Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto says he is 'surprised' with how quickly the stewards issued a penalty to Charles Leclerc at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix. Leclerc was battling for second with Sergio Perez when the Ferrari driver cut the chicane at the final corner, which the stewards issued a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage. While he says the team will not appeal the penalty, Binotto did draw comparisons to the penalty issued to Perez during the Singapore Grand Prix. “Seven days after Singapore, where they took so many laps to decide and then after the race, we had to hear from the drivers to take a simple decision which was straightforward, today they took it in a few seconds," he told media. “[I’m] surprised by such different behaviours between Singapore and here, after only a few days. “Was the decision of a 5-second penalty right or wrong? In our view, he [Leclerc] honestly didn’t gain the advantage. He was ahead, he stayed ahead, he’s got the gap, he kept the same gap. So still arguable, but that is the way they decided, which we will accept." Binotto added that if the time penalty had been decided for Perez during the race in Singapore, the team would've managed the race differently. “The five seconds penalty of Singapore should have been given immediately, which would have given us opportunity to manage certainly differently the situation and it could have been a potential victory. "So it’s frustrating and we are disappointed by that as well.”
Ferrari sought clarification of the rules
The post-race penalty for Leclerc inadvertently handed Max Verstappen the points advantage he needed to clinch the title at Suzuka, as a rule discrepancy meant full points were awarded at the end of the race. Binotto says Ferrari sought for clarification before the restart over whether full points should be awarded. "Honestly, I sought clarification from FIA saying 'Somehow [I think] that it's full awards today in terms of points'" he added. "We simply accepted, I don't think there is much discussion on that. So Max is world champion, congrats to him, really deserving the way that he drove this season."