Penalty points system for drivers moves a step closer

2013 F1 season

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The introduction of a penalty points system which could see drivers being excluded from races has moved a step closer.

Team principals have agreed on a structure for the points system according to Auto Motor und Sport. The plan received the support of seven of the eleven team principals and will now be considered for implementation by the FIA.

Under the plan drivers would receive penalty points for a range of misdemeanours. They continue to accrue them until they reach at least 12, at which time they receive a race ban.

The following misdemeanours would incur the following points penalties:

Race ban5
Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by more than 20kph3
Caused a dangerous collision3
Ignored the black flag3
Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by 10-20kph2
Caused a collision2
Dangerously impeded another driver2
Dangerously forced another driver off the track2
Drove too quickly in a yellow or red flag situation2
Ignored the blue flag2
False start2
Overtook the Safety Car2
Exceeded the Safety Car delta time2
Dangerous exit from a pit stop2
Ignored the weigh station during qualifying2
Missed the drivers’ briefing or arrived late1
Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by up to 10kph1
Impeded another driver1
Forced another driver off the track1
Gained an advantage by leaving the track1
Crossed the white line at the pit lane exit1
Ignored the red light at the pit lane exit1
Overtook another car under the Safety Car1
Failed to maintain correct distance to the Safety Car1

Existing penalties will remain in place so a driver who was given a grid drop for impeding a driver would also receive the corresponding penalty points.

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Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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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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146 comments on “Penalty points system for drivers moves a step closer”

  1. Traverse (@)
    9th May 2013, 12:52

    The Infraction ‘Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by more than 20kph’ genuinely made me LOL, although speeding in the pit lane is of course no laughing matter.

    1. “Fighting and pushing hard for a victory: 10 points”

      1. maybe we will see negative point for caterham and marrusia driver

      2. Ignored team orders: 25 points? I know at least one driver that would support such infraction.

        1. Traverse (@)
          9th May 2013, 18:17

          Moaning like a big baby because your faster teammate overtakes you: 228 points. I know at least two drivers that would support such an infraction. ;)

          1. If it’s found to be Hamilton’s fault – 30 points.

          2. This is beginning to sound like one of those old MasterCard adverts… Complaining about radio transmissions being broadcast.. pointless.

          3. Traverse (@)
            10th May 2013, 11:10

            MasterCard, official sponsors of the Champions League – The champiaaaarns!!! Budabumbumbaaaar!!!!

    2. 300kph in the pits, 3 points… no comments…

      1. The Victorian govt would be very interested in installing speed cameras around Albert Park

    3. Actually I think Valtteri broke the speed limit by more than 20 kph a few races ago so it’s not unheard of.

    4. Fernando ‘he pushed me off the track’ Alonso, would be a happy man now…

      1. David (@mansellsmoustache)
        9th May 2013, 22:38

        Fernando ‘he dangerously pushed me off track’ Alonso now, surely ;-).

  2. In principle I am in favor of such a system.
    But this seems to penalize drivers double for some things (how will it work with a race ban giving you 5 extra points?) Ignoring red / yellow seems ridiculously little points, but I guess its because that comes on top of a drive through/stop and go. And if the penalties for speeding are the harshest things, I really think the focus the wrong way around!

    1. @bascb

      how will it work with a race ban giving you 5 extra points?

      I imagine that the offending driver would get five extra points on their record when they return, as a knd of probation – they’ve already been banned once, so it’s going to take less to get them banned a second time.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys
        Hah, I have not thought of that, but it is clearly a good candidate.

      2. But how does that work with the ultimate penalty for achieving 12 points?

        I mean, the idea is, that when you get 12 points you get a race ban (and you start from 0 again), only with the race ban you get an extra 5? Wouldn’t it then make more sense to have a race ban make only 7 points go away?

        1. @bascb I think a ban based on the 12 points won’t give any more point but it is for someone receiving a race ban for something else …

          1. Hopefully getting to 12 means you start again with 5. If you’ve been banned once in a season, you should have a shorter time to get back to the penalty box. Makes perfect sense to me.

    2. @bascb I think you get a ban for 5 points, not the other way around :)

      But I think with these values for each ‘mistake’ 5 is a very low value, you can get a ban really easy. Consider a driver is in a hurry to the pits to change the used inters to put on new slicks. The pitlane could get really busy, say the driver couldnt slow down enough due to the wet track, he gets 1,2 or 3 points, if the lolypop is lifted in wrong time, he gets 2 points, and just for the sake of the example he crosses the white line. In this extreme example a driver got a ban with one pitstop, causing no harm to others.

      Im really in favour of the penatly system, but there should be clear definitions of all of the stated penal cases (most of them is clearly balck & white, but not all of them). If the infractions will be judged subjectively by the stewards, the whole pp system can backfire.

      IMO there are two possibilities:
      a) The stewards will not use the full power of the system and will give pps at only the extreme situations, like 2012 Spa, but that way the system has no meaning as they already have the power to give different penatlies.

      b)The stewarts will hand out pps in some cases, and wont in others, and by this subjectivity they can ‘rig’ the game involuntarily. Will they hand out a pp if the impending driver is a championship contender and one plus point would mean a ban for him in the final race?

      1. Should have read the article properly, just ignore the first section of my comment, but the other poins are still valid.

    3. @bascb

      But this seems to penalize drivers double for some things

      That’s no different to the system for driving on the roads in the UK; break the speed limit and you get a fine and points on your licence, causing injury or death by dangerous driving and you could end up in prison and get points on your licence etc, once you get 12 points you lose your licence, get banned for a period of time and then have to re-take your driving test to be able to drive on the roads again regardless of what other penalties you have incurred along the way.

      I would imagine that the idea is that you get penalised for the actual infraction with traditional penalties (drive through, stop-go, grid drop etc) but then get penalty points as well so that repeated infractions lead to a more serious punishment (race ban) which seems perfectly logical to me.

      And if the penalties for speeding are the harshest things, I really think the focus the wrong way around!

      Doing over 80 kph in a pitlane with a speed limit of 60 kph during practice (or at one of the temporary circuits) means you’re going at least 33% faster than you should be, given that pit lane speed limits were introduced to protect team members, marshals and journalists who are working in the pitlane I think that’s an appropriate punishment.

      1. Doing over 80 kph in a pitlane with a speed limit of 60 kph during practice (or at one of the temporary circuits) means you’re going at least 33% faster than you should be, given that pit lane speed limits were introduced to protect team members, marshals and journalists who are working in the pitlane I think that’s an appropriate punishment.

        – but not when you then see that ignoring Yellow or even red flags is only 2 points @beneboy

        1. @bascb
          Which is the same penalty you’d get for exceeding the speed limit by 10-20 kph, which seems appropriate to me.

          Up until the late 90s we’d regularly see marshals recovering cars and debris from the track under double waved yellows but these days we’re far more likely to see the safety car coming out for such a situation so the risk to the marshals is already managed quite well.

          Going 20 kph over the speed limit in a very cramped and crowded pit lane is, in my opinion, far riskier than ignoring a yellow flag, although I’d probably put ignoring a red flag up to 3 points too.

          I think we have to accept that no system is perfect but, personally, I’d rather see a system with slight flaws than no system at all.

    4. I’ve interpreted it that if you are banned from a race (by committing a major offence such as Grosjean did last year or by reaching the >12 points) then you will serve that penalty and then when you return you will start from 5 points, as @prisoner-monkeys has said.

      I think that’s fair enough, as then major offenders will be banned more often and so will not pose as much of a danger to other drivers, although so far even Maldonado has been behaving himself this year (although I think that’s more due to the fact he’s been too busy crashing into gravel traps to hit other cars)!

  3. Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by more than 20kph
    Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by 10-20kph
    False start
    Exceeded the Safety Car delta time
    Dangerous exit from a pit stop
    Ignored the weigh station during qualifying
    Missed the drivers’ briefing or arrived late
    Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by up to 10kph
    Crossed the white line at the pit lane exit

    Points towards race ban for doing things like above? Really, I mean, REALLY? Race ban for few speedings in the pitlane, false start and dangerous exit from a pit stop, which is sole responsibility of a team? Is it late April Fools or what?

    1. Race ban for few speedings in the pitlane, false start

      If a driver manages to speed in the pit lane or jump the start several times, something is seriously wrong.

      dangerous exit from a pit stop, which is sole responsibility of a team

      Drives are already given drive-through penalties for dangerous releases, even though they are, as you say, the “sole responsibility of the team”. And giving the driver penalty points does penalise the team. Say Marussia have an unsafe release for Jules Bianchi, who has previously exceeded the pit lane speed limit by twenty kilometres per hour. He gets a race ban for it, which means the team are forced to put Rodolfo Gonzalez in the car for the next race. If that’s not a penalty, then I don’t know what is.

  4. What it means to read only the title. I thought of something entirely different(points being substracted)

    1. Same here, already starting a text in my head…

  5. Those wouldn’t replace in-race sanctions though, would they? Otherwise a driver might think “Well, I got only 3 points thus far, let’s gain an advantage by leaving the track” or do a false start etc.
    Also, after a quick read I think the seriousness of some incidents don’t merit the points gained for them (some are too harsh, some are way too weak).

    1. No they will complement the existing penalties as said in the final sentence.

      1. @stretch can you tell that I only slept 3 hours tonight? ;) Thx for the heads up :)

        1. @gerdoner I missed that point too, your comment made me re-read the article haha!

  6. Nick.UK (@)
    9th May 2013, 12:58

    While a point docking for gaining an advantage by leaving the track might finally force drivers to not abuse run off, all the varying levels of offence like ‘impeed another driver’ and ‘dangerously impeed a driver’ etc will cause a lot of debate. If an argument over whether it was dangerous or not ends up being the difference between winning or loosing a title, I think we could see a scheme like this hastely removed. It’s far to uncertain.

    1. That’s not how it will work – think driving license instead

      1. Nick.UK (@)
        9th May 2013, 14:49

        Yeah I realised that pretty much right after finishing my comment :S

  7. I hope this doesn’t mean that race bans become more common. Imagine if someone on eleven points got a race ban for being late to the driver’s briefing.

    1. @slr
      He wont be getting the race ban for arriving late, he will get the ban for behaving like an overall ass the whole year. Which seems fair I think.

  8. Art (@artanonim)
    9th May 2013, 12:59

    I’m afraid we’re going to see much more race bans, if this system will be implemented.

    Imagine a driver with 11 points. He might be too aggressive on track. But getting a race ban thanks to poor work of the lollipop man (“Dangerous exit from a pit stop”)?

    1. I’m afraid we’re going to see much more race bans, if this system will be implemented.

      Doesn’t that address the complaints of some people? Every time Pastor Maldonado gets himself into another scrape, there is a chorus of people demanding to know why he hasn’t been banned yet.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys
        Absolutely. I hope that this gets implemented.
        I thought that while Grosjean was pretty bad last year, but he wasn’t half as bad as Maldonardo. But who got the race ban? Grosjean.
        With this system both of them would have got one sooner or later for their stupidities.

        1. @mads – Who nearly decapitated another driver when he caused an accident? Grosjean.

          Although Maldonado had a few questionable moments, I don’t think he was half as bad as most people made out. His clash with Perez at Silverstone was a silly error, and nothing more – but people started demanding a race ban for it, which was in no way justified. If it weren’t for other altercations, nobody would have given the Silverstone clash a second thought.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys
            No sure the incident in Silverstone was on its own, not very bad.
            Just like Grosjean pushing another driver in Belgium wasn’t very bad. Vettel has done that several times.
            But if we put them into context of the result and the previous incidents leading up to those two events, I think that it would be very fair to let the hammer of justice fall on both of them instead of just Grosjean.

      2. Point well made @prisoner-monkeys – the points system does exactly that – punish a driver who keeps making mistakes, cock-ups and bangs wheels with others only too often. Much like it does in real live with these kind of systems.

    2. In that situation, maybe the driver needs to look inwards first to work out why he ended up with eleven points that allowed him to get banned for someone else’s mistake.

      Now, if the team has 12 straight unsafe releases that are out of the drivers control, then yes, you have an argument.

      1. LOL @optimaximal, An argument that the team needed looking into quite some time before; hard to imagine the FIA, or drivers themselves, to let a team get there, more than every two races a season an unsafe release!

