While analysis of Verstappen’s onboard footage from qualifying clearly showed the Dutchman had passed a double-waving yellow flag for Pierre Gasly Fixed AlphaTauri Before he finished his bosom, the general situation wasn’t entirely clear due to the lack of other warnings.
In particular, Red Bull argued with the hosts, the normal yellow warning panels in use were not flashing in this area of the track at the time.
Furthermore, the official FIA regulation system turned off its yellow alert status shortly before, which means Verstappen received neither a dashboard warning nor an audible signal as expected when it enters a double yellow sector.
But despite the extenuating circumstances, the FIA hosts were clear that Verstappen had broken the rules just for ignoring the yellow warning flags.
In their statement explaining the decision, the hosts acknowledged there was some “sympathy” over the lack of lights, dashboard alerts and beeps, but they said rule-breaking still occurred.
As they explain, Article 27.1 of the F1 Sports Regulations states that drivers must drive the car alone and unassisted, while Annex H of the International Sports Code states that flags and lights have exactly the same meaning.
They added: “Article 27.2 requires the driver to abide by the rules of international sport at all times.
“This code, in Appendix H, places the responsibility for compliance with the flag signals clearly on the driver, despite the fact that the team has argued that turning off the yellow sector in the FIA regulation system is 34 seconds before the driver reaches the yellow flag, which indicates that” operation, it is the driver’s responsibility to take appropriate action upon entering the double yellow flag area.”
The hosts said they had heard the radio conversation between Red Bull’s pit wall and Verstappen’s car, and that the team had not said anything about it being “game on”.
Verstappen admitted at the hearing that he was aware of Gasly’s stricken car, but that simply left the hosts feeling the Red Bull driver should have taken the appropriate action to back off.
With a precedent from previous decisions being a three-place grid penalty for a single yellow offense, and a five-place grid penalty for ignoring a double yellow, the hosts said they had no choice but to force the drop.
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