F1 pundits slam “ridiculous” decision not to grant Ferrari penalty exemption

F1 pundits Jenson Button and Karun Chandhok believe Ferrari should have been granted an exemption from the FIA to make penalty-free changes to Carlos Sainz’s car. 
The Ferrari SF-23 of Car
The Ferrari SF-23 of Car

Sainz’s power unit and survival cell suffered irreparable damage when he ran over a loose water valve cover early in first practice in Las Vegas, an incident which caused FP1 to be cancelled. 

Ferrari requested dispensation from the stewards in order to carry out the required repairs without incurring the usual grid penalties but were denied. 

Despite sympathising with Ferrari’s “unusual and unfortunate circumstances”, the stewards insisted the regulations must be respected. 

That prompted a discussion on Sky’s coverage of a heavily delayed second practice session, and led to the stewards’ verdict being questioned. 

“The thing I don’t get… I know it’s a regulation but can the teams not agree that they should get a pass?” 2009 world champion Button said during Sky’s coverage.

Fellow pundit Chandhok added: “I agree. It’s ridiculous. I can’t think of any precedence where a circuit issue has caused a chassis change, during the practice phase of a weekend. 

“I don’t think there has been precedent. So I agree with Jenson, that there could have been a dispensation signed by all the other teams.”

Button then said: “And they would have. They would have signed it.” 

To which, Chandhok added: “Yes, in this context, I think it would have been the fair thing to do.” 

McLaren boss Zak Brown confirmed his team would have supported Ferrari not getting a penalty and said he was "a little bit surprised" by the decision. 

"It was nothing of their own doing," Brown told Sky. "It was a unique incident. We need to be more sporting, if something like that happens. We would have supported them not getting a penalty.

"In F1 there is a lot of self-interest. I don’t know who it was [who didn't support Ferrari's request]. I could take a guess that it’s someone who is running in competition with them. It’s unfair." 

Sainz’s car was fixed in time for him to take part in FP2. 

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