  9. ‘Impeded another driver’ isn’t this defensive driving and part of racing?!!

    1. @markyfun
      Impeding another driver is issued in qualifying if one driver on an out or inlap gets in the way of someone on a flying lap.

      1. That should of cause read “Penalties for impeding another driver is…”

  10. Traverse (@)
    9th May 2013, 13:09

    This is just ridiculous. How can exceeding the Safety Car delta time and causing a collision warrant the same punishment?

    1. They will still get a “proper” punishment (i.e. Drive through, stop go, 20 secs added at the end of the race), it’s just they will get these penalty points as well, to deter people from re-offending. I don’t see why it’s that ridiculous, as both of these misdemeanours would (correct me if I’m wrong) get the same penalty during the race, therefore they should both arguably also get the same penalty points too.

  11. Zantkiller (@)
    9th May 2013, 13:12

    Some of them seem too low.

    Dangerously impeded another driver
    Dangerously forced another driver off the track
    Drove too quickly in a yellow or red flag situation

    These are all highly dangerous and could seriously hurt people but only 2 points?

    1. And ignoring Blue flag – 2 points seems harsh.

      1. True both of you, but some of these may get tweeked if in fact they do go ahead with this penalty point system…and…I think there are degrees of seriousness. eg. driving too quickly in a yellow situation can be by 1kph or by 20kph so if it’s only by 1kph then the 2 points is in fact harsh because the infraction didn’t add that much danger to the situation.

        And ignoring a blue flag for a 2 points penalty might be harsh if it’s within the first number of laps and the offender didn’t really affect the outcome by not getting out of the way quite quickly enough, but what if it is within a few laps to go in the race and the ignoring of the flags for long enough caused one WDC contender to not be able to catch and pass the other, or get within the one second required to use DRS on him for a race win? Then perhaps to some the 2 points would not be harsh enough for the blue flag ignorer.

        1. Check that…as I think about it, usually the blue flags don’t come out early in the race, so I think that by the time blue flags are being waved it is to ensure the ones fighting for serious points don’t get unfairly impeded, so again, the two penalty points could be well justified and not harsh at all, as they could adversely affect the outcome for a serious race win or WDC contender.

      2. Actually, I think blue flags is one where it makes sense. If you give a back-marker a drive-through, this does not hurt much. Points towards a race ban might be a much more effective deterrent.

  12. One upside to this system is that more young drivers could get the chance to drive in Formula One (and not only in back-of-the-grid cars).

    1. @macaque Yes! That was my thought exactly. This has the potential to increase the importance of the reserve driver and give them opportunities to prove themselves.

      For example – If this were implemented this year, it’s not hard to imagine that a series of rookie mistakes over the course of the season by Gutierrez might lead to a late-season appearance by Robin Frijns.

      1. @pandaslap Then again Sauber had the chance to put Gutierrez in the car in 2011 and instead they called Pedro de la Rosa (at the time a test driver for McLaren). It wouldn’t surprise me if they called him from Ferrari next time…

        But sure, there are many drivers who might deserve a chance sooner rather than later (Frijns, da Costa), and others who could get a second chance (Heikki, Koba, Alguersuari).

  13. jimscreechy (@)
    9th May 2013, 13:19

    Ridiculous! So if you miss the weighbridge, (something no driver does purposely) and ignore a blue flag your 1 point from a race ban. Drivers will be on the track shaking in their boots afraid of being penalised for the slightest infraction. We’ll have them tip-toeing around on the track like they’re ‘Driving Miss Daisy’. I mean… miss a drivers briefing? come one, its almost like their just making stuff up to get a list which seems more substantial. there is no need for half of that rubbinnsh and most of the penalties are way to severe. Keep it simple and keep to the important stuff. We’ve seen drivers cause big problems get no or little penalties now it seems they want to dish out penalities like they are Smarties. All we want is some measure of consistency and some penalties for the serious or important stuff, not an Alcatraz worthy penal system… good grief!

    1. Zantkiller (@)
      9th May 2013, 13:21

      They continue to accrue them until they reach at least 12, at which time they receive a race ban.

      If you get a race ban you get an extra 5 points.

      1. jimscreechy (@)
        9th May 2013, 14:07

        Yes sorry I misread. Thanks for pointing it out.

    2. @jimscreechy I don’t know which article you read, but it clearly says:

      Under the plan drivers would receive penalty points for a range of misdemeanours. They continue to accrue them until they reach at least 12, at which time they receive a race ban.

      So they would have to do a hell of a lot of weighbridge missing and blue flag ignoring to get a race ban, if that’s what you’re worried about. :)
      And as for the missing the driver’s briefing one, I think that actually does need to be there, because the driver briefings are there for a reason after all (like y’know, for all the drivers’ safety), it’s not just a tea party.

      (Wow sorry that comment sounded ruder than I intended)

      1. Whoops, @zantkiller got in there first!

  14. Will drivers carry the point penalties the next season?

    1. @caci99 – I imagine that, after a certain amount of time, the points would be removed from a driver’s licence. Kind of like road licences; if you’re caught speeding, you lose demerit points from your licence. But after a certain amount of time, you earn those points back. The same logic would apply here.

    2. The system is supposed to be for the last 12 months, so each month the points collected a year ago would be dropped @caci99, @prisoner-monkeys

      1. @bascb thanks for that; that’s the only real question I had!

  15. surely ignoring a pitlane red light is worse than just one point, in the past this has lead to a black flag for the driver

    1. I guess you get the black flag AND the point for ignoring the red light. But yeah, compared to the penalty for speeding it sure seems this needs a bit of balancing.

      1. Yes, absolutely. It’s not replacing the current punishments, they’ll still get the same punishments as before for breaking the rules.

    2. Arno Neemers
      9th May 2013, 21:23

      Several of these are definitely too low, even if they are supplementary to a financial or time penalty in the race itself.

      * Ignoring a black flag is just 1/4 of a race ban? So you can ignore a black flag safely three races in a row without penalty? Ludicrous.

      * Overtaking the safety car is just two points? So you’re allowed to pass it five times before we care? Again, ludicrous.

