Ferrari boss Binotto slams 'ridiculous and unacceptable' Leclerc penalty after Verstappen seals title

By Sports Desk October 09, 2022

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has described Charles Leclerc's five-second penalty at the Japanese Grand Prix – which handed Max Verstappen his second Formula One world title – as "ridiculous and unacceptable".

Verstappen sealed consecutive championships by winning a rain-shortened race at Suzuka on Sunday – though it initially appeared he would have to wait after Leclerc crossed the line in second. 

However, Leclerc's late move to stay ahead of Sergio Perez landed him a five-second penalty, putting the Ferrari man third and unable to catch Verstappen in the drivers' standings.

Speaking to Sky Sports following the bizarre conclusion, a furious Binotto contrasted Sunday's immediate decision to penalise Leclerc with the long delay required to hand Perez a similar sanction in Singapore last week. 

"The decision of the five-second penalty to Leclerc is ridiculous and unacceptable, it is something that does not make sense," he said.

"Leclerc did not gain position or time, when we saw the note, we were calm. This time it was decided without even listening to the drivers, unlike Singapore.

"Incredible decision, which is not clear: two identical infractions and two different penalties seven days apart."

Race organisers have also come under fire after Pierre Gasly narrowly avoided a high-speed collision with a tractor, which was recovering Carlos Sainz's crashed Ferrari after a series of early collisions.

Binotto also made reference to that incident as he warned poor management of the sport could harm its reputation.

"Then the start in those conditions, the crane on the track… this shows that the moment is difficult [for F1]," Binotto continued. "The risk is to lose the credibility of the sport.

"We have to understand how to improve the situation, because this management is not going well."

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