No blocking penalties after qualifying

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Jarno Trulli and Sebastian Vettel were among the drivers who complained of being blocked by rivals during yesterday’s qualifying session.

A Red Bull press release criticised Kazuki Nakajima, saying: “the Williams driver messed up Sebastian’s chances of challenging for pole this afternoon.”

Trulli, meanwhile, revealed Toyota were appealing against Fernando Alonso for blocking him in Q3. Trulli was eliminated from qualifying and will start 19th.

Perhaps the stewards have decided there is no case to answer on either of these matters. But as they haven’t issued any statement on either of them it gives the impression that they haven’t bothered to investigate.

I am sure there are plenty of fans of both drivers who would like to know why the complaints of being blocked were not upheld – particularly those who saw the footage on the BBC of Trulli being blocked by Alonso, which looked like a textbook case of ‘impeding’ to me.

I have a growing feeling of unease about the quality of the stewarding at Monaco this weekend. I’ve already written about why I thought Nico Hulkenberg’s penalty in the GP2 feature race was unfair. The F1 drivers have been pre-emptively warned about corner-cutting during the race. I hope we’re not going to have another race spoiled by poor FIA stewarding.

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    9 comments on “No blocking penalties after qualifying”

    1. Mr. Serious
      24th May 2009, 10:13

      I only saw the Trulli/Alonso footage the once so it’s not exactly fresh in my mind, but in a <100m view, for Alonso to look in his mirrors as he was about to begin turning into the final corner and pull left was pretty much all he could do. At the time he could only else have moved right, entering the line that Trulli needed for the corner. Alonso couldn’t have vanished and didn’t exactly benefit himself by running onto the marble and dust before a hot lap. Trulli was hindered a touch, but Alonso couldn’t have done much more, I don’t think.

    2. I think the stewards are right in a way not to penalise.

      In Alonso’s defence, he was slowing in order to get a gap for himself before starting a flyer (there was a bit of a train in front according to Ant on the 5live coverage) – so you kind of have to look out for yourself a bit.

      Monaco is so unique (blind corners, short track, etc) that I think its inevitable that some people will be unfortunate, so I think that IMHO no penalties is probably correct (although admittedly, I didn’t see the Nakajima one).

    3. I havent seen Vettel’s case but from what i read Nakajima was also on a timed lap as well. So I can understand the decision. But Trulli vs Alonso was the definition of impeding.

    4. Bigbadderboom
      24th May 2009, 11:14

      Alonso def impeded, not so sure about the Vettel incident. Good decisions from the stewards the last thing we need is more medling, sometimes you just have to put things down to racing!!!!!

    5. The Trulli vs Alonso incident was really borderline and I can’t help but think that if it were a driver lower down the pegging order, a penalty would be given.

      As for the Vettel vs Kazuki incident, unfortunately I didn’t see that one so cannot comment. Perhaps someone will post a link for this…

    6. Fewer penalties for this kind of thing can only be a good thing, IMO. It is part of the challenge of qualifying to find enough space for a clear lap – it should be the responsibility of the driver behind to make enough room for himself to put in a good run. If not, then tough! Better luck next time.

      1. As long as it’s enforced consistently, then I tend to agree.

    7. Prisoner Monkeys
      24th May 2009, 12:02

      Really, what were Toyota hoping to achieve in protesting against Alonso? Trulli had already made a mess of his lap and in the process screwed Glock’s up before Alonso supposdly got in the way, so both their laps would have been out anyway. It sounds like Toyota are just being sour over the fact that they’re dead last.

    8. The people who say “where should Alonso have gone”, well he should have been on the throttle. Not standing still waiting for a gap.

      I remember one of the first of these penalties was against Hamilton and Kovalainen as they were cruising back. Making every effort getting out of the way, but obviously they were still in the way. At that moment, they had nowhere to go either.

      I think it’s incredibly lame how Trulli is going around begging for a penalty against Alonso. He seems to be calling on penalties against others a lot.

      Still, Alonso should have been penalised for blocking Trulli. or they should change the rules and make it clear to all that the rules have been changed. Apparently now it’s “You can block people as long as you can claim you had nowhere to go”, which is nonsense of course.

      They should simply make sure they keep a certain speed. If everybody just keeps going around at speed they won’t all be standing still somewhere.

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