Not the way Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo wanted to start his home grand prix in Australia. A red flag session during practice due to a timing wire dislocation on the front straight seemed straightforward enough but according to the FIA, Ricciardo slowed significantly but did not maintain the minimum time.
As a result, Ricciardo will start the race with a 3-place grid penalty which could remove him from a podium result at his home race. Here is the FIA’s response:
‘The Stewards examined telemetry, video, car position data evidence and hard from Daniel Ricciardo, the driver of car 3 and the team representative.
‘The Stewards reviewed the data and video and found that Ricciardo did in fact fail to stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU in the penultimate and final mini marshalling sectors. The Stewards also found that Ricciardo slowed by as much as 175kmph from his fast times at Turn 12 and was consistently and significantly slower in the final three turns, indicating that he was fully complying with the requirements of Appendix H of the International Sporting Code. However, he admitted an error in reading his dash and was slightly below the minimum time.
‘As the regulation states, Article. 31.6 was added this year to ensure that drivers reduce speed sufficiently during a red flag. Breach of this regulation is seen to be an extremely serious matter. However, in this case, the Stewards thoroughly reviewed the breach and found that the driver slowed significantly, such that no danger was created, and that the driver proceeded with due care. The Stewards therefore are imposing a lesser penalty than usual, and impose a three grid place penalty and two penalty points.’