Is stewarding improving? Analysing 2014’s penalties

2014 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Formula One stewards handed down almost 100 penalties during the 2014 season. That’s a rise of more than 50% since 2012, and an average of at least five per race.

Why is the number of penalties climbing? Has the new penalty points system had an effect? This breakdown of the penalties issued in 2014 provides some answers and looks at how things may change in 2015.

An incident is under investigation…

A driver who found themselves under investigation during 2014 was very likely to end up getting a penalty. Over three-quarters of stewards’ investigation resulted in a penalty of some sort.

[chartboot version= ‘3.0’ code= ‘0531’ border= ‘0’ width= ‘800’ height= ‘400’ attribution= ‘0’ jsondesc= ‘{“containerId”:”visualization0531″,”dataTable”:{“cols”:xxx00xxx{“id”:””,”label”:””,”pattern”:””,”type”:”string”,”p”:{}},{“id”:””,”label”:”Investigations”,”pattern”:””,”type”:”number”}xxx01xxx,”rows”:xxx00xxx{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Action taken”,”f”:null},{“v”:98,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”No action taken”,”f”:null},{“v”:27,”f”:null}xxx01xxx}xxx01xxx,”p”:null},”options”:{“title”:”Incident investigations in 2014″,”is3D”:false,”pieHole”:0,”booleanRole”:”certainty”,”colors”:xxx00xxx”#1155cc”,”#38761d”,”#FF9900″,”#109618″,”#990099″,”#0099C6″,”#DD4477″,”#66AA00″,”#B82E2E”,”#316395″,”#994499″,”#22AA99″,”#AAAA11″,”#6633CC”,”#E67300″,”#8B0707″,”#651067″,”#329262″,”#5574A6″,”#3B3EAC”,”#B77322″,”#16D620″,”#B91383″,”#F4359E”,”#9C5935″,”#A9C413″,”#2A778D”,”#668D1C”,”#BEA413″,”#0C5922″,”#743411″xxx01xxx,”vAxes”:xxx00xxx{“viewWindow”:{“max”:null,”min”:null},”minValue”:null,”maxValue”:null,”useFormatFromData”:true},{“viewWindow”:{“max”:null,”min”:null},”minValue”:null,”maxValue”:null,”useFormatFromData”:true}xxx01xxx,”hAxis”:{“viewWindow”:{“max”:null,”min”:null},”minValue”:null,”maxValue”:null,”useFormatFromData”:true},”fontName”:”Tahoma”,”legend”:”bottom”},”state”:{},”isDefaultVisualization”:true,”chartType”:”PieChart”}’ ]

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

Getting away with it

The following drivers were investigated but escaped a penalty.

1Sebastian VettelRed BullQYellow flag speeding
1Kevin MagnussenMcLarenQYellow flag speeding
1Fernando AlonsoFerrariQImpeding (Esteban Gutierrez)
1Kamui KobayashiCaterhamRCollision (Felipe Massa)
2Daniil KvyatToro RossoQCollision (Fernando Alonso)
2Fernando AlonsoFerrariQCollision (Daniil Kvyat)
3Esteban GutierrezSauberP2Impeding (Felipe Massa)
5Marcus EricssonCaterhamRIgnored blue flags (Kimi Raikkonen)
6Nico RosbergMercedesQCaused an incident
6Esteban GutierrezSauberQImpeding (Sergio Perez)
6Sergio PerezForce IndiaRCollision (Jenson Button)
8Kamui KobayashiCaterhamP1Did not stay to the right of the pit lane entry line
8Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaP2Did not stay to the right of the pit lane entry line
8Kevin MagnussenMcLarenP2Did not stay to the right of the pit lane entry line
8Adrian SutilSauberP3Did not stay to the right of the pit lane entry line
8Sebastian VettelRed BullRCollision (Esteban Gutierrez)
9Daniel RicciardoRed BullP1Overtook under red flags (Fernando Alonso)
9Nico RosbergMercedesP1Overtook under red flags (Daniil Kvyat)
9Pastor MaldonadoLotusQImpeding (Sergio Perez)
9Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoRCollision (Sergio Perez)
9Sergio PerezForce IndiaRCollision (Jean-Eric Vergne)
10Felipe MassaWilliamsRCollision (Kevin Magnussen)
14Fernando AlonsoFerrariRLeft the track
14Kevin MagnussenMcLarenRLeft the track
17Kevin MagnussenMcLarenRUnsafe release
18Felipe MassaWilliamsP2Unsafe release
19Kevin MagnussenMcLarenP1Incident with another car (Sebastian Vettel)

