Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen has been handed a 30-second time penalty for overtaking under the Safety Car during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. As a result, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso moves up into 10th to score his first points of the season.
The red flags were brought out on lap 34 to deal with the huge accident between Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ George Russel. When the race resumed, the cars lined up behind the Safety Car for a rolling start.
The Finnish driver was running as high as seventh in the race but spun on the warm-up lap on the restart which dropped him to 10th. He rejoined in eighth, but the according to the rules, he should have driven through the pitlane if he was unable to regain his previous position before the first Safety Car line.
“On the lap before the re-start following the race suspension, Raikkonen spun at Turn 3. The driver may retake his position, so long as he does so prior to the first Safety Car line (SC1). At first the team instructed him to do so, but then told him to hold his position,” said the Stewards’ post-race ruling.
“Should a driver fail to take his position he must enter the pit lane and can only re-join the race once the whole field has passed the pit exit.
“This would appear to be a contradictory instruction and the team instructed the driver to not regain his position, fearing that this would create a safety issue in the wet conditions. They radioed the Race Director, but there was no time for a response between their call and the restart.”
As Raikkonen caught up to the cars in front between turns 13 and 14, the Safety Car turned off its lights which means the 41-year-old left it too late to regain his position.
“The Stewards consider it to be a further contradiction that when the cars are behind the Safety Car during a Safety Car period, they are prohibited from passing, but when they are behind the Safety Car for a restart, they are permitted to – even though the reasons for a rolling start are that the track conditions don’t permit a standing start.
“However, the rule requiring a car to enter the pit lane if it fails to regain its position is consistent amongst several championships, has been in the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations for several years and has been consistently applied,” they added.
“The penalty is a mandatory penalty, and therefore the Stewards consider that they have no alternative than to apply this penalty for reasons of consistency,” said the Stewards ruling.
Raikkonen’s penalty drops the Finn down to 13th and out of the points, promoting Alonso into 10th and giving the Spaniard his first points of the season.