Did the stewards get Maldonado’s penalty right?

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Pastor Maldonado landed in hot water after colliding with Esteban Gutierrez during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Maldonado flipped the Sauber upside down when the pair made contact at turn one on lap 41. The Lotus driver had just emerged from the pits when he hit Gutierrez’s right-rear wheel.

Gutierrez rolled and landed on his wheels. Although he was able to get out of the car he was later taken to hospital for checks.

The stewards held Maldonado responsible for “causing a collision” and gave him three separate penalties: a ten second stop-go penalty during the race, a five-place grid penalty for the next event in China, and a three point endorsement on his licence.

Did the punishment fit the infraction? How do you think the stewards should have responded to the incident?

Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Maldonado's punishment for the Gutierrez incident was...

  • No opinion (1%)
  • Far too soft (26%)
  • Too soft (36%)
  • Fair (25%)
  • Slightly too harsh (9%)
  • Far too harsh (4%)

Total Voters: 735

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Image © Lotus/LAT

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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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142 comments on “Did the stewards get Maldonado’s penalty right?”

  1. It is far too soft given the amount of crashes that Maldonado has. Moneybag doesn’t drive well.

    1. Steph (@stephanief1990)
      6th April 2014, 19:37

      It’s not even just the amount of crashes but the fact he has zero respect for other drivers.

      1. Back in WSbR, He was banned for life at Monaco http://www.gptoday.com/full_story/view/417502/8216Banned_for_life_Maldonado_lucky_to_be_in_Monaco/

        Money got him out of that one. Just to underlie his incredible turn speed when he engages his brain, he returned to Monaco the next year and put the car on pole…..by 1.5 seconds from everybody, on a dry track! Class of the field.

        He went on to pull this stunt in WSbR …..UNDER A RED FLAG!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt5nt7IdyPs

        Maldonado has always been blindingly quick and completely undisciplined, his bucket loads of Venezuelan cash (and speed) have made him an irresistible hire for financially struggling F1 teams, hence his employment at Williams and Lotus.

    2. Just looking at that incident alone, I think it’s a bit harsh. All he did was stick his nose up the inside, the consequences were unpredictable and unfortunate, but the incident itself was no worse than say, Webber on Vergne in China 2012.

    3. @slava

      While Maldonado was clearly at fault for causing the collision, it wasn’t deliberate. He failed to see GUT as we was most likely looking in his mirrors. I think people are more upset because GUT flipped over upon contact. Had Maldonado just knocked over a front wing or something, they wouldn’t be criticizing the “softness” of the penalty. As Ant Davidson showed on the skypad, GUT went over because his rear tyres got tangled with Maldonado’s.

      1. …he** was…

      2. It didn’t even look like he attempted to properly turn in, I’d call that intentional. The penalties were much too light for a driver who has proven he lacks the requisite judgement to run in F1. They should hit him with a 10 place grid penalty and added 8 points against his license; he needs a serious wake up call and today was the time for it.

      3. True the dramatic consequence shouldn’t be a big consideration, it is very unlucky to flip the car. However MAL was under waved blue flags as he exits the pits. If a some back marker took out a car who was lapping him under blue flags then you would expect the officials to come down on the back marker VERY hard. In that light I think the penalty is a bit soft.

    4. The amount of Maldonado’s crashes is irrelevant in this case. We’re talking about a penalty for one crash.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for penalizing Maldonado and I think he doesn’t deserve to be in F1, but I still think it’s too harsh in this case. I’m against punishing drivers retroactively. We have penalty points now, which are supposed to punish drivers who crash too much. Maldonado should be penalized for this particular incident, not for his past crimes. So one traditional penalty and a three point endorsement on his license should be enough.

      1. The amount of Maldonado’s crashes is irrelevant in this case.

        I disagree. The stewards must take a driver’s record into account when “sentencing”, just as a police officer or a judge would take a person’s previous record into account when deciding what to do.

        If someone has had no incidents in several years of racing, they will be treated more leniently than someone who crashes every other race. They must be more harsh with a repeat offender to try to correct their behaviour.

        Maldonardo is a menace. Looking just at this incident, it is a harsh penalty. However, the stewards need to be harsh, in the hope of stopping him (hopefully before he kills or seriously injures someone).

    5. It’s good that he’s being punished, but the fact that Ricciardo was punished worse for a much less severe team cock up is an outrage. FIA needs to get their head out of their asses.

