Sergio Perez won the Singapore Grand Prix despite a penalty.
Denny Hamlin lost valuable points in NASCAR's playoffs when William Byron caused him to spin during a caution.
In both cases, penalties were not handed out until after the checkered flags waved, and the potential impact is huge.
NASCAR and Formula One are vastly different racing series, but they have the same penalty problem, and it reared its ugly head in both series in recent races.
In F1, Sergio Perez won the Singapore Grand Prix in dominating fashion Sunday but was penalized five seconds for an infraction during a safety car.
The previous week, NASCAR docked William Byron 25 points when he intentionally hit Denny Hamlin while the Texas Motor Speedway race was under caution. The penalty was significant enough to drop Byron below the playoff cut line, putting him in danger of being eliminated next week.
The problem comes in the timing of both penalties: They were both handed out well after the races were finished.
F1 narrowly avoided disaster
In the case of the Singapore Grand Prix, F1 announced that Perez would be investigated after the race for falling too far behind the safety car while leading the race. They waited until two hours after the race to hand out the five-second penalty, presumably to give his team a chance to give their side of the story.
With fewer than 10 laps to go, Perez led Ferrari's Charles Leclerc by only two seconds. Luckily for Perez, the Red Bull Racing team anticipated a five-second penalty, and he was able to stretch his lead to seven seconds in the final laps.
If Red Bull had not accounted for the eventual penalty and Perez coasted to the finish, or if Leclerc could have kept the gap under five seconds, Perez would have had the win taken away hours after the champagne had been sprayed.
Commentators Will Buxton and former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer were dumbfounded during the race at the decision to wait until after the race, considering it was a black-and-white rule.
"According to the letter of the law, if [Perez] dropped back more than 10 car lengths from the safety car when the safety car lights are still on, you're not allowed to do that, and the penalty should be applied," Palmer said. "The stewards will now hear from Red Bull representatives after the race to hear what they have to say, but it really shouldn't matter."
Buxton agreed, saying, "And if it doesn't really matter — if it is a slam dunk either way — why do you need to hear from them? Give him the penalty during the race, so we know the result when the flag falls."
Buxton added that the potential of changing the outcome after the race would be "dreadful."
Sky Sports commentator David Croft also questioned the timing.
"Over two hours after the race has finished, a decision," Croft wrote. "Penalty for Sergio and he keeps the race win. Surely though, this could have been investigated [during] the race?"
NASCAR's delay impacted the title hopes for 2 playoff drivers
While F1 avoided a calamity, NASCAR was not so lucky as its slow decision likely had a huge negative impact on two drivers.
In the case of Byron, if NASCAR had thoroughly investigated the incident during the race — NASCAR officials did not have access to all the video feeds at the time — he might have had a shot at overcoming the penalty. Officials could have chosen to drop him a lap back or moved him to the back of the field. Either way, he would have known the situation and possibly earned the points back by moving up the field instead of losing several spots in the playoff standings.
—NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) September 26, 2022
Instead, Byron fell from sixth in the playoff standings to 10th, with only eight drivers advancing after the next race in Charlotte.
NBC commentator and former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty called the penalty "catastrophic" and criticized how the investigation was handled.
"They didn't see it [during the race], so they got to correct it, but they overcorrected," Petty said before the following race in Talladega. "I don't agree with how they went about it. I don't agree with what they did ... I don't believe the points were right, and I don't think it was handled right."
Meanwhile, Hamlin, who was the victim of Byron's temper tantrum — Byron was retaliating for what he thought was Hamlin driving too aggressively and pushing him into the wall — fell from second to 22nd during the caution because he was spun. Instead of battling for the win and an automatic pass to the next round of the playoffs, Hamlin only managed to get back to 10th and lost valuable playoff points.
If NASCAR had determined Byron's move was intentional right away, they could have chosen to move Hamlin back up to the spot he occupied before losing control of his car.
In one case, a lack of action impacted the race results and the drivers' chances to advance in the playoffs. In the other, a lack of action nearly forced a driver to give back his trophy. In both series, look for changes to avoid either scenario from happening again.
Read the original article on Insider