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Helmut Marko

Marko slams FIA over Verstappen penalty: It's simply unacceptable

Helmut Marko has criticised F1's governing body after Max Verstappen picked up a grid penalty in Qatar.

Verstappen Marko
Article
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has hit out at the FIA over the circumstances that led to Max Verstappen receiving a grid penalty for the Qatar Grand Prix.

Verstappen qualified second for Sunday's race, behind title rival Lewis Hamilton, but was hit with a five-place grid drop after failing to slow sufficiently for double waved yellow flags at the end of Q3, brought out to cover Pierre Gasly's stricken AlphaTauri.

There was initially some confusion as to whether yellow flag conditions were in actually effect at the time that the drivers running behind Gasly completed their final laps, with Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz all summoned to the stewards.

However, after a full review with Verstappen, Red Bull and the video, marshalling system and telemetry evidence, it was determined that double waved yellow flags had been displayed at the flag point on the exit of Turn 16 when the Dutchman completed his lap.

"It is completely incomprehensible"

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner expressed his frustration in the immediate aftermath by criticising a "rogue marshal" for waving the double yellow flags, though he has since apologised and picked up a formal warning from the FIA.

Marko doubled down on Horner's comments by describing the situation as "simply unacceptable" amid Red Bull's close fight with Mercedes for both World Championships.

"It's completely incomprehensible that the FIA does not have the whole marshal system in order," Marko told Servus TV.

"In the digital system, it suddenly gave no yellow flag, but an inexperienced marshal first shows a yellow flag, and then double yellow.

"This is at the expense of the drivers and in a billion-dollar sport. It's simply unacceptable."

Bottas and Sainz were summoned over alleged single yellow flag breaches; Bottas picked up a three-place grid penalty, while Sainz was cleared after the stewards were satisfied that he slowed sufficiently.

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F1 2021 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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