      * Ignoring the pit lane red light, as you note, is just 1 point — so you can safely ignore it 11 times before you get a ban. (That’s more than half a year’s worth of races.)

      Yet others are clearly too harsh.

      * Two points for ignoring a blue flag, something which doesn’t endanger anybody — it just inconveniences them. So an inconvenience is twice as bad as genuine danger (exiting the pits under a red light). What kind of bizarre logic is that?

      Also, it isn’t made clear but I’m guessing these points reset at the end of the year. If so, that needs to be changed, or the end of the year becomes a free-for-all. (“Well, I have seven points left, so I can ignore a black flag, overtake the safety car, and exit the pits under a red light without fear of penalty. Cool!”)

      Not to mention that in the final race of the year, there is no bite at all, because your race ban never happens.

      So no, I would favor a system where points from one year roll over into the next, but points expire after a full season’s worth of races. (Ie. if the current race is in a 20-race season, any points from more than 20 races ago are ignored.) That way, at all times, you have to pay attention to your conduct.

      I favor the system, incidentally, I just believe it needs a lot of tuning. Dangerous and unsporting actions should be penalized a lot more harshly. Those like the blue flag thing which are neither dangerous nor really unsporting (because it has no impact on anybody you’re racing against yourself) should still be penalized, but significantly less harshly than dangerous and unsporting behavior.

  16. I think it would be much better for the penalty system keep the same points as totaled above, but removal all the 1’s as I don’t think they are that serious (financial fine and a ticking off yes, points no). What they should actually do is deduct the points them from the individual Drivers+ Constructors championship points total instead of adding them up on individual licences.

    This would therefore mean that’s its only relevant for that particular championship year. I highly doubt GRO would have improved as he has this year knowing he had a lot of points on his license from his poor mistakes last year, as he probably would have backed off. Racing drivers are here to race, and a certain level of aggression has to be there otherwise who the hell would watch it?

    1. @timtoo
      The FIA have increased the cost of the superlicence, in return they agreed to bring in a penalty points system and do away with financial penalties for drivers.

      MotoGP have brought in a points system this year and for them the points are reset to zero at the end of a season, don’t know if that’s going to happen in F1 but I’d guess (and hope) that it will.

  17. could see kimi gaining points on skipping or arriving late on driver’s briefing.

    1. He’ll be where he’s required to be just as everybody else. Just because he doesn’t like interviews or chatting with random people on paddock or doesn’t go to track walks, doesn’t make him an irresponsible jerk who misses all important briefings.

  18. Zantkiller (@)
    9th May 2013, 13:36

    So if I understand this correctly Romain would have got 10 points for his antics at Belgium?

    -Dangerously forced another driver off the track
    -Caused a dangerous collision
    -Got a Race ban

    1. If you are suggesting he did all 3 of these things in one incident, I’m guessing they wouldn’t add these all up. He did enough to warrant a race ban, therefore he gets 5 points. But you raise something interesting. Did he not get a race ban because they looked at his previous infractions of whacking drivers in previous races, driving as though he had no mirrors or no clue where anyone else was on the track? They finally said enough is enough. Let’s ban the guy for a race and see if that straightens him out. He’s been causing too many adverse consequences for the key players for the Championship.

      If the points penalty system had been in place, presumably RG would have already accumulated enough points by Belgium that he would have excercised much more caution with his driving at that race, for fear of getting a race ban if he hadn’t already earned one. The thinking likely is that RG would perhaps have driven much more cleanly leading up to Belgium if there was a tangible threat of a race ban in play as opposed to the intangible concept that by the time he ‘did it again’ in Belgium they decided they’d seem enough through the season up to that point and should penalize him with a ban.

  19. Please, would someone do the math ad let us know inf it was in place already, how would be 2013 “points rank”?

  20. This is just wrong. We need Stewards to make the right decisions, even if they are unpopular.

    A driver losing control over his car in the breaking zone and therefore taking out the car in front of him might be punished with 3 penalty points according to this system, even though he didn’t do anything on purpose and would’ve done everything to avoid this if possible.

    Someone pulling a Schumi-Barrichello wouldn’t get any penalty at all while this is still something that requires (imho) a 3-race ban at the very least.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      9th May 2013, 14:23

      3 race ban? grid places lost probably, IMHO. But of course the “context” makes it also interesting to be considered as you say. (Crashing laterally the barrier in the straight line can prove fatal)

    2. A driver losing control over his car in the breaking zone and therefore taking out the car in front of him might be punished with 3 penalty points according to this system, even though he didn’t do anything on purpose and would’ve done everything to avoid this if possible.

      He may have not done it on purpose, but that doesn’t erase the fact that he lost control of his car. And it’s his responsibility to keep control of his car. In hindsight he would have done anything to avoid this if possible, but he didn’t. He took out the car in front of him in your scenario, so should there be no penalty for that as long as the driver doing the hitting says, ‘but I didn’t mean to?’ Where’s the justice for the one whose been taken out?

      But I think there is forgiveness in this scenario often enough. eg. a car has to slow unexpectedly, which then causes the next driver to have to nail his brakes, which then causes a third driver to hit the second one, but he really can’t be blamed for the accordian affect that started two cars ahead. In this case the hitting driver would not likely get 3 penalty points, imho, but then that’s different than the hitting driver losing control of his car.

    3. Just because it’s an accident doesn’t mean it should go unpunished. That is why false starts are penalised. It’s why accidental fouls in football aren’t ignored, or in any sport for that matter- if you commit illegal behaviour according to the rules for whatever reason (in this case taking out another driver) it gets punished. A lot of people started to think the same as you and argued that Hulkenberg didn’t deserve a penalty in Brazil last year, because they felt sorry for him after he became the great underdog- nonsense, he ruined another driver’s race. It’s unfortunate but the way it is and the way it should be.

    4. I’m not saying that those making an error should go unpunished. But there has to be a different penalty between a driver clearly making an error and another one taking out another driver on purpose.

      1. Yeah you are right and I think they do differentiate the two already. And for all we know, an innocent mistake may not even result in a one point penalty in this proposed system. They’re consulting over it and it is not even a given right now that they are going to instigate it, and I’m sure that amongst the many discussions they will have on this topic in the near future, many scenarios are going to be presented to ‘test’ the validity of this system. 4 out of 11 teams did not vote for this, and perhaps it is because they see shades of grey that need to be clarified with further discussions.

