Raghunathan avoids second F2 ban after reaching penalty point limit

Jack Benyon
Raghunathan escapes second F2 ban of season
Raghunathan escapes second F2 ban of season

Mahaveer Raghunathan has accrued enough penalty points for a second Formula 2 race ban in 2019, but the MP Motorsport driver will escape another suspension due to a regulations technicality.

During Friday's F2 practice session at Abu Dhabi, Raghunathan received a penalty for not respecting the practice start procedure, which took him up to 12 penalty points - collected between Silverstone and the season finale.

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As Abu Dhabi is the last F2 round of the season, and all penalty points are voided at the end of the season, Raghunathan will escape without a further ban.

Raghunathan had previously amassed 12 penalty points on his license after the feature race at Paul Ricard - five events into the 12-event season - and was banned for the next round at the Red Bull Ring, as per the regulations.

As the regulations were originally written for F1 and later rolled out to its support series, however, the wording stipulates that the driver is banned for the next round - as F1 only has one race per weekend.

Raghunathan was levied with a ban following the first Paul Ricard race.

He became the first driver to ever be banned due to a penalty points infringement in any series since F1 introduced the rule in 2014, but was able to compete in the second race of the weekend thanks to the wording of the regulations.

His ban then applied at the next round in Austria, and his penalty points for the next round was reset to zero.

Raghunathan escapes second F2 ban of season
Raghunathan escapes second F2 ban of season

The FIA confirmed early in the season it was looking at the regulation for the 2020 season.

Raghunathan has accumulated a total of 24 penalty points in 2019.

The FIA F2 stewards said of the incident: "The driver carried out his practice start with two cars ahead of him on the grid.

"The driver was advised that this is extremely dangerous behaviour and will not be tolerated by the stewards.

"The standard of driving should be higher as this is the last event of the season.

"The driver stated that the car in front of his started rolling - this was not the case.

"After the driver of Car 17 passed the first car ahead of him, which was the latest he could have recognised his mistake, he didn't slow down."

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