F1 Race Director Michael Masi explains why Sergio Perez was penalised

French Grand Prix, 2019

Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi says Sergio Perez was penalised in France because he passed two cars while taking the off-track route.

Perez was handed a five-second time penalty at Circuit Paul Ricard and cut an angry figure post-race as he emphasised that he had obeyed the pre-event notes regarding re-joining safely.

But Perez was judged to have overhauled Kevin Magnussen and Alexander Albon while taking the off-track route, avoiding Turn 5, with Masi emphasising that drivers had been warned.

“With the whole instruction about cutting the circuit at various points, the overriding point at I think the second last one is that when someone re-joins, they must firstly re-join safely, and two must not gain a lasting advantage.

“And looking at the in-car [footage] particularly, when you look at Lance [Stroll’s], who was immediately behind him, Sergio’s locked up, chosen to go to the left, and bypass the bollard, and come out in front of both Albon and Magnussen.

“So that was part of a discussion that was actually had following Monaco at a drivers’ meeting where the drivers actually requested that they need to be behind, effectively, who they entered.”

Masi, who took over duties following the shock death of Charlie Whiting on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix, said Racing Point never communicated to check whether Perez’s move was legal.

“To be honest, I think if Sergio had chosen going out of Turn 6 to drop back behind those two cars, I think we would have looked at it and said he’s created his own disadvantage effectively and dropped into where he should have,” concluded Masi.