Webber gets five-place penalty for gearbox change

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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Mark Webber will lose five places on the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver will have to change his gearbox ahead of the race and his current unit has not yet done the required five consecutive races.

The penalty will be Webber’s second in three races – he suffered the same misfortune at the German Grand Prix.

2012 Belgian 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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58 comments on “Webber gets five-place penalty for gearbox change”

  1. Why does it always have to be Australia’s Mark Webbah? :(

    1. If Webber didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all.

      1. Or if he had any, it would be all bad : )

    2. I agree, Webber is getting a lot of KERS and gearbox problems, Vettel is unlucky sometimes but not in the way Webber is, please can you remember the last time Vettel started a weekend with a penalty he has only had failures during races, my paranoia tells me they have been changing parts this past couple years, it’s impossible 2 equal cars, break down is such different ways.

      1. In a rainy session when they are unable to run… water in the gearbox? jeje

      2. To be honest I would much rather have grid penalty before the race than have the car fail during it like it happened with Vettel – that cost him 25 points, and I think both Webber and RB feel the same way. Yes Webbo does have bad luck but he had it all his carrier not just at RB, people play it up because of British GP 2010 and all the other rubbish conspiracy theories.

        1. That’s career not carrier . I have not idea what I was thinking writing that

        2. bmy666, sadly it’s true, in 2010 we thought his luck had finally changed but we know how that turned out.
          No doubt some-one is going to post a comment stating that gear-box management has always been a part of F1.

          1. No but seeing that this gearbox has only done 3 race week end, we could effectively wonder if they don’t swap the gearbox between Mark and Seb (even if it’s very unlikely as they probably have registration number and FIA knows on which car it’s beeing used, or do they ? ^^ )
            But that’s quite a huge contrast between Webber and Vettel, it seems everything happen to one of them and nothing to the other, quite strange … One god is more efficient than the other

          2. davidnotcoulthard
            1st September 2012, 10:07

            Gear-box management has always been a part of F1.

            Happy now (Ha..ha..!…)?

          3. @jeanrien – and there is one of those theories again. Of-course they have the Gearboxes numbered and written down which car it was allocated to otherwise they could change them around all they want.

    3. No such thing as bad luck, Red Bull are just more likely to have failures as a consequence of the extremely tight packaging in their cars.

      1. ahh, the voice of reason…thankyou

      2. @vettel1

        You say it´s due to tight packaging but, I have yet to see Vettel´s car have gearbox “problems”…
        Mark should have waited a bit more before signing that contract… :/

        1. @catracho504 So what happened to Vettel’s car in Valencia, then?

          1. Drop Valencia!
            1st September 2012, 3:04

            The alternator……..

        2. @catracho504 – Vettel’s cars’ alternator failed whilst leading, costing him 25 points. I think Mark has had more “luck” in having gearbox changes.

          1. He should swap stories with Schumacher over a beer. Should make for an interesting conversation!

  2. I guess Red Bull is taking some risks to have the fastest car package. Does not make it easy for him to keep in the championship fight this way.

    1. Indeed, while the Valencia alternator failure was seemingly a Renault related issue (though tight packaging might have played a role at RBR and Lotus), these gearbox issues, and the still occasionally happening KERS problems (we usually only hear of that afterwards, but I think Vettel had an issue with it in a race too this year, and Webber in Canada I think?) are a risk they are taking; with them in 2nd and 3rd, arguably it hasn’t served them all that poorly so far.

  3. What a load of crap. Arbitary rules.

    1. Yep, don’t know why they don’t do the same kind of thing than for the engines … You have a certain allocation of gearbox for the year and do as you wish with those.

      1. It’s a rule designed to control costs and allow for a more level playing field for the HRTs of this world. I think it’s sensible, no?

        1. But so is the engine rule, as @jearnrien implies, so it remains a bit arbitrary doesn’t it @blackmamba? I would like if they used similar rules as for the engine for more parts, not the least the gearbox.

        2. Yes, @blackmamba, but what @jeanrien proposes would serve the purpose of saving cost as much as the current system (a gb lastig 5 races means its 4 gearboxes per year with 20 races) so if we gave them 4 (or maybe 1 extra for race ending accidents etc.) pieces for the season it would not cost a penny more.

  4. Again? Seriously, what does he do to the poor gearboxes?

    1. @yobo01 Most likely because things are so tightly packed at the rear of the car these days. There’s been loads this year.

      1. Maybe they’re squeezing in something new and having only Mark test it. I’ve always felt as if Ferrari uses Massa to try and test “risky” new parts and if something goes wrong, too bad for the #2.

    2. Or he gets vettel’s ….

      1. Nope – each driver gets an allocation of gearboxes at the start of the year. The team can’t swap gearboxes between the cars once the allocation is set. If they did, they would take a huge penalty.

