Frustration at Force India as penalties cost points

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were frustrated after penalties left them out of the points in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Both drivers were given the new ten-second time penalties which were introduced this year.

Sergio Perez was penalised for a collision with Romain Grosjean in turn 12. “The penalty didn’t help us,” he said after finishing 13th.

“I felt I had nowhere to go and couldn’t avoid contact with Romain. I thought it was a racing incident but it ended up costing us a lot.”

Hulkenberg was racing the two Red Bull drivers when he tangled with Daniil Kvyat at turn two. “The penalty for the contact with Daniil also dropped me out of the fight for points,” he said.

“I went a bit wide in turn one and chose to go back on the inside going into turn two. I was quite well alongside him, but he probably didn’t think I would try to come back at him.”

Both drivers were also given two penalty points. Hulkenberg did not previously have any on his licence while Perez already has two from last year’s United States Grand Prix.

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    56 comments on “Frustration at Force India as penalties cost points”

    1. Both undeserved. Both were unfortunate racing events.

      1. I entirely disagree.

        Hulkenberg’s contact was front wheel to rear wheel. That is never far enough alongside another car for a proper move. Should have backed out.

        Perez drifted wider than he should have and bumped Grosjean off. It should have been an amazing side by side sequence, but unfortunately Perez didn’t scrub off enough speed.

        1. Kvyat was the one making a mistake there however. He seemed to be watching his teammate to the right, completely oblivious to Hulkenberg also being on track and just went into the corner @jarnooo.

          But I think this should have been just deemed to be one of those things, a racing incident.

          1. I ought to watch the replay again because I seem to have an unpopular opinion lol.

            1. No, I totally agree with you @jarnooo

              Perez was at fault, arnoux and villeneuve didnt do that to eachother back in the day, these guys should learn from them.

              Hulk also should have backed out but obviously was on tilt from losing 2 positions in one move and made a rash decision which was IMO rightly penalised.

      2. I agree. Also, not the first time a Force India driver got a undeserved penalty.

    2. They have to blame themselves for these penalties. Hulkenberg made very stupid move against Daniil that cost him a lot.

      1. No, he didn’t. Kviat suddenly changed the racing direction without thinking that there are drivers behind. Besides, he should have gone a lot wider, Kviat had a lot of space on his right. Hulk had nowhere to go. Misjudgement from both, but I do not think Hulk should have stopped just to let others go. It was a racing incident, so it should not have been penalised.

      2. That was just a messy situation with Ricciardo jumping out of the way for Kvyat and then Kvyat slamming the door on Hulkenberg coming from quite wide. It’s easy to see from the TV screen, but Hulkenberg could never have seen Kvyat coming in those tiny mirrors.

        Perez could indeed have simply avoided that incident as two more “mature” drivers like Ricciardo and Verstappen showed a few laps later.

    3. While the penalty for Pérez was completely justified, as he simply harpooned Grosjean, who had nowhere else to go, the penalty for Hülkenberg is frankly a shame. I have no idea what the stewards were looking at. When I saw the incident, it was obvious to me that it was Kvyat’s mistake, and that he turned in without thinking that Hülkenberg could be there. While it was Kvyat who could’ve avoided the accident by turning in less aggressively, there was no reason to penalise him.
      But then I saw that they cracked down on Hülkenberg. And I think that’s the second shocking false decision in just two races, the first being Räikkönen’s acquittal of unsafe release in Melbourne.
      Seriously, I can’t even.

      1. Agree about Hulk’s penalty. Seemed like Kvyat turned in faster before passing Hulk.

        Disagree about Kimi. The tires were on the car when he stopped and retired. Not sure in what way it was unsafe.

        1. @evered7
          The tires staying on the car have never been a criterion in the past.
          1. The car was released although the mechanics on the right rear hadn’t given the signal and immediately waved in protest.
          2. The car was released on track with a wheel that hadn’t been (safely) fastened.
          3. After a few corners at full speed, the wheel was loose enough for Räikkönen to notice that something was wrong, at which point the team informed him for the first time that there was a problem.

          The wheel could’ve gone off any moment after the release, but Ferrari decided to keep their heads down instead, hoping that it would somehow turn out to be fine. Every single bit of that fits the definition and meaning of “unsafe release”. Of course, that was hardly Räikkönen’s fault (although the incident was ultimately caused by him releasing the clutch during the first pit stop, which lead to the first problem and damaged the wheel hub that was involved in the second incident – but that doesn’t mean he was to blame for the unsafe release), but the rules are quite clear on that point: If your team releases you in an unsafe manner, you get a 10 second drive-though penalty plus 10 places grid penalty in the following race.
          The stewards then decided something that was neither fish nor fowl, as evidenced by the wording of their verdict. I challenge you to make sense (and by sense, I’m not talking about very generous interpretation) of the document’s final sentence. It makes an utterance like “I can’t even” look grammatically acceptable.

