Charles Pic has become the first Formula 1 driver to be issued with a drive-through penalty for an offense committed before a grand prix.
The Caterham driver, who already has a 10-place grid penalty for picking up three reprimands this season, must serve his drive-through penalty during the first five laps of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
He was hit with the punishment for leaving the pitlane five seconds after the pit exit light had turned red, in contravention of article 31.3 of the sporting regulations.
The incident happened during Q1 when the session was red-flagged because of Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso-Ferrari catching fire.
The four-person stewarding panel, which includes former Scuderia Italia and Benetton F1 driver Emanuele Pirro, stated that the fact this was Pic’s second such offence in succession led to the harsh punishment.
The stewards’ report read: “Car #20 crossed the pit exit line at 14:17:10. The red light was at 14:17:05. It is noted this is the second consecutive event in which the driver has driven through a red light.”