Latifi frustrated by quick FIA decision on Zhou Singapore F1 clash

Nicholas Latifi was frustrated by the speed of the Formula 1 stewards' issuance of a grid penalty for his Singapore Grand Prix incident with Zhou Guanyu.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams Racing

The pair collided early in the race when Latifi moved across on Zhou, with the contact ending the Alfa Romeo driver’s race on the spot.

Latifi picked up a puncture and after making it back to the pits he was forced to retire with suspension damage.

The stewards reviewed the incident during the race and determined that Latifi had not left a car’s width and was predominantly responsible for causing a collision. He was given a five-place penalty for this weekend’s Japanese GP, and two penalty points.

Latifi was disappointed that despite both drivers involved having retired the stewards made a quick decision and did not summon either man to discuss the incident.

After the race he visited them in race control order to find out more about the decision.

"I’m obviously disappointed not to do all the laps,” he told Autosport.

“I briefly went to see the stewards just because they made the decision without talking to the drivers, which I found a bit strange.

"Especially because both of us were out of the race and there was no rush to make the decision, and normally when that happens they always speak to both drivers.”

Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW44

Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW44

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Latifi said he took his normal line, but acknowledged that he hadn’t left a car’s width. However he insisted that he couldn’t see Zhou.

"The rule is obviously leave the car's space, which I obviously didn't. I looked at the replay, that line where I was exiting wide from Turn 3 and then cutting back to the braking, I was doing that every other lap of the race.

“And the problem was he was driving perfectly in my blind spot at the exit. I did look both directions in the mirrors, you see it on my onboard, I look left, I look right, and I didn't see him.

“If I don't see where he is, I just take my normal line. So yes, if you're going based off that rule, leaving the space, I understand why they gave me a penalty.

“The only thing is I think Zhou should have been more aware of that, he knows there's a blind spot with these cars. He was very much on the inside of me, perfectly in the blind spot. So again, I didn't pick an erratic line, that's the line I was always taking.”

“I'm not so frustrated about the penalty even if they arrive at that, but the fact that they didn't want to speak about it. And is it the right penalty?

“Because they gave me a five-place penalty, which is what they gave [Valtteri] Bottas for going bowling with other cars in Hungary last year, which is far worse than a one-on-one crash.

"Anytime there's been a one-on-one crash it's a three-place penalty.”

Latifi said his informal visit to the stewards wasn’t very productive as they were still busy with the Sergio Perez safety car incident.

“I just wanted to have a talk to them about taking these things into consideration. The drivers are always complaining about consistency. Arrive at the same conclusion and penalise me that's fine, but why not at least speak to both drivers like you do 99% of other instances?

“They were in the midst of the whatever happened with Red Bull. So I didn't fully have the time to show them the video and whatnot. Again, they should have called us officially to the stewards and spoken to both of us. And obviously that wasn't the case.”

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