Ten-place grid penalty for Schumacher at Suzuka

2012 Singapore Grand Prix

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Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Marina Bay, 2012Michael Schumacher will be docked ten places on the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was handed the penalty for his collision with Jean-Eric Vergne which took both drivers out of the Singapore Grand Prix.

Schumacher admitted the crash was his fault, according to the stewards’ report: “The driver admitted the collision was his error due to the failure to anticipate the braking performance of the car with lower tyre grip following a safety car period.

“The penalty takes into account that this is the second similar offence by the driver this season.”

2012 Singapore 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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    70 comments on “Ten-place grid penalty for Schumacher at Suzuka”

    1. This penalty surprised me a bit because when interview by German TV reporters he told them he was braking earlier than usual and that something on the cars must’ve failed…

      1. gosh, where’s my spelling gone?


      2. British ex F1 driver on the judges panel so was always going to be as severe as possible on Schumacher.

        Was a strange one as was locked a long time before made contact.

        1. @snowman I see no reason to assume Allan McNish’s Britishness would be the cause of him holding a grudge against Schumacher, nor that he would automatically be able to get the other stewards to join him in your imaginary vendetta.

          The stewards have explained the reasoning for their decision. This is the second occasion when Schumacher has crashed into the back of another driver (the other being with Senna in Spain), hence the more severe penalty. That seems entirely reasonable to me, so why are you so eager to slander McNish?

          1. Didn’t say he held a grudge, just saying from past experiences of British ex F1(Warick,Herbert,McNish) drivers concerning Schumacher, the possibility is there he might not get a fair shake from them when it comes to making decisions on his driving.

            The second occasion thing is a bit different and has never been used before to my recollection. Why has none of Maldonado or Grosjean’s penalties been more severe than the one before?

            1. @snowman Your fixation with nationality as the explanation for the stewards’ decision defies reason let alone basic respect for the integrity of others.

              If you choose to persuade yourself there is one person on the stewards’ panel who is so blinded by a nationalistic grievance that they not only wish to unduly punish one particular driver but also manage to get other stewards of different nationalities to go along with them – and that multiple stewards of the same nationality have done the same thing in the past – then more fool you. Because it’s completely unrealistic.

              Schumacher missed his braking point and crashed into the back of another driver. He did it once before and got a five-place penalty, so this time he got a ten-place penalty. Nothing more to it than that.

            2. “He did it once before and got a five-place penalty, so this time he got a ten-place penalty. Nothing more to it than that.”

              Did the stewards ever do that before? A driver makes the same mistake twice in the year so gets double the penalty? If Jenson Button went into the back of a car today would they give him a double penalty because he went into the back of the HRT earlier in the season?? I highly doubt that. We just need some consistency in stewarding which if never going to be achieved with different driver stewards all the time.

              It’s nothing to do with the nationality of the stewards, I was merely pointing out there’s is a handful of British ex F1 drivers who have made it clear many times their thoughts on Schumacher aren’t exactly neutral.

            3. @snowman

              Did the stewards ever do that before? A driver makes the same mistake twice in the year so gets double the penalty?

              It’s all part of the renewed crackdown on dangerous driving.

              If Jenson Button went into the back of a car today would they give him a double penalty because he went into the back of the HRT earlier in the season??

              No, because he didn’t get a penalty in the first place. The episode with Karthikeyan was judged to be a racing incident. In retrospect, was that judged properly at the time? I would say yes; the crackdown on dangerous driving started at Spa, not Sepang.

              I was merely pointing out there’s is a handful of British ex F1 drivers who have made it clear many times their thoughts on Schumacher aren’t exactly neutral.

              If we were talking about Damon Hill, then perhaps I could understand your reasoning. But I see no reason why Allan McNish would have his opinion of Schumacher coloured.

            4. I don’t subscribe to this idea myself in this particular incidence, but it is entirely reasonable to assume Nationality plays a role. Not because one nation holds a grudge against another, but because Nationality goes to racing background, and different national organisations have different standards and views on what constitutes fault in different incidents.

          2. To be fair everytime McNish has been on the stewards panel some rather strange penalties have been handed out Monaco 2011, Hungary 2011 for example. Probably it’s just co-incidence but it does seem a little odd!

        2. snowman, I think you might be judging McNish by your own standards.

          1. @nickfrog

            Ya your prob right! think we all would go easy on our favourite drivers and harsh on our least favourite if we got the steward gig!

      3. As I said elsewhere, even if those cars had braked “earlier”, to my eyes it looked like he was going to miss the corner anyway.

        1. @james_mc

          I’d agree with that, it’s like the kind of lock up you see when the car goes flying of the track in a straight line.

