Ricciardo disputes reason for drive-through penalty

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo rejected the stewards’ claim he “gained an advantage” by going off the track while overtaking Adrian Sutil during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Ricciardo was handed a drive-through penalty after running wide at 130R as he passed the Force India. The stewards ruled he “rejoined gaining an advantage”.

The stewards penalised Ricciardo for going because, they claimed, his “momentum after the move was not otherwise maintainable”.

However Ricciardo said after the race going off the track cost him time.

“I was moving up the order again after my first stop and then I made a move on the outside of Sutil at the 130R and got past him,” he said. “But after that, I ran wide onto the grass, which lost me a bit of time.”

“Sadly, the Stewards decided I had gained an advantage by going off the track and had to take a drive-through penalty, which of course ruined my race.”

Ricciardo told his team the penalty was “unbelievable” on the radio after the race.

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Keith Collantine
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56 comments on “Ricciardo disputes reason for drive-through penalty”

  1. Rightly done by the stewards.

    1. Exactly, rookie behavior from Ricchardo

      1. Considering drivers such as Rosberg and Button have been penalized for similar moves recently, I wouldn’t call it a “rookie” move.
        Ricciardo had the position, he got the overtake done before the corner, but ended up slightly wide with 2 wheels either side of the kerb. The kerb bit back and he had to take to the run off so as to not fight the natural direction of the car.
        I’m not trying to justify that he didn’t deserve a penalty, but it was no “rookie” error. I think the Tarmac run-offs encourage drivers to try bolder moves, and Ricciardo was very close to making the move stick. But the instability over the kerb threw him right onto the Tarmac run off, ruining a pretty good move.
        Plus, he gave Sutil plenty of room, so professionally he didn’t cut him off and close the door. He’s driven well all season and this is his first drive through, at this point of the season why not try a few bolder moves?

    2. Agreed. The old adage of imagining a wall there instead of a run-off area seems appropriate. Likely serious injuries would be sustained and definitely no pass on Sutil.

      1. that was in response to @rambler

        @noob I disagree that it was “rookie” behaviour. It was just a racing incident that could and does happen to drivers of all experience levels.

    3. In your opinion.

      Fact is it was the wrong penalty.

  2. I’m really glad to see the stewards clamping down on drivers going off the circuit to overtake. Some might argue it ruins the racing and deprives us of seeing great passing moves, but if a driver has to resort to going outside the track limits to get ahead of another driver, then it really isn’t that great of an overtake.

  3. The message said ‘Leaving the track AND gaining an advantage’
    It said not: ‘gaining an advantage BECAUSE leaving the track’
    What is there in the rules?

  4. Even though I think it was a right penalty I can’t help but laugh at his team radio. It was absolutely epic!

  5. So maybe race control could just ask toro rosso / whoever to hand place back when this happens ?

    1. That’s not a penalty

      1. Fikri Harish (@)
        13th October 2013, 16:29

        Yes it is.
        The same thing happened to Alonso and Perez at Monaco this year.
        The stewards should’ve given the order for Ricciardo to give the place back to Sutil immediately instead of waiting and handing him a drive-through penalty later in the race OR Ricciardo should’ve done the smart thing and voluntarily give Sutil the place back.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          13th October 2013, 17:37

          I wish the stewards would be able to quickly recognize when the overtake is illegal and inform the driver that they should give the position back.

          In 2011, Button cut the high speed chicane in Australia to pass Massa. Whitmarsh contacted the stewards to ask if Button should give the position back. The stewards did not answer, and later gave Button the drive through penalty.

          Later that same year in Monza, Schumacher was making some highly questionable moves to defend his position from Hamilton. The stewards give a warning to Schumacher to stop making those moves.

          1. In 2011, Button cut the high speed chicane in Australia to pass Massa. Whitmarsh contacted the stewards to ask if Button should give the position back. The stewards did not answer, and later gave Button the drive through penalty.

            You kidding? They gave Button tonnes of chance to give it back, but he didn’t…

        2. Fikri Harish (@)
          13th October 2013, 19:04

          Yeah, Hockenheim 2012 springs to mind as well.
          Vettel got a post-race drive-through penalty because of that. He went from second to fifth due to that 20-seconds being added to his time.

