Mark Webber, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2013

FIA to issue grid penalties for pit stop errors

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2013In the round-up: Drivers will receive ten-place grid penalties if they lose a wheel after leaving the pits.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Grid penalty for dangerous pit stops (BBC)

“Formula One teams will be given a ten-place grid penalty if they send their car out of the pits with a loose wheel.”

Quit rumours ‘rubbish’ – Hulkenberg (Autosport)

“Nico Hulkenberg has described rumours that he would leave Sauber after the Hungarian Grand Prix as ‘rubbish’.”

Ferrari completes Allison deal (Autosport)

“Although the former Lotus technical director was widely expected to make the switch to Maranello ever since news of his departure from his previous team emerged, there were still a number of details that needed to be sorted out before a deal could be put in place.”

Ricciardo in frame to replace Webber at Red Bull (The Telegraph)

Sebastian [Vettel] has no concerns about going up against any driver. He knows them both, he knows they are quick and both would represent a challenge but he is not looking to influence the team.”

Alonso: Good result is vital (Sky)

“Before the summer break, if this gap increases it will be a very stressed summer break maybe for all of us and less motivation. So it’s a very important weekend.”

Bernie Ecclestone may not look too far to find successor (The Times)

“Sacha Woodward-Hill is rarely seen and relatively unknown, but she is Ecclestone?s right-hand woman, his chief legal officer and one of very few people in the F1 organisation who has his complete trust. She will be Ecclestone?s stalwart adviser when he fights an indictment for bribery in a German court next month. He denies any wrongdoing.”

Ron Howard portrays ??engaging? Formula 1 world in ??Rush? (NBC Today)

This video feature on Rush is worth watching for some clips from the film you might not have seen and a fascinating interview with Niki Lauda at scene of his 1976 crash at the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

Motor racing-Marussia hope for a boost from Ferrari deal (Reuters)

John Booth: “[Pat Symonds] did bring the correct process. We don’t have a shotgun approach to bringing developments to the car. They are proven before they come to the circuit and that will stay in place.”

F1: Pit lane access during Free Practice sessions (FIA)

“From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, media (both journalists and photographers) wishing to access the pitlane will be required to wear a special tabard. 25 tabards will be available per session and will be allocated by the FIA media delegate, based upon requests received.”

Lewis Hamilton aims to keep his critics quiet at Hungarian Grand Prix (The Guardian)

“The team and I have constantly proved everyone wrong, race by race. We are second in the constructors’ championship which is a massive boost. I feel privileged and grateful that I have been able to contribute to that. I would never have thought we would have been in such a competitive position ?ǣ still within shooting distance of both championships.”

Esplora il significato del termine: L?Hungaroring prima delle vacanze (Corriere della Serra, Italian)

Fernando Alonso tried to get his former Renault colleague Pat Symonds to join Ferrari, according to Corriere della Serra.

Wolff ‘deserves more respect’ over her test runs (BBC)

“At Silverstone, given the context, Wolff did more than enough to prove she deserves a lot more respect than she has been getting.”


Comment of the day

LJ believes Sergey Sirotkin needs more time before making the jump to Formula One:

If he?s so good, he needs to be given the time to mature and adapt to F1 cars before joining F1. Another year in his current formula and make him part of the four new f1 testing sessions and young drivers test next year. Then if he shows the speed, move him into F1. If not, they should let him move up to GP2 and continue to let him test the F1 cars until he is ready.

Just throwing him into F1 next season would be a bad move, and I?m 99.9% sure he?ll not be ready and will obviously be called a pay driver because of being unprepared even if there is talent deep within him.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Unitedkingdomracing!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

Site updates

Apologies for the downtime late yesterday evening which was not in our control.

On this day in F1

Mika Hakkinen won the Austrian Grand Prix 15 years ago today after Michael Schumacher went off while trying to catch the Mclaren driver.

David Coulthard made it a one-two for McLaren and Schumacher’s Ferrari team mate Eddie Irvine let him by into third.

Here’s the pivotal moment in the Hakkinen-Schumacher battle:

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories F1 Fanatic round-upTags

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 55 comments on “FIA to issue grid penalties for pit stop errors”

    1. I’m very glad to see this penalty introduced, fines for such trivial amounts for teams just wasn’t sufficient as a punishment. The last incident could have ended up much, much worse.

      1. It also adds some much-needed consistency. In the past we’ve seen everything from race bans to a stern “don’t do it again” levelled for what were, when all’s said and done, the same incident.

      2. The punishment needs to be much, much harsher and the Fia don’t seem to have the guts to do something. Wheel tethers were brought in because they know loose wheels are lethal, but if the wheel isn’t attached then they can’t work.

        Red Bull have been sending cars out with unattached wheels since pre season testing and nothing much has changed. A 30k fine is nothing, a loose wheel is already a race ender, adding a grid penalty to it is nothing. The penalty for potentially killing someone with a loose wheel is the same for using an extra engine. It’s wrong. Say what you like about Mosley, he forced through lots of safety measures that the teams had to adapt to and spend money to meet.

        I don’t believe the teams should even be consulted about what the solution is. If your car is unsafe, your team (not the driver) should be excluded from the event. No excuses. Red Bull won’t do anything meaningful to fix the problems they have with loose wheels. They’ll spin how hard they investigated this incident and hope nobody asks questions about Mark Webber’s wheel bouncing across the track in front of Vettel.

        1. Agreed – excluding the team is about the only thing that will make a difference, although deducting World Championship points might work.

        2. @hairs

          a loose wheel is already a race ender, adding a grid penalty to it is nothing.

          That comment doesn’t make any sense: why would potentially losing pole in the next race not add anything to it?

          1. @vettel1 Why is a 10 place grid drop nothing? Because it’s no different to the penalty for using an extra engine, which indicates the fia consider “infringing on arbitrary reliability metrics” is as serious as potentially killing someone. Furthermore, for the backmarkers, it’s meaningless because they can’t go any further back, and they’ve no hope of going forward. For the likes of red bull, their car is so much faster they can make up the places. The only teams who will be punished are the mid-grid lot.

            So for a lot of the grid it’s a meaningless punishment, for those who may be affected it’s no more serious than the consequences for swapping a part on the car, and above all it doesn’t fit the crime.

            1. @hairs no I agree that it’s not a suitable solution but that doesn’t mean it adds “nothing”. For Red Bull as an example, a 10 place penalty could cost them a win and they may at a stretch only get a 3rd i.e. -10 points. That would’ve lost Vettel last year’s championship, so it certainly isn’t “nothing”.

              What I don’t understand is why the FIA think imposing a penalty for something the teams already don’t want to happen would help the situation: it’s not a fix. Changing the wheel guns would be a fix, or the release procedure (eg if a wheel nut wasn’t at the correct torque then the traffic light wouldn’t change, so the human signalling element is removed completely). I’m sure that could be achieved using some sort of sensor on the wheel gun which would only give the go signal once it has reached the correct level of tightening.

      3. I don’t agree at all. Losing a wheel is a penalty in itself, isn’t it? It’s not like teams want to lose a wheel and push the car back to the pitbox, jack it up, attach a new one in, and go out again. Look how much damage it did to Webber’s race. Without the pointless Safety car deployment, he’d have finished no where near Chilton.

        Penalizing something which in itself is a bad thing for the driver and team seems quite far from logical… I understand safety is involved, but I rather them apply a much more harsh monetary fine than a grid penalty.

        1. @fer-no65 +1. I would say it just increases the likelihood of mistakes, as mechanics will be under even more pressure not to make a mistake whilst still maintaining the low pit stop times. It would be far more sensible to FIA mandate the wheel guns (not the part which locks on to the nut as they may differ from car to car) so they can control rotational speeds to physically slow down pit stops. Also, it would hopefully create an opportunity to be able to prevent accidental “go signals” such as what caused the premature release in Germany.

          1. @vettel1 really there’s kazillion ways of making pit stop safer, really. Grid penalties are just covering the sun with one finger and not doing it very well…

        2. Totally agree

      4. Too leaner to me.

      5. I don’t agree at all. You need to look at it in context.

        With the removal of TV crews and non-essential personnel from the pit lane there is now only the pit crews and some race staff in the pit lane therefore minimizing the risk for future occurrences. There is also now the penalty moving the responsibility on to the teams to prevent actual occurrences.

