Sergio Pérez’s penalty at the F1 Canadian Grand Prix, explained

A week that started on a very positive note for Sergio Pérez turned sour in a hurry at the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix. On Saturday Pérez failed to advance out of Q1, and was forced to start Sunday’s Grand Prix at the back of the field. Then any chance of Pérez salvaging something from the weekend ended after just 51 laps, as Pérez lost control of his RB20 and backed into the barrier, causing substantial damage to his rear wing and forcing his retirement.

Now that bad weekend will carry over into the next race in Barcelona, as a result of how he handled that collision.

Following an investigation by race officials, Pérez has been hit with a three-place grid drop for his next race, schedule to be the Spanish Grand Prix. He has also been hit with a monetary fine.

First, the incident, which you can see here in this video cutup from the F1 social media team of two different late-stage incidents. The first is Pérez’s spin, the second a spin from Carlos Sainz Jr. that ended up collecting Alexander Albon, ending both their days:

As you can see in the above clip, Pérez loses control of his RB20 and backs into the barrier, suffering substantial damage to the rear wing of his race car. But despite the damage, Pérez was able to bring his RB20 back to pit lane.

And that, according to race officials, was a problem. According to the investigation conducted by race officials — which included hearing from both Pérez and a representative of Red Bull as well as reviewing video and radio evidence — that conduct was a breach of the Sporting Regulations.

According to the officials’ report:

“After making contact with the barriers in Turn 6, the driver continued on track for the remainder of the lap with a significantly damaged car and thereby lost several carbon fibre parts on the way back to the pits. The team confirmed in the hearing that the driver had been advised to bring the car back to the pits as they were trying to avoid a Safety Car situation.”

Race officials found that the actions from Red Bull and Pérez in bringing the car back to the pits to avoid a Safety Car situation violated Article 26.10 of the Sporting Regulations, which reads as follows: “If a driver has serious mechanical difficulties, he must leave the track as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Since Pérez instead continued on his lap to get back to pit lane — leaving lots of debris along the way — race officials found that a penalty was necessary.

“The Stewards determine that, as well as a financial penalty for the team, a sporting penalty is necessary due to the safety implications of the incident. The penalty is imposed in line with precedents.”

That penalty? A fine of €25,000 for the team, and a three-place grid drop for Pérez, which will be assessed at the next race where he participates. Right now, that is slated to be the Spanish Grand Prix, in two weeks.

That means that even if Pérez qualifies on pole position, the best he can start is fourth in the Spanish Grand Prix.

For reference, Pérez failed to advance to Q3 at last season’s Spanish Grand Prix, and ended up starting 11. He delivered a strong recovery drive, however, and finished fourth in the race itself.

So if you want to look at the silver lining, he has made up ground in the Spanish Grand Prix before.

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