Teams break F1 curfew regulations

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In today’s round-up: Red Bull, Virgin and Mercedes fell foul of curfew regulations on Friday night, when marketing personnel from the teams entered the Singapore track.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Teams fall foul of Formula 1 curfew rules (Autosport)

"Red Bull Racing, Virgin and Mercedes GP fell foul of Formula 1’s curfew regulations on Friday night after marketing personnel from the teams entered the Singapore track.

"F1’s rules state that no ‘team personnel who are associated in any way with the operation of the cars are permitted within the confines of the circuit’ for a set period during the overnight hours."

Mercedes’ Ross Brawn calls for clarification of Formula 1’s curfew rules (Autosport)

"The teams’ perspective is that we have the crew of 47, which includes engineers and the various people working on the car, and the reason for the curfew was to make sure that that team, once it was reduced in size, did not get overworked.

"”In our case, a couple of our marketing commercial girls came to meet some guests at 3.30pm rather than 4pm and broke the curfew, so that is something that we need to discuss with the FIA to tidy up. I cannot quite see an objective in having a curfew for marketing staff. It is something that does need tidying up; I think it is just a misunderstanding."

Rubens Barrichello via Twitter

"There was some people worried with me with me going to medical centre. It was just anti-dope testing… All fine. There was me, Alonso, Hamilton, Kovalainen,Trulli and Perez. Sook longer to pee but all fine..

"And about Lewis Hamilton: some said there was a interview where he said bad things about me… I talked to him and he said they were not true for me this is more than enough. After so many years I got used to people inventing things just for the sake of inventing…"

James Allison: "Singapore is a race where it is challenging to remain on track" (Lotus Renault GP)

"I think even the most casual observer can now see that this is not the kind of track that is naturally compatible with our car. Both the car crews and the drivers worked diligently to try to eek as much out of the cars as they could but four seconds per lap is, unfortunately, a yawning chasm but that is the reality here.

"Singapore is a race where it is challenging to remain on track, and the surface will be covered in marbles. Several cars were doing long runs in the third practice session which is often indicative of concerns over brake wear; this is not a concern we have so we may prosper a little there. However, if we are going to score points it is going to be through other people’s misfortune and staying on the track."

Hamilton threat to McLaren: I can’t wait forever for best car (Daily Mail)

"Lewis Hamilton has warned McLaren his patience with their poor performance will not last forever. Although Hamilton is still backing his team to bridge the gap to Red Bull, he remains concerned that for two seasons running, McLaren have been unable to design a car which is quick from the word go – a failing which has handed their rivals the advantage."

Korea gears up to host 2nd F1 Grand Prix (The Korea Times)

"As of Friday, about 40,000 of the 100,000 available tickets had been sold, according to a committee official who asked to remain anonymous. He added that the statistics do not suggest the sales are worse than for the country’s first Grand Prix."

Jenson Button in half-year ‘title’ bid (The Sun)

"Jenson Button reckons he can be a champion this year ? of the second half of the season. The 2009 world beater knows Sebastian Vettel is unstoppable with the Red Bull ace set to clinch the title in Singapore tomorrow. But the Frome flier has targeted scoring the most points in the second half of the season as a launch pad for next year."

Q&A with Force India’s Vijay Mallya (

"Q: You just said that you like to think you are the best of the midfield teams. Is that the maximum that is possible considering your resources?

"VM: The amount of resources you deploy is obviously got a bearing on the performance – ultimately. But having said that money alone cannot buy performance. At the moment we are making some capital investment in our factory. We have a new simulator, we are going to have a new wind tunnel and clearly there will be even better results in the future. This season we have been late starters. Our development programme was not completed in the winter so the first fly-away races were an extension of the development work. But once we got to Europe our performance enhanced and is being enhanced at every race. Parallel to that we are also developing the 2012 car."

Monza 2011 pictures (Photobucket)

Here’s Fede b’s pictures from Monza.

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

There’s a strong possibility that Sebastian Vettel will win the championship tomorrow – Keith wrote about the possible ways he could clinch the title here. Steph says:

I don’t get how anyone could be bored of F1 at all this year. The championship may be predictable but I watch racing for the racing and it has been absolutely top drawer this year.

