The FIA has officially acknowledged that the decision to give Max Verstappen a reprimand for impeding incidents during Singapore qualifying was an error.
The revelation sheds light on the controversy that unfolded and raises questions about the consistency of stewardship in Formula 1.
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen found himself at the centre of three impeding investigations during the Singapore Grand Prix.
These incidents included obstructing Yuki Tsunoda on the track, blocking Logan Sargeant, and creating a queue of cars behind him at the end of the pitlane in an attempt to create a gap.
Verstappen himself had anticipated at least one grid penalty in the immediate aftermath of qualifying, taking full responsibility for the Tsunoda incident.
However, the stewards’ decision to issue a reprimand left many perplexed, including fellow driver Pierre Gasly.
Gasly, who had previously received two three-place impeding penalties in Spain, expressed his confusion over the outcome, stating:
“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.
“Maybe now this is allowed.
“I don’t know, I’ll ask.”
Another driver, Lando Norris, also expressed dissatisfaction with the reprimand decisions, suggesting that there should be stricter penalties for blocking competitors.
Norris emphasised that such incidents frequently occur, adversely affecting laps and qualifying sessions.
“I think there should just be harsher penalties for blocking people because so many people do it,” Norris remarked.
“It ruins your lap; it ruins your qualifying.
“It put Yuki out in qualifying, and he was P1 in Q1.
“Just no one seems to care enough.
“And it’s happened a lot this season, it’s happened to me quite a few times, especially with certain teams.”
In a significant development, the FIA has not only admitted to the mistake in the Verstappen reprimand but has also promised that this decision will not set a precedent.
Effectively, the incident will be erased from the database of past incidents that stewards consult when making decisions.