F1 changes “draconian” weighbridge rule for 2020

Both Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly (Baku) and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez (USA) faced pitlane starts this year after they accidentally missed weighbridge checks during Friday free practice sessions.

The heavy penalties prompted complaints from their teams that the sanction was out of kilter with the offence.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky after Gasly’s Baku incident: “If he had been running 50 kilos underweight, his penalty would have been less than what he actually got for missing that light.

“This regulation is a hangover from when we used to have qualifying on a Friday and, if qualifying got cancelled, then they would refer back to the times of the previous practice. It is about as draconian as you can possibly get.”

However, the way the regulations were worded meant that any driver who missed the weighbridge on a Friday and whose car was worked on was automatically given a pitlane start.

Following discussions between teams and the FIA, it was agreed that the rules needed modifying.

Now, with approval by the World Motor Sport Council, more freedom will be given to the stewards from 2020 to decide on the sanction.

The rules now state that if a driver misses the weighbridge and his car is worked on then the matter will simply “be referred to the stewards,” who will then be able to decide what punishment is given.