During the race in Sochi, Lewis Hamilton received two five-second penalties for training start in an unauthorized place. The Mercedes driver was also punished with two penalty points, which were later canceled – instead, the team received a 25 thousand euro fine. Lewis’s punishment raised questions from the British edition of The Race, which criticized the FIA.
The first question is why Charles Leclair was not punished for a similar violation at Spa. In Belgium, stewards were investigating the actions of a Ferrari driver who drove too slowly out of the pits onto the grid. Ferrari explained this by the fact that after passing the second line of the safety car, on which the time sensor is located, Charles stopped for 12 seconds to practice the start. Then the stewards were satisfied with such an answer from Scuderia, and Leclair was not punished.
However, after what happened in Sochi, it turned out that in Spa Leclerc was also practicing a start in an unauthorized place. The publication notes that Leclerc was supposed to be fined, like Hamilton in Sochi, and also not to cancel the punishment for too slow a circle, because, in fact, Ferrari explained one violation of the rules by another violation.
If the stewards had fined Leclair in Spa, then Hamilton’s fine in Sochi would not have raised so many questions, but in the end it turned out that in the first case the stewards ignored the violation, and in the second they acted to the fullest extent of the rules. This inconsistency raises questions about the competence of the stewards.
The second question is related to the same Leclair in Sochi, when he was not punished for the incident with Lance Stroll on the first lap, although Lewis Hamilton was punished for a similar action in Spielberg for a collision with Alex Albon.
In its conclusions, The Race calls on the FIA to reconsider the judging system in Formula 1 and suggests thinking about introducing the institution of permanent stewards who will thoroughly know the rules, work at all races and make consistent decisions.