Frustrated by Penalty, Lawson Speaks Out Against Pitstop Rules

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Lawson amazed everyone when he won the first race of the Japanese series on Saturday. In Sunday’s second race, he was announced as third place but later it changed to fifth because he got a five-second penalty for breaking the safety car rules.

Lawson and his team-mate Nojiri from the Mugen team tried hard to stay far enough apart on lap 10 so that they could both pull into the pits for a mandatory break without losing time. Driver Sena Sakaguchi also made the same mistake and got a penalty for it.

However, Lawson believes that the gap between them and their leading opponent was partly due to the driver of TGM Grand Prix named Oyu speeding up and slowing down their car behind the safety car before it went into the pits.

Lawson said, “I was mad about getting a penalty” when they were already running fifth in the race. He then explained that Oyu’s driving pattern was similar to his but with an extreme oscillation of speed at different times.

The driver ahead of me was driving erratically, sometimes fast and other times slow. I could see that he had a large gap between us but it wasn’t like there was any larger purpose behind it. Despite this, I still got penalised by the rules in the race while the driver ahead didn’t.

There’s also a strict rule about when drivers are able to complete their pitstop change – you must wait until the 10th lap before you can start. This made the driver very frustrated because these tight regulations don’t let them compete fairly.

Giuliano Alesi got into a spin after Kakunoshin Ota bumped him off in Turn 1 and the caution was called. Lawson mentioned it was very frustrating due to the rules, as if everyone stopped behind the safety car, whichever team had two cars at the front would get completely ruined. He said that the second car in line would be totally ruined no matter what.

Lawson qualified fourth in his second Super Formula race, but he didn’t do well at the start and couldn’t catch up with the pole position car driven by Nojiri. Despite this, Lawson thinks he still could have won if it wasn’t for a safety car interrupting him and getting a penalty afterwards.

I had a really difficult time getting used to the format of qualifying. We had a good balance in Q1, but Q2 wasn’t ideal because I didn’t have enough warm-up time on my tires. Still, our race performance was strong and it gave us a chance to contend with my team-mate Nojiri. After competing at Fuji Speedway, I’m second in the drivers’ standings with 27 points, which is 14 less than Nojiri. We will be racing agian in two weeks from now at Suzuka.

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