Formula 1 journalist Roberto Chinchero cannot fathom why the stewards turned down Ferrari’s protest at the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend.
Sergio Perez beat Carlos Sainz to victory, while third-placed Max Verstappen jumped Charles Leclerc after Red Bull outplayed Ferrari on strategy in changing conditions.
As the pair came out of the pits though, they appeared to make slight contact with the yellow pit exit line, and Eduardo Freitas’ race directors notes stated that the drivers are to stay “to the right” of the line.
This appears to be trumped by the International Sporting Code [ISC] which advises that drivers are not to “cross” the line.
It leaves ambiguity as to whether having a tyre on the line technically counts as crossing it, but there is no doubt in Chinchero’s mind that there was a breach of regulations after the stewards denied Ferrari’s appeal.
“Both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez touched the yellow line exiting the pit lane. The two Red Bull drivers have done a manoeuvre that in the past has been sanctioned,” he told Motorsport.com.
“The FIA had not even opened an investigation and only after the Ferrari complaint, the case was discussed.
“The decision is scandalous: the RB18 did not cross the line with all the tyres so there was no violation for the stewards, a judgment that contradicts previous sentences.”
While the Red Bulls pitted for Inters, Ferrari seemed set on running the Wets right up until it was time to change to Slicks, but, to the perplexity of just about everyone, went in between the two strategies by calling polesitter Leclerc in for Inters, giving Perez a two-lap undercut.
The Mexican ended up ahead as a result, but the strategists on the Ferrari pit wall were sadly not done making a mess of their day yet.
As Sainz boxed for Slicks, they called the Monegasque in at the same time without realising how close he was to his team-mate.
By the time they became aware and told him to stay out, it was too late as he already entered the pit lane.
The 24-year-old lost the position to Verstappen, while Sainz rescinded the lead to Perez after being caught behind Nicholas Latifi on his out lap.
Chinchero criticised Ferrari for the series of fumbles that saw Leclerc start first and finish fourth.
“The Ferrari strategists today took away a victory from Leclerc,” he added.
“Then they will try to analyse and understand everything, but they made a macroscopic mistake in the race management.
“What must make Ferrari think is that they had a driver that was superior to anyone else all weekend and their strategic wrong choices took away the victory and even the podium from him.
“It was a big mistake that prevented Leclerc from winning his home race.”
Leclerc is now nine points adrift of Verstappen in the Drivers’ Standings, with Perez a further six points back following the third win of his career.