Popular penalties

[chartboot version= ‘3.0’ code= ‘8510’ border= ‘0’ width= ‘800’ height= ‘400’ attribution= ‘0’ jsondesc= ‘{“containerId”:”visualization8510″,”dataTable”:{“cols”:xxx00xxx{“id”:””,”label”:””,”pattern”:””,”type”:”string”,”p”:{}},{“id”:””,”label”:”Penalties”,”pattern”:””,”type”:”number”}xxx01xxx,”rows”:xxx00xxx{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Five-second penalty”,”f”:null},{“v”:23,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Five-place grid drop”,”f”:null},{“v”:19,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Lap time deleted”,”f”:null},{“v”:18,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Pit lane start”,”f”:null},{“v”:10,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Drive-through penalty”,”f”:null},{“v”:8,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Ten-place grid drop”,”f”:null},{“v”:5,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Ten-second stop-go penalty”,”f”:null},{“v”:4,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Excluded”,”f”:null},{“v”:4,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Three-place grid drop”,”f”:null},{“v”:3,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Seven-place grid drop”,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Twenty-place grid drop”,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null}xxx01xxx}xxx01xxx,”p”:null},”options”:{“title”:”Which penalties stewards used most frequently in 2014″,”isStacked”:false,”animation”:{“duration”:500},”booleanRole”:”certainty”,”hAxis”:{“useFormatFromData”:true,”viewWindow”:{“max”:null,”min”:null},”minValue”:null,”maxValue”:null},”vAxes”:xxx00xxx{“useFormatFromData”:true,”minValue”:null,”maxValue”:null,”viewWindow”:null,”viewWindowMode”:null},{“useFormatFromData”:true}xxx01xxx,”legend”:”bottom”,”fontName”:”Tahoma”,”series”:{“0”:{“color”:”#1155cc”}}},”state”:{},”isDefaultVisualization”:true,”chartType”:”BarChart”}’ ]

The new five-second time penalty proved a very useful addition to the stewards’ range of powers last year. This, potentially the most lenient of their available sanctions, was used more often than any other.

However in some cases observers considered the five-second penalty not tough enough for the reason it was applied. Obe such occasion has already led to a revision of the rules for 2015.

In Belgium Ferrari team personnel remained by Fernando Alonso’s car after the 15-second warning before the start of the Safety Car. He was given a five-second penalty, but new rules for 2015 mean any drivers in Alonso’s situation this year will have to start the race from the pits.

The usefulness of the five-second penalty has seen the addition of a ten-second penalty to the stewards’ range of censures for 2015.

Penalty trends

The most common cause of drivers being given penalties in 2014 was for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. This followed a rules clarification ahead of the season which warned drivers they must not gain a “lasting advantage” by going off the track.

There were 22 penalties handed out for drivers leaving the track. Most of these were lap time deletions during qualifying, with many coming at the Austrian Grand Prix. Half the field had lap times deleted at the Red Bull Ring for running wide at turn eight.

Other major causes of penalties were causing collisions (15 penalties) and gearbox changes (14 penalties).

There were five instances of drivers receiving multiple penalties for one incident. These were:

  • Daniel Ricciardo, Malaysia: Ten-second stop-go penalty and ten-place grid drop for unsafe release from the pits
  • Pastor Maldonado, Bahrain: Ten-second stop-go penalty and five-place grid drop for collision with Esteban Gutierrez
  • Esteban Gutierrez, Austria: Ten-second stop-go penalty and ten-place grid drop for unsafe release from the pits
  • Marcus Ericsson, Germany: Ten-second stop-go penalty and ten-place grid drop for car not being covered while in parc ferme
  • Romain Grosjean, Abu Dhabi: Twenty-place grid drop and drive-through penalty for using his sixth power unit elements

Penalty points and reprimands

Another new addition for 2014 was the penalty points system. Ten different drivers received penalty points over the course of the year.

The threat of a one-race ban hung over them had they accrued as many as 12, but none of them made it even halfway towards that outcome. The points remain on their licences for 12 months, however, so points earned last year could contribute to a ban this year.

The introduction of the penalty points system seemed to turn the practice of giving drivers reprimands into an irrelevance. Only five reprimands were issued all season, less than a quarter as many as the year before.

It remains the case that any driver who picks up three reprimands gets a ten-place grid penalty. But if they continue to be used as infrequently as last year the FIA may consider dropping them.

Only one reprimand was applied to a team during 2014. That was Red Bull, after one of their pit crew failed to wear head protection during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Drivers’ penalty points and reprimands

DriverDriver penalty pointsReprimands
Sebastian Vettel00
Daniel Ricciardo01
Lewis Hamilton00
Nico Rosberg01
Fernando Alonso00
Kimi Raikkonen01
Romain Grosjean20
Pastor Maldonado51
Jenson Button00
Kevin Magnussen40
Nico Hulkenberg00
Sergio Perez20
Adrian Sutil20
Esteban Gutierrez10
Jean-Eric Vergne30
Daniil Kvyat00
Felipe Massa00
Valtteri Bottas20
Jules Bianchi40
Max Chilton01
Kamui Kobayashi00
Marcus Ericsson50
Andre Lotterer00
Will Stevens00

