FIA agrees to change after criticism over Ferrari fine for unsafe release

Ruben Hill
August 4, 2019

During the first round of stops at Hockenheim, Leclerc was released by Ferrari in to the path of Romain Grosjean - forcing the Haas driver to hit the brakes and subsequently costing him positions.

Max Verstappen says the decision not to impose a penalty on Charles Leclerc for Ferrari's pit-lane indiscretion during the German Grand Prix was unfair.

Verstappen himself, was on the receiving end of a penalty for an unsafe release when he almost collided with Valtteri Bottas in Monaco.

"It's completely wrong", said Verstappen after last week's race.

Following discussions, the FIA accepted the concerns of teams that fines were not enough of a deterrent and it was agreed that from now on, if there is an unsafe release, then there will be a time penalty. I think it's not fair.

"Germany was one of the craziest and most hard races for me, but it was great to be able to win it", Verstappen said as quoted by Formula Passion.

"To say they gave me the penalty purely because we touched, I think that is also not fair, you're still releasing the vehicle knowing there is a auto in the fast lane".

"Just a fine, it's not fair.the fine?" 5,000? That's peanuts for a team. I think it's completely wrong to do that, especially if you talk about safety, it's not correct.

Under normal circumstances, an unsafe release normally sees the driver get slapped with a five-second time penalty.

Verstappen, who had to spend two days with stewards in January and February as punishment for a post-race Brazilian GP altercation with rival Esteban Ocon, said he had heard team managers had discussed the situation.

"I think they have spoken in the managers meeting about it", added Verstappen.

"It can not be once decided like this".

"In Monaco, for clarification, it was labelled an unsafe release but it was actually for causing a collision in the pit lane", explained race director, Michael Masi, when asked about the incident.

However, the stewards hit Ferrari with a mere $5,000 fine, a decision that had several teams and drivers up in arms, arguing that similar incidents in the past had been punished with time penalties, not to mention their fear that limiting retribution to a fine could set a unsafe precedent.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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