Drivers slam 'inconsistent' penalties

Drivers slam 'inconsistent' penalties
By AutoSport

14/11/2011 at 22:43Updated 14/11/2011 at 22:44

Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado have hit out at the blue flag penalties they received in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and claimed the officials lacked consistency.

Four penalties were issue for lapped cars blocking the leaders in yesterday's race, with Senna (Renault) and Maldonado (Williams) both getting drive-throughs. Maldonado was later judged to have committed the same offence again and had 30 seconds added to his race time, while Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari had 20s added post-race.

Senna said that the penalty had ruined his chances of a good result. He ultimately finished 16th.

"The drive-through completely destroyed the race because then you have your hands tied with strategy and it cannot be changed again, so at the end in the last 15 laps the pace was very slow because I had no rubber left on the tyres," Senna told AUTOSPORT.

"It's very disappointing. For a good performance in terms of driving, it was a very, very weak result."

The Brazilian wants to talk to FIA race director Charlie Whiting about the matter, as he believes the rules are being applied inconsistently.

"I think it was a lack of consistency, because we see people doing much, much worse," said Senna. If you think about it, I probably held Jenson [Button] for one corner, which was Turn 7, and people held other guys up for a whole sector and didn't get a blue flag.

"The fact is, we get the blue flags at the same time as the slower cars, but if we decide to slow down to let the other guys past, we can lose five seconds and this is absolutely not fair.

"I think the decision making was pretty harsh and I think we need to talk to Charlie about that, because Jenson was coming into the pits on the following lap anyway."

Maldonado had a similar stance over his penalties, saying he could not have got out of the way any quicker without a significant time loss.

"I saw the guys for sure, but I cannot lose four seconds every time," he told Williams's official podcast.

"I think in the past it's always been the same for everybody, even when I get the Virgin cars or the Hispania cars, I'm always losing time. This is part of the job, especially when you're fighting for the points. In that moment, I was fighting with Alguersuari, so it was a difficult decision.

"I'm really disappointed because it's the first time this year that they've done that. For me, it's completely wrong."