When drivers deduct penalty points in 2015

29/3/2015 – Valtteri Bottas loses 2 points
30/3/2015 – Jules Bianchi loses 2 points
30/3/2015 – Kevin Magnussen loses 2 points
5/4/2015 – Adrian Sutil loses 2 points
6/4/2015 – Jules Bianchi loses 2 points
6/4/2015 – Pastor Maldonado loses 3 points
11/5/2015 – Pastor Maldonado loses 1 point
24/5/2015 – Marcus Ericsson loses 2 points
20/7/2015 – Jean-Eric Vergne loses 1 point
24/8/2015 – Kevin Magnussen loses 2 points
6/9/2015 – Marcus Ericsson loses 3 points
12/10/2015 – Romain Grosjean loses 2 points
2/11/2015 – Jean-Eric Vergne loses 1 point
2/11/2015 – Esteban Gutierrez loses 1 point
2/11/2015 – Pastor Maldonado loses 1 point
2/11/2015 – Sergio Perez loses 2 points
2/11/2015 – Jean-Eric Vergne loses 1 point

Why me?

Almost half of all penalties given to drivers last year were due to factors largely outside of their control. A gearbox or power unit failure often means an immediate grid penalty.

Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez collected the most penalties during 2014. Each had a total of ten, of which six could be attributed to errors on their part and four were largely the responsibility of the team (e.g. grid penalties for component changes).

The only drivers to participate in every race without receiving a penalty of any type were Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen. The latter was given one of the year’s few reprimands for his collision with Kevin Magnussen during the Monaco Grand Prix.

[chartboot version= ‘3.0’ code= ‘D8EA’ border= ‘0’ width= ‘800’ height= ‘600’ attribution= ‘0’ jsondesc= ‘{“containerId”:”visualizationD8EA”,”dataTable”:{“cols”:xxx00xxx{“id”:””,”label”:”Driver”,”pattern”:””,”type”:”string”,”p”:{}},{“id”:””,”label”:”Penalties due to driver”,”pattern”:””,”type”:”number”,”p”:{}},{“id”:””,”label”:”Penalties due to team”,”pattern”:””,”type”:”number”}xxx01xxx,”rows”:xxx00xxx{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Pastor Maldonado”,”f”:null},{“v”:6,”f”:null},{“v”:4,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Esteban Gutierrez”,”f”:null},{“v”:6,”f”:null},{“v”:4,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Romain Grosjean”,”f”:null},{“v”:4,”f”:null},{“v”:5,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Jean-Eric Vergne”,”f”:null},{“v”:5,”f”:null},{“v”:3,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Jules Bianchi”,”f”:null},{“v”:5,”f”:null},{“v”:2,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Marcus Ericsson”,”f”:null},{“v”:5,”f”:null},{“v”:2,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Kevin Magnussen”,”f”:null},{“v”:4,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Max Chilton”,”f”:null},{“v”:2,”f”:null},{“v”:3,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Daniel Ricciardo”,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null},{“v”:5,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Sebastian Vettel”,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null},{“v”:3,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Sergio Perez”,”f”:null},{“v”:3,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Adrian Sutil”,”f”:null},{“v”:3,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Fernando Alonso”,”f”:null},{“v”:2,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Nico Hulkenberg”,”f”:null},{“v”:2,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Valtteri Bottas”,”f”:null},{“v”:2,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Lewis Hamilton”,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null},{“v”:2,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Daniil Kvyat”,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null},{“v”:2,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Jenson Button”,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Kamui Kobayashi”,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Felipe Massa”,”f”:null},{“v”:1,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Nico Rosberg”,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Kimi Raikkonen”,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Andre Lotterer”,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null}xxx01xxx},{“c”:xxx00xxx{“v”:”Will Stevens”,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null},{“v”:0,”f”:null}xxx01xxx}xxx01xxx,”p”:null},”options”:{“title”:”Who was responsible for driversxxx02xxx penalties in 2014?”,”isStacked”:true,”animation”:{“duration”:500},”booleanRole”:”certainty”,”hAxis”:{“useFormatFromData”:true,”viewWindow”:{“max”:13,”min”:0},”minValue”:0,”maxValue”:13,”logScale”:false,”viewWindowMode”:”explicit”},”vAxes”:xxx00xxx{“useFormatFromData”:true,”minValue”:null,”maxValue”:null,”viewWindow”:null,”viewWindowMode”:null},{“useFormatFromData”:true}xxx01xxx,”legend”:”bottom”,”fontName”:”Tahoma”,”focusTarget”:”category”,”series”:{“0”:{“color”:”#1155cc”},”1″:{“color”:”#38761d”}}},”state”:{},”isDefaultVisualization”:true,”chartType”:”BarChart”}’ ]

Penalties in full

See the new Penalty Index for a summary of all the major incidents which were investigated last year and details on how they were decided:

Over to you

Are F1 stewards now handing down too many penalties? Are the penalties they apply consistent from race to race and driver to driver?

Have your say in the comments.

2014 F1 season

Browse all 2014 F1 season articles

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.

65 comments on “Is stewarding improving? Analysing 2014’s penalties”

  1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    14th January 2015, 12:11

    The consistency of penalties has been perhaps the biggest improvement under Jean Todt’s tenure. The stewards might not always get it right, but nowadays I feel that at least they’re only applying sporting considerations when making their decisions. Under Mosley, stewarding was a bit of a disaster and often ruined the enjoyment of the race for me – sometimes it felt more like professional wrestling than a proper sport.

