Kimi Raikkonen lost out on points that were potentially there for the taking in Imola after being slapped with a 30-second penalty. The Finn was awarded the penalty after failing to regain his position behind the safety car.
This happened after his car ended up spinning and he remained at the back of the field.
The implications of this penalty could be huge for Alfa Romeo.
According to the stewards, the penalty was applied in accordance to similar situations. The stop-go penalty, amounting to 30 seconds was, therefore, a mandatory sanction.
Compared to other incidents and punishments, this rule seemed to gather up controversy as F1 fans questioned the nature of these regulations and how they lacked consistency.
Red flags were shown on lap 33 when George Russell and Valtteri Bottas crashed into each other at high speed at the Tamburello chicane.
While following the safety car out of the pits, FIA race director Michael Masi did not declare if the restart would be a rolling start or a standing start. Midway on the lap, a rolling start was declared. This meant that the safety car lap was a formation lap which led to confusion among the teams.
Raikkonen’s spin at that moment did not help Alfa Romeo.
Regulations allowed Raikkonen to regain his position before the first safety car line. However, to avoid illegal overtaking penalty, Alfa Romeo sought clarification from Masi. As there was no time for this, Raikkonen remained in the back of the field.
At this point, Raikkonen should have gone into the pits and not left till all the cars had passed the pit exit. As the Finn failed to do so, he was awarded a stop-go penalty which was converted to 30 seconds at the end of the race.
Due to the penalty, Alfa Romeo is locked in a battle with Williams for the eighth place in the constructors’ championship. The difference in prize money amounts to millions.
Even though both Alfa Romeo and Williams have made tremendous progress, points are still at a premium for the two outfits.
As a result, the prize money could be the factor that will decide if the teams will run at or under the cost cap next season. This could be a major hindrance to Alfa Romeo’s progress.
Do you think the rule was incorrectly applied on Raikkonen? Let us know in the comments below!