Indian racing driver and television presenter Karun Chandhok, currently a pundit for Sky Sport, feels a grid drop for the following Grand Prix would have represented a more correct penalty for Scuderia Ferrari Spanish driver Carlos Sainz after his incident in the final stages of the 2023 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, when he hit the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso at the Albert Park circuit.
It was clearly a thrilling Australian Grand Prix, marked by several red flag moments and race restarts. The last one was the most controversial, with many crashes involving several drivers. Carlos Sainz was running in fourth place and attempted an overtaking move on Fernando Alonso for the final place on the podium, but hit his Aston Martin car, which sent Fernando Alonso at the back of the grid and led to a five second for the Ferrari man.
The Australian Grand Prix then ended behind the Safety Car, which meant there was no chance for Carlos Sainz to recover ground, as he was sent outside the top ten in the final classification, which left the Spanish driver and the Maranello team extremely upset with the outcome of the Melbourne race.
The Italian side eventually decided to ask for a right to review the incidents, but the appeal was rejected by the Australian Grand Prix stewards following a video call which was held a few days ago, in which the Scuderia attempted to use telemetry data from the incidents, the comments of Carlos Sainz and other driver statements on the track conditions, that were not seen as ‘significant’ new evidence by the race stewards.
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“SAI’s written witness statement is not a new significant and relevant element required to decide who was at fault for the collision,” the FIA explained.
“First, had we thought that this required a statement from SAI for us to analyse the event, we would have summoned him after the race. We did not consider it necessary then to hear from him to decide that fact. We accordingly dismissed the Petition.”
Carlos Sainz is now focused on the next round of the 2023 Formula 1 campaign, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit, where Karun Chandhok believes that Carlos Sainz should have in fact taken a three-place grid penalty, instead of the five seconds in Australia.
Karun Chandhok pointed out that this would have been a much fairer penalty as compared to the one at the Albert Park circuit, given the fact that the race ended behind the Safety Car.
“I do think that if races finish behind the Safety Car, the stewards should consider a three-place grid drop at the following race instead of the 5 seconds being added,” Chandhok wrote on social media. Would be a more proportionate penalty…” – he explained.
Carlos Sainz is currently in fifth place in the Drivers’ championship, with just 20 points, 18 points behind Lewis Hamilton, who starts the next round of the season in fourth place.