After an accident by Carlos Sainz, the safety car came out on track at the end of the first lap of the race. Pierre Gasly was forced to pit at the end of that same lap to change his front wing after picking up a billboard that the Spanish driver’s Ferrari had left in the middle of the track.
Race Direction then made the decision to bring out the red flag, but the Frenchman did not slow down enough and continued to drive at high speed as he returned to the pits, even after showing his anger at being surprised by a crane on the track , which caught the attention of the commissioners.
Speeding under red flag conditions has always been considered a serious offense and punished accordingly.
Gasly was called to testify before the stewards after the race and was given a 20-second penalty, which had little impact, only dropping him from 17th to 18th, plus two penalty points on his superlicense.
The stewards noted the following: “After passing the scene of the incident, car #10, under the red flag situation, continued at speeds exceeding 200 km/h on multiple occasions, reaching 251 km/h. at one point”.
“The driver acknowledged that he realized shortly after that there could have been marshals or obstacles on the track, and admitted that he was going too fast.
Before the details of the sanction came to light, some of the Frenchman’s teammates stressed that keeping the temperature in the wet tires is quite important and that it forces them to go fast when the race is neutralized.
“I fully support Pierre,” said Fernando Alonso. “We’re in the car, we know how fast we’re going, we know when we’re in control. What we never expect is to see a tow truck in the middle of the circuit, that’s not Pierre’s fault.”
George Russell explained that in a VSC situation the pilots tend to accelerate and brake.
“There’s no rule that says how fast you have to go,” he told Motorsport.com. “You have to respect your VSC delta, but if you’re 10 seconds too slow within your delta, you have the right to throttle back down to zero.”
“And that’s what the drivers do, because the only way to warm up the tires is to drop yourself, get the delta positive, and then go faster to get the tires up to temperature.”
“There is talk of it going 250km/h. I think people forget that these F1 cars go 330km/h easily. And 250km/h in our world is not such a high speed.”
Daniel Ricciardo and Nicholas Latifi also acknowledged that F1 cars are more difficult to drive at low speeds in wet conditions.
“The cars are not safer when we go slowly in these conditions, because you lose temperature,” said the Australian.
The Canadian noted: “Even at the speed of the safety car, you are still at the limit with grip, because the tires are not good for that, these cars are not made to go slow.”