Seb’s had to fight for his wins on a couple of occasions, there’s been wheel to wheel racing all through the field and there’s been some strategy to give the geeks like me a fix. The racing has been so good that I don’t even really care that Ferrari is doing rubbish (Ferrari fans please don’t kill me now).

For me, it’s just been like having a season of Dijon 79s- the winner may be a mile ahead but I just don’t care because there is still action going on.

From the forum

Will Ricciardo ever drive for Toro Rosso/Red Bull?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to James Brickles, WouT and OEL F1!

On this day in F1

Alain Prost won the Portuguese Grand Prix after a famous fight with team mate Ayrton Senna.

Senna nudged Prost towards the pit wall while trying to defend his position on lap two. He slipped back to sixth at the flag.

Between them were Ivan Capelli, Theirry Boutsen, Derek Warwick and Michele Alboreto.

Here’s a video of the famous moment:

Author information

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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65 comments on “Teams break F1 curfew regulations”

  1. Keith, will you be posting pictures from Saturday in Singapore?

  2. More ridiculous rule interpretation by the FIA.

    1. Actually, the rules are pretty clear about the curfew. It’s defined as the nine hours before the first track action of the day. It’s just slightly skewed becaue Singapore starts at 10pm rather than 2pm. If the marketing people arrived at the circuit half an hour early, that’s a problem the teams need to address internally.

      1. I think he was referring to marketing personnel being classified as those having to do with the “operation of the cars.” They clearly have nothing to do with making the cars operate.

        1. “no bucks, no buck rogers.”

          1. Then I suppose they should not allow any body involved in transporting the vehicle and parts into the paddock as well, and those responsible for tailoring the outfits of the crew, and those who make food for the team to eat, because without food they’d starve and not be able to work on the car.

            It’s a car, the operation of the car involves mechanical things.

          2. Then I suppose they should not allow any body involved in transporting the vehicle and parts into the paddock as well, and those responsible for tailoring the outfits of the crew, and those who make food for the team to eat, because without food they’d starve and not be able to work on the car.

            They’re already blocked. The curfew applies to anyone involved in the team, and the number of personnel allowed to attend a race is capped at forty-seven.

          3. Ok then, why does the regulation, as written, stipulate those involved in the operation of the cars, and not simply everyone in the team?

            Doesn’t that indicate to you that the intention is different to the application?

          4. Because people within the team take on multiple roles. During practice, qualifying and the race, they are focused on the car – but that accounts for just seven hours of the Grand Prix, which starts with the teams arriving on a Wednesday and ends with the teams packing up on Monday. Since the teams are limited to just forty-seven people, they need to carry out mutliple roles, some of which involve working on the cars, and some of which do not. So, rather than trying to work out who is scheduled to work on which cars and when, it is easier to assume everyone will work on the cars at some point during the weekend, because they probably will.

            You’re trying to argue for marketing personnel to be granted an exemption to the curfew. But as soon as you do that for one, you have to start doing it for everyone, and the whole thing gets convoluted and messy. It is simpler and easier for everyone involved for all team personnel to be made aware of when and where they can enter the circuit, because the people who are not working on the cars at any given time don’t need to get into the circuit half an hour earlier in order to do their jobs better.

          5. It’s not hard to develop straightforward rules and procedures that gel with the intention of the regulation. Your argument that it will get convoluted and messy I just don’t buy. It can not be that hard. Not for a sport with the resources of F1.

      2. PM I think you need to address your pedantry meter, even the FIA apparently can be made to see sense when it is laid out before them. They have accepted that the Red Bull person was not involved in the operation of the vehicle. The FIA should issue descriptive ID if they wish to be strict with this rule.

  3. Okay, that whole curfew thing seemed ridiculous to me, for the reasons Ross Brawn pointed out — so maybe someone can explain to me why it isn’t. Wasn’t the whole point of the curfew to keep mechanics from routinely pulling all-nighters to improve the car? The wording of the regulation certainly seems to suggest as much. “[T]eam personnel who are associated in any way with the operation of the cars” seems clear enough to me. If they had meant otherwise, why didn’t they just say “team personnel”?

    1. The curfew is controlled by team staff swiping their ID cards in and out of the paddock security gates.
      Once they have passed inside the gates, their activity is not specifically monitored.