        1. The responsibility was already on the teams so nothing has changed there. Moving personnel out of the pitlane reduces the number of potential victims in the pits but does nothing about incidents like Webber this year or Alonso in 09 when the car was out on track.

          As above, the penalty is meaningless, so all in all the fia has done nothing.

          1. @hairs so the effect is meaningless is what you are trying to say really, not the penalty itself (as I have pointed out it can have quite severe implications)? I agree with that absolutely.

            1. I mean a ten place grid penalty won’t repair somebody’s injuries or at worst bring them back to life. Really it’s not solving the problem at all and so I hope it’s purely a stop-gap measure until a real solution is fabricated.

    2. Punishing the drivers for mistakes made by the team? Very logical.

      This neither makes the pitlane any more safe, nor decreases the risk of incidents occuring in the first place, in my mind. Another silly FIA decision.

      1. Cannot agree more

      2. I’ve never understood this idea that we should somehow absolve drivers of responsibility for mistakes made by the team – they are team members, after all. You could take it to its logical extreme and only punish the person involved in improperly fitting the wheel (and the guy who released the car, maybe), but what does it achieve? It wouldn’t wash the other way round, either – if a driver causes an avoidable accident, he gets a drive-through or a grid penalty. By the same token, that’s not fair on the guys in the garage or back in the factory who weren’t personally driving. The sensible thing to do is to treat infractions and punishments at the level of the competitor (which is, according to the regulations, the team).

        If a driver’s chances suffer because his team have made mistakes, perhaps the team will be a little more careful next time, too. It’s a lot easier to absorb a token fine than it is a grid penalty or race ban.

        1. you’re correct, but Geoffry’s point on this not making the pit stops any safer is right, because teams won’t slow down because of this (maybe they will at first), but better solutions need to be put forward

      3. +1, ‘silly’ is a very accurate description

      4. @magnificent-geoffrey Although it’s silly that does not mean its wrong . After all Drivers are punished when team under fuels a car . The team and drivers go hand in hand . But yes, we need a more pragmatic solution

      5. @magnificent-geoffrey
        Then again drivers often benefit from riskier (quicker) pit stops. Like @red-andy , I’ve never understood the idea that team mistakes shouldn’t affect the driver. Losing a wheel and thus retiring is already punishing drivers, grid penalty just makes the punishment more severe which could in theory force teams to have slower and less riskier pit stops.

        But yes I agree the decision is silly, because I don’t think it will affect the pit stops and also because I think pit stop incidents are a bit random. It is impossible for pit men to check whether the tyre is loose or not (and report about it) if the pit stop takes 2-3 seconds, they either get the bolt right or they don’t. Checking tyres properly would take 1-2 second longer and no team is going to do that. Quicker teams have a slightly higher risk of having a loose wheel, but I don’t think the difference is that significant.

        But what are the alternatives? Minimum pit stop time would definitely work, but do we really want to see races in which pit crew act as in slow motion and all the pit stops take the same amount of time? Bringing back refueling would also work, but refueling was rather unpopular and it isn’t safe either without minimum pit stop time. Some people have suggested a censor that would prevent the car from accelerating if the wheel is loose, but I doubt such censors could have been implemented this fast and I’m also doubtful about the reliability of such censors.

      6. Constructors points and team fines, don’t punish the already punished. Drivers are not to blame

        1. Drivers are part of the team are they not? If a wheel comes off because the driver left the pitbox prematurely (Which has been known) then the driver is to blame.

          I don’t see why the punishment should separate driver and team, all are involved, all should be punished.

