Confusing Kimi Raikkonen penalty prompts restart rule change

The FIA will change the extremely confusing regulations which dumped Kimi Raikkonen from the points in Imola in time for the Portuguese GP.

Valtteri Bottas and George Russell caused the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to be red flagged at one stage after their high-speed collision, but once the race did resume a rolling restart was chosen, rather than reforming the grid for a standing start.

However, on the lap before the restart Raikkonen spun at Turn 3, thus losing several positions in the queue. This though, was where things got extremely complicated.

Raikkonen was entitled to retake his position before the first Safety Car line, but Alfa Romeo told him to hold position, at which point he was then supposed to restart the race from the pit lane.

The team had asked race director Michael Masi for clarification, but received no response. After the race the stewards even said that the regulations were contradictory, but a 10-second stop/go penalty was mandatory for breaching these rules.

Since it was issued after the race, this became a 30-second time penalty for Raikkonen, meaning he dropped out of the points from P9 to P13.

“As far as I know, nobody warned me on anything so I don’t know about it,” said Raikkonen of his penalty.

“Unfortunately, we then got this penalty that means we don’t get anything to show for it, but at least we can look positively at our performance.”

“The first lap after a break is an official race lap, but the rules of a formation lap apply,” Masi explained.

“So if a driver loses his position, he may take it again as long as he manages to do so ahead of the Safety Car 1 line.”

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Fortunately though the FIA will have these regulations fixed by the time Formula 1 arrives at Portimao for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Auto Motor und Sport report that Article 42.6, which ruled Raikkonen should have started from the pit lane after failing to regain his position, will be updated to apply only to a formation lap before a standing start.

In Imola, Article 42.6 had clashed with Rule 42.12 which prohibits overtaking behind the Safety Car when the lights are switched off.

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