Jean-Eric Vergne can count himself lucky to still be in Sunday's F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain, after he failed to follow officials' directions to go to the weigh bridge when he came onto pit lane after his qualifying run in Bahrain on Saturday.
Under F1 rules, the race stewards could have handed him a grid penalty or even excluded him from the race altogether for missing the instruction, given by a red light and a gesticulating official, which were both clearly picked up by on-board cameras transmitting over the FOM television feed at the time.
Instead, the Toro Rosso
driver has been handed a simple reprimand but no grid penalty or exclusion by the stewards.
The check on cars returning from the track is to ensure that they stay within FIA
weight regulations and to guard against any illegal or unintentional modifications during the race weekend.
The stewards were prepared to accept the Frenchman's contention that his non-compliance with the officials' directions in this case was unintentional.
"Upon realising the error, the team, under supervision of a scrutineer, brought the car back to the FIA
garage," a statement from the FIA
Vergne will now keep his starting position of 19th place on the grid, after failing to progress from Q1 during the qualifying session.
"I do not understand why I was so slow this afternoon, especially as the car was going well this morning and as can be seen from Daniel [Ricciardo]'s impressive performance," he admitted. "I am keen to get back to the engineers to look at the data and find out why I could not deliver the performance I was hoping for,"