FIA: Ferrari unsafe German GP release fine doesn't set F1 precedent

The FIA insists punishing Ferrari with only a fine for Charles Leclerc's unsafe release in Formula 1's German Grand Prix has not set a precedent

FIA: Ferrari unsafe German GP release fine doesn't set F1 precedent

Leclerc was released into the path of Haas driver Romain Grosjean having taken a pitstop just after a safety car period caused by Racing Point's Sergio Perez.

Grosjean was forced to brake and lose time to avoid a crash and the incident was put under investigation.

Leclerc subsequently avoided a time penalty, but Ferrari earned a €5000 fine. Haas boss Gunther Steiner questioned whether Ferrari's punishment would lead to teams taking more risks if the only punishment was a fine.

"We need to think about this one because it does encourage people to [take a] risk," said Steiner.

"The FIA gets the money, we lose the position, so everybody else wins except the guy that loses out."

F1 race director Michael Masi says the decision to impose a fine was made after talks with the teams ahead of the German GP weekend over the potential for incidents caused by mixed-weather conditions.

"Part of the discussion that we had with the team managers the other day, knowing that the conditions could be changeable, was about taking into account if everyone was coming into the pitlane at the same time to do tyres," explained Masi. "It had to be a factor in it.

"The fact that every other team thereafter was out, even though the pitlane is as wide as it is, didn't allow what we saw at Silverstone with a car to drive on a painted area."

Asked by Autosport if he felt there was a danger of teams risking more unsafe releases, Masi said: "No I don't think so.

"I am very much a firm believer, and the teams all agree, that you treat each case on its own merits. And as much as you can try to group things generally, you have to treat each and every circumstance as they come up and judge it. So I think that was, in the end, pretty straightforward.

"It is not something that is happening regularly. It is an isolated matter. Teams are also pretty well aware of self-preservation.

"There is the danger of damaging your car, and the consequences of that are far greater than anything else."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner added that he felt it was inconsistent for Max Verstappen to be given a five-second time penalty at the Monaco Grand Prix for a pitlane infringement, considering Leclerc's incident.

He said: "You want to see racing in the pitlane, and this was a situation of one coming in and one going out, so it's slightly different.

"But I think this one [Leclerc] was arguably the right decision. Monaco was arguably the wrong decision. But some days it goes against you, some days it goes for you."

Masi pointed out that Verstappen's punishment was due to a collision with Valtteri Bottas as they left the pits, rather than the release itself.

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