Force India’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer has blasted the latest Formula 1 race steward ‘inconsistent’ call on race incidents after Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was handed a five-second time penalty for passing Sergio Perez off track.

During the opening lap scraps Force India’s Perez looked to have skated ahead of Hulkenberg for seventh place only to see his ex-teammate run wide at turn 12 and cut the corner to re-join the track ahead of the Mexican.

The FIA race stewards deemed Hulkenberg to have gained an unfair advantage and duly slapped him with a five-second time penalty – which he served during his one pit stop during the race – but Szafnauer felt the appropriate penalty was for the Renault driver to immediately had seventh place back to Perez on track.

Hulkenberg had a similar incident with Romain Grosjean later in the race – and immediately gave the track place back to the Haas driver – which the Force India boss has slammed as “a mockery” by the race stewards for what was appropriate during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“I think Hulkenberg should have given the place back just like he did the same thing to Grosjean,” Szafnauer told Sky Sports F1. “It makes a mockery of the sport to be so inconsistent.

“This place is a track position race where we knew they were a bit quicker than us at the beginning on the ultrasoft tyres which was why we needed to get ahead and stay ahead.

“Hulkenberg cuts a corner and the FIA don’t do anything about it and guess what, they gained a place in the constructors’ championship because of it. That means more money and more competitiveness next year. It is not great.

“I don’t know what they were thinking. It was really difficult when it is all over the place to understand. It is the inconsistencies that are not great.”

Hulkenberg’s sixth place finish saw Renault leapfrog Toro Rosso for sixth place in the F1 World Constructors’ championship at the end of 2017 and bag millions of pounds in extra prize money.