Fernando Alonso put on the table after Austrian GP a matter in which the FIA and more specifically Michael Masi, the race director (the main referee of each Grand Prix), have shown a profound inconsistency in their decisions in each race: incidents in the first round, which are sometimes penalized and sometimes not.
The Asturian pilot denounced that Daniel Ricciardo Y Charles Leclerc they had skipped the first corner after the start and had therefore gained an advantage by not having to grapple with other cars on the track. By winning that space, they were hooked to the top squad and not the bottom one, which in the end gave them revenue: they finished 7th and 8th respectively, while he was only 10th.
“In the following races I know where you can go and where not,” warned the Spaniard, noting Masi’s intransigence when dealing with incidents like this.
These complaints have reached the ears of the Australian judge, who has not only justified this decision, but has also explained that all pilots can skip the first corner and will not be penalized if they do it in a very specific way.
🗣️ @alo_oficial and his secret after being harmed at the start
– DAZN Spain (@DAZN_ES) July 4, 2021
“One of the things that we have always said, and it has been the case since Paul Ricard (French GP) 2019, is that on the first lap, and the first corners, if they exist, a car must exit behind the car that entered the curve ahead of it. We looked at the incident that Fernando was referring to, and from the angles that we could see at that moment, that was exactly what had happened, “Masi responded, in statements collected by Motorsport.com.
This laxity of the regulation will be allowed only in the first round, because they consider that it is beneficial for the show. “First turn, lap 1 … and you have to remember that also from the team’s perspective, that everyone lap 1 incidents are handled in a more lenient way. And it has been that way for years. We follow the ‘let them run’ philosophy, “he explains.
Masi confirms, therefore, that if a driver who skips the first corner after the start and another follows, neither of us will be punished beyond the possible time they lose on said runway exit. In many circuits it is detrimental because the loopholes do not allow an advantage to be gained or because it is directly better not to leave by pure route (case of Montmeló in Spain or Spa in Belgium), but in others it is (such as the aforementioned Paul Ricard of France or the Red Bull Ring of Austria).
This directly contravenes the main rule of Formula 1: all drivers must complete a stipulated race distance within a very specific track (asphalt), with very narrow margins. With this explanation, Masi de facto allows any driver to skip the first corner if you think you can do better, avoid incidents or defend your position. It is, as Fernando Alonso said, that “a defender takes the ball in the area with his hand, takes it out and begins to play in the middle of the field.” And it’s legal … if you do it right after the opening whistle.