The Williams Formula 1 team has had its request to re-examine a number of incidents which occurred during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix rejected by FIA stewards. 

Sergey Sirotkin was hit with a three-place grid penalty for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix for causing a first-lap collision with Force India’s Sergio Perez, an incident for which he also received two penalty points.

Williams had requested a review into the stewards decision to penalise Sirotkin, as well as four other incidents including the the decision to hand Kevin Magnussen a 10-second time penalty after making contact with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and a opening-lap clash involving Sirotkin, Fernando Alonso and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg

However, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix race stewards found “no new significant and relevant element present” to justify a review into the incidents, following a preliminary hearing by teleconference attended by Williams team manager Dave Redding and general counsel Mark Biddle, as well as F1 race director Charlie Whiting. 

As a result, the stewards upheld the three-place grid penalty given to Sirotkin due to the fact his incident differed from other first-lap clashes as he drove into the back of another car. The claim made by Williams that Magnussen's 10-second time penalty was "inconsequential" was rejected on the argument that stewards do not take the effect of penalties into consideration when handing them out.

Williams' complaint about Alonso's driving on the opening lap as he crawled back to the pitlane in his ailing McLaren was also rejected as the Spaniard was adjudged to have returned to the pit lane in a safe manner, while a protest into the first-lap incident involving Sirotkin, Alonso and Hulkenberg fell at the first hurdle because the Grove-based team missed the required timeframe in which to lodge an appeal, meaning it could not be reviewed. 


Stewards’ decision outlined in full:

  1. In relation to the incident described in Document 34 (SIR/PER) it is noted that this was a case where one car crashed into the rear of another, and was not similar to other first lap incidents where cars were side-by-side. The penalty was similar to other penalties for similar collisions and was consistent with the minimum grid penalties given previously.
  2. The fact that the written decision in Document 34 did not reach the team until 1728hrs was not deemed relevant because this was well before the time for any protest or appeal had expired. This is mentioned in the context of the team’s argument that some other incidents were not penalised or were not penalised sufficiently.
  3. In relation to the incident described in Document 43 (MAG/GAS) the team, in its written request for review, argued that the penalty on MAG was “inconsequential”. The team is reminded that since the meeting of 2013 between the FIA and representatives of the teams and drivers, the consequences of penalties are not taken into account.
  4. Further to the above, and in relation to other penalties, since the beginning of 2016 there have been a total of 87 incidents involving alleged “causing a collision” in the Formula One Championship. Of these, as a result of the “let them race” policy, 55 have resulted in No Further Action. 14 have resulted in 10 second penalties and 9 have resulted in 3 grid position penalties for the next race. A very small number involved other penalties. Therefore the penalties imposed on MAG, ERI and SIR were entirely consistent with previous practice and with the penalty guidelines. The cases of No Further Action were also consistent with previous practice.
  5. The Race Director specifically referred to the actions of the driver of Car 14 in returning to the pits after his incident in lap one and noted that firstly, the Safety Car was present, and secondly that the driver took care to avoid the racing line, avoid following traffic and minimised risk.
  6. Williams Martini Racing was aware of the actions of the driver of Car 14 as it occurred. Their team at the “mission control” in the UK saw it on the live television feed and the team on the pit wall would have seen the driver of Car 14 enter the pits, as it had to drive past them. Therefore it cannot be argued that this is a “new element”.
  7. In relation to the incidents referred to above, all “no further action” incidents were well promulgated prior to publication of the results. Therefore the team had ample opportunity and time, being aware of all the other penalties above, to lodge an appeal where no penalty was imposed (noting that no appeal is permitted where time penalties or grid penalties are imposed).
  8. In relation to the incident involving cars 14, 27 and 35 on lap one, as the stewards took no decision on this matter, the team could have protested the matter within the permitted time limit, but chose not to exercise this right.
  9. Differing penalties imposed or incidents where no further action was taken, cannot be regarded as a new element.
  10. In relation to the media reporting tabled by Williams Martin Racing in its request for a review, these reports are not considered significant and relevant


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