Sports News

FIA aims to close loophole after Indian F2 racer escapes ban

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Motor racing’s governing body plans to close a loophole that allowed Indian Formula Two racer Mahaveer Raghunathan to compete in the season’s last two races in Abu Dhabi despite collecting enough penalty points to be banned for a second time in a year.

The Chennai-born 21-year-old, who drives for Dutch team MP Motorsports, had taken his tally to 24 after a practice start infringement on Friday.

A driver is automatically banned for 12 penalty points on his licence but only has to serve the ban at the following round.

Points collected are also erased after the end of the season.

With Abu Dhabi the final round, Raghunathan was effectively let off the hook despite having served a ban earlier in the season when he collected nine penalty points in a single weekend.

The FIA’s Secretary General for Sport Peter Bayer told Reuters the governing body was working to avoid a repeat of the situation.

The changes, which would need to go through several layers of approval, will be presented to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council in March, he added.

FIA president Jean Todt said stricter superlicence rules needed to be applied to the lower categories.

“It’s something we need to address because the cars are very competitive, very quick,” said the Frenchman. “It’s a lot of wheel-to-wheel racing. So it’s something we are considering for the future.”

Raghunathan, who competes under a Dutch licence, triggered his first ban at the French Grand Prix and served it at the next round in Austria.

In April he was given a 10-place grid penalty after he took the chequered flag twice at the Bahrain season-opener, continuing at racing speed for an extra lap after the finish.

He started Saturday’s Abu Dhabi feature race from the pitlane but failed to finish. Formula Two, whose racers include Michael Schumacher’s son Mick, is a feeder series to Formula One.

Editing by Alan Baldwin and Ed Osmond