          1. In the case of Vettel in the 2012 German GP, the problem was that Vettel made the move on lap 66 of 67 and Red Bull started talking to race control to argue that the move was legal.
            Although it was only a brief discussion, because there was so little time left in the race for them to apply a penalty, it effectively prevented the stewards from taking any action until after the race.

            As for Ricciardo, another reason why the stewards would have found it difficult to order Ricciardo to let Sutil through is because Sutil pitted the following lap. That would have effectively given the stewards, at most, two minutes to receive the report of the incident, review the footage for mitigating circumstances on Ricciardo’s part, make their decision and then send a formal notification to the team for Ricciardo to hand the place back before Sutil came into the pits.

            I’m not sure that they would have been able to do that quickly enough for Ricciardo to have handed the place back before Sutil pitted, which effectively removed the option for the stewards to order Ricciardo to hand the place back.

    2. Or the driver and team could hand the place back before incurring a penalty. Here is what Ricciardo said:

      “…I made a move on the outside of Sutil at the 130R and got past him,” he said. “But after that, I ran wide onto the grass, which lost me a bit of time.”

      That certainly is minimizing the fact that he was momentarily out of control as a result of making the pass. He was ahead of Sutil when it happened, but it happened because of the way he passed. If there is a question, call your team on the radio and ask if you should give it back. That’s what his team is there for. They have the advantage of tv coverage and possibly replays. Then do it before receiving the penalty. I agree that it would be nice if race control gave the driver that opportunity. But. if you wait for race control to ask you to give it back, it is probably already too late and your fate is in their hands. If he gives the place back, he can most likely pass Sutil again without a penalty.

  6. It wasn’t like he purpously left the track and gained an advantage, he did a mistake…

    1. Yes but he could’ve given the place back and then try it again on the straight.

    2. @wackyracer Yea it was a rookie mistake

  7. He went wide because he carried too much speed through the corner in order to get past Sutil. To make the corner he would have had to carry less speed which would have meant he wouldn’t have been able to get past Sutil in the first place. Absolutely 100% correct decision by the stewards.

    1. I think this beautifully sums up the decision. It wasn’t a surprise to me, nor should it have been a surprise to RIC, let alone Torro Rosso.

    2. Spot on @racer , Ricciardo should have known to give the place back himself, it was completely obvious.

  8. What’s his problem ? Clear-cut decision really. Bizarre reaction on his part.

  9. Fair decision. Would never have made the pass without the extra space on the outside. Even though he was slower once off the track, he needed that extra space at first to make the move stick, and even slowing down, he had track position.

  10. RBR is regretting their decision to take Richhardo :p

    1. They must be, because I’ve never heard of this “Richhardo” guy.

      1. @rjoconnel No, no. He’s talking about Rich Hardo: a mysterious lab experiment Adrian Newey has been working on for a few years. He has hollow bones like a bird and a very thin head that can be used like a dorsal rudder. The idea was a revolutionary driver with low weight and strong aerodynamic properties. Sadly, his eyes are placed on the side of his head, Rich Hardo has terrible depth perception, so he is rubbish at hitting his braking point. A massive waste of time and money, really.

    2. they should…..compare Kimi’s move on GUT at 130R and then RIC’s (failed) overtake on Sutil

      1. Hmm… where is the Like button? :-)

  11. I think the decision was justified by the rules but was a bit harsh and kind of unfair for the following reasons:
    1)Ricciardo was alredy infront of Sutil when he went off the track
    2) He didn’t gained an advantage by cuting the corner ( he was on the outside)
    3) It was clear this was not an intentional move . You have to be very stupid to do such a move to gain an advantage, risking an accident.
    4) As Ricciardo himself said, he actually lost time by going off the track.

    1. @cosmas sorry but
      1) he went in the corner too fast (which allowed him to pass Sutil) and thus went off the track – mistake
      2) the advantage he gained was +1place
      3) intentionality is totally irrelevant
      4) the lost time because of his mistake is irrelevant too
      5) He did not gave the position back to Sutil

      Maybe the marshals could have reacted quicker with ordering him to give the position back?
      Maybe his team could have reacted faster too?
      But when it was too late to give it back the only logical punishment was the drive-through. Multiple failures but it was the only way to be fair with Sutil.

