Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Formula 1 Miami GP

Bottas hit with grid penalty for impeding Piastri in Miami F1 sprint qualifying

Sauber's Valtteri Bottas has a three-place grid penalty for Formula 1's Miami Grand Prix sprint race.

Valtteri Bottas, Kick Sauber C44

Bottas will start last for Saturday afternoon's sprint action at the Hard Rock Stadium, actually only two places back from where he qualified after the stewards deemed he had impeded McLaren's Oscar Piastri during their near-crash in Friday evening sprint qualifying.

The incident happened with four minutes left in SQ1, with Bottas heading into Turn 1 slowly having just completed a flying lap as Piastri approached fast behind having just begun a flier.

Avoiding action from both drivers prevented a crash, with the stewards' finding that Sauber "had not warned the driver of car 77 that car 81 was approaching on a fast lap" and that was "obviously an error on the team's part and contributed significantly to the incident".

The stewards nevertheless handed out the grid drop sanction as Article 33.4 of F1's sporting rules states "the primary responsibility rests with the driver to ensure that he does not place himself in a position whereby he unnecessarily impedes another driver".

"Here, car 77 was driving slowly on the racing line and caused the situation that ensued", the bulletin added.

The incident is notable because Bottas has a new race engineer for this weekend after what the Finn called "quite a sudden change" made by Sauber between this event and the Chinese GP.

Mercedes investigation may lead to rule change

In the other post-sprint race investigation, the stewards opted to take no action against Mercedes for its mechanics not wearing helmets when front wing angle adjustments were being made to Lewis Hamilton's' car during the closing minutes of SQ2.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W15

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W15

Photo by: Erik Junius

This is a breach of Article 34.13's sporting rules that states "all team personnel carrying out any work on a car in the pitlane when the car is in its pitstop position... must be wearing helmets."

The rule also states that "the use of appropriate eye protection is compulsory".

But the stewards opted not to sanction Mercedes because "as we were examining the conduct of the team in relation to this infringement, it came to our attention that a number of other teams had engaged in similar work without helmets and/or without eye protection during the session either within the pit stop position or in close proximity to it".

Read Also:

The bulletin continued: "Certainly, those that were working on the car within the pitstop positions would also have been in breach of Article 34.13 (for example by touching the car or jacking up the car).

"Indeed, those slightly outside of their pitstop position may not been in breach of the above article but the distinction, from a safety perspective (which is the likely purpose for this rule), was not obvious to us.

"Furthermore, it appears to be the established practice to jack the car up, while blowers are used to cool the brakes, within the pit stop position to bring the car back into the garage.

"That too, read strictly, could be in breach of the above regulations.

"So, in these circumstances, penalising one team, where all or nearly all the teams may potentially have been in breach of this article in some form or the other would not serve a useful purpose.

"We accordingly took no further action."

The stewards then requested the FIA "consider whether changes need to be made to either the current practices during qualifying/sprint qualifying or the regulations themselves".

A gaggle of drivers investigated for driving too slowly on out-laps during SQ1 and SQ2 escaped sanction, as has become typical for such situations in recent F1 seasons.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article F1 Miami GP sprint race and qualifying - Start time, how to watch & more
Next article Mercedes shuts down early Antonelli F1 move: "It is not going to happen"

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe