Penalties get another shake-up for 2015

2015 F1 season

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The FIA has revised the range of penalties available to stewards from 2015 and introduced a new ten-second penalty.

The new ten-second penalty works in the same way as the five-second penalty introduced this year, where drivers serve it either during a pit stop or have it added onto their race time. Stewards may still apply all the other penalties which were previously available, including a ten-second stop-go penalty, which cannot be served at the same time as a pit stop.

A ten-second stop-and-go penalty will be applied to drivers who are seemed to have been released from the pits in an unsafe fashion. The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council also ruled “an additional penalty will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the stewards, continues to drive a car knowing it to have been released in an unsafe condition.”

Drivers will now be required to start from the pits if their team has not cleared all personnel and equipment from the car when the 15-second warning before the start of the formation lap is given. If they fail to start from the pits the driver will be given a ten second stop-and-go penalty.

Penalties for power unit infringements, which were introduced this year, have also been altered. Replacing a complete power unit will no longer require a driver to start from the pit lane as Sebastian Vettel did at the Circuit of the Americas.

If a driver cannot serve a full grid penalty following a power unit component change they will now be given a time penalty. These will be levied as follows depending on how much of the penalty the driver is unable to take:

Remainder of grid penaltyRace penalty
1-5 placesA penalty under Article 16.3(a) (Expected to be a five-second time penalty)
6-10 placesA penalty under Article 16.3(b) (Expected to be a ten-second time penalty)
11-20 placesA penalty under Article 16.3(c) (Expected to be a drive-through penalty)
20 or more placesA penalty under Article 16.3(d) (Expected to be a ten second stop-go penalty)

In another rules tweak, when a race is suspended drivers must now line up in the pit lane in all circumstances, instead of on the grid.

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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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32 comments on “Penalties get another shake-up for 2015”

  1. What about spanning penalty on next race? No more?

    1. @syntezzz no, it is completed in the race now, however I do think it is a real shame that there is still no carry-over for other grid penalties (causing an accident at the previous round, blue flags in qualifying, etc.).

    2. How about a motor sport league that has almost no rules, I think that would be a much more interesting league than F1 and more exciting to watch. I also think the crazy amount of confusing rules in F1 has stifled innovation and has made the sport far less exciting then it was 20 and 30 years ago. Remember when each teams car looked very different from the others? now a days they all generally look the same and don’t raise that excitement in people like the older cars did in their day.

      If you were to let designers come up with whatever design they thought would make their cars faster then I think you would see all kinds of unique and innovative changes to the auto industry as well as the race cars.

      The rules should be about as complex as they were back in 1930, you start and whoever gets the end first, wins. How you get there first is your business. The only rules I think would be best is NO DRIVERS AIDS. I hate launch control, ABS, traction control, essentially automatic transmissions, etc that are commonly used in race leagues now, including some in F1. The cars have become too easy to drive in comparison to years back and the tracks have become too safe taking that “you have to be crazy to be race car driver” perspective.

      I know that’s not realistic to think F1 or some new league would implement this simplistic set of rules but it would be nice.

      I also miss the day of 10 and 12 cylinder cars and the deafening roar they created. And cars you shifted the gears that required a clutch peddle rather than just pulling on a paddle. Ever watch a video of inside the cockpit of a car during a race back in the 70’s and 80s? The drivers hands and feet were constantly busy and keeping the car on the track was a very difficult task with the car on edge the whole time. Go watch a video of inside of say Senna’s car when he drove for Lotus or McLaren and then watch a video of inside Hamilton’s car from this past season. The Senna video looks a lot more scary to be the driver than Hamilton. It was in a day when I driver was truly a talented driver rather than driver/technician/X Box player. Although I believe Hamilton is more of a drivers driver than say Nico Rosberg. Rosberg used way too much help far as I’m concerned with asking on the radio, “what do I need to do to go faster than my team mate”. And then get told to use less brake on this corner and more gas on that corner and use this gear through that corner. Isn’t that the drivers job to figure out during a race? I’m glad they limited the radio communications. I would prefer going back to just using pit board signs and make the race more of the drivers job to win rather than dozens of tacticians sending their ideas through the engineers radio messages.

      And there are far too many paved run off areas. With a few exceptions at F1 tracks, there’s hardly any risk now if a driver goes off track. I know you want to have as many cars on the track as possible to make it a more interesting sport to watch live at the race track but there’s hardly any consequences for a driver going off track now, again making F1 too easy and why we are seeing teenagers moving up and into F1 because its become less of a true drivers sport.

  2. What does the ‘continuing to drive following unsafe release bit mean’? Does it just mean eg fighting side-by-side for position down the pit lane? Surely they can’t just stop – unless they can do so as they pull away, in order to let the other car pass?

    1. Yeah that’s how I read it. I assume it would be like corner cut penalties, where if say they pull out of the pits and the car behind brakes to let them in they have to give the place back or get a penalty.

      1. I think it is continuing whilst the driver knows (for example) his wheel is not properly attached.

        1. Ah I didn’t think of that, thought it was already part of the rules.

        2. That makes more sense; thanks.

        3. But why on earth would any driver continue driving knowing his (or her) wheel wasn’t properly attached?

    2. Probably more like a loose wheel that’s just holding on the car. They have to stop it right as they notice in a safe way, if they try to creep slowly back to the pits they get the additional penalty.

    3. Also I imagine trying to complete a lap with three wheels, and things like that.

      1. I think they’d rather pick up the penalty than parking the car…

        1. It is my understanding that it can include driving while knowing the wheel is not on correctly, (what they want there is to reduce the risk to all the pit lane workers) but it also includes continuing to drive down the pit lane putting pit lane workers at risk, ie racing along side another car when the other car has the lead, no matter how small. Even if the other car is leading by just the length of the wing, you are to yield the lead to that car and get behind it, not along side it. The track is where you race, not the pit lane.

  3. The new ten-second penalty works in the same way as the five-second penalty introduced this year, where drivers serve it either during a pit stop or have it added onto their race time.

    Glad they added another of these penalties, the five second one has been a great addition this season.

  4. If changing the whole PU doesn’t require starting from the pit lane, then what is the penalty for it? I assume by changing the whole PU meaning taking an extra PU outside of the 5 (4 in 2015) PU allocation. Is there a penalty for changing the whole PU within the allocation? Can someone shed a light about the penalty on PU? Sometimes a driver being penalized for changing gearbox, other times didn’t. Why? My logic tells me that if you are being allocated 5 sets of PUs, then you should be able to use it in any way you want.
    How this will affect the kind of penalty Grosjean got in his last race where taking the 6th components for various PU parts causing massive penalty vs relatively lesser penalty for Vettel for changing the whole PU?

    1. As I understand it… if you change the whole PU outside the allocation, the penalty will be applied for each component of the PU, and served as in Keith’s table. So if you change all six, it’s… 10 places dropped for the first component, plus five for the other five = a 35-place grid drop.

      So you start last and at the very least catch a drive-through, which is er… ridiculous.

  5. I still do not get why the driver is being penalized for his teams mistake in the pit. It’s quite moronic, IMO. Have the team make a nice little donation after the race and be done with it….

    1. @lexblair, Teams are punished for their driver’s mistakes all the time. That’s how it goes in motorsport.

      1. @lexblair @gongtong Yeah, it is very much a team game.

    2. Team sport. Always has been. 2 of each car kind of gives it away.

    3. although the driver gets most of the recognition for the accomplishments of the race and it appears to be a one on one type of sport, it is NOT. Racing is a team sport, the amount of support behind the driver is tremendous and without them the driver gets nowhere so yes it does make sense for penalties to be implemented for any team member who brakes the rules. Otherwise cheating becomes more apparent in the sport.