  2. He doesn’t deserve a superlicense.

    1. Completely agree. His superlicense should be suspended for three races. Irresponsible over and over and over.

    2. lol.. +13

      and he says no. 13 is for good luck :P

      1. Remember he originally picked number 3, then when Ricciardo turned round and said he wanted it he opted for 13.. Unlucky for some, hopefully we will see the back of him after this year…

    3. Traverse (@)
      6th April 2014, 19:51

      It does seriously bring into question just what a driver would have to do to lose their superlicense. Maldonado is guilty of everything pertaining to reckless/irresponsible driving, short of actually causing a death. Surely stripping/suspending his superlicense is no-brainer at this point?

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        7th April 2014, 7:03

        I think if he has too many more incidents this season on wards, the FIA must consider taking it away from him.

        He’s been callously putting other peoples lives (as well as his own) at risk, by taking too big risks and making silly decisions for far too long now. He cannot keep driving like this, and then simply brush it off as “Well, that’s racing”. It plainly isn’t! The FIA must crack down on this.

    4. But he does deserve a …fork lift license! Wait you don’t need one for that. This is what you get with stupid FIA regulations about lower front end…you protect the drivers in a side collision and you flip them over instead…

      1. Actually, in most countries you need a fork-lift-license in order to drive a fork-lift, and in some yet another extra-license if you do so at job.

      2. An explicit licence maybe not, but you will need at least a certificate of basic training, and probably a medical certification too.

    5. +1 Agreed, Maldonado should NOT be in F1.

  3. How can RIC get two points for something that was out of his control and MAL get three for ignoring a right of way situation ramming someone in the side, for gods sake, flipping the car.

    1. The Webber incident last year was arguably more dangerous, which was why the severe penalty was implemented for unsafe releases.. Yes it’s hard of RIC, seeing as it wasn’t his fault, but the teams need to make sure the cars are safe and the FIA has to instigate a severe deterrent.

      1. And yes the MAL incident was bad, but thankfully at slow speeds and the cars are “safe” , with Roll hoops, mandatory crash structures etc.

        1. if noses was old shape he will never gonna be filipped into the air…. only rammed with some debry on track….
          New noses causes flying….

          1. @eon you might want to re-check the video – it was a clash between the wheels that caused the flip, not the nose getting under the body (Mal didn’t have any damage on his nose)

          2. The replays clearly showed that the crash was caused by Maldonado’s front tyre hitting Gutierrez’s rear tyre – the height of the nose is irrelevant in that scenario.

      2. Red Bull immediately told him to stop, so I’ve always thought the penalty was a tad harsh.

    2. RIC didn’t get any penalty-points, he got a reprimand, a 10 sec Stop&Go and a 10 place grid drop.

      1. And RIC got a harsher penalty than MAL as far as a driver’s championship is concerned why? Nobody has ever said RIC was at fault – quite the opposite, yet he is handed more of a grid penalty than MAL gets for his reckless driving. Where is the consistency as far as punishing the party at fault? MAL must have legendary insurance company!

    3. Not defending it but I think supposedly because the RIC incident were at a time where the team should be in full control whereas the MAL incident was more of a heat of the moment.

      Seeing that RIC’s team did call the error after RIC was released not trying to hide anything (not that they could with the wheel coming of) made RIC’s punishment even harder.

  4. I don’t understand why there should be more than 1 penalty for each mistake or whatever.

    If you take into consideration Pastor’s history about crashes, then maybe you can impose a large penalty like a race ban because of the repetitive mistakes. But 3 different minor penalties, seems a bit ridiculous.

    1. Fully agree.

      First off the stop go was a was pointless, as he was unlikely to score points anyway.

      Second a 5 place grid drip for a guy who didn’t make q2 is again a small price to pay.

      3 points is too little for a serious mistake like this. It should have been at least 6.

      The worrying thing is I guarantee he will come out and say he wasn’t at fault. Just like when he took out Hamilton two years ago and countless other incidents.

      1. @f190
        He said it wasnt his fault. No surprises here. This guy is so arrogant, he should have been banned for 3 races. May be then he will drive more sensibly and in case he again finds himself in such situation then he can accept his mistake (if he really is culprit)

    2. I don’t mind the points plus a real penalty, but a penalty for during the race and then an additional one for the following seems wrong to me, unless the penalty for the following race is a ban.

  5. Should lose at least half hi points and be on probation for a race ban if he pulls this again.

  6. In my opinion it was a fair punishment. Gutierrez’ spectacular roll made it seem more idiotic than it probably was, I mean, what would they have done if instead of flipping Gutierrez would have just spun?

    So in this case I think the stewards are spot on.

