Alan Permane, the Sporting Director at the BWT Alpine F1 Team, believes the penalties being handed out for being out of position of the grid so far in 2023 have been ‘draconian’, and he hopes conversations can be had with officials to be a little more lenient going forward.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon fell foul of the regulation during the Bahrain Grand Prix by being out to the side of his grid box at the start, with the Frenchman being handed a five-second time penalty for the offence. The same penalty was then handed out to Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team’s Fernando Alonso in Saudi Arabia for the same offence.
With Formula 1 cars being the widest they’ve ever been, visibility at close distance is extremely poor, and Permane believes a little bit of common sense would be worthwhile when it comes to determining penalties for being a little bit too left or too right to the optimum grid position.
“I think what seems a little bit draconian is this new regulation of where the car has got to stop on the grid box,” Permane is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “No one is getting an advantage from being 10 centimetres over on one side or the other side. I don’t quite really see why.
“And they’re free to paint the grid boxes as wide as they want, there doesn’t seem to be regulation for that.
“I don’t know if that’ll be reviewed, but giving people penalties for having their wheels over in a car where the drivers can’t see those lines – they can see them as they come up and then as they get close to them, they just disappear – it feels harsh, it feels unnecessary.
“Esteban today, he’s been concentrating on it of course all week. He said he got to the grid today and he had no idea where he was. He said you cannot see, you don’t know at all. It’s a strange one.
“I’m sure we will, we’ve got a meeting later this week, we can bring it up.”