Sergio Perez escapes points deduction from the FIA

Carlos Sainz would've finished fourth at the Australian Grand Prix had it not been for a five-second time penalty.

Sergio Perez remains 15 points behind Max Verstappen ahead of next weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, after the FIA rejected Ferrari’s appeal to have Carlos Sainz’s time penalty from the Australian Grand Prix revoked.

Sainz was left “very disappointed” by the FIA’s decision, with the penalty at the Albert Park Circuit having dropped him from fourth to 12th, costing him and the Maranello-based team 12 points.

The Spaniard was awarded the penalty after hitting Fernando Alonso at the first corner on the penultimate lap of the race, causing the 41-year-old to spin.

The duo had been close together due to a race restart having taken place on the penultimate lap; however, it was judged by the FIA that Sainz had “sufficient” space to “avoid the collision”.

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“There is no significant and relevant new element which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned. The Petition is therefore dismissed,” stated the FIA.

The FIA’s statement continued: “We considered the fact that this collision took place at the first corner on the first lap of the restart, when, by convention, the Stewards would typically take a more lenient view of incidents.

“However, we decided that notwithstanding that it was the equivalent of a first lap incident, we considered that there was sufficient gap for SAI to take steps to avoid the collision and failed to do so. We therefore imposed a 5-second time penalty.”

Following Ferrari’s rejected appeal, Sainz took to social media to share his frustration, with the Spaniard still believing that the penalty should have been reviewed.

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“Very disappointed that the FIA did not grant us a right to review,” Sainz wrote on social media.

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“Two weeks later, I still think the penalty is too disproportionate and I believe it should have at least been reviewed on the basis of the evidence and reasoning we have presented.”

With Sainz’s penalty not being revoked, it means Lance Stroll officially finished fourth in Australia with Perez officially in fifth, with there having been some concerns that Ferrari’s appeal would cost the Mexican points in the Drivers’ Championship.

Whilst being demoted just one-place wouldn’t have had an enormous difference, Perez needs every point he can get in order to battle Verstappen.