After a season where the hot topic of Formula One appears to be the ‘rules and regulations’ in the sport, even drivers such as Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. have admitted that they confuse them too.
Races such as the Mexican Grand Prix have seen the dubious rule choices called into the fore this year – with controversial incidents such as the penalisation of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen for cutting the Turn 1 corner and Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Lewis Hamilton getting away with the same offence. FIA race director, Charlie Whiting, was therefore present at the Thursday FIA Press Conference for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos to discuss the decisions of the race, as fans and drivers alike were left confused by what appeared to be an erratic distribution of penalties.
However, in light of these events, chief executive of the Formula One Group, Bernie Ecclestone, has called for an overhaul and simplification of the rules and the sport in order to keep fans interested. This sentiment has been echoed by many team bosses and drivers – including Carlos Sainz.
“It’s not very easy to understand by myself or the other drivers, especially for the ones who counts: the fans, the viewers, my uncles, my parents, my grandfathers,” commented the Spaniard. “They look at the race and they have no clue what is going on. No clue.”
He went on to mention how his close family don’t seem to understand the rules of the sport now, despite having a heritage of involvement in motorsport.
“I was at a family dinner last Sunday and they don’t understand F1 now. For me it’s such a shame that I cannot explain to them. Not even myself, why they put that penalty to one or another so, it’s difficult. Difficult situation that I don’t enjoy it at the moment.”
The young Scuderia Toro Rosso driver also felt as though drivers were dwelling on the incidents too much in meeting and briefings – and that it was detracting from the actual racing itself.
“I’ve been involved in situations but those two or three bad things that happen to you, they really p*ss you off. It’s difficult to accept. There’s definitely too much talking going on out of the track about penalties, no penalties, even during the race talking about penalties, expecting a penalty or not.”
“Situations that shouldn’t happen.”