        1. Can someone tell me when it is going to be Alonso’s turn. He is overdue some bad luck!

          1. davidnotcoulthard
            1st September 2012, 10:11

            Back in the start of the season, except Malaysia?

          2. davidnotcoulthard
            1st September 2012, 10:12

            I hope I was wrong, though…

  5. I’ve said it about 10 times so far this year, and I’ll say it again: this is the dumbest and least fair rule in F1. To punish an athlete, in any sport, for something completely random and out of his control is just ridiculously unfair. The FIA needs to find a way to keep costs down, certainly, but there have to be better solutions than this.

    1. I agree. Why can’t they get one free gearbox change per season??

      1. They used to, but the rule was scrapped for this year. I have no idea why. But even if the rule had been kept, it would make no difference – Webber would have used his one free change in Germany, and so would still take a five-place grid penalty here.

    2. Alexander Jansson (@)
      31st August 2012, 21:12

      I think it is fair because it’s a teamsport, the penalty is as bad for the team as for Mark. And the rule is to save money, otherwise big teams would have a new gearbox for almost every session on the track. Therefore it is a great rule to make the sport more equal to all teams.

      1. +1
        Its a team-sport and the life of the gearbox isn’t totally out of the pilots control. The driving skills can be quite decisive to the life span of certain components, but off course the team has to try to provide equipment, which will be able to survive the pressure from each individual driver.

        1. davidnotcoulthard
          1st September 2012, 10:25

          Yes, but F1 Motor Racing with teams in it is a team sport in which the driver’s title are of a much bigger amount of importance compared to, say, being the Top Scorer in a season (I might be wrong, though). This might be a good way to put it: Is Newey as well known as Mansell? Is (G.) Murray as well known as Prost or (A.)Senna? Is Flavio as well known than Alonso or M. Schumacher? Do we know the name of the McLaren gunman that messed up McLaren’s pitstops? I might be wrong, but the answer will most of the time be, probably, “No”.

  6. F1 Gearboxes ‘R Us Ltd. must be loving 2012.

    1. Nick Jarvis (@)
      31st August 2012, 21:44

      +1 haha :)

  7. They changed the rule over engines so that you get X amount per season before getting a penalty. Why not do the same for gearboxes?

    1. @david-a That makes a lot of sense to me.

    2. Agreed here.
      However today I also saw a comment (here?) calling Kimi a ‘car destroyer’ because of his McLaren years…

      1. Yeah, it was from me ….. and I still stand by it …..

    3. i have said the same before, and will say it any time that this would make far more sense to do.

    4. @david-a Because that would be too easy…and where’s the fun in easy? I don’t mind the rule. It’s another headache for the engineers and designers to worry about.

    5. @david-a This rules has been instated to take away the workload from the mechanics, gearboxes are the worst single mechanical component to work with, there are so many wear and tear parts that make them simply irreparable.

  8. Another day, another dead gearbox.

  9. *********

    Shumi & Kamui dont get one as they didn’t finish in Hungry. Seriously whoever come up with these ridiculous rules. About time the drivers voiced up for themselves & the fans. I cant remember a race this year were at least one driver does not receive this penalty. Simply cap it like the engines and maybe we will get the spectacle we were supposed to receive.

    1. @ming-mong

      I can’t remember a race this year where at least one driver does not receive this penalty.

      Try the last race: 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix grid

      1. Alright Keith your the man! Everything we all want to be. It must feel good to wake up and look into the mirror and see what you see. What more can I say, you are a talent, an educator and a bloke of all blokes. King Keith!

        If only I could be as good as you…

    2. Yes, it seem Webber himself told the press they had known about having to change it all the way since that Hungarian race, as it was to do with his clutch issue in that race. But better to finish in the strong points there, and get a penalty here, than not to finish at all, right?

  10. Why always Webber?

    1. ….. because he is an Aussie? ;)

  11. I think it’s Alonso’s dalliance with black magic that’s causing havoc on the grid. Anyone who Threatens the CHOSEN ONE suffers some horrific and random bad luck!
    Ask Vettel and especially Hamilton.
    They all need to consult with an exorcist if they are to have any chance at the title!!!!!

    1. That’s gold. Probably uses that in his Hexes too. Your right in that Alonso always seems to make his own luck and despite apparently driving beyond the limits of the car

  12. Even though I am not a fan of this rule as it is very harsh but I understand the concept behind it. A set change time between gearboxes saves the teams money and therefore nobody would have an “unfair” advantage going into an important race also this helps the small teams. I understand the “free” change is to save money which I appreciate.

    However I have mixed feelings on the rule, I think it punishes the drivers too much but understand if they could have a set amount like engines and change it when they want to F1 would become very tactical and a natural racing element may disappear.

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