Schumacher to start 22nd after gearbox change penalty

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Michael Schumacher will start today’s race from 22nd on the grid after the team decided to change his gearbox.

Schumacher will receive a five-place penalty for changing the unit, as drivers are required to use the same gearbox for five consecutive races.

He will share row 11 of the grid with Pastor Maldonado, who also has a gearbox change penalty.

Meanwhile Jean-Eric Vergne will not receive a penalty for missing the weighbridge during yesterday’s qualifying session after the stewards chose to issue a reprimand.

See the updated Bahrain Grand Prix grid.

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    Keith Collantine
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    33 comments on “Schumacher to start 22nd after gearbox change penalty”

    1. There seem to be far more of these gearbox-related penalties now than there were last year. Has there been a change in the technical regulations that might explain it?

      I wouldn’t be at all unhappy to see gearboxes treated in a similar way to engines. Each driver is currently expected to use one for five races, so they should be given four for the season, plus one “joker”, perhaps. They could then use them as they saw fit and avoid some of these penalties which really penalise the drivers through no fault of their own.

      1. CarnivorousPope (@)
        22nd April 2012, 8:53

        I agree. I think his gearbox probably worked okay though and he just took the new gearbox with the penalty as 17th to 22nd wont make much of a difference rather than maybe having to change his gearbox and take the penalty at a race where he qualifies well.

        1. @carnivorouspope I think you might be right. Makes sense. We all know he’s good off the start line so making up those additional 5 places shouldn’t be an issue for him.

      2. Each driver is currently expected to use one for five races, so they should be given four for the season, plus one “joker”, perhaps.

        That was the rule last year. It seems to have been changed for this year.

        1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
          22nd April 2012, 10:20

          Personally, I didn’t see anything wrong with the rule last year, indeed it makes more sense to me, seeing as how it would put it on par with the engine rule, who cares how they and when they are used as long as they don’t exceed the limit given which would obviously be 4.

        2. sid_prasher (@)
          22nd April 2012, 10:20

          I agree it should be the same as the engine rule.

        3. I believe the rule hasn’t changed in comparison to last year. It is the same rule. Only the engine rule gives you 8 engines (I believe) per season and you get a penalty if you use your 9th.

          1. The engine rule hasn’t changed. The gearbox rule has. Drivers used to have one penalty-free gearbox change per season. They don’t any more.

        4. I didn’t know it had been changed. Thanks for the info.

    2. What, did he need more of a challenge?

      1. CarnivorousPope (@)
        22nd April 2012, 8:54

        24th to fifth in Spa last year so 22nd to third here? ;)

        1. With all the tyres he saved, maybe! I think tyres will be critical in this race.

        2. I believe Kimi finished 3rd from 22nd here in 2006.

    3. Again, this is an idiotic rule. I don’t even like Schumacher, but the idea of punishing the drivers for something out of their control just seems so unfair. The team should simply void constructor points for the affected car.

      1. I sort of agree, but then equally, it might seem unfair to ‘punish’ Glock with a car much slower than a red bull. The sport is as much about building a car that is fast and reliable as it is about driving skill. Maybe some drivers benefit from increased speed by running more risky gear box setups, so perhaps it is only right that teams who build a reliable unit (perhaps compromising speed) should benefit somehow. Having said that, I think a rule more in line with the way engines work is better.

    4. It makes sense while he’s all the way back there anyway.

    5. Why doesn’t he start from the pitlane? Less chance of getting involved in an accident anyway.

      Not a good precedent by giving Vergne a reprimand either.

      1. Because you can’t get a good start from the pitlane, something Schumacher usually manages to do.

        He will finish 6th today

      2. Not a good precedent by giving Vergne a reprimand either.

        Why not? Once a driver is out of qualifying, he is expected to report to scrutineering. Vergne didn’t.

        It could always be worse. At Hungary in 2010, Kamui Kobayashi missed the weighbridge after he was eliminated in Q1 and got a grid penalty for it. The stewards appear to have relaxed their stance on the matter and will give a reprimand for first-time offences.

      3. soupspoonf1driver
        22nd April 2012, 11:14

        Come on the guy is a rookie!

    6. Jake (@jakehardyf1)
      22nd April 2012, 9:24

      Poor Schumi!

    7. Can someone please explain this rule? Driver has to stick with the same gearbox for 5 consecutive race. And how many gear box do you get over the season? If Shumi chose to change the gearbox, does he have to come back and use this one again eventually? It sounds like there are more gearbox penalty than last year.

      1. I think he can now change a gearbox on race no. 5 (which is coincidentally next race) without penalty.

      2. Drivers must use the same gearbox for five consecutive races. A driver has an unlimited supply of gearboxes, but will take a five-place penalty every time he changes one; ideally, he will only use four gearboxes in a season.

        Last year, there was a rule that allowed drivers one gearbox change without penalty, but that has been scrapped for this year.

        1. So does this mean both Schumacher and Pastor have to use these gearboxes for five races from this one (Bahrain through Valencia) to avoid another penalty. Or does everybody get a reset at the 6th/11th/16th races of the season?

          1. They begin a new sequence of five races.

            1. Thanks.

              I’m beginning to think that every single driver will cop at least one of these this year. 5 already in 4 races, at that rate there should be 25 by the end of the season.

    8. On the bright side: Mercedes may yet opt to start him from the pit lane, which would allow them to make set-up changes to his car. Let’s see…

      1. I would not be surprised to see that, to give him an opportunity to pass many cars on the DRS zone they could take off some wing and gain extra top speed, Schumi likes a “loose” setup, the downside would be high tyre wear but he has lots of tyres.

    9. for the love of god, let him do well. it hurts to see him at the back (17th or 22nd doesn’t really make that much of a difference when it comes to being at the back.

    10. Clever move Mercedes. The gearbox was going, Schumi was starting 18th, so why not forgo the extra 4 places and start with a new gearbox?

      1. Um, because that would be another five places (not four) that he needs to make up.

        1. I think they were counting on those places being fairly easily made up with a good start or at least the benefit of DRS once that kicked in after two laps. The Merc is a much better car than those traditional backmarkers, so I too think that Merc made a decision here and decided that now would be a much less harmful time to change a gearbox vs. having to do it when qualifying in the top 5, for example, and having to sit 5 spots back from that.

          What did happen that didn’t surprise me is that unlike Spa last year, 9 cars didn’t conveniently move out of MS’s way, although a few did, and the field is much tighter this year, so I felt all along that we weren’t going to see a repeat of Spa.

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