    1. @andae23 I don’t think you can claim it was an insignificant incident. From my point of view the points I would highlight on this incident:
      * MAL just left the pitlane with cold tyres, cold brakes
      * GUT may not even seen MAL exiting the pits or diving under him
      * MAL attempted to pass GUT from a long way back
      * MAL attempted to pass GUT up the inside on an extremely tight angle of entry
      * GUT took the racing line, and never looked like doing anything else
      * MAL consequently touched tyres with another open wheeled vehicle in an incident he was deemed to be at fault
      For my mind, the last point is the most dangerous of all, in this case it was a slow corner, how about if MAL attempted the same manouvre coming out of the SPA pitlane and caused a collision in Eau Rouge? I think that any drivers that are involved in an collision where a tyre from one car comes into heavy contact with another car, causing one of the cars to climb over the other, should be dealt with more harshly.
      Open wheeler racing is dangerous, no doubt about it, but I truly believe that heavy wheel vs wheel contact resulting in airborn cars is sacra cent, in the same way that protecting the head and spine of Rugby players is sacra cent, and that is why there is harsh penalties associated with head high tackles, or spear tackles. Lets face it, an airborn F1 car is possibly one of the scariest images we may see on the track. We don’t have to go too far back to think of what occurred to Greg Moore in Indycar.

  7. Maldonado is an accident waiting to happen, he has shown it year after year in his F1 career so far.
    One of the most damning things I think you could say about his race craft is that he is one of the only drivers on the grid that I believe actually puts the others in danger.

    1. The biggest thing that scares me about his driving is that, as safe as the cars are, that type of accident could easily kill somebody.

    2. What really irks me is that other drivers, in particular Grosjean, have shown that they can really clean up their racing and still be quick. Why the hell hasn’t Maldonado learnt anything in 3 years of F1?

    3. HelloTraverse
      6th April 2014, 19:33

      Maldonado is an accident waiting to happen

      Waiting to happen? More like an accident that has already happened repeatedly! His presence in F1 is now beyond requirement.

    4. You took the words right err off my keyboard! He’s an utter liability who sooner rather than later is going to hurt another driver. He shouldn’t be allowed near and F1 car!

  8. Way too soft. Should have been double the grid drop and points on his licence.

    He simply never learns.

    1. Definitely, either that or a race ban like Grosjean had in Spa because of his incident with Alonso.

      1. At the very least Grosjean can defend Spa ’13 with the random and chaotic nature that is the start of a GP race so, with that in mind, Grosjean’s Spa performance cannot be compared to the dangerous recklesness that Maldonado presented to us today.

        MAL intentionally rammed GUT today. I still remember Spa ’11 and, in my book, every race MAL has been on the racetrack since that qualy session is a disgraceful piece of evidence of how desperate some teams are for sponsorship.

  9. Stop go is more than enough

    1. C´mon! he nearly killed a guy!
      He doesn´t accept his fault and blames the victim of his irresponsible driving…

      1. He never nearly killed anyone. Nowhere near.

        1. Well… Hopefully he doesn’t need to literally kill someone to learn the potential risk in his actions!

  10. Hope Gutierrez is alright.

    1. Traverse (@)
      6th April 2014, 19:40

      Don’t worry, Milhouse Van Houten Gutierrez is a tough cookie. ;)

  11. a five place grid penalty for taking a driver out like that but it is 10 places for losing a wheel in the pits. Surely both are as dangerous and should get the same penalty?

    1. I think that the reason why an unsafe release in the pit lane is given a heavy penalty is because, if a loose wheel was thrown down a busy pit lane at high speed, it could cause carnage.

      It’s something that the FIA has been clamping down on for the past few years – remember that the FIA threatened to given Renault a one race suspension back in 2009 when Alonso’s wheel wasn’t properly fitted and ended up being thrown from the car, bouncing down the track and eventually landing near a marshals post? The sentence was reduced to just a heavy fine, but it’s something the FIA has been very harsh on for a while now.

    2. its a matter of perspective- it would appear that MAL’s incident is a lot more dangerous, but it only really endangers two people- both drivers. Ricciardo’s incident puts at risk hundreds of people in the pits, and although seems quite insignificant, the repercussions could have been huge, so it that case I can understand why the FIA were more severe on it.

      Not to say Maldonados’s wasnt dangerous, I believe he deserves a race ban

  12. In a word yes. Absolutely fair punishment. You can’t punish him for the fact the tyres collided and launched Esteban in the air. It was the same type of collision that occurs almost every week, just the tyres collided instead of bodywork. If we’re to dish out punishments dependent on the aftermath of brain-fade, then we open ourselves up to even less-precedent being applicable since every situation is completely different.

