Binotto unhappy with penalty, Leclerc accepts call

Sam Bloxham/Motorsport Images

Binotto unhappy with penalty, Leclerc accepts call

Formula 1

Binotto unhappy with penalty, Leclerc accepts call


Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was left unhappy at the handling of two penalties across the Japanese Grand Prix and Singapore race weekends that hurt Charles Leclerc’s chances of delaying Max Verstappen’s championship celebrations.

Leclerc finished second to Sergio Perez in Singapore after the Red Bull driver was given one five-second time penalty after a lengthy post-race investigation into his driving behind the safety car, and then was demoted to third behind Perez at Suzuka for leaving the track and gaining an advantage on the final lap.

The latter penalty came through within moments of the drivers getting out of their cars, and Binotto felt it was poorly handled by the stewards.

“[I’m] very surprised, very disappointed,” Binotto said. “The reason why is I think that seven days after Singapore, where they took so many laps to decide and then after the race, we had to hear from the drivers to take a simple decision which was straightforward, today they took it in a few seconds.

“Surprised by such different behaviors between Singapore and here, after only a few days.

“Was the decision of a five-second penalty right or wrong? In our view, he honestly didn’t gain the advantage, he was ahead, he stayed ahead, he’s got the gap, he kept the same gap. So still arguable, but that is the way they decided, which we will accept.

“But certainly very frustrating to see such different timing in decisions seven days after, and at least in such a situation where you are not listening to the drivers where you did in Singapore, or vice-versa.

“If you go straight for the decision as they are obvious, as they should be, a five seconds at least penalty in Singapore should have been given immediately, which would have given us the opportunity to manage the situation certainly a lot differently, and it could have been a potential victory.

“So frustrated and disappointed by that as well.”

Despite Binotto’s comments, Leclerc himself felt his penalty was justified.

“I did a mistake, I tried to minimize it obviously by trying to go straight – I was not aware this was the last lap – but a five-second penalty was the right thing to do to be honest,” Leclerc said.

“Huge congratulations of course to Max for his second championship. We will keep pushing to the end. It’s frustrating today that the pace was not quite there after four laps but it’s like this.

“I think Max’s title this year was just a matter of time really. We expected him to win the world title and now we have to use the last races in order to become a better team and hopefully give him a bit more of a challenge next year.”

Presented by
Subscribe to F1 TV Pro for your ultimate F1 experience. Live and on-demand. Dive into a unique, multi-screen way to watch F1 with exclusive onboard cameras, pre-race shows and live data.