Alpine boss sees no solution to double penalty

Esteban Ocon effectively copped a double penalty in Azerbaijan after his car was removed from parc ferme

Esteban Ocon effectively copped a double penalty in Azerbaijan after his car was removed from parc ferme

Alpine sporting director Alan Permane sees no obvious solution to the double penalty issue experienced by Esteban Ocon in Azerbaijan.

During the Sprint Shootout, an exhaust leak issue for the Frenchman forced the team to take the car out of parc ferme conditions.

That prompted a pit lane start for the F1 Sprint and grand prix proper – a double whammy for the one change.

“The problem is, if you don’t do that, you open up a big loophole where you could set your car up specifically for the Sprint and then have a better car for the race,” Permane opined.

“I don’t see a way around it.”

Current regulations see cars enter parc ferme conditions as soon as they roll out of the garage for qualifying.

In Azerbaijan, that saw the set-up locked down on Friday afternoon with no changes permitted for the balance of the weekend.

At an event with a standard format, that lockdown occurs with only qualifying and the race to follow.

The all-new Sprint format employed in Baku saw cars in parc ferme for two qualifying sessions and, effectively, two races.

“We’ve talked about it in the various sporting meetings we’ve had between the last race and [Azerbaijan],” Permane said.

“Of course, this regulation has been pushed through quickly and I don’t think it’s perfect.

“I’m sure we’ve all discovered things that are a little bit imperfect with it over [the Baku] weekend.

“The regulations allow us to change it ahead of the next one in Austria, which I’m sure there will be a few little tweaks to it.”

Also new for the Azerbaijan weekend were mandated tyre sets in the Sprint Shootout, which prevented Lando Norris from running in the SQ3 session.

Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez suggested tweaks should be made to those regulations when asked their thoughts by Speedcafe.

They also highlighted the timing of Saturday’s sessions and the long gap between the Shootout and Sprint.

Another criticism levelled at the new format was that, with qualifying for the race on Friday afternoon, European fans could not watch it as it fell during work hours.

The Red Bull Ring is the next event to feature a Sprint, on June 30 – April 2.

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