        2. Actually to me it looked as if MSC thought Vergne was going to make the pass and decided to close up on him at the very moment Vergne decided to back out, but I’ll take Michaels word for it. Top marks to Vergne for his generosity of spirit.

          1. Don’t take Michaels word for it.. he is a pathological liar.

            And yes, in this case , results based on the past, do give a guarantee for the future xD

            Btw a cheat and a unsportsmanlike soul like MSC only deserves to be punished as harsh and cruel and often as possible. IMO

      4. @wallbreaker Well that’s what I was thinking when he said it as well but I guess the telemetry gave it away.

    2. I thought smething had failed in his car, as he locked up and never slowed down…

      1. He didn’t slow down because he locked up.

      1. Isn’t he still connected to their Road Safety things?

    3. It seemed a little different from the crash with Senna in Spain because this looked more of mechanical failure but if he got penalty, then Mercedes can’t prove it’s the case. No excuse for penalty then. It’s sad to see this kind of incident twice a year from Schumacher.

      BTW, I think bad weekend for both Hamilton and Schumacher makes it more easy to announce Hamilton-Mercedes deal. Would it be true? We will see…

      1. Assuming that he wants to increase his tally of WDCs rather than line his wallet, this weekend has actually made it more likely that Ham will stay with McLaren.
        The problem McLaren have is pursuading him (or his management team) that £10M over 3 yrs (or whatever the figure is) is enough to live on….
        But as you say, Mercedes can’t prove it was mechanical, so it seems more and more likely that Schumi will retire (again) at the end of this season

        1. But also this race is proof that in recent times, winning a WDC in a Mclaren is like finding a unicorn at Times Square.

          1. And the number that Mercedes have won recently?

      2. Well without any doubt there are talks going on. And Without doubt MSC is better driving a ‘scootmobile’ xD

    4. Again quite hard to argue with this one. Assuming the car wasn’t at fault (which I assume Mercedes weren’t able to prove if it was), then it was careless from Schumacher who should know to be a bit more careful with low tyre pressures, etc after a restart. Too bad for Vergne, too, who looked to be on for a decent result.

    5. Of course they braked early, two cars going side by side into the same 90 degree corner what did you expect. Also locking the tyres never help when braking

      1. Pretty much this. You can argue that Schumi should have accounted for two guys in front of him breaking very early due to their fight, but he also had Raikkonen close behind him.

        1. Drivers usually brake later in a battle for a corner, not earlier!

          1. Compare to each other, yes. Without fight they hit apex faster. They were side by side and then had to hit corner one by one.

    6. I’m no schumacher fan!!!!! lets get that clear; but i think this was a bit harsh yes it was his fault, but unusually he admitted to it and it didn’t look like there was any intent there. an unfortunate error

      1. Yeah… it doesnt seem obvious that its some kind of a massive error by MSC. I was quite dissapointed with Brundles comments…

        1. And worse were Georgie’s “Specsavers” comments.

      2. He only admitted to t stewards afterwards, all the time before he held his story of failing brakes.. τοσο μαλακασ ειναι…

    7. Since Mercedes didn’t protest the decision, I think it’s safe to say there was no mechanical problem, but just hypothetically – what kind of a failure could cause such a loss of stopping power? The front tires were obviously locked so that didn’t help, but there are a number of more or less severe lockups at each GP, and the results aren’t that dramatic. Would a loss of rear brakes be enough to be the issue?

      1. I think it’s safe to say there was no mechanical problem

        Well, that was clear from Ross Brawn’s “what happened there?! what happened there?!”.

    8. I can only repeat the same thing that I said after his collision with Senna at the Spanish GP: I believe that Schumacher has lost it and that he should retire at the end of this year. I don’t see how his presence on the grid is a good thing for the sport. By the way, crashing into the back of Vergne wasn’t Schumacher’s only blunder today – he missed the minute’s silence for Sid Watkins because he “was still on the toilet”.

      1. You know the call of nature is not one you can easily hangup on.

      2. Prof Watkins would probably have advised him to drop the deuce and be better prepared for the race, had he been there himself..

        1. Just like Kimi – “I was having a ****”

      3. “I don’t see how his presence on the grid is a good thing for the sport”. Sure: how can the presence of the guy who made the most overtakes last season could be a good thing? What’s the point of having the guy who set the fastest time in qualification at Monaco this year with an awesome lap? What’s the point of seeing of the nice battles he’s been involved in this year?
        It’s much better to see, for instance, Senna hitting the wall at every single session in Singapore… Your comment is driven only by blind supporterism.

        1. @js…too bad his fast quali time at Monaco was squandered by his penalty from the race before, so it’s kind of interesting you would use that talking point to talk up MS. Also, there have been far more things to see this year than nice battles that MS has been in or Senna hitting the wall.