      That being said, I think there are too many rules and penalties handed out in F! as well as other sports. One of the reasons I like F1 over say INDY is the lack of full course yellow flags for incidents on the track. A car that has a dominating lead can lose it all due to a full course yellow when its only an issue at one isolated location. I am afraid that after the incident involving Jules Bianchi, we are going to see an over-reaction and a lot more full course yellow flag conditions. It makes the sport boring to watch.
      The drivers are paid massive salaries (for the most part) and I think the sport has become too easy and to risk free for drivers to warrant such massive pay cheques. When you get teenagers now driving F1 cars, then the car has become too easy to drive and the sport is less unique. There are too many driver aids on the cars and its become a push button sport, like an extension of using an X Box. I know that’s a simplistic view of the sport but I long for the days of the 1980’s cars with the big tires, massive horsepower, gear shifting, and cars that were always on the edge. Now a days its become too much about making tires last and fuel conservation. Even the drivers don’t like not driving as fast as they can from start to finish.

  6. Does anybody else find the “stop/go penalty” terminology being used inconsistently? They often mentioned (even in writing on the screen during the race as message from the stewards) “5 second stop/go penalty for car A”.

    In my view, it should only be called a “x second stop/go penalty” if the car is not allowed to be serviced at the same time, and “x second time penalty” if the penalty can be taken during the next pit stop.

    Incidentally, what happens if a driver gets a 5 second time penalty, then pits for a tyre change but does not serve the penalty? Will it still only be a 5 second time penalty added at the end?

    1. Interesting point, we are yet to see that scenario.

      I imagine it will depend on how the rules are written.

      If they say the penalty must be taken during the next pit stop, unless the driver doesn’t pit again, then I reckon there would be a bigger penalty.

      If it doesn’t say it has to be taken, then it probably won’t be an issue.

    2. Yes, it is a bit inconsistent – this season I’ve often heard the 5 second time penalty being referred to as a “5 second stop-go”, which it sort of is, but also isn’t. This coming season, there will be both time penalties as well as proper stop-go penalties, and they will therefore need to be much more clearly defined/described.

      If I have it right, the penalties are (in order of severity):
      5 and 10 second time penalties (served in conjunction with a pit stop or added to the total time)
      Drive through (no pit service allowed)
      10 second stop-go (which is essentially a drive through + 10 seconds stationary, again without pit service allowed)

      To me, it would make more sense if the 10 second stop-go penalty is served in a special box, to avoid confusion as to whether or not the team can also switch tyres.

      1. I’m sure they will clear that up for next year.

        I don’t think the special box is necessary, the team will know sure enough what they can and can’t do, and if anything it could add confusion for the driver.

        1. I’m sure the team knows, and will inform the driver of what will (and will not) happen during a 10 second stop-go penalty. And I personally would have no problem going without the special stop-go box, but it might help the viewing public and the media differentiate between them.

          There also seems to be quite a bit of confusion about the weights. I’ve heard several podcasters lament the fact that the weight increase was only 1kg (which hardly helps larger-framed drivers much). In reality, the WMSC meeting added 1kg (to account for the 2015 tyres) to the already agreed 10kg weight increase. So total weight, sans fuel, is now 702kg (up from 691).

    3. It is my understanding that the driver has a limited number of laps for which the car has to serve the penalty. If the car does not serve the penalty during the race within that designated number of laps then they are black flagged and is disqualified from the race.

  7. If only we’d had the 5 or 10 second penalties at Spa 2008…. Don’t think I’ll ever let that one go :|

  8. Ricciardo was given a stop and go in Malaysia and a ten place grid drop in Bahrain for unsafe release. So if 2015 rules applied he would receive a ten second stop and go, but would he still receive the grid drop?

    1. @terro55 I think the carry over grid drop has been dropped, to make penalties just count in the race where it took place.

  9. At least they’ll have 5 PUs after the ‘fake race’ fiasco with Korea 2015. Bernie hoodwinking the FIA and their penalty brigade?

    1. I’m not so sure there will be 5 power units… If the Korea race is still on the calendar when the season starts, then there will be 5 power units even if the race is then dropped (during the season). But if it is dropped before the season starts, it depends on how one interprets the term “originally scheduled”. The regulations state that the number of power units will be increased “if the number of events in the championship, as originally scheduled, exceeds 20.” The first provisional schedule was presented in September, with amendments along the way up until the season starts. It’d be hard to argue that this specific iteration of the provisional schedule is the “original” one. I suspect that “originally scheduled” refers to the calendar that was in place when the season started.

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