Reprimands for McLaren drivers, Webber and Alguersuari

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2011

Four drivers were given reprimands for failing to slow sufficiently for yellow flags during the Spanish Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Jaime Alguersuari were given warnings after the race.

The incidents occurred when Heikki Kovalainen crashed on lap 48.

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

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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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    47 comments on “Reprimands for McLaren drivers, Webber and Alguersuari”

    1. No mention of Alonso’s release from his pitstop.
      I thought there was a 40m rule, Brundle mentioned that they were given a reprieve on that because of the wide pitlane, but that seems awfully arbitrary.

      1. Massa did the same in Turkey and no action was taken.

        1. they where relised in the same moment Alonso just had a slow start

          1. The television coverage clearly shows that Webber was released first. I don’t think Ferrari should be punished though, there was just about enough room for them both in the pit lane.

            1. Fernando have Mark the room to overtake should the Red Bull have gotten away a little faster; had Fernando just jumped directly in front, blocking Mark, he’d have been investigated.

          2. It’s not the timing of the release but choosing to drive outside the pit lane. Massa did it in Turkey and I thought that was not on either. Then again it took an age for the FIA to punish Ferrari over their traffic light releases in 2008.

            1. Actually Alonso really impressed me in that he didn’t move over, he gave the other driver room.

      2. Alonso was released within the allowed markings. He just had poor traction and so Webber was able to get that close.

      3. UKfanatic (@)
        22nd May 2011, 19:50

        Vettel also passed full throttle from taht sector on the next lap and he wasnt mentioned

    2. Reprimands! Who cares? We want to see racing.

      Now, considering the usual sleepy Cataluna I would say the stewards have reacted well here. 8)

      1. Yes I was thinking due to the place of where the incident happened we may have seen a SC but thanks the steward they reacted well & kept the corner at yellow.

        1. Does anyone remember what the penalty was for the drivers who were deemed to be ignoring yellows in Japan 2009 qualifying? Because, as far as I can remember, there weren’t even any marshals on track. So if on that occasion they received anything more than a reprimand, this decision would appear a bit strange.

    3. Sensible decision. Dunno what else would have been a better punishment. So, I will take this.

      1. Im actually suprised that they reprimanded the drivers as the Stewards have made some bizzare descisions this weekend like giving drive throughs to 3 cars in this mornings GP3 for Jumpstarting at the start of the race. Only the thing is, the 3 cars in question had stalled on the line, so couldnt have jumpstarted if they wanted to.

        1. Maybe the stalled because they jumped the start?

        2. What Patrickl says will be the explanation. They have telemetry for it as well.

    4. I’m in two minds about this.

      On the one side, its important that the race result wasn’t changed – because the drivers will have gained little through the infringement of the rules. Hamilton deserved his place for example.

      On the other side it sets a poor precedent. I’ve done motorsport marshalling – and its infuriating that drivers do not slow down under yellow flags. Perhaps its a flaw in the system (as then you have questions such as how much slower should you go) but ultimately, its unsafe and unfair on the marshals who are THE REASON why motorsport can go ahead. Voltunteer marshals no less.

      I would hope that the FiA have a hard think about this issue. No one wants the marshals to get hurt. I hope in future too that stronger penalties are given to discourage this behaviour.

      1. I possess the same feelings.

      2. As far as I got the story from the BBC Red Button forum, this is what happened:

        Kovalainen got off the track just ahead of Vettel (it was shown in a short replay during the race), so no yellow for Vettel.

        But then HAM, BUT, and WEB (and ALG, who I think was being lapped) got a yellow. According to Whitmarsh, in an area just before the corner, ie. where they would already lift anyway, so very hard to show that you gave an extra lift; Interview with driver-steward Blundell by BBC sort of confirmed that yes they did lift.

        Because they were on relatively new tyres (HAM on 2nd or 3rd lap of them I think), that had just gotten properly onto temperature, and the cars getting ever faster due to burning off fuel (hard tyres, so less falloff there), they ended up faster than in the previous lap over the sector.

        Having heard all that, I didn’t think it entirely surprising that Blundell had trouble defending the reprimand and pointed to the official statement from FIA instead.

        I have to conclude that the issue you mention of the marshals safety being at risk, is the reason that the stewards still wanted to give a signal that drivers had to be careful.

