Formula 1

Martin Brundle Disheartened by Max Verstappen’s Light Penalty for Impeding in Singapore GP Qualifying

Former F1 driver Brundle questions the consistency of F1 penalties and AlphaTauri's absence during the stewards' hearing.

Former Formula 1 racing driver turned Sky Sports commentator, Martin Brundle, has recently voiced his disappointment regarding the lenient penalties handed to Max Verstappen following a series of incidents during the Singapore Grand Prix qualifying session. Verstappen’s actions not only irked Brundle but also raised eyebrows in the F1 community, leaving many questioning the consistency of penalties in the sport.

During the Singapore GP qualifying, Verstappen found himself at the center of controversy as he impeded AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda on not one, not two, but three separate occasions. The incidents sparked outrage among fans and fellow drivers alike.

The first instance occurred when Verstappen, not on a flying lap, obstructed Tsunoda’s progress on the track, forcing the Japanese driver to take evasive action to avoid a collision. Verstappen’s actions were undeniably disruptive, and it was clear that his actions affected Tsunoda’s qualifying efforts.

Two penalties were rightly issued for these on-track infringements. However, the controversy didn’t end there. Verstappen’s third transgression took place within the pit lane, where he once again impeded Tsunoda and hindered the flow of traffic as other cars attempted to head onto the track. This third offense compounded the frustration felt by both Tsunoda and his team.

What has left many perplexed, including Martin Brundle, is the nature of the penalties handed to Verstappen. Despite his repeated interference with another driver’s session, Verstappen received a mere €5000 fine and two reprimands. This light punishment has drawn comparisons to past incidents where drivers received more severe penalties, such as a three-place grid drop.

Brundle, who has closely followed the sport for years, pointed out that this inconsistency in penalty application does a disservice to the sport’s integrity. It raises questions about the fairness of the decisions made by race stewards and whether they are applied consistently across all teams and drivers.

In addition to his concerns about Verstappen’s penalty, Brundle was also surprised and disappointed by AlphaTauri’s lack of involvement in the hearing with the stewards. In his Sky Sports Column, he expressed his astonishment at the absence of a team representative during the proceedings.

However, it should be noted that AlphaTauri’s decision not to attend the hearing stemmed from their belief that they had not received a formal summons from the FIA, nor had they lodged an official complaint. This decision, while contributing to the controversy surrounding the issue, underscores the importance of clear communication and adherence to established procedures in Formula 1.

“Quite how Max Verstappen didn’t also get a penalty for impeding Yuki Tsunoda in qualifying when considering other penalties applied this season was a great surprise to many in the paddock, which I confidently predict includes the team and driver in question.

“That Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri team didn’t send a representative to the hearing, albeit as the junior Red Bull team, was a sporting disappointment to me.”

In a season marked by intense competition, Red Bull Racing experienced a starkly different Grand Prix weekend in Singapore. Max Verstappen’s fifth-place finish and Sergio Perez’s eighth-place result were far from the team’s usual high standards. Brundle, observing this unusual turn of events, added:

“The car which had stuck to the road like a gecko wading through superglue this season to date, suddenly looked almost undriveable.

“The team tried to find a car set-up over the bumps and specific circuit challenges with vertical stiffness and ride height changes, but if anything seemed to go the wrong way.”

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