          I’m glad you brought up his ‘most overtakes last season’ because I thought of that after MS crashed into Vergne yesterday. Last year, MS started from the back at Spa, and 9 cars crashed in front of him, hence his ‘most overtakes last season’ stat. At the time I pointed this out, and eventually other reports pointed this fact out too, in other words it’s not like all of MS’s overtakes off the grid were hard-earned. But in order to defend MS, some said he was being a smart veteran at the start of Spa because he hung back and waited for the 9 cars to crash in front of him and didn’t get mixed up with them and therefore he has proved why he is a WDC.

          Surely if MS is so good at devining when he should hang back and not get mixed up in something, he needed to do the same yesterday.

          MS blatantly overcooked it yesterday…not saying he hit Vergne intentionally, but at the same time nobody put a gun to MS’s head and forced him to stomp on it with those cars so close in front such that he had to lock up his brakes.

          The laugh I got was in him basically saying once again, as throughout his career, he had to look at the tape to see what happened, and then he basically stated he wanted to figure out why upon locking up all 4 wheels he didn’t decelerate quickly enough to avoid Vergne. Classic.

          1. @robbie: I’m sorry, but your comment on the stats about ‘most overtakes of last season’, which would be obtained, according to youm because of cars crashing before him in Spa is a complete non-sense. I’m talking about overtakes on track. This shows a big bias in your way of tackling things: you did not even look at a proper stat (there was an article on this fact by Keith on this very same website). Therefore, there is absolutely no point for me keeping discussing with you and answering further. Have a nice day, bye.

    9. Don’t know why a driver should be punished for what was clearly a mistake.
      If he had been trying to overtake and deliberately braked too late then fine, punish him. If he was trying to take another driver out the race then fine, punish him. But neither of those things happened, he just made a misjudgement. Punishing him serves no purpose, it won’t stop him doing it again because he wasn’t trying to do it this time!

      1. Don’t know why a driver should be punished for what was clearly a mistake.

        Based on this argument, Grosjean shouldn’t have been banned after Spa because that was clearly a mistake. Mistakes and misjudgements are two things you can’t afford when driving at 300+ km/h, I’m afraid. And it isn’t the first time Schumi has climbed onto the back of someone for no reason whatsoever, it’s the 3rd in exactly one year.

        I am a fan of his since I was 7 years old and even I can admit this penalty is well deserved. :)

        1. Fair enough Antonio, but I have some sympathy for Mark’s position. In essence I think there is a difference between negligence and an error. A negligent act would be one where you have made no account of the possible actions of the move you have taken, or there are significant unacceptable risks, and you make the move anyway.

          Normally, on the road, the distinction is clear, anything that has a fair chance of causing an accident is negligent, but that’s not the case in racing, as in racing accidents occur as a natural consequence, even sometimes when drivers don’t make errors.

          This is a penalty for ruining Verne’s race. If Schumacher had gone off himself the stewards wouldn’t have looked at it. So, the question I have is, is every error that affects another driver to be punished?

          1. I totally agree with that, difference between negligence and error. Punishment is harsh too. But the worst is not there. The safety in F1 has exponentially grown since 1980. Before 1980 it was a carnage, after, safer every year. Safety was only the matter of the track, the car and the outfit. Now, we assist to another era, the safety from the behaviour of the drivers. We already loose quite everything in modern F1 compare to the 80’s when every race was breath taking, now they are all cruising (saving tyres, look at each time lap) 15s aways from the qualifying which are 5 seconds away from the 2004 cars. And today, this year, it is the sword in the heart, drivers are not allowed to do errors (i do not say negligence) anymore. What is the purpose of an open wheel if not the fear to touch them, to feel the danger and have sometimes erros ? Cover them, because now there is nothing to see, it is a fake. Put F1 in Le Mans series.

          2. @dvc…”A negligent act would be one where you have made no account of the possible actions of the move you have taken, or there are significant unacceptable risks, and you make the move anyway.”

            Sounds exactly like what MS did. MS had plenty of action going on in front of him and had no hope of passing anyone at that point in time at that point on the track, such that he should have held back and waited rather than trying to get into that mix by stomping on it and overcooking it such that he had to lock his brakes.

            There were risks in him accelerating when and where he did such that he needed to lock up his brakes, therefore by your definition there was sufficient unacceptable risk and he made the move anyway.

            I do agree with you though that the penalty was for taking Vergne out of the race.

            1. I think that’s a fair assessment of this incident @robbie, I don’t feel the same way about the previous collision with Senna that MS was penalised for though.

