Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo expressed his dissatisfaction with the controversial FIA rule that left him one lap down during the restart of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Brazil last weekend. The AlphaTauri driver, who had shown promising pace during the Sprint, faced adversity in the main event, leading to an eventual 13th-place finish.
Despite qualifying 17th on Friday, Ricciardo showcased his skills during the Sprint, engaging in intense battles with Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz for lower points-scoring positions. However, early damage in the Grand Prix on Sunday initially seemed to end Ricciardo’s race. Fortunately, a red flag period prompted by barrier repairs and debris clearance at Turn 1 provided a lifeline for the Australian driver and his team.
While the red flag allowed AlphaTauri to repair Ricciardo’s car and also gave McLaren the opportunity to fix Oscar Piastri’s car, both teams encountered an unexpected setback during the restart. FIA rules state that cars in the garages during a red flag can rejoin the race but must start from the pit lane after all cars pass the pit exit line. Additionally, laps completed before the red flag count, and Ricciardo found himself one lap down despite believing he was still on the same lap as the field.
Expressing his frustration, Ricciardo revealed, “All the excitement you have to race again just gets completely zapped out of you. There was not a green flag racing lap completed. I don’t know how we start the race then a lap down. That’s really frustrating. Obviously, it’s something kind of a bit lame in the rules.”
The Sao Paulo Grand Prix proved to be a challenging race for Daniel Ricciardo and AlphaTauri, with the controversial FIA rule adding an extra layer of frustration. While the Australian driver could only manage a 13th-place finish and had no chance to unlap himself, the incident raises questions about the fairness and clarity of certain regulations in Formula 1. As the championship progresses, discussions around refining and improving rules like these will likely continue within the F1 community.