    1. @timi Thanks, finally some sense, also wasn’t Bianchi’s crash with Sutil very similar to this?
      I don’t see people saying “disqualify him” or “he doesn’t deserve a super license”.

      The penalties given to Maldonado were absolutely fair, it’s just that the outcome of the crash was rather spectacular and people here seem to hate him quite a lot.

      1. @mantresx

        not to mention that Bianchi also took out Vergne and Maldonado in Malaysia in one fell swoop.

        I also remember Liuzzi’s T1 shunt at Monza in 2011 – much more dangerous than what MAL did. It was more of freak occurrence that GUT’s car flipped.

    2. With someone who only has an incident once every couple of years, then yes. But Maldanado continuously causes wrecks on the track. Multiple times in every season. He deserves a race suspension just as much or more than Grosjean did when he got his.
      Frankly with his repeated incidents and refusal to ever take responsibility afterwards, it is obvious he will not learn from this either. He should be out of the sport because he is like a spoiled child who has been told by his parents that he never does anything wrong and he believes it and repeats it over and over and over.

    3. You’re totally right. In most cases the car of Guttierez would’ve spun and he could continue his way. Nobody would make a great fuss about it, and Maldonado would probably get 2 penalty points just like Bianchi got. This was just a very unfortunate case, where the wheel of Maldonado’s car launched Guttierez in the air. Just a typical open-wheel accident.

  13. I think I’ve said it on 3 separate articles now! Here’s a fourth!: Disqualification should have happened.

    1. yes . Black flag immediately . I don’t know why they don’t do that .

      1. That should be a clear message that he’s doing something wrong ..

  14. Would like to see an onboard video from his car, as I don’t really understand how he made it happen. Seemed ridiculously clumsy from the TV pictures.

    1. He just drove straight on .. I don’t get it .

      1. He didn’t just drive straight on, he actually turned into the corner, just that at the same time Gutierrez but across his bow.
        The truth is Maldonado already has a reputation which was why this wasn’t ruled a race accident.
        If a driver is exiting the pits on fresher tyres, the driver already on the circuit has to give some room and Gutierrez didn’t even bother, so in my opinion they are both culpable.

        1. You need to check the regulations: exiting the pits on fresh rubber doesn’t matter in this instance. Maldonado was well behind Gutierrez when he exited the pits. Gutierrez had the corner. Maldonado missed his braking point and rammed into the rear-right of Gutierrez’s car–Gutierrez was over half way through the corner when Maldonado hit him, so your premise is flawed.

          When a car is well behind the other, the driver in front doesn’t have to leave room or abandon the apex. Even when a following car is close enough to overtake, the leading car does not have to abandon the racing line; they only need to leave enough room on the track for the other car if they are side by side (and there was ample room off the line). Pastor tried shooting for a gap that didn’t exist and it resulted in a dangerous accident.

    2. i’d argue that PM was in front of EG in the run up to the the corner, PM had the inside line and EG cut in front of him. I don’t think EG knew PM was there though & PM could have braked harder/sooner to avoid the incident. Does the car in front have right of way or the man steaming hard up behind?
      Its hard to see from EG in car view.

      1. Exactly, Maldonado was just being punished for his personality rather than the stewards taking a rational view.

      2. Watch this – GUT was clearly at least a car length or two ahead going into T1

        1. And that lovely piece of footage clearly shows the car width that GUT left to the apex. Looking closely, the car behind the two (Rosberg I believe) drive the line that GUT had left for MAL quite easily. I can’t see any grounds for MAL claiming that GUT left him no room… simply no room for MALs late braking and line of approach.

  15. I always wonder whether the stewards penalise driver’s mistake, or the severity of the resulting crash, which is largely out of the drivers’ control. I’d put Grosjean’s Spa crash as an example: He was over-ambitious in circumstances that would likely result in contact. BUT if he’d made the same mistake but only issued minor damage (rather than multiple retirements), would the penalty be the same?

    Admission: I’m an impoverished BBC user so haven’t seen the accident yet, merely heard James Allen describe it. Again, it sounded overly ambitious, ill-judged, the result was the retirement of another car. That the car rolled was spectacularly unlucky for the Sauber. If Maldonado had run in deeper and the contact had been more broadside, it could have been a harmless spin. That would be a bigger driver error, but lesser consequences.

    I’m not envious of the stewards having to make calls like that.

    1. @splittimes Found an article with a Vine video in it. It’s only part of the incident, but should give you a little room to make your own judgement on the call.

  16. For me it’s more of a question of the penalties delivered. We saw Ricciardo getting a 10 place penalty for an unsafe release but then Pastor gets a 5 place penalty for causing what could have been a very nasty accident.