        2. @tony031r In my opinion the difference between this and what Grosjean did is that Grosjean made a fairly erratic move without checking what he might hit when he did it. It was something he could have easily avoided, and as such punishing him served the purpose of telling him to be more careful.

          I just don’t think Schumacher was trying to brake late, or trying to do anything he hadn’t done on every previous lap. So he’s being punished for something he can’t necessarily avoid doing in the future (everyone loses concentration every now and then, even F1 drivers).

    10. Dont know why everyone is claiming that he should retire.

      He’s ahead on Rosberg in qualifiying this year, ok he did make a mistake in Spain, Hungary and Singapore, but he certaintly wasnt flawless in his previous career. He even spun behind the safety car, and he has been hit by brake issues all weekend. But especially the British F1 fans seem to enjoy this.

      1. You don’t know why, yet you yourself have pointed out more negatives and only one positive…that he is ahead on NR in quali this year. Yet even that was squandered this weekend as NR got ahead of him at the start. At least 4 of MS’s races now have been affected by his own actions, the two where he crashed into other drivers and took them out, and the two following races that have seen him penalized. So never mind the unreliabilty that has held him back this year, he has also been his own worse enemy, and given his unreliability he of all people cannot afford to be taking himself and others out and getting penalties in the following races for it.

        1. You could say that the other way and point out that he has made only 2 significant errors. I still don’t think the incident with Senna was entirely his fault but that’s beside the point. Drivers make errors occasionally, MS has made no greater number of errors this season than Hamilton typically makes in a year. Nobody is calling for Hamilton’s retirement.

          1. That’s true but some are calling for LH to change teams and some question his mental capacity under pressure but I think he is too young for people to be calling for his retirement, and uniquely MS had already retired and came back and is ‘old’ by F1 standards and has done nowhere near what he was doing in his previous stint in F1 to the point where many question why he even came back. LH squeaked in a WDC, MS has 7, so it is understandable for some to question why with all that experience he is making the mistakes akin to a much less seasoned driver.

    11. A senior moment.

      1. Reminds me of when the news reports about some senior mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brakes and plows into someone’s living room… LoL

    12. Michael Brown (@)
      23rd September 2012, 22:23

      Since when did the stewards use a “similar offence” to decide a penalty?

      1. @lite992 Two weeks after they decided that banning someone for impeding ‘championship leaders’ was an appropriate part of their justification.

    13. A controversial misjudgement or brake problem. Who knows… That’s all.

    14. rather odd to see that happen .. and the Stewards merely took the decision based on the end result that Vergne was an innocent victim . Not sure if it was unfair. Monoco, Hungary & Singapore – Schumi never scored a point here since 2010.

    15. I hope this penalty business changes next season, this is becoming a kindergarten. With all the money involved, I’m having hard time not thinking about who will be benefiting from different penalties and ignoring the fact how stupid drivers behaving in order to get each other a penalty.

    16. Schumacher would not have had the problem if Verne didn’t have to hover at that corner for what seemed to be ages. It appears the overtaking move which was going on, just meant Verne was almost at a standstill for an eternity as he chose not to follow the car just past into the corner, but was waiting to retake the racing line in its wake.

      1. yeah well, anyway, vergne was NOT on the racingline, so if MSC didnt went way to deep to start, this would not be any issue.
        The guy is just not such a great driver, a successful driver maybe… (which says as much as a successful greek who stole all of his capital from the state)
        But he just isnt that good. WoldChamp Cheating, that he is of course xD

        I bet 90% of t F1 drivers will string WC’s together given that EVERYTHING is build around them and they cheat. (illegal TC’s rule bending, tires especially made for MSC, the car especially developed for him.. with those advantages even a Narain could be WDChampion)

        1. @odd-lord

          Good lord, odd is a huge understatement for such ridiculous comments. 7 world titles solely by cheating? Don’t make me laugh.

    17. MSC always has been a lying and cheating knockelhead, so why should it be different now? The dumbass doesn’t even admitt that he was wrong in front the camera’s .. “i did’t decellarate’ gosh Shumie, are you sure?

      Im so fed up with this cheater, that i personally won’t mind if karma bites him in ass every day.

      1. you must be closely related to Thomas Edison; have atleast 70 – 80 patents on your name and must be eagerly waiting for the nobel price…

        .. and who is MSC, nothing but a 7 time WDC who won the 91 races just by cheating.

        1. Lol well said @icemangrins and the nick is odd so no wonder the comments is odd too

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        25th September 2012, 1:13

        Please, 1994 was a long time ago

    18. McNish certainly has first hand knowledge of what results from a stupid mistake based on the accident he caused, and was lucky to live through, at last years race at LeMans.

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