After a far from smooth start to his Red Bull career, what Pierre Gasly really needed in Baku was a nice straightforward race. But that prospect was looking unlikely on Friday evening, after the Frenchman was handed a pit lane start for Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix after failing to get his Red Bull RB15 weighed as requested by race officials at the end of Free Practice 2.
Gasly was driving into the pit lane at the end of FP2, having set the ninth fastest time of the session, when he appeared to fail to spot his #10 race number, ‘GAS’ driver identifier and a red light being signalled in the pit lane, indicating that race officials had summoned him to the FIA weighbridge area. He instead drove to his pit box, where Red Bull carried out a practice pit stop before wheeling him back into the garage.
Gasly was duly summoned to see the stewards for missing the weigh-in, who subsequently announced that he would be required to start the race from the pit lane.
“The Stewards reviewed video evidence and heard from the driver of car 10 (Pierre Gasly) and the team representative and determined that the driver failed to stop for weighing when required to do so,” said the officials’ report.
“Instead, he drove on and proceeded to do a pit stop where the car was worked on by lifting the car and all four wheels were changed, in breach of Article 29.1 a). Under Article 29.1 a) the penalty for this infringement is specified to be for the car to start from the pit lane and we so order.”
It’s not the first time a driver has been punished for weighbridge-related matters, however. Carlos Sainz was forced to start from the pit lane at the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix for failing to heed a weighbridge summons, having qualified P8 for Toro Rosso, while Kevin Magnussen received the same punishment for the infringement at the end of FP2 for the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix while driving for Renault.
Meanwhile, despite respecting the call to attend the weighbridge during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix last year, Sebastian Vettel subsequently got himself in hot water for failing to turn his engine off and “destroying the scales” (according to the FIA’s statement at the time) when he drove out of the area too hotly.