        Forgetting the points system they are proposing, as it is, a driver taking out another on purpose can easily be given a race ban or at least grid-spot penalties for the next race. And let’s not forget that often when there is a questionable incident, the stewards talk to the drivers afterwards before making a judgement and they have a chance to, between what they have seen on the replays, and what the drivers say about it, come to a conclusion that way as to who intended what. I think in many cases along with the evidence of the video replays, they can tell by a driver’s tone and body language and what he says and how he says it as to how much error and how much purpose there was to an incident. And a driver can claim innocent, but the video clearly shows his hands cranking the wheel and steering his car right into his rival.

  21. Not sure if I fully understand this very well. Is the idea that these penalties should replace drive-throughs and time penalties during the race?
    What would happen if a driver who has been ‘a good boy’ all season came into the final race of the year with no points at all . . . He could be seriously naughty all weekend, safe in the knowledge that there would be no carrying foreward of his penalty points.
    Also, why does ‘Race Ban’ get 5 points? If someone is banned from a race, it’s becasue they have done something bad, and they are being punished (by the Stewards?). So by giving him points, you’re punishing him for being punished. Seems a little odd.

    1. @timothykatz
      No it would not replace the usual penalties. So don’t worry about that.
      And regarding the 5 points for getting a race ban, I see it like this, a driver behaves like a MASSIVE moron, gets him self a race ban, but just to make sure that he gets even less slack next time he is given 5 points on top of that to make sure that he has to change his attitude right there on the spot or else he would get another race ban very quickly.

    2. Not sure if I fully understand this very well. Is the idea that these penalties should replace drive-throughs and time penalties during the race?

      Looking at the last line of the article, I think the idea is that the drivers would still get, for example, drive-throughs during the race, or grid drops for the race if an infraction occurs during practice or quali, for whatever the usual offences are that cause a driver/team to be given a driver-through or a grid drop, PLUS they would get penalty points that would then get accumulated and if exceeding 12 then they get a race ban.

      In other words I don’t think a driver can go into the final race with no penalty points, or only a few, and therefore start commiting ‘crimes’ without fear of retribution. Block a driver in quali and he will still have penalized himself for the race by earning a grid drop for the start of the race, even if the penalty points aren’t the concern as it is the last race, assuming they don’t get carried over to the next season, which to me would be ridiculous. Earn himself a driver-through and he will still have penalized himself for the race even if the points that go with it are not going to affect a ban, in the scenario you present.

      A race ban getting 5 points simply means a driver gets banned PLUS 5 points…I think the intention here is to discourage behaviour that accumulates points. The points are only a further penalty if they accumulate 12 or more, so the point is (pardon the pun) keep your nose clean, don’t accumulate more than 12 points, and if you do that means that your behaviour in general needs some attention and getting banned for a race for continued infractions is the eye-opening consequence for the driver that needs to start driving cleaner.

      My concern with anything like this is that it is still up to the discretion of the stewards, and I think there is still an undercurrent of belief that an infraction may or may not be instigated depending on who did it and how they want to shape the Championship run for the season. ie. some think that if a team if running away with the Championship and viewership is falling off, said runaway team might receive a penalty that would normally be no big deal, to try to rein them in and make more of a season out of it. When has a driver blocked, or blocked too much, or not left enough room, etc etc.

      I have a question too in that I thought ALL teams would have to agree to this in order for them to delve into it further, and yet in this case 7 out of 11 have agreed. Is it the case that at all times, as long as the majority of teams agree, then they go ahead, or am I mistaken in thinking that for some things (ie. changes to the way F1 works) ALL teams have to agree.

      1. @robbie. Thanks for that. I understand what you are saying, and the question of who these penalties would be awarded by and when is a concern too. Are the Stewards good enough, or are these penalty points going to be an FIA task, after the event has finished?
        It would seem to be very much open to manipulation, as you say.

  22. soundscape (@)
    9th May 2013, 14:13

    They should add a component whereby points accumulated over time begin to erode, rewarding good behavior. The AFL (Australian Football League) has something similar for players facing the match review panel and tribunal.

    1. Yeah I can see that, although one could argue that the reward for good behaviour is that by behaving well you are not accumulating points that would lead to a race ban (12+), so if you ‘earn’ some points with bad behaviour, but that concern makes you clean up your act and stop accumulating points, then your points tally remains harmless and you have rewarded yourself and the team by driving cleaner.

  23. ‘Gained an advantage by leaving the track’, only one point for this. If this gets implemented, I think any given day a driver will happily go off the track to gain position and collect 1 penalty point and he can do that atleast 11 times (assuming no other penatly points being collected) before getting a ban.

    Remember, Seb got penalised when he overtook JB off the track last year. If given an option Seb would have happily taken one penalty point.

    1. Again though, there is still the usual penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. We will still see a driver giving the spot back in order to avoid a drive-through, and if he doesn’t give the spot back immediately he will be flagged and given a drive-through, PLUS he will have earned a point on his naughty list. The penalty points system is not being considered in order to give drivers the go-ahead to commit up to 11 points in infractions as a substitute for the usual consequences of said infractions. The usual consequences are still in place PLUS you now accumulate points that could lead to a race ban if you commit so many infractions that you’ve earned to be sat out to rethink the way you (mis)conduct yourself on the track.

      1. Yeah, now I see. Thanx Robbie.

  24. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    9th May 2013, 14:20

    i guess these points are a different matter from the Championship points, aren’t they? I mean, they are not points discounted from the WDC, right?

    1. I’m guessing not. I think the teams would likely not agree to what you suggest, particularly because of the undercurrent of thinking that sometimes penalties issued or not issued fall in the ‘shades-of-grey’ category and are so highly debateable that if the penalty points also affected the Championship points, the potential consequences and the controversy would be huge. That said, Championship points will definitely be affected for a driver who has earned a race ban by achieving 12+ points. Race ban= 0 points for one race.

