was pleading with the team to appeal against the decision, but to no avail.
He seemingly tried to bridge enough gap as well but it wasn’t to be as he dropped from a sound fourth to 12th with no points for Ferrari eventually. Post-race, he went to see the stewards and disagreed with the penalty, but to take it to the chin anyhow.
“I prefer to go to the stewards, get the penalty away, because I don’t think I deserve it and it’s the most unfair penalty I’ve seen in my life,” said Sainz to media. “I will go first to the stewards. I needed to come first to the TV pen; if I don’t come here they put me in another penalty. Honestly, I am too disappointed and I am going to say bad things.
“It is the most unfair penalty I have seen in my life. It is the biggest disgrace I’ve seen in the sport for many years. It was a good race overall but the penalty ruined all the effort and I don’t agree with it. The frustration I feel right now will be difficult to digest, but I will try to think only of the positives and focus on the next race,” summed up Sainz.
The emotions took the better of the Spaniard, who is usually not so open about disagreements. It was a bit clumsy on the re-start when he tapped Aston Martin’s Alonso, but the consequences were big as it put off Alpine’s Pierre Gasly too.
That in turn led to the incident with Esteban Ocon. Although, the consequence part is not taken in context, the FIA stewards put whole blame of Sainz for spinning Alonso. They knew it could be taken as Lap 1 incident, but they felt he had enough space.
“We determined that Car 55 was wholly to blame for the collision,” said the stewards. “Car 14 was significantly ahead of Car 55 at the first corner and nevertheless Car 55 drove into Car 14, causing it to spin and leave the track. We accordingly imposed a 5-second penalty on Car 55. For avoidance of doubt, we took into account the fact that this collision took place at the first lap of the restart, when, by convention, the Stewards would typically take a more lenient view of incidents.
“However, in this particular case, notwithstanding the fact that it was the equivalent of a first lap incident, we considered that there was sufficient gap for Car 55 to take steps to avoid the collision and failed to do so.” Fellow countryman Alonso termed it as a harsh penalty as well even though he was at the receiving end of it.
“I mean, probably the penalty is too harsh, I think because on Lap One, it is very difficult always to judge what the grip level, and I think we don’t go intentionally into another car,” said Alonso. “Because we know that we risk also our car and our final position, so sometimes you ended up in places that you wish you were not there in that moment.
“And it’s just part of racing, but I didn’t see the replay properly, but for me, it feels to hard.” Ferrari did not protest against it as Vasseur as he is not a fan of it, but he agreed that this was quite a quick decision from the stewards when for other clashes they take hours to do it.
“No, I am not a big fan of this but it is an incident on track, that you always have two cars involved in the incident and you have two ways of seeing the incident, but for sure coming from Ferrari and being the team principal of Carlos my position is not the same as some other guys in the paddock but in this kind of situation we could take five minutes to discuss and have a look at the data,” said Vasseur.
“The latest is that we took the penalty that in this kind of situation you can discuss for hours about who is responsible and from my points of view it was like an incident on lap one and exactly the same as the first start but we can discuss it for a while until we agree on something. But my frustration is more on making a decision before the end, before we can listen to them, when we know we have just one lap behind the safety car to do.
“It would’ve made sense to wait for the end of the race and discuss with them exactly what they saw. It was not changing the podium at all and it was not a drama. Last weekend it took a while to make a decision, with Carlos it was quick with his five seconds,” summed up Vasseur, who was fine with the emotions shown by Sainz.
“You have to understand the situation too that he had to do an extra pitstop at the beginning with the first red flag, that we were nowhere then and then he had a mega comeback, his pace was very strong and very consistent, and he came back not far away from the podium and then to lose it like this, not from nowhere but before the end, I can perfectly understand the emotion and the fact that he was in shock with that,” he said.
Here’s what happened at re-start: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2023-australian-grand-prix-chaos-and-multiple-crashes-on-second-restart-sees-race-immediately-stopped-again.1762048506170535189.html
Here’s fan being hit by Kevin Magnussen’s wheel rim
Here’s FIA asking promoters for investigation
Here’s FIA dismissing FIA protest
Here’s how F1 Australian GP panned out