    1. Indeed, I agree completely. Just think back to the spa victory they stole from Hamilton.

      Also the inclusion of a 5sec penalty which can be served with a pitstop or added to your time, is a great penalty. It is a penalty but not to harsh, your race isn’t ruined anymore! Thank god for that.
      Racing incidents happen and now your race isn’t over after a little error.

      1. That Spa incident was a textbook example for gaining a lasting advantage by leaving the track. 25 seconds were a harsh punishment, but there simply was no lighter penalty available back then.

        Me, I’m unsatisfied with the so-called driver stewards. Ex- and active drivers are notoriously unable to look at incidents unbiasedly. Even Martin Brundle, whom I respect a lot, sometimes makes me cringe when seeing something that simply wasn’t there, or vice-versa.
        Also, there have been a lot of inconsistencies this year. Remember Vettel bumping into Gutierrez in Austria? There were countless similar accidents which lead to penalties even though no harm was done to the faultless driver.
        Another incident that bothered me a lot was the 2-points-penalty for Bianchi in one of the first races. Although the cameras showed very clearly that Bianchi’s tyre had been punctured by another driver so that he couldn’t stop before the upcoming hairpin and helplessly crashed into a cornering car, the stewards plainly ignored his explanation and gave him those penalty points.

        1. Agree with your sentiment, and would add that time Mal flipped that guy… sure it was spectacular but he was penalised for that moreso than for his driving (which was a simple matter of causing a colission, i might almost have said racing incident). Presumeably if the other guy was killed Mal would have had even a harsher penalty, for the exact same move…

        2. That Spa incident was a textbook example for gaining a lasting advantage by leaving the track. 25 seconds were a harsh punishment, but there simply was no lighter penalty available back then.

          Spa 2008 wasn’t textbook at all. The rule didn’t stipulate lasting advantage I’m pretty sure, and that’s why they added the 2-corner rule afterwards, and why Max’s stooge Allan Donnelly phoned Max in Peru in the course of taking 2 hours over the decision. 25s was just enough to hand Massa the win.

          It was merely a question of whether Max thought the fallout would be worth it.

          Things have improved since then, at least.

          1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            14th January 2015, 16:10

            @lockup Exactly, it was disgraceful. Hamilton gave back the position, only to be deemed not to have given it back in the right way – they were making it up on the hoof. The entire season was plagued with dodgy stewarding decisions: showing undue leniency to Ferrari and undue severity to McLaren. It got so bad that even Nick Heidfeld (a Sauber driver!) commented on it.

            Mosley put a stooge in the stewards box. It’s pretty obvious that 2008 was more about settling scores, than about sport.

          2. @lockup @thegrapeunwashed

            That evening at Spa was the saddest I remember feeling in F1, accidents aside, of course. I remember well when the verdict was announced they were taking the win off Lewis, the sheer sense of dumbfounded shock everyone seemed to feel, especially those reporting the story, and Niki Lauda saying it was ‘the worst stewarding decision I have ever seen in F1’. That was several yeas before he and Lewis became colleagues, of course, he was just telling it as he saw it at the time.

            I think nearly everyone, perhaps bar the most committed Hamilton-Haters, really knew that it was an appalling injustice.

          3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
            14th January 2015, 18:19

            @paulguitar, it remains the best extended fight between two drivers I’ve seen in my time watching the sport. What made it so special is that both were (over-) driving on slicks in the wet – incredible! But the decision after the race leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

            The circumstances were pretty unique too, Kimi was driving for his seat, otherwise I can’t imagine him putting up such a determined fight in those conditions.

            After Kimi went off there was only one deserving winner of that race, and it certainly wasn’t Massa, who drove like my grandmother once the rain started to fall.

          4. @thegrapeunwashed

            I agree completely, I was literally jumping up and down in front of the TV and yelling! I think that made it even worse later that night. We had had a superb, classic race, and it meant nothing, and, as you say, the race was gifted to Massa who had been slow. It was a disgrace.

    2. Consistency is still a big problem in stewards’ decisions,in my view mostly because the ex-driver stewards change between races, some harsher, some lighter. I find this very similar to the Lewis-Nico incident in Spa and, while Magnussen (unjustly, I think) got a penalty for this one, Nico got away without a penalty. Since consistency means sticking with your choices, is it a good thing they haven’t been consistent in this case, as the first chronological incident was the one in Malaysian GP. I’d love to hear opinions on this one.

      1. I find this very similar to the Lewis-Nico incident in Spa and, while Magnussen (unjustly, I think) got a penalty for this one, Nico got away without a penalty.

        There is a very significant difference between the two incidents. Magnussen never really had any overlap on Raikkonen, but hit him coming from behind. Raikkonen could not have avoided the incident.
        Rosberg had about half a carlengths overlap. Hamilton was on the racing line, but knew Rosberg was there and could have avoided the collision. I am not necessarily saying he should, but he could, and that makes a huge difference.

