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Aron gets penalty point but grows points lead due to illegal Marti pitstop

by Ida Wood

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Paul Aron has had a penalty point added to his race license, but has grown his Formula 2 points lead after Pepe Marti was penalised for an illegal pitstop.

Marti and Aron finished fourth and fifth on the road in the Red Bull Ring feature race, and stewards handed Hitech GP driver Aron a five-second penalty at the end as they deemed that after defending off-line he had failed to provide Marti’s Campos Racing team-mate Isack Hadjar with enough room at turn three when fighting early in the race.

The penalty meant Aron was then classified sixth, and the penalty point is his first. However Aron now moves back up to fifth, with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Enzo Fittipaldi gaining another spot to fourth, as Marti has been penalised 30 seconds (converted from what would have been a 10s stop-go penalty had it been issued in-race) for making his mandatory pitstop during a virtual safety car period.

Marti’s new finishing position is 15th, and losing 12 points drops him from ninth to 12th in the standings. Aron meanwhile gains two points, meaning his championship lead over Hadjar has gone back up to 11 points.

“I think Paul’s penalty was well deserved. I was happy that he got it. I think he didn’t want to let me by at all,” said Hadjar, who finished third.

“I knew what he was doing. If I kept my car on track, we were just colliding. And there’s no point in doing that when we are such in a good position, both of us, at this point of the race.”

Hadjar fought with Marti late in the race and was let past by his team-mate. However when Marti wanted to get back through, after Hadjar had been unable to close in on the leader Gabriel Bortoleto, there was resistance to the idea from Hadjar who blamed the akward team orders situation – which television audiences got to hear the radio communications from – on Marti’s illegal pitstop.

“Hopefully this situation doesn’t happen again because all of this happened due to a VSC that he pitted under and then he had the gap. And then we fought. But this is a really rare scenario in F2, and hope it doesn’t happen any more because then it creates all this drama that everyone loves.

“They broadcast all the radio, but it’s not easy. I knew it [being broadcasted] would happen, even on the screens when I was driving, I could see my radio and Pepe Marti’s on. It was ‘hey, imagine what the Red Bull drivers are saying’. We are all talking, we are arguing, given instructions and they’re focusing on us, and it makes such a big thing for absolutely nothing. Nothing happened.”

Despite the frustrations, Hadjar admitted “the situation benefited me today”.

“I don’t know if that was the right choice, wrong choice, but in terms of points for me, it was obviously better. But we need to make the most fair decisions for those drivers. And we’ll investigate.”