Sergio Perez, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Perez avoids penalty for cutting chicane

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez has avoided a penalty for cutting the chicane in practice.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Spanish Grand Prix practice in pictures
The Force India driver used the old section of circuit to bypass the chicane at turns 14 and 15. He was investigated by the stewards for “not using every effort to use the track at all times and deliberately leaving the track without a justifiable reason”.

Perez escaped a penalty when the stewards agreed he had left the circuit to avoid holding up Lewis Hamilton.

“The driver, who had been advised at turn six that [Hamilton] was seven seconds behind him, then at turn ten that [Hamilton] was four seconds behind, stated that he decided to drive off the track taking a route into pit lane which would not impede [Hamilton]. The stewards consider that this was a ‘justifiable reason’ in view of the fact that this occurred in free practice.”

However the stewards added “this would not be considered in the same way if it occurred during qualification or the race.”

Perez has already collected two reprimands this season. Had he been issued a third for this incident he would have automatically received a ten-place grid penalty.

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 12 comments on “Perez avoids penalty for cutting chicane”

    1. So basically stewards are saying its ok to impede drivers in that last section of track during qualifying as long as drivers dont cut chicane to enter pit lane.

      1. I guess the problem is that taking that route gives you a better run onto the home straight so someone could use it to get out of the way on someone else on their out lap and carry a higher speed into their quick lap.

      2. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        13th May 2017, 1:22

        That’s lawyer talk. The stewards are calling for the drivers to respect track limits, as there are other ways to ensure that a driver moving at a faster speed is not impeded.

    2. Basicly just keep your car on the track…its really that easy..

    3. A ten-place grid penalty would have been horrible, given that one reprimand was related to protocol and not his on-track conduct.

      1. Particularly given his team mate avoided a reprimand for the same protocol error!

    4. I mean, F1 is over policed, what next, jail time for speeding in the pit lane?

    5. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      12th May 2017, 20:33

      If this or another similar practice behavior doesn’t endanger or bother any other driver, why would it be penalized? I don’t get why penalties like this are applied.

      1. Come on Omar, maybe not in practice but during quali someone can have unfair advantage if they cut and exit the corner with more speed, it would shave off a couple of tenths in their quali times.

        1. But these penalty’s have been given before during free (!) practice. I remember Magnussen missing the weight bridge (Bahrain I think) during FP2 and got a massive grid penalty or something. But why? It’s free practice after all.

          We see teams with gigantic aero racks on cars, which I assume are illegal parts on the car, but missing a corner or weigh bridge during those FP’s is punishable. What could they have gained?

          1. @montalvo In the case of Magnussen, the reason is because the car must be at the minimum weight during the whole week-end. If the marshals can’t check you are within the limits, they consider you are not and then penalize you.

      2. Neil (@neilosjames)
        13th May 2017, 1:41

        On the topic, the first mention of penalties for this that I can recall came after Vettel did it a few years back, in qualifying at Korea (2011?) – he deliberately drove across the run-off road to cut out the fiddly chicane so he could get back to the pits quickly for another run. Think he got told off but there was no penalty.

        I think it being frowned upon comes down to two things… that the run-off zones should only be used in emergencies (I’d assume that’s why such behaviour isn’t appreciated in free practice), and the Vettel reason above – that a driver could gain a significant advantage (get back to the pits quicker/in time for another lap/ahead of another car) by zooming straight across a chicane on an in-lap.

        This particular corner maybe has a third reason, mentioned above (quicker entry speed to final corner), if they could avoid picking up junk on the tyres.

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