    3. money (@carlos-danger)
      26th July 2013, 8:21

      Overreach by the fia not impressed

    4. I don’t know what critics Hamilton is talking about… But I don’t think he deserves any criticism, at least not on his driving, He has been driving excellently this season and adapted very well to Mercedes, my only complaint would be that he might be too public with his personal life, IMO he should keep more things to himself and maybe (at least) put on a more cheerful demeanor, as naive as that sounds it might actually repel the media from being so intrusive

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        26th July 2013, 8:46


        IMO he should keep more things to himself and maybe (at least) put on a more cheerful demeanor, as naive as that sounds it might actually repel the media from being so intrusive

        100% agree.
        Hamilton’s by far my favourite driver for his driving technique. But he really does need to leave his personal emotions at the door when he get’s into the car/paddock.

        That’s not to say he shouldn’t show any emotion at all; just less of the personal stuff.

    5. Mika Hakkinen won the Australian Grand Prix 15 years ago today after Michael Schumacher went off while trying to catch the Mclaren driver.

      Should be Austrian

    6. Whenever I remember wheel going off a car which leaves the pits , I am remembered of Mclaren :P .

    7. Has there been no conversations in the F1 fraternity about using sensors to disable throttle/gear selection when all four wheels are not correctly attached? It seems barmy to me that a sport as technologically advanced as F1 has jumped to banning media/minimum pit stop times/grid penalties as ideas for fixing the problem. Grid penalties is a terrible idea, loose wheels isn’t about cheating and therefore punishment, it’s about safety and should therefore be about prevention. If this happens again and heaven forbid someone dies this time, are the top brass in the FIA going to sleep well at night because they know the offending team has been punished with a 10 place grid penalty!!

    8. wolff was almost half a second of the pace of the other young williams driver. im sorry but how does that prove she’s got it?

      1. Since the end of 2011 she’s only done 10 laps on a track apparently, So to jump into a car she’s never driven before & be so close to guys who have been racing regularly every 2-3 weeks during that time is actually fairly impressive.

    9. I’m sorry but I just don’t agree with that Wolff article: sure she’s not a terrible driver but based on her age and past results simply put there is no justifiable reason why she should be considered for a drive over any of the promising young drivers.

      “For a start, testing times are notoriously unreliable as indicators of true form.”

      That works both ways, Benson.

      “Many people assumed because I was always at the back that I just wasn’t quick enough. Today can show that possibly that’s an unfair judgement.”

      As Benson has already conveniently pointed out, testing times are unrepresentative. That’s besides the point though; Wolff has conveniently omitted to mention her record against her DTM teammates (we’ll ignore 2006 as it was her début season and she was in the previous year’s car).

      Wolff – 0, la Rosa – 10
      Wolff – 0, Paffet – 13, Lauda – 1
      Wolff – 0, Green – 27
      Wolff – 4, Green – 32*
      Wolff – 0, Vietoris – 4**
      Wolff – 0 (“22nd”), Merhi – 0 (“21st”)

      * Best to ignore Cheng: he was pretty awful
      ** Beaten by van der Zande but both NC

      The reason I have detailed her DTM results is because in every season she has been beaten by her teammates barring the first clause. So why should she be considered for an F1 drive at all? Surely Jamie Green or Gary Paffet should be considered first and foremost?

      On that note, would anyone consider Gary Paffet worthy of an F1 drive as of course he tests with McLaren and has also driven an F1 car? That is where any argument crumbles in my view: all things considered, she shouldn’t be considered for an F1 drive! It has nothing to do with “sexism”, she just simply doesn’t have the racing record to be at all worthy of an F1 drive.

      1. she just simply doesn’t have the racing record to be at all worthy of an F1 drive.

        Go back further to the last time she raced open wheel cars & she was actually not that bad, Couple podiums & solid speed.

        She was good enough for McLaren to consider her in there annual young driver of the year award where she was a finalist & she came away from that with the Rising Star of the Year award.

        Her DTM record was poor, But consider she was always in older equipment (Her cars were 3-4 years older than others) & she was never with a top team. Jaime Green & Gary Paffett even though her team mates also had newer cars than she did because they were factory Mercedes drivers at the time.

        1. Linda1 I’ll have a look at the junior categories but usually I don’t hold them in such high esteem as most even GP3-level drivers win those.

          Jaime Green & Gary Paffett even though her team mates also had newer cars than she did

          I don’t think that’s correct: I specifically checked whilst I was searching (albeit on Wikipedia) the cars each were driving and I got the impression they were the same (for example, in 2009 it is detailed that both Jamie and Susie were driving AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 2008-spec cars).

