Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is perplexed by the FIA’s decision not to penalise Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez during the Monaco Grand Prix.
Ferrari were outplayed on strategy by Red Bull in changing conditions in Monaco last weekend, and Perez jumped both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc for the lead, and the Monegasque ended up in fourth behind the Dutchman.
As they exited the pits ahead of the Scuderia drivers though, they appeared to get extremely close to the pit exit line, raising questions as to whether they had crossed it.
In appendix L, Chapter 4, section 5 of the FIA International Sporting Code [ISC], the governing body states that “any tyre of a car exiting the pit lane must not cross any line painted on the track at the pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pit lane from those on the track.”
In race director Eduardo Freitas’ notes ahead of the weekend, however, he wrote that the drivers were to stay to the right of the pit exit line, leaving ambiguity as to what constitutes crossing and staying to the right.
Ferrari therefore protested after Perez had won the race, and Binotto indicates that the FIA have once again been guilty of inconsistency.
“I would also like to ask the FIA for some clarification, Verstappen crossing the yellow line is quite evident,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“When this has happened in the past, a five-second penalty was awarded.
“We don’t understand the passivity shown today.”
Leclerc lost time when he pitted too late for Inters instead of holding out for Hards, and then again when he was forced to double stack behind team-mate Sainz, who had gone long.
The Monegasque was told to stay out after he had already entered the pit lane before his second stop, and he could no longer contain his frustration.
“Why?! What are you doing?!” he screamed over the radio.
Leclerc was visibly and audibly dejected after the litany of mistakes that had cost him pole and seen him finish fourth.
“Let down is not the word, sometimes mistakes can happen but there has been too many mistakes today overall,” he told Sky Sports.
“Obviously in those conditions we rely a little bit on what the team can see because you don’t see what the others are doing with intermediates, with dry tyres.
“I’ve been asked questions if I wanted to go from the extreme wets to the slicks and I said, ‘yes but not now, a bit later on in the race’, but I don’t understand what made us change our minds and go on the intermediates.
“We got undercut then I stopped behind Carlos.
“There have been a lot of mistakes and we cannot afford to do that. It is hard as it has been in the other years here so I am getting used to it and getting back home feeling disappointed but we cannot do that, especially in a moment that we are in now.
“We are extremely strong now, the pace is strong, we need to take these opportunities, we cannot lose so many points like this, it is not even from first to second, it is from first to fourth, because after the first mistake we did another one.
“I love my team and I am sure we’ll come back stronger, it hurts a lot.”
Ferrari’s protest was thrown out by the stewards, and Red Bull’s one-three puts them 36 points clear of the Maranello side in the Constructors’ Championship.