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Formula 1 Japanese GP

Albon: Collision penalty “not teaching” F1 drivers after Perez shunts

Alex Albon says that Formula 1’s standard five-second penalty for causing a collision is not strict enough and “not really teaching the drivers anything”.

Alex Albon, Williams Racing, on the grid

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The Williams driver’s comments came in the wake of an incident late in the Singapore GP when he was knocked into a spin by Sergio Perez, costing him a points finish.

In Japan last weekend Albon had another close call with Perez, and was then a witness to the Mexican punting Kevin Magnussen off the road in what the Haas driver called a “shitty” move.

The Red Bull driver received five-second penalties for both incidents having been deemed predominantly to blame for the collisions.

However, in Singapore the added time made no difference to his eighth place finish, and in Japan RBR had initially retired his car only to send it back out so Perez could go through the motions of serving the penalty, and not have to take a grid drop at the next race in Qatar.

Albon believes that a lack of consequences is not a deterrent for risky moves.

"In Turn 11 he did the same move again to me on track today,” said Albon when asked by Autosport about Perez’s repeat offences in consecutive races.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“I avoided it. And then he did it again to Kevin. I was behind him, so I had the best view of everyone.

“And so clearly it's not really teaching the drivers anything, because the penalties aren't strict enough. I mean, that's two races in a row."

Magnussen stressed that the contact had destroyed his afternoon in Suzuka.

"I just got spun around there by Perez, and it ruined our race,” said the Dane. “We had to pit, and that was too early for the two-stop strategy that we had, and the tyre degradation that we had. It was just too early to pit then. But we had to.”

Regarding the sanction awarded to Perez, he added: "Well, I mean five seconds, I think he's penalising himself, there's a natural penalty for him doing that.

“It doesn't look good for him, but it is what it is. We're racing. He was in a shitty position, and he made a shitty move."

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner also made his frustration clear.

"I think obviously Checo can feel the pressure,” he told Autosport. “You know which pressure he feels. And these things happen.

“He already had a penalty before he hit us, I don't know exactly what he did under the yellow, but he did break the rules.

“And obviously some more pressure and then these things happen. It's five seconds, but there's no consequence, because he retired afterwards. I'm never happy that somebody has to retire, but he just destroyed our race, so I'm not happy about that as well."

Asked about Albon’s plea for a stiffer penalties for collisions, GPDA director George Russell acknowledged that the issue should be looked at.

“When I look at Austin last year when I made a mistake with Carlos [Sainz] and I got a five-second for it, that was really drive-through worthy,” he said.

“And it's difficult, because we always say that we shouldn't judge the consequence of the incident, but sometimes you need to judge the consequence of the incident. So I'll need to review.”

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