The penalties handed to Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat for ignoring blue flags in the Spanish Grand Prix were the first as part of a new crackdown by the FIA.
Both Perez and Kvyat were hit with a five-second time penalty for failing to adhere to blue flags in the closing stages of the race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as they were lapped by the leading cars.
Perez was penalised for failing to move out of the way of race leader Lewis Hamilton through the final sector of the track, instead moving aside on the start/finish straight.
The Racing Point driver called the penalty “very unfair” after it dropped him from fourth place on the road to fifth in the final classification.
AlphaTauri’s Kvyat was also found to have failed to obey blue flags between Turn 6 and Turn 1 at the start of the next lap when being lapped, but remained 12th despite the five-second penalty.
FIA race director Michael Masi explained the sanctions came about as a result of talks with drivers about being stricter in enforcing the blue flag rules earlier this year.
“My view with both of those, they effectively took way too long,” Masi said.
“It was something that we discussed at the drivers’ briefing following the first Austria event actually, so at the Styrian Grand Prix drivers’ meeting.
“It was discussed that there would be much more of a crackdown on blue flags this year. This is again the first place that we’ve seen [it in place with] two cars in particular, the two that got penalised.
“The regulations say along the lines of you should effectively allow the other car to pass at the first available opportunity.
“There’s a level of discretion within it to allow reasonable elements with the other cars, but those two were clearly excessive, and referred those to the stewards accordingly.
“For me, they imposed the right penalty of a five-second penalty for not doing so.”
Masi revealed he was contacted by team managers from rival teams after the race to thank him for taking such swift action on the matter.
“It seemed to be that after that from the blue flag report that I’ve got, it was acknowledged up and down pitlane,” Masi said.
“I actually had a number of team managers ring, and say they were really glad to see people penalised for not obeying blue flags.”