Motor racing-Perez gets formal warning for calling F1 stewards 'a joke'

Formula One F1 - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - November 25, 2023 Red Bull's Sergio Perez before practice REUTERS/Rula Rouhana

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Red Bull's Sergio Perez was given a formal warning for calling Formula One stewards "a joke" over team radio after they gave him a five-second penalty during the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The sanction demoted the Mexican from second at the chequered flag, in a one-two with team mate Max Verstappen, to fourth.

"The stewards are a joke, man," Perez said on his slowing down lap. "I cannot believe it. They have been very bad this year but this is a joke. That was really a joke."

Stewards summoned the driver to a post-race hearing and handed him a warning.

"The stewards explained to the driver that they had no issue with someone disagreeing with their decisions, however, comments that amount to personal insults are a breach of the International Sporting Code," they said in a statement.

They noted Perez had made "a genuine and sincere apology" to each of them, explaining he made the comments in the heat of the moment and had not considered them being broadcast to a wider audience.

"The Stewards also note that the driver is not known for making such comments and has always been extremely respectful in stewards hearings," they added.

"The driver, team manager and the stewards had a constructive discussion about the use and broadcast of team radio messages.

"The incident itself was also reviewed in detail with the driver and although he still disagreed with the decision he stated he could understand the stewards’ perspective of the incident."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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