        In a way it is like that safety-car in Valencia last year where Ferrari got half the field investigated because they were just before the last corner of a sector when they got a yellow flag: not much they could do at that point.

      3. I feel the same about this. Its not as if a time penalty for these guys would have changed anything with the results as well.

    5. Odd. Driving 100% under yellow isn’t worse than making a mistake while overtaking, i.e racing on equal terms? ( Which only cost you your own front wing and not damaging the other car even ).

      1. Yeah, I get that feeling as well :/

    6. No worth to penalize. They would stick with their position.

    7. marc connell
      22nd May 2011, 16:25

      didn’t vettel do his fastest lap and gained over Hamilton at the time of incident?

      1. The BBC footage showed that he was just past the incident before the yellows came out.

      2. Geordie Porker
        22nd May 2011, 16:29

        In fairness to Vettel (and as a Hamilton fan too), Vettel passed the incident _as it was happening_ and so it would be unfair on him to expect him to slow down.

        Besides which, Hamilton got close enough to pass Vettel despite this (just couldn’t), so no harm/no foul in my opinion.

        1. And in the rerun I heard the revs going down so much, I thought Vettel had a problem, so he did slow down because it happened in front of him. That was the way it appeared to me.

          1. You sure that wasn’t when they slowed down the video? Always confuses me when they do that and the sound suddenly slows down as well!

      3. Because the accident was happening while Vettel was driving past it. Hamilton was the first to get yellow flag there.

    8. What an absolute shambles—F1 in disarray!
      Martin Whitmarsh said in the F1 forum that although the telemetry from his 2 drivers showed that they didnt lift under yellows, because it was a “slowish” corner it didnt matter.What? Kidding me? Rules are rules my friend. Those 4 drivers should have lifed like every1 else but they didnt, jeopardising the safety of the stewards and Kovalainen. The sad truth is that the stewards boards is full of british members (MarK Blundell, Nigel Mansell etc.) , the race director is british (Charlie Whiting) and a british team with 2 british drivers is always going to be favoured especially when fighting for the championship. I am british myself but do think its a disgrace that there cant be a more neutral team of stewards and race director in F1! Just imagine what would happen if it were to be announced that the champions league final was to be refereed by a spanish referee and linesmen…
      So once again the mclaren in particular Hamilton get let off the hook with a “reprimand”….it could have been worse..I actually thought they were going to give them a 10 second penalty as usual!

      1. He said they didn’t lift because they weren’t on the throttle anyway in this corner. How could you miss that part?

      2. The fact you’ve ignored that there were two other drivers under investigation, and only one of the four stewards was British, shows where the “bias” is really coming from.

    9. thats his line of defense…they had to be on the throttle and they should have lifted

      1. Steve in Somerset
        22nd May 2011, 18:10

        “thats his line of defense…they had to be on the throttle and they should have lifted”

        So you’re just going to deliberately ignore the valid reason for this are you?

      2. A bit of a troll then?

        1. Problem Bas?

    10. I was expecting 20-second penalties for those four drivers. It wouldn’t have affected the order apart from Alguersuari dropping behind Barrichello which was quite meaningless since it was outside the points.

      However, I see a bit of problem with all these reprimands. So far this season we have had eight reprimands. Hamilton has had now two. Schumacher, Rosberg and di Resta also got one in earlier races among three who got their first in this race.

      I think that two reprimands should give some small penalty – let’s say three-place grid penalty for the next race, which might be current event or next depending at what point of weekend the reprimand is given.

      1. “I think that two reprimands should give some small penalty”

        Interesting idea (reprimands are now basically slap on the wrists), but it would mean in some cases (like this one) actual 25s penalty would be preferable for drivers!


      These marshals know how to give a reprimand.

        1. I knew what that video would be before I even clicked it! :P

    12. I think a reprimand is suitable. Nothing else was needed.

    13. I should not have smiled at this story, but during the race Brundle & DC discussed if Hamilton and those that followed had backed off during this yellow flag period.
      Brundle reckons drivers just don’t back off as he never did. He explained that Mika Hakkinen used to wave at the marshals with his foot planted to the floor to make them think he was backing off.
      DC pointed out that the stewards have telemetry to check now so the drivers would have to back off. Thing is, how much backing off is required or is acceptable?

      1. Well exactly. A driver could have just changed to softs and so even while backing off they could easily be doing a faster sector than before.

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