  25. Image a race with 3 or more drivers the grid is only going to get smaller, this is not ideal for F1 with all the sponsors and fans who want a full grid specially with only a few cars.I suppose the reserve drivers can finally have a go but do you really want a race with your favourite driver out, I like the system, its gonna keep drivers in check, but will it force drivers to be too cautious, this might work in team sports with more participants, but for f1, guess we will only find out once its implemented, personally I am not in favour!!

  26. Maldonado had 10 penalties last year. He would’ve been close to 12.

    1. One of them was at least a 3-pointer though, when he hit Perez on purpose in Monaco, so the likelihood is that with this system in place, Maldonado would have either got a race ban, or calmed down sooner.

      1. I do think it would be interesting to see whether anybody would have hit 12 last season… Will take a lot of digging through seeing exactly who missed meetings etc and when!

  27. Is it just a language barrier thing, because I don’t understand why people are struggling to understand that this is a penalty point system, *not* a deduction against their WDC points total.

  28. FIA building on top of an already crappy penalty system? Nothing surprising here. Drivers getting banned for speeding and coming late? I can imagine all the excitement when a title is decided because a championship contender won’t start a race. Awesome race indeed. And goodluck taking autograph of your favourite driver when he is banned. Or maybe he will have to be present because FOM demands shots of his sad face, contemplating what he has done and vowing never to steer away from the Holy Delta Time. Or something. Viewers should be kept entertained. Especially the ones who had came to see that driver. If he fails to comply again – another race ban of course. :)

    1. I can imagine all the excitement when a title is decided because a championship contender won’t start a race.

      I think that is a very valid point. However, I think in reality most drivers don’t speed that often throughout the season, nor show up late for meetings, such that those ‘lightweight’ infractions would be his undoing for the WDC. And they certainly wouldn’t speed as much or by tardy with a tangible penalty points system in place. Most WDC’s have to have had a pretty clean season in order to get to where they are by the final race. If they’ve been accumulating enough points such that they may get banned for the final race, I think it is likely they also aren’t a candidate to win the WDC. The usual penalties will have applied throughout the year too, and going hand in hand with the penalty points would be other costly consequences that would be just as key to preventing a driver from winning the WDC such as drive-throughs and gridspot downgrading if not starting from the back of the pack, that would have limited their WDC points tally in several races.

      1. So it’s OK because it’s just unlikely to happen? LHC black hole; Chernobyl/Fukushima or Challenger unlikely? :D
        The point system doubles the penalties for no good reason. Grosjean was banned supposedly for repeated offences. This proposal does not take into account repeated offences, does not make difference between speeding and causing a crash.
        “racing driver gets banned for driving fast” will be a nice headline. Out of context, sure, but still hilarious.
        Finally, missing a race limit a driver WDC chances more than any grid penalty. A WDC contender does not need to start on pole in these times, he just needs to start. And the 12pts ban certainly has the power to decide championships.

        1. @crr917 Hmmm….well it is certainly easier for a driver in F1 to control his pit lane speed or his attendance record at a driver meeting than it is for a nuclear power plant to react to a Tsunami, or for them to predict a space shuttle won’t blow up after I’m sure they thought they had all precautions accounted for.

          The points system they are proposing only doubles the penalties if a driver accumulates more than 11, and that’s within his own actions to control. Offend repeatedly and for sure you will not only suffer the normally applied penalties such as drive-throughs, and grid spot penalties, but you’ll get yourself into the 12 point ban zone even quicker.

          I remain convinced that most drivers who have such a sorted season that they have accumulated penalty points to the point of being banned, weren’t likely having a WDC season to begin with. You need to drive a pretty clean season, with historically the WCC winning car, with few reliability issues or accidents, and few infractions, to pull off a WDC.

          There might, on paper, be a chance that the 12pts ban can decide a championship, but I don’t think F1 will let that happen or would instigate this system if it could happen that we would have such an anti-climactic end to a season. And if in fact they do let this happen, and in fact it does happen, then so be it… all you drivers had all the knowledge ahead of time as to what would happen if you commit too many infractions…so you’ll have to live with the consequences even if it costs you the WDC in the end.

          You’re right…missing a race limits a driver’s WDC chances more than any grid penalty…so don’t miss a race.

          1. Cause a crash, break the speed limit a couple of times, one unsafe release, leave the track limits, one fall start, impede someone and some late coming for driver briefing is not the same as causing 6 crashes. Or equal to breaking speed limit 6 times.
            Actually it sounds like the real laws but it does not make it any better :)

    2. How about a public spanking for anyone with 12 points at the race he’s banned from!

      1. And one penalty point if he is late for his public spanking?

    3. @crr917
      If a driver is late to the drivers briefing, 12 times then he needs to have someone take a look at his watch.
      The drivers briefing is something that is necessary for the safety of them selves, the marshals and to be able to make the weekend run smoothly.
      Its not a just tea party.
      Would your boss not consider doing something quite severe if you were noticeably late for more then 50% of all your important meetings doing a whole year? The vast majority would.
      If a driver is given a race ban for not taking things seriously, then its his own fault.
      They don’t do those things for fun.

  29. Good intentions, but this just further fuels conspiracy and favouritism disputes, considering lack of backbone and consistency stewards were showing in past two years.

  30. Dangerous exit from a pit stop

    I assume that this only applies if the driver ignores the lollipop man, and leaves before he is told it is safe to do so?

    1. I think it must be, otherwise it would be an ‘unsafe release from pit box’ which is a Team, rather than Driver problem, isn’t it? can’t remember what penalties have been applied in the past for that though.

      1. I think drive through penalties, which seems unfair on the driver, but is nowhere near as unfair as getting points contributing to a ban.

  31. I think this is a really good idea.

    If a driver repeatedly breaks the rules/regulations then they should suffer a penalty & if they keep doing it as well as other things then clearly they are not learning from there mistakes or simply don’t care about the regulations so should receive further penalty.

    If you have a driver that is constantly breaking the pit speed limit then action needs to be taken & if a penalty points system would eventually result in a severe penalty (Race ban for example) then it will make the driver think about learning how to not break the pit speed limit.
    Same with accidents, If a driver is repeatedly causing accidents then something is wrong & he is clearly not learning for his mistakes, This points system will make him think about things a bit more.