        1. @kroonracing Kimi could have avoided the incident by not claiming the apex. Lewis could have avoided the incident by slowing down and going off-line. KMag could have avoided the incident by not sticking his nose in with insufficient overlap. Nico could have avoided the incident by not steering hard right as Lewis’ rear wheel went past.

        2. Lewis got to the corner first, and the overlap was pretty marginal (Nico’s front wing was level with Lewis’s rear tire going into the second half of the chicane). Lewis could have left slightly more room, and Nico could have backed off slightly– either way, I think the steward’s judged correctly that it was a racing incident. The real fallout was from Nico admitting he could have avoided it, and chose not to.

          Re-watching the race, though, I have to say the real question is, why wasn’t Lewis penalized for starting the race with his front wheels several feet in front of his box? Possibly because he was taken out of the race so early, but still– and further, if the drivers have a reverse gear, why can’t they use it when they overshoot their box?!?

          1. The stewards didn’t investigate it. Incredible. Ten seconds doesn’t even allow for a slow-mo replay. That saved them having to look at the frame that shows Rosberg STEERING HARD RIGHT into Hamilton’s rear wheel.

            The fact that Rosberg as you say admitted causing an avoidable accident and was fined by his own team for it shows the complete lack of objectivity in the stewarding. It was appalling.

            Hamilton couldn’t have left more room – on that tight line in there’s only one trajectory through a chicane. Unless you think he should have slowed down and let Rosberg through.

          2. @lockup

            Don’t be daft, like, half a second before that he was turning hard left to avoid him. I can make a picture if you want.

            I think it’s very easy to analyze after the fact. F1 cars go fast ya know.

          3. The stewards didn’t investigate @mike. They do investigate fast incidents ya know. Steering wheels steer the car BTW, so make sure your picture includes this daftness ;)

          4. @lockup


            Pause it at 20s.
            Is that proof that he wasn’t doing it on purpose? No, not really.
            Is the picture two frames later proof that he did? No, not really.

            I don’t think either picture can demonstrate whether it was on purpose or not.

          5. The only reason I say that Hamilton could theoretically have left room, is by comparing it with Hamilton’s overtake on Massa through the first chicane at Monza. Massa realized Hamilton had him, and let him through– a difficult decision to make in the middle of a race.

            On the other hand, at Spa, Rosberg was nowhere near being in front of Hamilton as they entered the chicane, so there was no real reason for Hamilton to back off.

            For the record, yeah, I think it was Rosberg’s fault. He was still fuming over Hungary.

          6. It’s evidence @mike insofar as it’s an inappropriate amount of lock for negotiating the track at that point. So it’s not exactly a wild leap that he was steering into what was on his right.

            So if the stewards had investigated, they might well have had to do something. Like, as a minimum, find it was what Rosberg himself admitted, an avoidable accident not a racing incident. But Pirro abjectly bottled it.

          7. I think the stewards decision was right. I also think it was a racing incident. Hamilton got to the corner first but didn’t seem that eager to get a move on. Instead he practically ‘parked’ his car there. He had blatantly pushed Rosberg off multiple times & I guess he saw this as a chance to do the same; I think that’s why Rosberg said he did it to prove a point but Hamilton was the instigator.

          8. Obvious hard right steer by Rosberg. And people who contend the cars go fast, or all this is happening in split-second time therefore Rosberg could not have made a conscious decision to do what he did don’t understand that the drivers are THE best in the world at what they do and learned at very early ages that time is perception-based. Driver reactions that are inconceivable to most of us are commonplace for the F1 driver. Plus, Rosberg said before the race that he’d take Hamilton out if given the opportunity – and then did it. THAT is why he was fined, not the admission afterward. The entire team knew his mindset, pre-race.

    3. +1 completely agree – under Max Mosely it was cringe worthy.

      Im actually pleasantly surprised. If you remember it was Todt that was usually the beneficiary of the stewards decisions in his Ferrari days…

  2. Hm, I do think that the 5 second time penalty added to a pitstop has helped a lot in making handing out penalties for driving infringements less heavy handed, because 5 seconds can be regained, in contrast to a drive through which costs some 12-25 seconds. And I also think there were less discrepancies between races because of that.
    But there were still a few cases where it was totally unclear why a penalty was given, or it was given when it shouldn’t have been as well as some cases where a driver came away with something without penalty. As ever, better documentation of what was penalized exactly why – with the relative materials (including video evidence and a summary of telemetry used?) should be published by the FIA for transparancy.

    I myself was happy with the FIA handing out penalties for going off track. But as ever they were not doing so evenly and consistently. Off course the drivers did not like it, but I sure hope they remember this for a while and cut down on this practice.

