Formula 1: Possible Sergio Perez infraction discovered after Saudi Arabia race

Many fans online pointed out the subtle rolling start by Sergio Perez in Saudi Arabia. Did the Mexican Formula 1 driver break any rules?
Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Formula 1
Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Formula 1 / Mark Thompson/GettyImages

While the most noteworthy news coming out of the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was understandably Carlos Sainz being sidelined by a battle with appendicitis and 18-year-old Oliver Bearman filling in for the Spaniard, there was no shortage of noteworthy moments on track this past Saturday.

One of the most notable moments came right at the start of the race as the red lights were going out. From George Russell's onboard camera, it was clearly visible that the McLaren of Lando Norris in P6 jumped the start before all five lights had gone out.

To the surprise and confusion of many, Norris got away without punishment from the stewards, who ruled that the FIA-approved and supplied transponder fitted on the car did not indicate a jump start.

However, as pointed out by many on social media, Norris may not have been the only driver to get away with a start procedure violation in Jeddah this past weekend. Red Bull's Sergio Perez may have sneakily gotten an advantage before lights out as well.

Sergio Perez's subtle rolling start in Saudi Arabia pointed out by fans online

As pointed out by many fans on X formally know as Twitter, Sergio Perez can be seen subtly sneaking up in his starting box before the lights went out. By rule, this is technically a rolling start, and the race was set for a standing start.

While doing his weekly F1 TV breakdown, commentator Jolyon Palmer pointed out the maneuver from Perez and how, by FIA regulations, it is technically illegal.

“He’s actually rolling forward, which you are not allowed to do," Palmer said. "You have to be stationary and then Checo gets a great launch. That, in theory, is also a jumpstart from Perez which went unnoticed, though it was within FIA tolerance.

"In lower levels, you’ll have a marshal standing on the track, and they’ll spot a car moving. ... Strange in Formula 1 that you can have a car rolling forward, getting that inertia rolling before you drop the clutch."

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Coupled with Norris not being penalized, the fact that Perez's start went unnoticed shows that it will be interesting to see if other drivers try the same rolling start technique next weekend in Australia, and whether or not the FIA will intervene if so.