    We have this sort of system on the public road & I see no issue with something similar occurring on the race track.

  32. I’m definitely in favour of this system, it will help to tally up who really deserves to be banned, and keep drivers in line and stop multiple re-offenders.

    We only need to take a look at 2012 and see that Grosjean would have had 8-10 points tallied up before Belgium. With that said, he may well have been far less aggressive and the incident may never have happened. Had it happened anyway, that would have resulted in at least another 5 points, and then another 5 more for the race ban he would have incurred for gaining more than 12 points.

  33. David not Coulthard (@)
    9th May 2013, 16:11

    Missed the drivers’ briefing or arrived late : a point.

    Err……….Wouln’t fines be better fot that infridgement?

    1. David not Coulthard (@)
      9th May 2013, 16:11


  34. I like the principle, but worry a bit about the balance, and also see an issue that inconsistency by stewards now becomes an even bigger problem as it will haunt drivers for 12 months.

  35. “Missed the drivers’ briefing or arrived late: 1 point”

    Kimi may be getting a few of those!

  36. I see another opportunity for strategy here, and a chance to use this to advantage.

    Lets assume in the last 2 races a driver has kept his nose clean all year and has zero points, but his rival has collected 10.

    This system would encourage the “clean” driver to make lots of adventageous infractions as long as he stays below the 12 pt mark. Similar, he can try to bait the other driver and try to get him some extra points; perhaps nosing in on situation whereby the “dirty” driver is “encouraged” to push him off, or make to create a scenario where the dirty driver gets advantage in an off-track excursion.

    Seems like another weapon that can/will be used to win races rather than increase saftey or the purity of racing.

    1. @javlinsharp Drivers will get the points in addition to the other penalties (like drive troughs and place demotions), but you make a valid point in that a driver with a lot of points will be driving very carefully and others can take advantage of that.

    2. Hmmm…unless I’m mistaken it sounds like you think that the clean driver has 11 points worth of infractions that he can commit to his advantage without further consequence as long as he’s below 12 points…which is not the case. Drivers still get the usual consequences for misbehaviour, PLUS points for their infractions. So I’m having trouble wrapping my head around what would be an ‘adventageous infraction.’ And also I’d like to think that the stewards would be able to see though some sort of ‘baiting’ tactics, even if those made sense to do.

      So you force your rival off the track and take the one point because you’ve kept it clean and you’ve got lots of points to give with only two races to go. Presumably in your scenario the driver gains an advantage by gaining a spot even if he’s been forced off the track (and presumably doesn’t give the spot back), so is given a penalty point and it puts him in the race ban category for the last race. I somehow think that the stewards would not allow a dirty tactic like this to be categorized the same way. If you are forced off the track and you somehow gain an advantage from it anyway, is that the same as gaining an advantage by going off the track because you overcooked a corner? Are you still obliged to give the spot back if someone underhandedly forces you off the the track but it doesn’t work and the one you forced still gains an advantage? I would like to think that the ‘clean’ rival that decided to resort to dirty tactics such as this would first of all be castigated for trying to win this way, and secondly would risk himself being given a harsh penalty for the last race, such as a ten-spot grid penalty for forcing someone off the track. Sure the one point penalty is inconsequential for him at that stage, but I’m sure risking a ten-spot penalty or worse, and his own integrity, might not be worth the slim odds of somehow getting a dirty trick past the stewards.

  37. I’m sure the 4 teams who didn’t support it are Sauber, Williams, Caterham and Marussia.

  38. I do think this is a great idea, even the ones for petty infringements. It’d be a great way to get a bit of discipline into the sport where we have seen drivers in the past commit similar offenses multiple times in a short space of time. This is, however, only worth doing if a) the FIA will actually stick to it, b) it’s wiped after the end of the season let’s say, or the point(s) are dropped 12 months after committing that offense and c) Vettel gets a penalty point every time he raises ‘that’ finger ;)

    The only two (three) drivers who did not get any penalties last season were Fernando Alonso and Timo Glock (and Jerome D’Ambrosio). Does anybody know whether they would have gotten any penalty points for any of the above crimes if they committed them? And does anybody know whether any driver would have been awarded a race ban last season or not? (Maldonado surely got one)

  39. Hi Keith. You gave us the news but not your opinion on whether this is a good or bad thing. What d’ya think?

    1. @shimks I haven’t entirely made my mind up yet. Though like some people I find the implied equivalence between some misdemeanours very odd. For example ignoring a blue flag is a far lesser crime than overtaking the safety car. And I think we need a specific and harsher punishment for drivers who intentionally cause contact, which we’ve seen too much of in the past few seasons (and in GP2 lately).

      1. Yes, the proposed penalty points system does seem quite unbalanced. However, if they got it tweaked correctly, perhaps it would go some way to iron out the discrepancies between how different referees at different races tackle the same misdemeanours.
        I wonder also if “Dangerous exit from a pit stop” is something different to “Unsafe release”, which would be the pit crew’s fault, not the driver’s.
        Thanks for taking the time to answer, Keith!

  40. I’m not really against it, I just think it’s sad that we need these kind of rules. I would prefer some kind of drivers’ code, a set of unofficial agreements between drivers. If these new rules will be approved by the FIA, it would further stimulate my impression that F1 drivers are a class of toddlers: they get a sticker for every naughty thing they do, and when their naughty-book is filled with stickers they are sent to the naughty-step.

    I wonder why this ‘last resort’ penalty system has never been considered before – and I’m not asking that sarcastically. How did driver mentality in 50 years evolve from handing other drivers World Championships because they deserved it more (Collins 1956) and putting fairness above the World Championship (Moss 1958) to pushing drivers of the road (Vettel, Italy 2012) and drivers using their cars as weapons (Maldonado, Monaco 2011)?

    Well, I can tell you why: it’s the loss of respect between drivers. Drivers barely meet each other, even during race weekends. Add to that the relatively short careers drivers have today and the pressure to perform quickly or be replaced by one of those many many back-up drivers. How do we fix this? No idea, unfortunately.

    1. Very valid comment here. Made me think of hockey here in North America and how it seems the goal nowadays it not just to take the man off the puck, but to take him out of his career.