      If they make arbitrary exceptions for marketing personnel, don’t then be surprised to very soon hear reports of hairy, tattooed “marketing” staff, stinking of gearbox oil, hammering and banging in the back of some race-trucks in the middle of the night.

      The teams provide a list of their race-weekend personnel to the FIA. The FIA stipulates when those personnel are and are not allowed inside the paddock.
      The rules were reasonably clear I thought. This far into the season, every weekend operating under those same rules, I fail to see very much scope for any sudden confusion by a team’s management.

      1. If they make arbitrary exceptions for marketing personnel, don’t then be surprised to very soon hear reports of hairy, tattooed “marketing” staff, stinking of gearbox oil, hammering and banging in the back of some race-trucks in the middle of the night.

        Exactly. All the teams have to say is “We’re doing an article on the mechanics and the engineers, but because the race is late at night, we though it would be better to do it before the race and so we made all the mechnics and engineers members of the amrketing team for the day”.

        It’s only really a problem because Singapore operates on a different timetable to the other races. The curfew is officially defined as the nine hours before the first session of the day. Most of the time, the circuit opens at 9am, so that everyone has an hour to get there in time for the 10am practice sessions. However, because Singapore is at night, it’s on a different timetable, so the nine hours actually take up the bulk of the daylight hours.

        The curfew rules is a good one, and addresses a very serious issue. Before this year, mechanics and engineers could spend all night working on the cars in the pits, particularly after a heavy accident (like Kobayashi’s). But then they’d be spending all day in the busy pit lane, with cars zipping by at 100km/h. There was a real risk of an accident, like that infamous accident back in the 1980s (can’t remember where or when, exactly) that nearly killed an engineer. The idea behind the curfew was to give the mechanics and engineers time to get some rest.

        1. I was questioning the FIA’s logic on this but your point is very good, I was probably a little naive in thinking people held exclusive roles in the teams.

          1. Those “marketing commercial girls” work day an night for the Team

      2. I see your point, although before this morning I also thought the wording of the regulation did leave plenty of room for confusion. But I was happy to see that Red Bull has successfully appealed the ruling against them: [link].

  4. I think punishing people for accidentally turning up to early or marketing people is a bit unnecessary…..

    However, I understand why they are so strict.
    If one team can get away with an almost breach, all the others can argue they should be able to as well, this effect will snowball and eventually the rules break down completely. We saw this exact thing happen when the FIA tried to regulate off throttle exhaust.

    1. This is true, and you explained it yourself in your first paragraph “accidentally turning up too early”. For the authorities it doesn’t matter whether it’s “accidental” or on purpose. If that was the case, they would all say they were up all night by accident.

    2. So, slap a minor fine on them. The size of the penalty must be commensurate with the seriousness of the breach surely.

    3. As an electronics engineer I have been in that situation. Because I knew how to clean myself up and be presentable, and was able to talk technical in a language ordinary people understood. I often went to events as part of the marketing team.

      I don’t think it would be that difficult to switch on the electrics, connect my laptop to the control unit and send the output back to the factory. I have done it before on mil vehicles. Except that the cars are in a cctv monitored area.

    4. There’s no actual penalty – they just use up one of their four “jokers” – so it’s not a huge problem for any of the teams involved unless they need to complete extra work later in the season.

      I think it does need clarification though, something along the lines of the following conversation:

      “Does the curfew include marketing personnel?”


      Problem solved.


    After He wrecked He`s only Monaco hot lap perhaps Lewis knew better than too be stuck behind Him?

    1. Massa was way too slow, I remember Lewis was catching him since sector 2,yeah Lewis might have played a mind game but it was Massa who cracked & gave the place back to Lewis.

      1. They’re not great friends any more are they…

  6. Keith, where’s the pre-race analysis?

  7. I am sure how “marketing personnel” have anything to do with cars development.

    I don’t think Mclaren need to worry on Hamilton they have Button with them who is a good driver may be not as good as Hamilton but in some of the races he did proved that he can be better then Hamilton.

    1. I am sure how “marketing personnel” have anything to do with cars development.

      Because teams could redefine certain key personnel as being involved with marketing, thus getting early access to the circuit.