      1. @cosmos I agree with spoutnik. To add to the point
        4) the lost time specifically off the track was there, but overall he gained greater time as he ran faster on track.

    2. Mr win or lose
      13th October 2013, 16:29

      Couldn’t agree more. Of course the stewards were formally right and of course he should have given that place back. But please stop these ridiculous penalties. This situation didn’t demand any further race-control intervention because of the points mentioned. Just let them race.

      1. They are letting them race … on the track

  12. Is Ricciardo practicing for when he takes over from Webber next year?

    1. He seems to have taken a page from Webber’s Big Book of Unjustifiable Indignation. He is lucky that 130R isn’t quite the corner that it used to be, or he would have been complaining from the back of an ambulance.

  13. He was out of control – way too fast and out of position to execute an overtake – through 130R and deserved the penalty. The “I actually lost time going off track” argument is absurd. I was embarrassed for him and his indignation after the race was cringe-worthy.

  14. We all seem to be looking forward to all these penalties for flinmsy infractions. While I do admit there exists precedence, it still makes the whole concept of a professional sport to look amateurish.

    1. Professional drivers who make infractions on the rules make the sport look amateurish.

  15. He passed him on the corner and then just happened to end up going wide in the corner once he was already infront of Sutil and he ended up losing time to Sutil when he went wide.

    He did not gain position or an advantage by running wide.

    1. BTW that should say “passed him on the straight”.

    2. Having just seen it, I’d say it’s not so much gaining a position (he did that before turn-in), but keeping a position he would otherwise have lost. In that respect, he did gain an advantage.

      1. But would he have lost the position or would he have just ended up slowing down Sutil had Ricciardo slowed down enough to keep it on track & in the line?

        1. You’re better off asking a Magic 8-Ball :-P

          1. Wait maybe we can blame this on Pirelli :) If his tires had been super-uber sticky then he would’ve been able to stay just a hair width inside the white line :p lol

  16. Would he have tried that move if there had been no run off area that large , if there been armco 10ft away would have been a very diff outcome i think

    1. In a word Yes.

  17. wizardelectric
    13th October 2013, 19:27

    Ricciardo is right! The drive through penalty in this case of wrongdoing is bad. They should actually give 1 second penalty for every 100ms spent outside of the track with at least one wheel at the end of the race. Maybe this way they’ll actually learn to drive on the track.

  18. It doesn’t matter how many times the stewards penalise drivers for racing each other, I’ll never come round to their way of thinking.

  19. The stewards were dead wrong to give Ric a drive through, that is not the correct penalty for what actually took place. Ric did not leave the track in order to overtake, he left the track because he was thrown off line by the kerb. The correct penalty would be to give the place back. His team should have given the call to give the place back before the issue was dealt with by the stewards.

  20. @jimmyboy As others said, just imagine a wall instead of a running-off area. He would have crashed heavily while trying to pass Sutil. As for the penalty, Sutil pitted after and thus there was no way to give the place back when marshalls investiguated. He and his team haven’t reacted at all, it is their fault if penalty was too harsh :/

    1. I think its obvious that Ric’s move was a bit ambitious and the line he took required the use of all of the track on the inside of the corner. If there was a wall there of course it would be too risky to make that particular move and it wouldn’t have been attempted. I’ve looked at the replay over and over and realise now that there was nothing wrong with what he did and deserved no penalty of any kind, including giving the place back. Sure he went wide at the apex, and paid the price and he could have lost the car completely, but he keep it all in check, which was a good save. Nothing wrong with what he did. The stewards need a kick up the backside for making such a poor call.

  21. I think some of you guys need to go back and look at that part of the race again. I have and its perfectly clear to me that Ric passed Sutil well before he went off line at the apex. Sure he went off track, but he did not do it in order to make the pass. Plenty of drivers go off track on that particular corner. Plenty of drivers overtake on the outside on that corner. Just so happened Ric didn’t have enough traction in the apex to keep the car on track. In no way did he deserve a penalty. Ric has every right to be pissed and his team should have had the balls to make an official complaint. The stewards need a kick in the backside for such a poor decision…

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