        2. But consider she was always in older equipment (Her cars were 3-4 years older than others) & she was never with a top team.

          That’s not necessarily true. Yes, she was in an older car for most of the time but they were no more than 1 year older than the other half of the field. I can see how you’ve come to that as there was a development freeze from 2009-2011 which meant she remained in the 2008 car through to 2011 – but there were no other cars newer than 2009 in that period.

          But still, having a car one year older is not much of an excuse. I’m pretty sure Paffett and Green won races in a year old car and, heck, Martin Tomczyk won the 2011 championship in a 2008 Audi.

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        26th July 2013, 12:43

        Putting her racing record, and age, and overall talent aside (LOL!)

        Couldn’t a point be made that Williams (or which ever team is looking for a driver) could give her the drive because it could possibly inspire more women around the world to become interested in Formula 1, and Motorsport in general?

        I mean, just as a small sample:
        From the women I know, none of them like Motorsport. They all find it “incredibly boring”, and “would only ever watch it for the crashes”. And so seeing a woman drive in the pinnacle class of Motorsport, surely that would change their opinions slightly?

        1. @tophercheese21 surely there must be a better role model thought? One that isn’t fairly bad and so may actually be successful? ;)

          1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
            26th July 2013, 13:22


            Putting her racing record, and age, and overall talent aside (LOL!)

            1. @tophercheese21 that’s the point though, you can’t really put that aside! Bolt has captivated the nation of Jamaica because he is the fastest man ever and I’m sure the same applies in F1 :)

              On the flipside, I wouldn’t become very interested in sprinting if the best Britain had to offer was Bob, an overweight truckie with an arthritic hip. That’s my point ;)

            2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
              26th July 2013, 13:47


              It was a hypothetical scenario. Anything can be put aside. lol

              Which brings me back to my original premise, which is that a woman in the highest calibre of motorsport would surely get more women interested in it.

              And, i’d bet a few bucks that if the entire formula 1 field were all women drivers, then the huge majority of the viewership would be women.

              Imagine that:
              Sabrina Vettel,
              Martha Webber,
              Louise Hamilton, and Nicole Rosberg


            3. @tophercheese21 fair enough ;)

              Absolutely women in the sport would inspire interest (refer to my Bolt example) and so then hopefully we’d make a large step towards truly having the top 22 drivers in the world.

              And, i’d bet a few bucks that if the entire formula 1 field were all women drivers, then the huge majority of the viewership would be women.

              You’re not wrong! What would be ideal though is if we had Sebastian and Sabrina Vettel etc. haha!

            4. Chris (@tophercheese21)
              26th July 2013, 14:13


              :0 Husband and wife race team.

              We’re onto something there!

              But something tells me that if they were to crash with eachother, or team orders came into place then there would be some pretty angry pillow talk that night. lolololol

            5. @tophercheese21 that would just add to the drama! Imagine they’d been having a fight the night before and so decided to try and get one over each other by playing dare with the brakes on each other – that’d be class! It’s not a game well suited to Lewis though I don’t think, he gets a bit too emotional over these things :)

            6. If the entire formula 1 field were all women drivers, then the huge majority of the viewership would be women.

              I’m not so sure. Genetic has a significant influence here, this has been quite established by now. After all, we did have female drivers in the pinnacle of motosport, and much better than Wolff, one even scored a point back in the days when you had to be top 6 to do it, and in the 1930’s there was a woman who was mixing it up with the best of the field, beating some of them in GP races, and it did not seem to make women terribly interested in the sport itself (interest in drivers is another story :-)). .
              I wonder, does anybody know the gender composition of fans of female boxing? It should be a similar case, an activity traditionally viewed as “man’s”, yet done by women.

          2. What sort of a role model would Susie Wolff be though?

            “Hey girls, you can be whatever you want in the world. Just make sure you marry a rich man with an important job and he’ll sort you out.”

            Because, let’s face it, that’s how she got her job at Williams. I can’t think of a worse role model for aspiring women.

