The pardon granted to Max Verstappen and Logan Sargeant for impeding drivers during the Singapore Grand Prix will not set a precedent for future incidents in Formula 1.
Verstappen and Sargeant escaped the usual three-place grid penalty for their respective cases of interference during qualifying in Singapore.
The Red Bull driver was investigated three times, acquitted of one charge and received two reprimands for others
But FIA stewards with F1 teams in Japan have admitted that Verstappen and Sargeant should have been given three places on the grid.
This would have made it much more difficult for Verstappen, who was already 11th on the grid, to return to fifth place as he did in Sunday’s race, with the world champion himself clearly expecting to be penalized after qualifying.
The decision not to punish him comes because commissioners are not required to apply past decisions, regardless of perceived precedent, and are instead encouraged to review each case based on its own details.
In Singapore they determined that, in the case of Verstappen and Sargeant, the on-track violations were the fault of their teams, although in the past it has been explicitly and repeatedly stated that a lack of communication by the team should not be used as mitigation of a infringement. Penalty of three places on the grid.
While it is accepted that sanctions should not always be known in advance, it is almost universally accepted that these types of cases should result in an ongoing sanction.
Going forward, it looks like the standard three-place grid penalty will apply.
This was communicated to the teams on Friday in Japan during the team leaders’ meeting, which was attended by stewards, including Matteo Perini, who is the permanent steward of the panel of four in Singapore and who admitted that this had been mismanaged. the last weekend.
The fact that what happened with Verstappen and Sargeant is not used as a precedent in the future is significant because it could have created an impossible scenario for the future.
Teams would have been encouraged to deliberately let their drivers embarrass their rivals, knowing that they would only receive a €5,000 fine and a caution rather than a grid penalty, as long as there was no radio communication.
The drivers, on the other hand, raised the issue of interference during the driver briefing on Friday afternoon and indicated that it was important to know what punishment would be imposed, given that it could be a problem at Suzuka, particularly in the final of the chicane.