  3. i thought the stewards were inconsistent with the penalties. the fact that fernando alonso only got a 5 sec pit stop penalty for having machanics work on his car after the two minute mark shows us that. i’m sure had it been a sauber or a marussia, it would’ve resorted in a much more harsh penalty.

    also the penalty points were given out in an unconsistent manner. it started as it was meant to, giving points on occasions they needed to be handed out on. but as the year progressed, penalty points became a rare sight.

    in 2015 the stewards need to be more consistent. penalties need to be the same to every driver and every team. if a mercedes holds up a sauber (however that might be possible) and in reverse, the penalties need to be the same. the amount of penalties is difficult to judge because of the inconsistency of the stewards handing them out.

    1. Disagree on your first point @rigi – we never saw any other drivers get penalised for breaking the 2 minute warning on the grid (I think, correct me if I’m wrong on this one), so I don’t see how you can call it inconsistent when there’s nothing to compare Alonso’s penalty to. The only similar penalty I can think of is Kimi Raikkonen’s at the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix, and stewarding has changed considerably since then.
      Agree with you elsewhere though. It’s a bit frustrating to see penalty points not being used to their best effect, they’re too sparse and the amounts given out don’t seem to be appropriate.

      1. @ciaran well, i know that we haven’t seen an incident like it in quite a while (because it never happened in the last few years) but i believe someone on this site (may have even been keith) checked the regulations and according to them, the penalty they were supposed to issue was a 10 second stop/go. i can’t back this up though, i don’t remember if it was on the f1 fanatic live chat or on in a comment on the site and i’m too lazy to search for the regulation myself.

  4. Penalties should only be given when absolutely necessary. I’d hoped the penalty system would help reducing penalties but they barely used that kind of punishment. And when they did they’d usually also given other penalties, too. Then what’s the point? Give them penalty points when they: Force an other driver off the track, cut corner/leave the track and gain an advantage, cause collision, jump at the start, cross the pitlane white line, ignore flags, impede other drivers during Q, speed in the pitlane during Q or R. (and not during FP)

    Penalty points shouldn’t necessarily result in race ban, it could result in grid penalty. (like in BTCC)

    Punish them with a drive-thru’/classic stop and go only when absolutely necessary: deliberate and unsportsmanlike behavior.

    1. @f1mre

      I’d hoped the penalty system would help reducing penalties but they barely used that kind of punishment. And when they did they’d usually also given other penalties, too. Then what’s the point?

      If a driver commits an offence and the only sanction you give him is penalty points then you haven’t punished him, you’ve just set a tariff on the offence he’s committed.

      1. @f1mre @keithcollantine

        Yes it’s like when you speed in your own car – 3 points on your license wouldn’t be much of a deterrent, but 3 points AND a fine makes sure you keep to the limits

        1. @cornflakes In theory, at least :-)

          1. I think it shows in case studies and analyses of the systems introduced both in Germany and here in the Czech Republic that it indeed does have a deterring effect on drivers @keithcollantine, @cornflakes. Off course it only has if the points allowance is small enough and both fines and penalties for going over the limit are draconical enough.

            However, that effect also lessens somewhat over time because people get used to the new situation.

  5. Evil Homer (@)
    14th January 2015, 13:21

    I was lucky enough to met Charlie Whiting and Herbie Blash in Malaysia last year. Not only TOP blokes but they take their jobs EXTREMLEY seriously and know their spilt second decisions do have tremendous consequences!
    I know these two blokes are not the whole FIA, but based on what on what I saw and heard having a quite white wine with these guys, we are in good hands for most stead, FIA is not perfect but none of us are!!!

    1. Lol @evilhomer, this is BERNIE’s Charlie and Herbie you’re talking about. Brabham, remember? Charlie has taken over from Max (who can also do charming) as Bernie’s agent. It was Charlie who banned McLaren’s LEGAL floor in 2012, and who suddenly banned FRICS last year, for example.

      He succeeds in muddying the waters with a mix of merely stupid decisions like standing starts after SC and radio bans (though these also have a Bernie-esque effect of generating F1 column inches) but under it all he’s there to tilt the table this way and that to suit Bernie and the venture capitalists.

      Otherwise how do you explain Red Bull going for so long with a floor that’s supported on FIA’s own table during the test procedure but is flexi the rest of the time?

  6. If its to be consistent then they need to use the same stewards more often,

  7. Hard to believe Rosberg was one of only two drivers not to get a penalty. But we only had to read what Warwick and Pirro had to say to understand their abject lack of objectivity. Prejudgement City! They were a disgrace. And clearly the driver stewards have huge influence over the other stewards.

    They’re all chosen on an unsuitable basis, and not well enough trained.

  8. I like the new types of punishments, like 5 seconds added to stops. What I don’t like is the frequent technical infringements, especially for gearbox changes.

    They should change it so that it works the same as the engine alotments. So that you get a certain number of gearboxes to use for the whole year.

    Boring when drivers get grid drops for changing gearboxes one race early even if they use the same number of gearboxes as others for the full year.

  9. 5 second stop go penalty should be served regardless the driver need it or not, rather than adding 5 seconds added in the final time, this gave a big diffrence especially if we look the outcome Alonso penalty in Spa and Magnussen in Monza. With 5 seconds added it means driver will likely caught up in traffic while added time not.

