SUZUKA, JAPAN - Formula One’s governing body said it suspected a systems glitch was to blame for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix ending a lap early, with Mexican Sergio Perez officially finishing ninth and in the points despite crashing out.
The race, won by Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, was called after 52 of the 53 laps had been run when the digital display mounted on the starting lights gantry flashed the chequered flag symbol to signal the end of the race.
Drivers continued at racing speeds for another lap but, despite the actual chequered flag being waved at the end of the 53rd, the positions after the 52nd lap stood as the final result.
That meant Perez, who crashed his Racing Point at the start of the 53rd, took two points.
"From what we’ve seen it’s a system error," Formula One race director Michael Masi told reporters. "It’s something that we’ve got to investigate. I’m not going to pre-empt what it is or wasn’t."