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Formula 1 Italian GP

Ferrari explains why Sainz and Leclerc escaped F1 Italian GP qualifying sanction

Ferrari has explained why drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc escaped a sanction for driving too slow on out-laps in qualifying for Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

F1 drivers had been told ahead of qualifying at Monza that they had to maintain a maximum delta time for all of their laps throughout the three segments – not just the in-laps as is normally the case. 

It was made clear that only in “exceptional” circumstances as accepted by the stewards would drivers escape being deemed to have committed an offence. 

The maximum time allowed between the two safety car lines was laid down by the FIA as 1m41s. 

However, analysis of the lap times in Q1 showed that both Leclerc and Sainz delivered very slow out-laps prior to their final runs. 

Leclerc was measured as having completed a lap time that was 1m50.286s, while Sainz’s out-lap was 1m58.458s – so both almost certainly breached the time between the safety car lines at either end of the pits. 

The FIA had initially stated that both drivers’ actions would be investigated after qualifying, but shortly after Sainz grabbed pole position, it was announced that no further action would be taken. 

Although there has been no formal explanation from the FIA about the reasoning for its decision, Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has explained why his duo was given the all-clear. 

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari, in the team principals Press Conference

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari, in the team principals Press Conference

Photo by: FIA Pool

He said that drivers had been told that the need to keep below the lap time delta would not take precedent over the need for them to make sure they gave way to rivals coming through on flying laps. 

For both Sainz and Leclerc, it was giving way to faster cars that meant they slowed down and went over the maximum lap time. 

Speaking to Sky Sports about what happened, Vasseur said: “It was by regulation. You are allowed to exceed if you slow down to let someone go. And it's what's happened.” 

With Ferrari having taken a pole position on pure merit at Monza, Vasseur said there was every reason to be happy with the result. 

“It's a good achievement in itself because the target of Saturday was the pole position,” he said. 

“We did it, but we have to keep in mind to stay calm. And the most important part of the weekend will be on Sunday.”

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