    1. @deongunner

      5 second stop go penalty should be served regardless the driver need it or not, rather than adding 5 seconds added in the final time

      If I’m following you, what you’re talking about is forcing a driver to make a pit stop when they don’t need to. This would make the penalty far more severe – more punitive than a drive-through penalty – and the very reason it was introduced was so that stewards would have a more lenient option.

  10. Penalties have definitely been better over the last couple of years. There are certainly still a lot of areas where they could be improved though. Take Austria for example; having laps deleted instantly was fantastic, but why did we not have this at the other tracks where run-offs go on for a few miles? The use of penalty points was a touch inconsistent, but I thought that they used the five-second stop/go penalty really well. I think the ten-second variation is only a good thing as well. We had the usual suspects at the top of the ‘Drivers’ Fault’ chart (the Maldonados and Gutierrez of the field) whilst those who kept their noses clean were towards the bottom.

  11. Take Austria for example; having laps deleted instantly was fantastic, but why did we not have this at the other tracks where run-offs go on for a few miles?


    The FIA look at that on a circuit by circuit/corner by corner basis/incident by incident basis using the Timing/GPS data which they have.
    From the outside its hard to tell the difference, But when you have the data that the FIA have with the timing loops & gps tracking you can see exactly how much time is gained or lost down to fractions of a second.

    At Austria the timing/gps data clearly showed that running off at turn 7 was giving people a time advantage, At other circuits that same data showed that it wasn’t an advantage.

    At some circuits for instance they have either sawtooth kurbs or kurbs that are slightly raised towards the back end & both of those solutions tend to cause a loss of momentum, The sawtooth kurbs because they caused the cars to bounce slightly & the raised back end causes the cars to bottom out slightly with causes a marginal speed loss due to the bouncing & friction.

    At Austria the kurbs were completely flat so drivers could keep there foot down & maintain momentum while running wide at turn 7 & it also put them on a slightly better line for the next corner.

    1. Thanks for that @gt-racer. Wow, there IS actually some sound reasoning behind this. Again, huge shame that the FIA doesn’t do more of showing things – I for example would love to see the BBC / Sky have a pre show item about this kind of thing behind the screens

  12. IMO, I feel that the stewards sometimes did not make the best decisions. I personally think that Rosberg should have got a penalty in Monaco (not too harsh) and Spa. Lewis should have got a penalty in Germany (not too harsh). Magnussen’s Monza penalty was extremely harsh, and I think that was a racing incident. Most of Maldonado’s penalties were too lenient, and could have killed if it happened in the 80s. Both Alonso and Vettel should have received at least 1 penalty at Silverstone for their excessive track extending and illegal overtaking. My opinion, don’t hate.

    1. I personally think that Rosberg should have got a penalty in Monaco (not too harsh)

      If he was guilty, he deserved disqualification from qualifying at least.

      1. I was thinking more of a five-place grid penalty for Rosberg, but if he was found guilty of cheating, then yes, disqualification from qualifying would have been fair. However, there is not enough sufficient evidence to prove that he did cheat, but the way he celebrated his ”pole position” was wrong.

  13. Consistent? Consistently poor!

    Again, the FIA need to take a step back and let the sport govern itself. There is too much emphasis on “the show” and not nearly enough on “the sport”!

  14. Patrick Traille
    14th January 2015, 16:41

    I would say on the one hand they have become more consistent with Hamilton not being given arbitrary penalties like in the past. What is interesting is that Rosberg is one of the only two drivers not receiving any penalties.

  15. I cannot remember a penalty quite as monumentally stupid as Malaysia 2002 in recent history. In that sense, FIA have definitely improved.

    1. That moment basically sums up Schumachers career perfectly. Dirty, underhanded cheat.

      1. So he’s a “Dirty, underhanded cheat” because he loses his front wing in a racing incident?

        1. No, obviously.

          Did you realise the incident revolved around Montoya being penalised for a “racing incident” that Schumacher was to blame for? Did you watch F1 in the early 2000’s? Are you aware of the so called “Red car rule”?

          It wasn’t just Schumacher who was a cheat, it was Ferrari, Bernie, The FIA, Bridgestone……

          1. Yes, I watched F1 in the early 2000s, and there was no such thing as the “red car rule”. The FIA’s incompetence gives you no right or reason to be labeling the best team and driver of that era as “cheats”.

        2. What? You have never heard of the red car rule? Wow. Do you realise it’s not an actual rule, it’s a well know saying of the time because of the ever so frequent inexplicable decisions being made that always worked out to favour the red car with the guy wearing the red helmet.

          Don’t confuse incompetence with corruption. You either didn’t watch F1 back then, only followed the highlights or you watched through rose coloured glasses with blinkers. It was obvious for all to see.

          Look I don’t discount Michael being a great driver who probably deserved to win a couple of WDC’s based on his talent, but he did not deserve 7 without a lot of dodgy external influences.

          1. Well known saying where? Obvious for all to see where? You make sweeping statements and condescending statements about other’s viewership with no actual proof or facts to back your claims up.

