F1 Under Fire After Handing Penalty to Ricciardo, Fans Strongly Disagree

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo was the subject of a new punishment. He’ll start Sunday’s Saudi Arabia race from the 15th place. Stewards said he blocked Esteban Ocon from reaching his goal in qualifying, but the Alpine team member didn’t blame Ricciardo at all.
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McLaren's 2022 F1 CarMcLaren's 2022 F1 CarMcLaren's 2022 F1 CarMcLaren F1 TeamDaniel Ricciardo
F1 and McLaren fans were visibly upset after the stewards decided to apply a three-place penalty on Daniel Ricciardo and gave him a penalty point too. Up until now, he had no such sanction. His racing team was also obliged to pay €10,000 ($10,985).

After seeing the video, talking with both drivers and team representatives, and examining the radio chatter, stewards argued McLaren’s racing driver “impeded” Esteban Ocon from achieving his best outcome possible during his flying lap in the second qualification.

But Ricciardo never got a warning from his team about Ocon being on a fast lap. Furthermore, Alpine’s driver said his performance wasn’t affected by that aborted lap. Stewards refused to consider these discoveries that were made available to them.

Fans expressed their frustration on social media. Most of them said only McLaren should’ve been penalized, not the driver as he didn’t have the relevant information coming from his colleagues in charge of helping Ricciardo navigating the track. Some even accused FIA of bias, while others said the penalty was “harsh and not necessary.”

“Clearly the stewards didn't use discretion and logic in this one,” said another F1 follower.

Daniel Ricciardo is one of the most liked drivers in Formula 1, so it’s not surprising fans of the motorsport react when such things happen. But we should remember that stewards are responsible of enforcing the rules when they see fit.

Ricciardo is in no danger of facing more punitive measures right now, but if he accrues 11 more penalty points during the next 12 months, he’ll be forced to miss a race. FIA rules state that “dangerous drivers” will receive a race ban, if 12 penalty points are received during a calendar year. These driver sanctions are automatically deleted after every year that passes from the moment of receiving the penalty point or points.

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Editor's note: Due to stringent F1 content rules, the video of the incident can only be watched on YouTube.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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