Unpunished High-Risk Maneuver: Checo’s Controversial Race Start in Miami

Unpunished High-Risk Maneuver: Checo’s Controversial Race Start in Miami

In what was undeniably not Carlos Sainz’s race, the Spanish driver found himself penalized in the early hours for engaging in the same combativeness as his peers, particularly highlighted during a tumultuous start at the Miami Grand Prix. Despite the shared aggressive tactics, Sainz faced sanctions while others, notably Checo Pérez, did not. This inconsistency in the steward’s decisions casts a shadow on the race’s fairness.

The Grand Prix kicked off with a heart-stopping moment as Checo Pérez took a risky move, overshooting a braking point, endangering not only his own race but also that of his teammate Max Verstappen and both Ferrari drivers. Although race stewards typically are more lenient during the first lap, the lack of investigation into Pérez’s hazardous maneuver left many questioning the consistency of the officiating, echoing Fernando Alonso’s previous criticisms.

Carlos Sainz started the race strongly, overtaking Charles Leclerc to move into second place. However, his race was compromised when Pérez forced him off the track. Despite regaining position, Sainz was unable to challenge for the lead due to Ferrari’s team strategies and eventually finished fifth after a late pit stop. Reflecting on the race, Sainz expressed frustration, particularly with the timing of the safety car which could have potentially handed him a victory.

The incredulous reactions from Lando Norris, Verstappen, and Leclerc at the pre-podium room were telling, visibly upset over Pérez’s aggressive start. This incident brings to mind a similar situation involving Alonso and George Russell in China, where Alonso was penalized for a “potentially dangerous” maneuver that did not result in any contact, suggesting a disparity in race steward judgments.

Alonso’s reaction to the inconsistent rulings was vocal, claiming bias in stewardship and later discussing these issues with FIA president Mohamed Ben Sulayem. His concerns highlight not only personal grievances but also broader implications for future Spanish racers.

This weekend’s events in Miami serve as a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of racing and the critical need for consistent and fair officiating in the sport.