      1. I find this view preposterous. It doesn’t matter what title you give a person, it is what they do that matters. If a person labelled as marketing does something to the car, or does some prep for the race then they are in breach. Similarly, I don’t care if someone who is a mechanic hobnobs it with some high flyers in the paddock. “Operation of the cars” is the key phrase there.

        1. If a person labelled as marketing does something to the car, or does some prep for the race then they are in breach.

          But once someone checks in to the circuit, their activity is not monitored. Once they’re in, they’re in.

          1. How hard is it to post a few security people to wander through the garages?

          2. How hard is it for the Powers That Be within the team to make it very clear to everyone within the team that they cannot enter the circuit before 4pm?

          3. When you have a staff of around 100 or more, some of whom you might not have met, and who have nothing to do with the running of the car and aren’t used to having to follow any of the FIA’s regulations meant for the running of the car, it might actually be a little tricky!

          4. I find it very difficult to believe that a team principal would have no idea who he or she was employing. Especially since the maximum number of personnel is limited to 47 people – and that includes everyone involved in the running of the team, not just the running of the cars. In order to get into the circuit, you need a security pass – so people cannot simply get into the circuit bounds; the team need to nominate who is a part of that quota of 47 people. All it would take is one team meeting at headquarters before the race to clarify the situation.

      2. Surely teams could also redefine certain key personnel cleaners or train cleaners.

        It seems like this is really complicating the simple.

        Just ban work on the cars during the rest period.

          1. That is my point PM. What is the difference in making the exception for cleaners or marketing staff.

          2. An excellent question in light of PM’s main argument that making exceptions makes things too complicated and messy.

  8. I had the weirdest dream about the race last night. I almost never dream about the races. Anyway, Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire with brake problems (Singapore is notorious on brakes). All the championship contenders were running the same strategy, which involved finishing the race on softs. Because of a late safety car, they all pitted together. But Webber and Button got a little over-enthusiastic, and an unsafe release resulted in the two colliing, blocking the pit lane and preventing Hamilton and Alonso from getting to their pit bays. They lost a whole lot of time because the cars had to be cleared away, and ended up rejoinging outside the points. Vitaly Petrov won the race, with Timo Glock second and Paul di Resta third. But the whole thing was embroiled in controversy when Tony Fernandes tried to get the results backdated several laps because Virgin had scored points when he had not.

    1. I once dreamed on a Minardi 1-2 at A1 Ring. Honestly!

      The odd thing was that Minardi wasn’t racing during those years.

      1. Sounds like Minardi… showing up at the wrong track.

    2. Weird, but it sounds good

      1. Well, I editorialised it a little bit, there was other, irrelevant stuff going on. For example, the commentary was being done in English, but I couldn’t understand it because I believed it was in French. And the CGI mascot of an internet service provider call Dodo was watching the race with me.

    3. I dreamt about Jennifer Hawkins.
      I think mine was probably more interesting, seeing she had a prosthetic leg…

      But seriously, that would be an interesting result.

    4. If only something like that could happen, but instead ensure a race win for Michael Schumacher. ;)

      1. Well, it does raise an intersting question: what happens if the pit lane is blocked? Especially if the circuit is clear. The mechanics can move the cars pretty quickly – they do at the end of qualifying and practice sessions – to get the cars into their garages. So, does the race get red-flagged, or does everyone just have to live with it?

        1. I suppose the pitlane being blocked is slightly less of an issue in this era of cars carrying full race fuel, would expect that it is just a case of get on with it. Only potential problem I can see is if another car is already coming in the pitlane entry too late to abort and going through a red light or being forced to stop and overheat.

    5. Wow, I also dreamt about the race – but it was a whole lot weirder! There were shortcuts after turn one and on the first lap only Alonso and Button used it, but it somehow turned out to be a longer route and they both dropped down the order. Suddenly the whole track was situated on the roof of a massive building, way above the clouds, and England cricketer Ian Bell (who was driving the other McLaren) crashed from 2nd place, got flung from the cockpit and was saved from plummeting to his death by some plastic netting.

      In the end Vettel won from one of the Toro Rosso’s with Webber third and then the two Saubers. Massa was 6th, Alonso 7th and Button 8th.

      I’m not sure which dream is more plausible – sudden rematerialisation of the track in a completely different place or a Virgin on the podium.