    Not so long ago Roman got a race ban for a similar incident so yet again we are seeing incidents that are getting different penalties.

    Having a guest steward seems to have helped but not enough. The only way I can see us getting consistency is if the FIA appoint a panel of stewards that are the same for every race & not use local stewards. They could still use the guest steward (ex F1 driver) which could be different for each event but the rest are the same race in race out.

    If Pastors crime was as severe as Romans then he should have been given a harsh penalty during the race (10s stop go) and then more points on his licence so being closer to the race ban if it continues.

    I think awarding a penalty during the race with points on his licence is enough but to then give him a penalty for the next race is punishing him twice for the same crime which to me is crazy.

    There was time left in the race to award a penalty so why the need to give him a grid drop for the next race? Crazy

    1. The harshness of Ricciardo’s penalty has been well discussed above (in short: Much more dangerous), and you cannot compare the punishments between seasons. The stewards has much more fine-grained tools this season.

      1. The harshness of Ricciardo’s penalty is deserved even though unfairly so, we’ve seen the effect on a camera man who doesn’t have carbon fiber protection.

        1. fair point but I still think the penalty for the next race is too much as it should be one penalty per incident plus points due to the severity if needed. I would think most people will agree that the stewards decisions and penalties are inconsistent

  17. It depends how youre looking at it

    As an incident on its own i’d say its fair

    As part of the 2014 season- other drivers have had harsher punishment for lesser things

    As part as his career- god only knows how he’s still racing

    1. @hobbsy009
      I agree completely with that assessment!

    2. COTD. @hobbsy009 Seriously, well put and soundly reasoned.

  18. Hmmm… is this question about whether it´s fair given the rulebook, or whether the corresponding articles of the rulebook are fair, or about some spontaneous feeling of fairness?

    I don´t like grid-drop penalties in general, imho race-weekends shouldn´t be unneccessarily more dependant on another than they are. But I would have given either more than 3 points to him or less than 2 points to all those drivers who had 2-point-awarded-incidents till now.

  19. I think Maldonado’s penalty was fair. It was a silly incident that could have been a hell of a lot worse so causing him pain in two races, alongside some points on his licence, feels a good way to try and deter drivers from silly mistakes.

    If you compare it to Ricciardo’s then it may seem too light. The problem is it’s nigh on impossible to compare the two incidents. A mistake by the team in the pit lane where where the danger to many people is extremely high vs a driver causing an accident which could have injured another driver. Both dangerous, both bad, both deserving of harsh penalties – but which is worse?

  20. Unlike Daniel Ricciardo’s Malaysian GP pitstop problem, this was a driver’s fault and he endangered another driver, yet the penalty is less. Everyday Bernie, CVC and the FIA are making me want to stop watching with stupid, nonsense decisions that don’t make sense.

  21. 3 penalty points!? Is that it!?

    So, he can do this three more times before he gets a one race ban. Unbelievable!

  22. No, 3 points for this while Bottas got 2 for getting a little bit in Ricciardo’s way the week before doesn’t quite cut it.

    1. +1

      I thought penalty points were there to discourage dangerous driving, but he can keep doing this with so few points accrued for each incident.

  23. When Ricciardo gets a ten-place grid penalty for an accident which was not his fault, led to no consequences and already punished him during the race, Maldonado’s grid-drop and penalty points are way too lenient.

  24. This guy is unbelievable. Ide got his super license taken away because of a similar crash, it’s about time they do the same

  25. I think it was too soft, but not far too soft.
    I don’t think the 10 second stop/go should have been issued and instead it should be a 10-place penalty and 4/5 points on his license.
    However given where the team are, a 10-place penalty is a little pointless, so it should have been:
    – No stop/go
    – 5-place grid penalty for China
    – 6 Points on his license

  26. All Pastor Maldonado does in the sport is to drive in to other cars and act like nothing happened. Bahrain stewards, please act right and revise your penality(ies) to that amateur driver. He wasn’t fighting for the championship anyway to act so aggressively. AMATEUR!!!

  27. He hasn’t been punished hard enough in my opinion.

    However why on earth are the stewards handing out double penalties, I can’t find anything in the sporting regulations that allow this. Why not just hand out one big penalty when the race is over and give him penalty points on his license.

    He should have been given a ten place grid penalty and at least 7 or 8 points on his liscense for this. This is his fourth season in F1, he should know better.

