Whiting: Ocon’s move ‘unacceptable’

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Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

As is usually the case, any clash on track has multiple opinions on what took place and who was to blame. No surprise then that the clash between lapped Esteban Ocon and race-leading Max Verstappen has garnered a lot of discussion, accusations, conspiracies and more.

Max was frustrated and that manifest itself in some pushing and shoving of Ocon after the race. For Esteban’s part, he felt he was fully justified in trying to un-lap himself and that Max closed the door on him. Regardless, Ocon did receive a 10s stop-and-go penalty for the effort while Max received two days of ‘public service’ for his shoving Ocon.

The FIA felt that Max is, at this professional level, “obligated” to act accordingly and as he is a role model for all junior formula drivers, he failed to do this by shoving Ocon. If this was an egregious, penalty-worthy action then why is F1 tweeting and posting the hell out of the video of the altercation? If this is negative behavior, why is F1 crowing about it on their social media platforms?

In the end, the race stewards deemed Ocon responsible and assessed a 10s penalty but race director Charlie Whiting has now weighed in on his thought:

“It’s happened many times in the past,” said Whiting of whether lapped drivers can pass frontrunners. “But of course you expect it to be done safely.

“More to the point, it should be done cleanly and absolutely without fighting. You shouldn’t be fighting to get past.

“If he’s got the pace then normally one would expect Red Bull to say ‘Ocon has got the pace, let him through’ or that sort of thing.

“But it seemed he just went for it. It was just a bit unfortunate that he decided to fight for it, which was wholly unacceptable.”

The stewards felt Ocon was to blame and so does Charlie Whiting and yet it is Max who, though his own actions, has to commit to two days of public service and this is on top of losing a race. I think Ocon came out ahead. It is also a lesson in channeling that anger and frustration and not letting it dictate your actions. I know, that’s a lot easier said than done in the heat of the moment and I think that’s what Christian Horner was alluding to, Max was irate and Ocon was lucky to not get punched in the face.

Hat Tip: autosport

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Alianora La Canta

Liberty is expected to show things that are deemed exciting. The FIA is expected to ensure respectable professionalism. These are sometimes at odds with each other. However, the FIA can’t penalise Liberty for making the series look unfairly bad (defamation) because truth is a cast-iron defence against a libel charge. If the FIA could sue Liberty for this, they probably would, but they can’t, so they don’t. As for Charlie, he of all people should be aware that there is no clause of the Sporting Regulations, nor any of F1’s other regulations, that forbids fighting for an unlap. There is… Read more »

Alianora La Canta

Also, could someone please explain to me how to get paragraphs to work on this version of the commenting software? They used to happen automatically when using Enter, but now don’t.

Tom Firth

I think it does but when it publishes it takes them out until you press ‘read more’ and then it puts them back in. It’s sort of a preview thing I guess.

Fast Freddy

While watching all this unfold I couldn’t help but think how different F1 is from NASCAR, for better or worse.

Peter

Part of the issue here, for me anyway (being a total amateur when it comes to F1 knowledge) is that people account for these penalties with emotional responses and opinion – not one jot of scientific or logic evaluation. Whiting: “If he’s got the pace then normally one would expect Red Bull to say ‘Ocon has got the pace, let him through’ or that sort of thing….But it seemed he just went for it.” “Seemed?” Really, that’s the measurement? It “seemed” to me that Ocon got the team’s okay to pass. It “seemed” to me that Horner didn’t tell his… Read more »

Fabio

Oh man, this is rare, I actually agree with you.
FYI, Max knew that Ocon was coming, it’s on the onboard footage. Plus, Max knew that Ocon was on the outside of him on Turn 1, it doesn’t take much intuition to guess that he’s going to be there at Turn 2 as well.

Eric Johnson

The FIA created a rule that a lapped driver could unlap themselves. Now they are stating a driver can only obey the rule when approved by the “teams” or the race director. Why have rules? Verstappen knew Ocon was there and he threw the race away. He had the pace to pass Ocon on the next straight with or without DRS. It seems to me that Verstappen still needs to mature based upon this move and the subsequent actions at the weigh bridge.

Harold Flite

Verstappen didn’t expect Ocon was there, and why would he expect that a backmarker make such an idiot move. Yes a backmarker can unlap himself, but it’s an unwritten rule that when you try it’s 100% clean and without impeding the driver you’re unlapping. Ocon had no business sticking his nose in at turn2. This was very petty and envious Ocon trying to prove he’s better then Verstappen. He still thinks he’s the better driver because he beat Verstappen in F3. And they have been racing each other before that too. Whats even worse is that when Verstappen went to… Read more »

Fabio

You’re being ironic, right?

Harold Flite

No i’m not

jiji the cat

wow. how could verstappen not know he was there?

Fabio

Maybe you should, you’re very good at it.

ShocksAndAwe

Here’s the thing. If they had been battling for position, it would probably have been deemed a racing indecent. I don’t believe the circumstances should even come into it and I think it just destroys any credibility the stewards have.

Also, Max is an entitled brat. A very talented entitled brat who needs to stop thinking he’s the only one on the track that deserves respect.

MIE

If a club level driver took exception to a rivals driving and pushed them in parcel fermentation at the end of the race, they would be lucky just to get an endorsement on their race licence. Most would end up with their licence removed for the remainder of the season.

Verstappen’s frustration may be understandable, but he remains very fortunate not to have received a harsher penalty. Like it or not, F1 driver’s behaviours influence driver’s in lower formulae. The penalties need to be consistent across all levels of competition.

Darrel

Everybody is talking about Max and Ocon after Brazil. I’m over in here doing a happy dance that Haas finished 8-9 even after sustaining some floor damage. Haas 2019 woohoo!!