Race Weekend Central

Slipstream Saturday: FIA Won’t Review Carlos Sainz Penalty

The FIA dismissed Ferrari’s request to review Carlos Sainz’s penalty in Australia, an infraction that dropped him from fourth to last in the final results of the Rolex Australian Grand Prix on April 2. Did Ferrari get a fair shake?

The FIA seems intent on showing Ferrari no mercy in this matter. The incident of record happened on a late standing restart after one of three red flags in the Australian GP. Sainz did indeed make contact with Fernando Alonso, knocking his fellow Spaniard into a spin into turn 1. But keep in mind, there were only two laps remaining in the race, which meant every driver knew the quality of their start would likely determine their final result.

So it seems the FIA could have shown a bit of leniency to Sainz, considering that he, like every other driver, was entering turn 1 with no intentions of backing down. 

Punishing Sainz for knocking Alonso out of P3 seemed necessary and fair, but, due to the mayhem that occurred behind Sainz on the restart, the race was red flagged again. In the ensuing restart, cars were returned to their order before the previous restart, basically nullifying the restart, meaning the Sainz-Alonso incident basically didn’t even happen. So, punishing Sainz then seemed unnecessary and unfair, since it cost Alonso nothing. Why punish Sainz for actions that did not cost anyone anything, save for some minor car damage?

After the race, Ferrari did lodge a petition to review the stewards decision. To do so, Ferrari was required to provide new information that had not been available to the stewards at the time of their decision. This information included 1) the telemetry data from Sainz’s car after the second restart, 2) Sainz’s witness statement, 3) other drivers’ witness statements, mainly from post-race interviews. 

All three were quickly rejected, which makes it clear that the FIA’s reaction time in rejecting Ferrari’s inquiries was much faster than Sainz’s reaction time on the restart.   

Bottom line: Formula 1 does not have time to listen to Ferrari’s problem. And they did so by stamping in red ink “Stop whining” on Ferrari’s appeals. 

Italian police recently arrested four people in connection with the theft of Charles Leclerc’s luxury Richard Mille watch, which was snatched off his wrist last April in Italy’s coastal resort town of Viareggio. This has to be great news for Leclerc, right?

Sure, it’s great Leclerc will get his watch back. On the other hand, a luxury watch is just another time-keeping device that will tell him how much slower his Ferrari is than a Red Bull.

For that matter, can Leclerc trust that any watch he’s associated with will be reliable and won’t just stop working suddenly? 

Michael Schumacher’s family is suing German magazine Die Aktuelle for running a so-called exclusive interview with the seven-time world champion that was later revealed to be an interview generated by an artificial intelligence chatbot.

This is yellow journalism at its worst. Maybe this scummy publication should be called ‘What Die Aktuelle F.’

Hopefully, the judge overseeing this case will be as merciless as Schumacher was to his competitors in his driving days.   

Mercedes’ George Russell recently said Red Bull is not showing it’s maximum pace out of fear that F1 will intervene and slow them down. Does Russell have a point?

Russell indeed may have a point, and may also have a new job … as Red Bull’s hype man. If you’ll recall, after Red Bull’s dominating performance at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Russell said, “They (Red Bull) should win every single race this season is my bet.”

One thing’s certain in this situation: Russell may not be able to keep pace with Red Bull on the track but it appears they’re neck and neck when it comes to sandbagging.

Mercedes technical officer James Allison said the team has been working non-stop over the break to improve the W14 with radical suspension upgrades and wind tunnel testing that he hopes will lead to changes that add more downforce. Will any of this amount to much in Mercedes pursuit of Red Bull?

They’re working around the clock at Mercedes. Suffice it to say no one’s sleeping at Mercedes. At Red Bull, no one’s losing sleep. 

If you could put Mercedes’ diligent work to music, you would hear Go West’s 1990 Brit pop smash “King Of Wishful Thinking.” On the other hand, over at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes headquarters, you’ll likely hear MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” 

See also
Inside IndyCar: Andretti Autosport Back on Path to Championship Glory?

Guenther Steiner’s new book, “Surviving To Drive: A Year Inside Formula 1” is available now. How soon before it hits the New York Times bestseller list?

It’s just a matter of time. The book has been met with near unanimous acclaim. In fact, if you check Amazon reviews, the only negative ones are from users with the name Schumacher or some variation of that name.

Steiner is already a literal icon; he’ll soon be a literary icon. As we’ve all seen in Netflix’s “Drive To Survive” series, Steiner has a way with words, especially the one that starts with an “F.” 

Inevitably, Steiner’s charisma and recognizability, along with the forthcoming popularity of his book, will no doubt lead to even greater success, like a voice role in the next movie in the Disney Pixar “Cars” franchise.    

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