      I think part of the reason things have evolved this way comes from the huge dollars involved that have taken something away from the ‘love of the sport’ aspect of it, which is still present to a degree of course, and added much more of the business aspect of it to the point of winning at all cost…even integrity.

      I think one of the glaring differences, and I’m not suggesting we can or should go back to this, is that back then, it was far more dangerous. And I can extend the hockey analogy here too. Back in the day they didn’t wear helmets, everyone had heavy wooden sticks with straight blades, wild slap shots above the waist were the exception, and many players had to have jobs to support themselves, so little was the pay for playing professional hockey. And there was a respect amongst the players and they weren’t out there to fire pucks at each other’s heads and try to concuss themselves out of their careers.

      We all know how so much more dangerous car racing used to be…how many drivers have died in racing. And nowadays and for a while now the cars and tracks are so safe that the drivers feel invincible, just as hockey players now feel, with all that high-tech equipment they wear.

      When money wasn’t the driving force, and when danger and risk of injury or death was much greater, there was much more respect amongst the players/racers.

      The fix? Sadly I think it might just have to be more and harsher penalties, as ‘toddler’ like as that is. The money isn’t going away, and nobody would even think to suggest they go backwards and make sports dangerous again…unlearn what they have learned. Also sadly, I think some sports’ governing bodies want to create an atomosphere of controversy because it grabs headlines. If they can get their sport not just onto the Sportcasts, but onto the National News, all the better. It equates to money.

      1. I would prefer some kind of drivers’ code, a set of unofficial agreements between drivers.

        We already have stuff like this.

        There’s a lot of agreements between drivers regarding various things relating to on-track behavior, Thats a part of the reason you have the GPDA meetings.
        However there have been many instances in the past where drivers have ignored these agreements while out on track, Hamilton’s weaving to break Petrov’s tow at Sepang in 2010 is one such instance & he got a lot of stick for it in the following GPDA meeting.
        Never stopped him doing the same thing the following year.

        1. Yeah I think a drivers’ code, which @andae23 is correct would be preferable to them being a ‘class of toddlers’ is all well and good on paper but gets thrown out in the heat of the moment on the track due in large part, imho, to the money and the pressure, and the fact that from a safety standpoint they know the odds of physical harm are now minimal. And integrity also gets overshadowed by what seems to be the more important goal of money and ‘success’ at any cost with less regard to what people will and won’t do and still be able to sleep at night. Get those numbers into the record book and the millions in the bank and that will help you look yourself in the mirror because millions will look past the asterisks beside your name in the records because it’s all about the material gain, not how the game was played.

        2. Now you’re saying it like that, I’m starting to doubt if my solution is any good, but I’ve always had the attitude of ‘if you have good personal values you don’t need rules’, and to be honest I don’t see why this couldn’t apply to Formula 1.

      2. @robbie You’re comment is making a lot of sense to me: indeed the ‘danger’ aspect of the sport has been erased almost completely now – which is great, but there are drawbacks. And like most ‘hot topics’ in F1 (pay drivers, KERS/DRS, tyres) it all boils down to money. This is indeed not just confined to F1, but also to hockey, soccer and many more sports, so this more a consequence of society’s development than a typical F1 problem.

        In a way, I think F1 is just an outdated concept – the fundamental values of ‘speed’ and ‘respect’ have basically made way for ‘selling products’ and ‘TV ratings’. I don’t know if the sport can be fixed in a way that it can have the best of both worlds, because at the moment the balance between sport and spectacle is completely messed up.

        1. Hear hear….

  41. The penalties that are a matter of opinion rather than fact,in other words those that involve collisions and impeding other drivers are matters for the race stewards ,including them in this points system could lead to unfair exclusions .At the start of many races a large part of the field may find itself looking down the barrel at the next race . Lets face it most accidents in F1 its only the car that goes to A&E thank goodness and in the end this may put a stop to drivers recklessly damaging others peoples property . In it’s next set of regs car following technology could be incorporated this would be a sure fire way of a driver hanging on to his super license.

  42. Pretended not to understand the difference between ‘Multi 21’ and ‘Multi 12’ – 13 points

  43. It will be raining raceban’s if they keep it up!

    1. @txizzle
      What makes you think that?

  44. What is the point of all this really? It’s not like the current penalty system is not working, or there have ben complaints regarding the current system. The introduction of the Driver/Steward has been a work in progress and it’s been getting better year on year. Also, under the stewardship of Todt, the FIA has become a lot less political. With no axe to grind, and no egos to be humbled, we do not see penalties based on politics anymore.

    Formula 1 does far to much navel gazing my opinion. Always trying to fix things that are already working. Maybe these things need a few tweaks, but not an overhual and introduction of a whole new system. Is this part of the trend to attract more of the playstaion generation, I ask? For whom penalties, crashes and things other than racing is part of the “thrills”? This is a clear case of “can’t see the wood for the trees”.

    What we want more of is real racing, not more penalties. Anything that stands in the way of that cannot be a good thing for the sport IMO.

  45. Expect grids of 20 or less cars.

  46. Although I like the idea in theory, I hate the idea of drivers getting penalty points for dangerous exit from a pit stops:

    It is entirely the pit stop crew’s – especially the lollipop man’s (now traffic light button man) – responsibility to release the car safely. A driver simply reacts to his team’s cue to leave.

    Therefore, if a car is released dangerously then it is nearly always going to be the team’s fault. The drivers should not be punished for this – the teams should!

    1. Yet the driver is part of the team and and the team is also punished when the driver is. I don’t entirely disagree with you, but the bottom line is if they don’t want to be penalized for a dangerous exit from a pit stop, then don’t release the driver prematurely.

      Or…maybe there should be a category for the teams to get some penalty points too…but then how does that work…ie. taking the reverse of the question why should a driver pay for a team mistake, how does a team get punished that doesn’t also punish the driver even if it is in an indirect way. I suppose a team fine wouldn’t hurt the driver’s WDC chances.

  47. You watch every driver very closely I bet they are guilty of a least one of the listed penalties in each race, so theoretically, we could have no cars on track for the 13th race of the season! lol. I joke of course, but wouldn’t it be great if the 13th race was on a tilkedrome… I don’t think anyone would even notice that there are no cars on track…

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