      1. Your dreams are most exciting than most races! :P

      2. This NEEDS to be a regular column.

    6. Nice! Not the order I’d particularly like, but I enjoy surprise results!

  9. The rule is pointless. Namely Redbull have broken this on a number of occasions now and again on friday. Perhaps this is where the rumour of €60m overspend last year is from; they cheat/ break rules and swallow the fines. All these big team have no issue with monetary fines, a break of a rule, no matter what, should be that of a points or performance related one. This gives the smaller teams no hope in hell if the big teams keep pushing the boundaries and taking fines in return for better race pace. If someone can pay for my tickets I’d happily monitor this and endorse penalties!

    1. Namely Redbull have broken this on a number of occasions now and again on friday. Perhaps this is where the rumour of €60m overspend last year is from; they cheat/ break rules and swallow the fines.

      Teams have permission to break curfew four times during the season. If a car crashes and needs to be rebuilt overnight – as was the case with Kamui Kobayashi – the team can use one of their exemptions to rebuild the car and participate in the rest of the weekend. Penalties only apply from the fifth break of curfew; both cars will be forced to start from pit lane.

      The reason why this is an issue is because people who were not directly involved in working on the cars (at the time) entered the circuit early, using up one of the team’s exemptions for nothing. And the teams might need those exemptions for later races.

  10. I don’t understand thios quote from the Brawn interview
    “In our case, a couple of our marketing commercial girls came to meet some guests at 3.30pm rather than 4pm and broke the curfew,”
    So the marketing people entered the confines of the circuit in order to meet some guests.
    Is it usial for guests to be allowed within the confines of the circuit? Do guests really have pit ID swipe passes?

    1. Yes. A lot of teams like to have celebrities in the pit garage – like Rihanna’s and Ice-T’s infamous appearances in Montreal. They get passes, because everyone who enters the paddock gets one. Otherwise, anyone could enter whenever they liked and the FIA would have no idea who was where and when they came in.

      Based on what I’m seeing, I’m guessing the guests were due to arrive at the circuit at or after 4pm. The marketing girls appear to have entered the circuit early to set up for the meeting, inadvertently breaching the curfew. Either that, or the guests showed up early and wanted to get in, so the marketing team went down to the paddock.

  11. I love those pictures from Monza!

    I wish a very happy birthday to James, WouT and OEL F1. I hope today’s race is exciting for you so it’s like another present :P

    Thanks very much for COTD Keith! They really do make my day. I ended up in a debate yesterday with someone on Twitter and he said he wasn’t going to bother with today’s race because Seb was on pole so there’s no point and as a fanatic, I just could not get my head around that.

    1. Worthy comment of the day. Nice one Steph.

      1. Thank you very much bearforce. I absolutely love your username btw!

        Also, my comment was pretty late to the discussion which was going on and I’ve noticed that even on page 5 of an article Keith still takes the time to reply to comments. I think that’s one of the reasons why this site is so great; Keith clearly takes the time when it comes to his visitors even though his ‘to do’ list is probably as long as Webber’s legs. So thanks for that too Keith :P And I swear I wasn’t angling for another COTD there!

  12. Hamilton says he can’t wait forever? That’s rather impatient, he was in the thick of a title fight last year, right down to the last race.

    I appreciate that he is frustrated but you cannot be ‘on it’ year in, year out. He should quit it with the idle threats and focus on something more positive, like honing his race craft.

    1. Championships are won and lost at the start of a season, not just the end. See 1991 for a good example: Mansell arguably had the superior car but Senna won because he finished the first few races while Mansell didn’t.

      1. Also quite a few of the later races!

  13. PaulGrainger (@)
    25th September 2011, 11:30

    I remember reading in F1 racing magazine a while ago about the tricky surveillance cameras above the cars in the garages and the covers the teams have to put over their cars overnight. This system replaced the old parc ferme garage… With these measures already in place I don’t understand why they need to be so strict on which team personnel can and cannot enter the circuit… Can’t they just check the surveillance image from the garages? Or see if the tamper proof covers have been removed?

    1. you then get into the argument of what is or isn’t ‘work on the car’ someone could be assembling parts away from the car for the mechanics to fit later, technically they aren’t working on the car but they are doing work that should be part of the curfew.

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