In 2006, Michael Schumacher was convicted of intentionally positioning his car in a manner that hindered other drivers from enhancing their lap times during the qualifying round of the Monaco GP. This occurrence emphasized the significance of qualifying at this track, as a single error can spoil a driver’s lap and impact others too. Nevertheless, in the previous season, Sergio Perez might have employed a comparable tactic to gain an upper hand over Max Verstappen and managed to avoid retribution from the FIA.
In 2014, Nico Rosberg encountered a comparable scenario where he was unable to navigate a corner and had to utilize the escape road in qualifying. Unlike Schumacher in 2006, Rosberg was declared innocent by the FIA. Shifting to Perez’s situation in 2022, Red Bull raised concerns about his qualifying strategies after he crashed his car in the last flying laps, resulting in the Red Flag being displayed and impacting everyone’s opportunity to enhance their times. According to Mark Hughes’ book, it was disclosed that Perez was aware of his actions, but the FIA did not take any measures.
Oscar Piastri proposed a solution to remove confusion regarding driver intentions in Monaco. He suggested implementing a rule that would delete the lap of any driver who causes a red flag during qualifying. This rule already exists in other racing series and would serve as a punishment for mistakes while also addressing any doubts about deliberate actions.
While Perez did not achieve pole position like Schumacher and Rosberg due to his crash, he still gained an advantage by starting ahead of Verstappen and ultimately emerged as the winner of the Monaco GP. Piastri’s proposal could potentially tackle similar incidents in the future and bring more clarity to qualifying sessions.