            A stupid penalty in 2002 doesn’t equal “corruption”, losing your front wing doesn’t equal “underhanded”, and someone disagreeing with your opinion (however irrational your opinion might be), doesn’t equal “blinkers”.

  16. It is improving but there is far more that needs to be done, Spa and Monaco are two key examples of this last year.

    Regardless of the debate over whether Nico made his mistake on purpose in Monaco or not, reversing back onto the track during the qualifying session which doing so he knew would ruin any chance of anyone beating him that was worthy of a penalty not just a reprimand, he had no reason to do that as he was not going to improve his own time after that.

    Reprimands should be for minor offences that had no real effect but were a little bit naughty – reversing back onto the track guaranteeing yellow flags and thus a pole position plus causing an unnecessary hazard on the circuit (Of course people should slow significantly for yellow flags but tell that to Bianchi) is not something that has no real effect.

    Spa well he ended someone else’s race through at best clumsiness, at worst an intentional act and got off without any penalty, reprimand or even an investigation during or after the race. I thought it was extremely strange that there was not even an investigation into it given some of the ridiculous things we did see investigated last yea.

    These things do not matter now because they made no difference to the overall outcome, but they so easily could have done and we’d be sat here reading an article about how these 2 defining moments handed the title to Nico.

    Penalties should be handed out regardless of whether it is a championship winning Mercedes or a dog of a Sauber but I did not get the impression that this was the case last year.

    1. reversing back onto the track during the qualifying session which doing so he knew would ruin any chance of anyone beating him that was worthy of a penalty not just a reprimand, he had no reason to do that as he was not going to improve his own time after that.

      Nico reversing onto the track didn’t affect anybody’s lap though as the yellow’s would have been out regardless. At Monaco the yellow flags remain out until the cars have been craned away behind the barriers, They even keep yellow’s out while the cars are on the crane in the air.

      Its also worth pointing out here that had Nico stayed down the runoff the yellow flags would have stayed out all the way through the end of the session, By reversing out & driving away he got that sector back to green & that would have allowed any cars on a hot lap after that to finish there lap without needing to slow down which would not have been the case had he stayed down the runoff.

  17. I can’t begin to explain how beautifully written this article is.. Kudos @keithcollantine

    1. @ssm0304 Thank you very much :-)

  18. Penalties are much better now 5 seconds can be given, but the 5 second penalty was definitely overused in 2014. Hopefully the 10 second penalty will resolve that this year.

    The only issue I had was the continued inconsistency with collision penalties. Grosjean in Russia, Sutil and Perez in Singapore, and Raikkonen in Monaco and Silverstone, to name a few.

    I feel that some of these were too harsh (such as the first one), while others were not punishing enough. In Singapore Sutil got away with wiping Perez’s front wing off, and I feel that in Monaco Kimi only got away with just a reprimand because he is Kimi Raikkonen (and arguably same with Silverstone, but that’s a whole different debate which I’m not going to start again. Then there was Hamilton and Rosberg, which, again, I don’t think we need to have that debate again).

    With some penalties I personally feel the blame was apportioned wrongly, or not at all, which I think should be clarified or sorted out.

    One final thing is that in Australia, although the accident was not Kobayashi’s fault, if drivers are given penalties for team failings such as unsafe release, gearbox, etc. (which I do believe they should be as it is a team sport), then how come Kobayashi (and Caterham) got away with a brake failure. How is that different from a gearbox failure? especially when it wipes one out with him.

    On the whole though, it has been a massive improvement from the Codemaster-like penalties given in previous years. Why don’t you do a poll on this Keith? I’d love to see a summary of people’s opinions on this.

    1. One more thing I forgot about is the points system. It was working well but then they stopped utilising it for some reason.

      The amounts were all wrong as well. 2 points for obstruction and 2-3 for causing a massive accident.

    2. @strontium That could be a good pre-season poll to run. I’ll give it some thought.

    3. Oh one more example of penalties not being given was in Germany, when both Vettel and Hamilton hit Kimi and for some reason they got away with it. It wasn’t even investigated.

    4. @strontium a brake failure and gearbox failure can’t be compared. a brake failure is the worst thing that can happen to you, as you have no control over the car, whereas if your gearbox breaks, you still have the chance to pull the car over. also, if your gearbox breaks during a race, you don’t get a penalty. most brake failures happen without the team noticing until they check the car when it’s back in the pits, i believe kobayashi even apologized to massa on twitter before they discovered that it was a rear brake failure.

  19. Besides the lack of punishment for Rosberg, and that ridiculous decision of not deploying the SC in Germany, the stewarding seemed a little better than the last seasons.

  20. Got to admire Pastor’s consistency.

    It this was Formula Penalty, we would have had a champion on the making, who would only have gotten narrowly beaten by Grosjean in 2012

  21. I thought the worst stewarding decision of the season was not punishing Rosberg for straightlining the last chicane at Montreal. He gained enough time to get beyond the 1 second DRS gap to Hamilton for several laps. How they could say he didn’t gain a lasting advantage is beyond me.

Comments are closed.