Stewards uphold Perez penalty after Force India appeal

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The stewards have upheld the initial decision to give Sergio Perez a five place grid penalty for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix as punishment for causing the crash with Felipe Massa in Canada two weeks ago.

On the final lap of the race in Montreal, Massa and Perez came together at the first corner in a high-speed crash that saw both drivers go to hospital for a routine check-up.

Both denied any wrongdoing, and the stewards deemed Perez to have been at fault and handed him a five place grid penalty for this weekend’s race.

However, Force India appealed against the decision, saying that the initial meeting with the stewards came before the team had spoken to Perez about the incident, as he was still at the hospital. On these grounds, the FIA agreed that the data could be reassessed in Austria.

After hearing Perez’s explanation, the stewards have not seen any reason to change the initial decision, and his five place grid penalty for this weekend’s race remains.

The statement from the stewards says:

“It was clear to the stewards that the defence of his [Perez’s] position occurred in the braking area. Article 20.4 specifically states that any right to defend by using the whole track must occur prior to any braking area. Accordingly the driver of car 11 was not entitled to defend his position in the manner he did.”

Yesterday, Massa made his feelings about the incident perfectly clear, saying that Perez needed to come to him and explain himself after refusing to do so after the race in Canada. The Brazilian driver even went as far as suggesting that Perez should be banned for one race to teach him a lesson.

You can watch the incident here and make up your own mind as to who was at fault.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.