Campos Racing's Arthur Pic has been stripped of his points-paying finish in the GP2 Sunday morning sprint race at Sochi Autodrom in Russia this weekend.
Pic started from pole position but was unable to run at the same pace as the rest of the leaders and gradually fell backwards during the 21-lap event. However he managed to hold on to cross the line in eighth place meaning that he was able to salvage one point for his day's hard work.
However a post-race stewards' investigation determined that Pic was guilty of overtaking another car under waved yellow flag conditions while the safety car was out on track. As a result, the Frenchman has been handed a five second penalty which has been added on to his race team.
That means Pic drops out of the top eight and loses his solitary championship point. Instead of eighth place, Pic is now classified as finishing in 13th.
Pic's penalty promotes Russian Time's Mitch Evans into that final points position instead. That extra point means that the Kiwi is now tied on 90 points with DAMS' Alex Lynn for fifth place in the GP2 drivers championship with two weekends still to go.
Two more drivers were also penalised for the same offence as Pic, with Lazarus' Sergio Canamasas and Rapax's Sergey Sirotkin both also receiving five seconds added on to their time. As a result, Canamasas drops from 14th place in the classification while Sirotkin remains unchanged in 21st position. Neither driver had been in the points prior to the penalties being applied.
Crucially there were no post-race penalties handed out to the drivers who finished on the podium, despite a controversial finish to the race which seemed to leave the result in some doubt at the time.
Status Grand Prix's Richie Stanaway had led the race ever since passing Pic in the opening turns, but on the penultimate lap the New Zealander slowed and was briefly passed by Pic's Campos Racing team mate Rio Haryanto. However Stanaway had in fact been reacting to a safety car being scrambled in response to a heavy accident for Trident's Johnny Cecotto Jr. who had made a heavy impact into the barriers at turn 3.
"Because I was out further to the right, I could see the next light panel earlier and I was still slightly ahead when I saw the board," Stanaway told the GP2 News Service
after the race. "As soon as I saw the board, instead of fighting in the next corner, I just completely backed out.
"Obviously, if there had been no safety car I would have been full throttle next to him and then fought hard to stay alongside until the next corner. But because we saw the board, I didn't fight and I lost the position after I saw the board."
"I was catching him quite a lot and I think with two laps to go I was in a position to overtake him," contributed Haryanto. "I got past him just before I saw the safety car light. Of course, it was a bit confusing - I saw the safety car light after I had passed him, then he tried to take me back to gain his position back."
Stanaway did reassume the lead by passing Haryanto on the track, and while the Indonesian driver was initially unhappy about having to hand back the lead the decision was subsequently reviewed and rubber-stamped by the race stewards.
"I felt like had it not been for the safety car I would have still been ahead so I took the position back," confirmed Stanaway. "Afterward, we reviewed the footage with the stewards and we could see that it was the case. Fortunately we could keep the lead."
The race eventually finished still under yellow flag conditions, with Stanaway claiming his second GP2 career win following his maiden success earlier in the year in the Monaco sprint race in May.
There were no other penalties announced for drivers who had retired from the race, meaning that none of the competitors will be facing any grid drop at the next feature race when the feeder series lines up at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir on 19-21 November, with the 2015 season finale set for the following weekend at Abu Dhabi on 27-29 November.
See updated GP2 sprint race 2 results and championship standings from Sochi Autodrom.