  28. Hmm………Double point & Triple penalty………………..???

  29. Well, too bad yuji ide didn’t have big sponsor backing as maldonado

  30. This man’s shaping up to be a bad influence for any young Venezuelan aspiring to be a racing driver in the future.

    1. Just take a look at Cecotto in GP2 series. :DDD

  31. Does maldonado’s pdvsa also sponsors FIA? Or just lotus… Hmmmm

  32. I would like to know the people’s, who voted soft, or too soft, opinion if this incident would’ve happen with another driver, instead of Maldonado, causing the collision. I bet that we’ll discover a lot of hypocrites around here.
    I think this is slightly harsh, and I would give him 1 penalty point less. Nothing more than an accident than can always happen if a driver is eager to not lose his position while exiting the pits. And I think this happened before (a driver exiting pits, colliding with another on his first corner).
    Still, I would like to know Maldonado’s comments regarding this incident. See if he’s still blaming everyone but him about anything he’s involved on.

    1. @crandreico

      I voted for too soft penalty.
      Yes you are right in saying that if any other driver was involved I wouldn’t have voted for too soft. But that’s not me being a hypocrite , infact this decision is based on a fact that if someone (Maldonado) does same mistake repeatedly and doesnt learn anything from it then he should be given stricter punishment so that he could learn from it.

      Atleast one race ban should have been a fair punishment for Maldonado’s repeated reckless and dangerous driving. Grosjean toned down a lot after he got 1 race ban after the Spa 2012 incident. Maldonado shoukd have been given same penalty to tone down his arrogant attitude as he claims he was not at fault for this accident. Not too surprising statement from him.

      1. @mjf1fan
        Fair enough. But you think the stewards should be guided in their decisions by the drivers past history? Not trying at all backing up Maldonado here (I just can’t stand seeing him competing at a professional level on motorsports, nevermind F1), but I think the stewards should just judge a race incident, crash or whatever, without taking accout of the involved drivers and their list (in this case huge list) of past incidents. Should the stewards give Magnussen the next time a drive through, or stop & go the next time he makes contact with Räikkönen?

    2. I voted too harsh. For the simple reason I meant to go for too soft but hit the wrong box. The guys a menace – get him out of F1!

  33. I know I’m in a minority here, but I believe the punishment was too harsh. It was a relatively low-speed prang, the severity of which would have caused virtually no damage on 9 occasions out of 10.

    But he just so happened to catch Gutierrez at a bad angle which made the crash look much, much more dramatic than it would have been on any other occasion.

    To be honest, I think the stewarding is getting overly harsh in general. How many times during a race do we here drivers complaining about being forced off the track? I fear that Formula One is becoming like football, where exaggerating your plight in order to get an opponent punished is an important a skill as any.

  34. For his fondness of collisions, Maldonado deserves a dashing car more than a F1 car!

  35. I think not enough people are taking into account how truly unsafe and utterly irresponsible it was of Maldonado to even try and take the inside line straight out of the pits when the tyres have not even had enough time to warm up. Even though people have mentioned fresher tyres the truth is fresh tyres don’t come into play at least until the tyres have been warmed enough and you can clearly see that it was because of cold tyre issues that caused this accident because there would have not been enough grip and honestly I’m sure this is like an F1 issue that every driver (well responsible drivers) should know and take into account at this very high and dangerous level.

  36. A 10 second stop/go after his race was already somewhat ruined? No real effect. A 5 place grid penalty? Seems incredibly lenient. And the license points seem like a given, and doesn’t seem to reflect the seriousness of the incident. He’s incredibly lucky not to get a race ban.

  37. I expected at least a one-race ban plus some points on the licence. Maldonado’s line into the corner would have already been silly all on its own, dead straight along the inside of the track . But as an overtaking move, coming out of the pits and being way behind? It’s not right that he can buy a ride while there are lots of drivers much more worthy of an F1 drive.

  38. too soft, he’s caused accidents for one too many times. race ban.

  39. It was clumsy more than anything, and in most circumstances it would have resulted in a broken front wing and Gutierrez pointing the wrong way. That said, I think the cumulative effect of these accidents makes us rightly hostile towards Maldonado at times, even though he has done much worse than this, and in the circumstances I’d probably have given a 10 place penalty but not much else.

  40. fair punishment. obviously the fact the sauber flipped over makes people want a harsher punishment. but it should never be based on that.

  41. I think this penalty is far too soft.

    In my opinion that was a serious incident and totally avoidable, and given Maldonado’s history of incidents he should have been dealt with a much harder punishment. This guy is too hot headed, and he just doesn’t seem to learn from his incidents… Grosjean when he was given his ban in 2012, at least he has learnt his lesson, Pastor just doesn’t learn, doesn’t use his head.

