The FIA admitted on Friday at the Japanese Grand Prix that Max Verstappen should’ve received a grid penalty at the Singapore Grand Prix, for impeding Yuki Tsunoda.
Several drivers were left perplexed after Singapore last weekend as to why the reigning World Champion wasn’t penalised, following three separate impeding incidents.
Verstappen was investigated three times by the stewards after qualifying at the Marina Bay Circuit, with him having only received a reprimand, whilst Red Bull were fined €5,000 for poor communication.
This has since been viewed as an error by steward Matteo Perini, who worked in Singapore and is a steward again in Suzuka this weekend.
Perini admitted that the Red Bull driver should’ve received a three-place grid penalty for impeding Tsunoda in Q2, something which would’ve demoted him to 14th on the grid.
Instead, he started in P11 and went onto finish fifth.
As well as admitting that not penalising the 25-year-old was a mistake, the FIA have also revealed that the Dutchman’s incidents won’t be used as a precedent when it comes to making future decisions.
No one was seemingly more surprised than Verstappen himself to have escaped a grid penalty, with him having admitted that his incident with Tsunoda “was not good”.
“Yeah, that was not good. I didn’t see him because I was on the radio talking about what was the problem,” Verstappen told Motorsport.com.
“And then I didn’t get a call-up until he was basically behind me. It basically sums up my qualifying, it was just super hectic and messy.”
The big issue with the stewards not penalising Verstappen is that other drivers have received grid penalties for similar incidents.
Pierre Gasly notably received a six-place grid penalty for two separate impeding incidents at the Spanish Grand Prix, with him now wondering if blocking “is allowed” given that Verstappen escaped a grid drop.
“I’ve had tough decisions against me, with a six-place penalty in Barcelona this year for impeding, and it was definitely way less than what I’ve seen yesterday,” Gasly said after Singapore GP.
“Maybe now this is allowed. I don’t know, I’ll ask.”