            1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
              27th July 2013, 1:54

              Yet again, that’s NOT the point.

              Most women won’t know the intricacies of her entry to the sport. All they’ll see is a woman driving a Formula 1 car, and think: “Wow, that’s pretty cool. I might watch more of that!”

              Irrespective of her talent, age or racing record.

          3. Don’t know if you have heard or not, Max, but we do have James Dasaolu, who after coming to sprinting late at university, has finally gotten some backing from UKA over the last few years and elite level training to remain injury free and has now run 9.91, and could have broken into the high 9.8s if he ran it in the final. This puts him just under sub-10 basic (accounting for wind +1m/s and altitude level, which is negligible in the UK), which is very impressive (world class) given he is probably clear of drugs.

            Theoretically, the ‘clean limit’ (over time) of natural human performance in the 100m is around 9.85, as evidenced by Frankie Fredericks, so for Dasaolu to be just over a tenth off that is very good indeed. Most good runners plateau about 10.1-10.2, as seen at the British trials (e.g. Andrew Robertson).

            Bolt could be an outlier, and as of this time has not been busted for any drugs. He’s been setting WRs since age 15 – possibly the greatest athlete ever, he just was a bit lazy from 2004-8, but what kid isn’t at that university age, or goes through it at some point, and he could rely on natural talent to remain world class throughout that whole time.

            Given the high profile drug busts and attempts to make sprinting a little bit cleaner this year (look at how many Turkish and Russian dopers have been busted, haha), Dasaolu is odds on to make the World Championship final, and at the moment place about 4-5th, if he can run the 3 rounds well. Behind Bolt and the always-returning-from-drugs-bans Gatlin, there is actually a pool of competition for the Bronze medal, likely to be won in about 9.90-5 with good conditions. Vicaut, Dasaolu, Rodgers, Ashmeade, Bailey-Cole, Martina, Silmon, Collins (37, previous 100m WC in 2003 in the BALCO ‘the clear’ THG drug busts year, thin as a rake with a 9.97 PB! WR in the 35-40 age group, lol), Locke..

            A bit like F1, if you can see behind the veneer of differences in car performance, the drivers are all pretty evenly matched and all world class, excepting the odd one or two which ‘buy/drug’ their way into the OG/WC finals. And there’s still drivers shunned, see Collins in dispute with his federation, which want a large cut of his earnings (aka Li Na and the Chinese tennis federation/nation)..

            There’s also a rumour that impending positives are imminent in the field events before the WCs, and of a ‘biogenesis list’ of athletes named as having received drugs, I think some Rodriguez baseball player is the first to be indited, a bit similar to the Operation Puerto scandal (let’s not get started on cycling, lol).

            Thankfully F1 is clear of such scandals… oh wait, RB outspend everyone by a clear $100 million to win the championships on a spree with faster development rates, hidden by a holding company, similar to how F1 only pays £1 million tax on £300 million :D, well there’s always hoping! At least Dietrich has given us back the Austrian GP to make us feel better in the meantime :)

            1. @fastiestyi very much appreciate the detail of your comment and I’ve just learned about one of our most promising sprinters (I had no idea who James Dasaolu was so thank you for pointing out his existence!) but my arthritic truckie was of course only hypothetical: I knew we had a greater talent pool than that!

              When is the athletics world championship staged actually, it’s not something I usually follow unless the Olympics are nearing?

    10. I’ve just had a thought: how extensive is the wheel rule? What if another situation unfolded like Webber in China, where the wheel was attached initially but fell off later in the lap? Does that also merit a 10 place penalty as it doesn’t pose the same threat as it would in the pit lane but does pose an entirely different threat?

    11. NONE of these reactions to Webber’s loose wheel incident do anything in terms of addressing the actual problem. Reducing pit lane speed, imposing grid place penalties, media pit lane restrictions, extra protective gear, etc. While there may be some good to come out of these new rules, they do nothing to prevent the wheel flying off the car in the first place. It is pit crew procedure and equipment that need to be looked at. I hate to say it, especially in regards to F1 racing, but I think these crazy fast F1 pit stops need to be dumbed down a bit.

    Comments are closed.