    Yes he’s a good driver to a point, not a great one, if he only learnt from his past mistakes and calm down a little, he may get some decent results when the car is good. I often see a lot of similarities between him and Jean Alesi, both very good on their day, but often too hot headed at times, and Pastor it’s 9 times out of 10 he doesn’t use his head properly.

    The way this guy is, he is a danger to himself and to the other drivers on the grid, those penalties in my view are too soft.
    In my opinion he should have been shown the black flag in the race. 3 points on his licence and a grid drop is a joke, as it was totally stupid and avoidable, he won’t even learn fro it. he should have been handed a 1 race ban for it, and stuck on a warning under probation for a few races with a view to revoking his super licence if he causes any more incidents.

    This guy is a waste of a Grand Prix seat…plenty of other drivers out there are more deserving of a chance than this crash prone nutter in his 4th rookie season.
    “Mirror signal Maldonado”

  42. I think everyone who is saying it was too far should see what and why people are after him. Romain did it and got a 1 race ban. He has improved much, and so everyone generally assumed that it would work for Pastor too. On this very site, there are so many calling him different names even before this race like Stupidaldo. In his 4 years, he has been famous for accidents. This was not a racing accident. He should have been careful and that is his fault.

    God-forbid, but if something had happened to Esteban, I am sure the voices would be different.

  43. I voted for “far too harsh”.

    Three penalties for one infraction? The stewards had a knee-jerk reaction to the result of the insident, not the cause.

    A 10 second stop-go penalty was enough: causing a collision.

    Maldonado may have been involved in many incidents before, but they were all punished or not, as was seen fit at the time. His penalty for this Sunday’s infringement should not be multiplied because of past infringements nor because of the fact Gutierrez’s car flipped dangerously. He wasn’t going at high speed, and although his mistake was stupid, it wasn’t recklessly dangerous.

  44. Where’s the ban? I’d prefer to see Pic in the car. What a tool. He could have killed GUT!

  45. As an isolated incident the penalty fits, although I’d probably recommend more penalty points instead of the ineffective stop-go penalty, but as we all know – it isn’t the first car Pastor has crashed into – even today he apparently collided with Vergne although I haven’t seen any footage of that so can’t comment. To think that Yuji Ide had his super license revoked after causing a similar incident with Albers in Imola and some other infringements over the space of four races – Maldonado’s record of continuous infringements over several seasons and now this… does make you wonder how he remains on the grid at times

  46. Stop messing with the grids all the time. Just give him more penalty points – 9 or 10 so it’s a final warning.

  47. Im very suprised that also Massa and Vettel didnt have to take trips up to the Stewards about forcing Perez off for Massa and Vettel on Massa but its only 5 places cus Maldonado won’t qualify higher thean 17th anyway

  48. Maldonado does this time and time again. At least Grosjean has learned from his mistakes and looks a more complete driver now (obviously with a decent car, unlike this season). Maldonado should not be in Formula 1 at all.

  49. How is 3 points worthy of that penalty? That’s just 1 point more than Bianchi or Sutil. Though the grid penalty is even more laughable since he qualifies in the back every race anyway. Just saying.

  50. This one was Pastor’s fault, but I didn’t see any malicious intent, and Esteban’s flip seemed more like a freak circumstance than the norm when such contact is made between open wheel racecars. If anything, I’d take away Pastor’s grid penalty and add a couple more points to his license, but only because this is far from his first incident.

  51. Ok, so I rarely get irked enough to write a comment on this website but Maldonado’s behaviour is unacceptable, you can see that Guittierez decides to miss the apex to give Maldonado space and yet Mal carries so much speed into that corner that no one has a chance. If it was just that one incident then fair enough but it happens time and time again and pre f1 too. The gp2 race where he crashes into an already crashed car with marshalls only just getting out of the way springs to mind. What makes me more angry is that I’m a marshall, and with this guy around it is only a matter of time before he actually kills someone. Grosjean deserved his ban from spa alone, a lot of the other crashes were not his fault. How is it that Mal does it over and over and seems to get away with it?

    1. incidently Mal means BAD in Spanish

  52. Neil (@neilosjames)
    7th April 2014, 0:28

    About fair. If Gutierrez hadn’t flipped it would just be another avoidable accident, with a bit of extra stupidity thrown in.

  53. He took 3 penalty points. Does that mean everyone gets to flip three cars with no bans?

  54. Crashanldo’s penalty should be to never drive a race car, but then again he’s entertainment for F1.

  55. Is anyone keeping a tally for the cost of the hardware he has damaged over his F1 career? I would think that’s a record no one can match.

  56. He should have been banned at least for one race.. He is not good enough for F1. He has money but he does not have what it takes to to be a F1 driver. Simply his super licemnce should be revoked.

  57. Didn’t Grosjean wipe out like 4 cars in Spa back in the day? So why are we comparing that to this incident. Look I’m neutral on Maldondo but you are comparing two completely different incidents. I don’t remember Pastor actually making 4 cars retire on the spot like Grosjean did.

    The penalties shouldn’t be based on a driver’s reputation. So that means a driver like Vettel who does the same thing gets a leaner penalty? It should be about what happened on the track.

  58. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    7th April 2014, 2:57

    Look at Bottas – the guy went off track to avoid a collision with Raikonnen and lost another position.

    Couldn’t Maldonado veer left just go straight when he saw that? It’s amazing – it just shows you how responsible a driver who was a rookie last year and how irresponsible a GP winner can be…

  59. It seems clear that the majority here holds Pastor in very low regard. However, that shouldn’t affect our judgement. The triple punishment is way over the top because it is highly inconsistent. In reality all Pastor did in this case was to opportunistically stick his nose in a bit too far. Sure, it cause a big crash-bang but honestly you will find it hard to point to a single race where someone doesn’t do the same. Magnussen caused Raikkonen’s puncture in the same way last week and received a short stop’n’go. Lewis has done ti too many times to even count them and rarely been punished at all. Whatever Pastor has done int he past or how arrogant he can come across in an interview it doesn’t mean that he should be hit harder than anyone else.

    What is really inconsistent in regards to just this very race is Sutil getting away with what could have no other possible explanation than pure vengeance! That has no place on a race track and should be punished hard and swift.

  60. If this was just single incident, then it probably would be right. But with Maldonado’s history and comparison to other penalty point events it was too soft.

    Penalty points should be something like this.
    3 grid spots/5 seconds = 1 point
    5 grid spots/drive through = 2 points
    10 grid spots/stop/go = 3 points
    Disqualification = 5 points

  61. It takes 12 penalty points to get a race ban and Maldonado got 3 from this incident. So, can he repeat it three more times before he gets a race ban? He has not admitted that it was his fault and there is no reason to believe he would be more responsible from now on.

    There is another point to be noted. Gutierrez had Rosberg behind him and was to move off the racing line due to blue flags. Blue flag applies to Maldonado too and he shouldn’t have been over aggressive in that corner when the lead pack/driver is lapping them. Lotus should also be investigated for unsafe release from pits to put Maldonado directly into the path of Rosberg and not directing MAL to let Rosberg pass.

    The replays show Rosberg in the background during the incident.

  62. It was clearly Maldonaldos’ fault. He could see the Sauber all the way down the pit lane, he was just trying to jump him.

    1. +1

      it was in the video footage, on every camera, around the world, so there is no denying his innocence

  63. you know, Maldonado should get a two race ban at least. He is a danger to the other drivers, he can’t drive to save his life (choosing these words rather than the choice ones I would like to use) and his attitude to this incident was nothing short of a joke.. I think the FIA should ban him from racing in this sport if he is going to
    – smash into another driver that hard, it makes the car do what every safety device on them things prevents it from doing
    – has an attitude about it like a 12 year old
    – and having caused incidents that put people’s lives at risk repeatedly before.
    But this is my opinion, the FIA have theirs and we have our own.

  64. At least now we know what the twin tusks are for. Did anyone else think “Robot Wars”? ;)
    (i realise it was the tyre contact that caused the flip btw)

    Joking aside it was quite serious though, glad Gutierrez is ok. It’s a shame the penalty points system has only been implemented now, otherwise Maldonado would certainly have been banned already. Hope he isn’t in F1 for much longer, but unfortunately too many teams need his oil money so i can see him staying for a while…

  65. I think I will write a letter to FIA. Ricciardo’s penalty is very harsh, otherwise Maldonado’s one is too soft, he deserves at least a ban for the next race.

  66. Slightly of topic but was anyone else alarmed by how long it took safety workers to reach Guttieriez? It’s not like it was a remote part of the track. He just sat in the car by himself for what seemed like a minute and eventually just got out himself. First of all, there should ahve been fire bottles at the ready in several seconds there. The car flipped and was heavily damaged. Second, a driver who has been in a roll over probably should not be getting out himself, due to high risk of possible neck or spinal injury or concussion.

  67. If it’s a team error, such as a lose wheel in the pit lane, why not penalise the team by taking their constructor points and leave the driver alone? (So long as the driver didn’t jump the lollypop or contribute to the loose wheel.) The driver is penalised enough by losing time surely.

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