          1. P.S.:
            My point is, the ruling of unsafe release has, in the past, been carried out in the spirit of not confusing cause and effect. If a wheel comes off after a pit stop, it doesn’t have to be an unsafe release, it might be a wheel nut failure that wasn’t directly related to the team’s behaviour during the pit stop.
            It’s about acting in a safe manner in order to prevent mishaps from happening. And in that respect, Ferrari’s behaviour, the cause of the incident, was nowhere near anything that could be considered safe. They were lucky that nothing too bad happened after that (the effect), but they took absolutely no measures to make sure that nothing goes wrong, only telling Räikkönen to stop the car after he realised something was indeed wrong.

            1. @nase They had issues in the first stop as well with the same left rear. They did release him before it could be properly fastened. But what didn’t happen though was the tires running loose from the car. The team acknowledged their mistake and asked him to stop on track rather than slowly continuing to the pit to correct the error.

              If he had continued, he probably would have made it to the pit and gained position in the race. The team sacrificed that not to endanger anybody on the track.

              I am mentioning all this to imply it was not cut & dry like in the previous instances. The stewards must have been satisfied with the explanation given and hence the lack of penalty.

            2. @evered7
              Acknowledging an error and stopping the car when a problem becomes apparent is standard procedure and included in the definition of unsafe release, implicitly.
              The 2015 F1 sporting regulations have an additional rule that covers cases in which a driver continues to run with an unsafe car. I’ll quote the rule:

              a) It is the responsibility of the competitor to release his car from his garage or pit stop position only when it is safe to do so. The competitor must also provide a means of clearly establishing, when being viewed from the front of the car, when that car was released.
              b) If a car is deemed to have been released in an unsafe condition during any practice session, the stewards may drop the driver such number of grid positions as they consider appropriate.
              c) If a car is deemed to have been released in an unsafe condition during a race a penalty under Article 16.3(d) will be imposed on the driver concerned.
              d) 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.

              So it was a clear-cut case. By stopping the car, Räikkönen did what he needed to do to avoid yet another penalty, but the conditions for penalising him according to articles 23.12 and 16.3 were clearly met.

            3. @Nase Unsafe is not an exact definition here I suppose. Today Bottas was released into the path of an RB (or STR?) but it was not looked into. The point of contention is that once Ferrari knew that Kimi had a problem, they stopped him on track. The wheel didn’t come off and this is what might have tilted the stewards decision in their favor.

              I am all for safety, but the team cannot be punished for hypothetical scenarios.

            4. @evered7
              I think I’ve laid out all the aspects that in my opinion didn’t leave the stewards a real choice (which is why was caught off guard by their dodgy and linguistically incomprehensible verdict). If you choose not to connect the dots and instead declare a rule which is all about avoiding risks irrelevant for hypothetical events (which is in my view a 100% match in terms of semantics), there’s obviously nothing I can do to convince you. We’ll have to settle for agreeing to disagree.

        2. Last season in Malaysia, Ricciardo stopped inside the pitlane with a poorly fitted wheel and still received an “unsafe release” penaly. Raikkonen really should also have gotten that penalty.

          The extra penalty was added because Red Bull injured a camera man with a loose tyre after one of their many unsafe releases. FIA wanted the teams not to focus 100% on pit stop speed rather than safety.

          1. @patrickl
            You’re absolutely right.

      2. The penalty for Hulkenberg was quite harsh, but I think that he could have avoided the accident. He was very much behind Kvyat at that point and you can’t just stick your nose on the inside and expect the guy in front to see you. A bit of an optimistic move from the Hulk, but I don’t think he deserved a penalty for that.

        1. “I was quite well alongside him, but he probably didn’t think I would try to come back at him.”

          Right there in the article.

          1. Yeah, I read that, I just don’t agree with it. I watched the video a couple of times and Hulkenberg was behind until the turn in point. But even if he had his front wheel alongside Kvyat’s rear it’s very risky to go in the corner like that, because it’s extremely difficult for the driver in front to see you in those circumstances.

      3. Everyone including Kvyat thought it was a racing incident. 2 points on Hulkenberg’s license as well, talk about kicking a man when he’s down.

        1. Remember Bianchi in Shanghai (?) last year? The incident where somebody ran into his rear, punctured his tyre and left him sliding into someone else’s rear? Boom, penalty. And 2 points on his license.
          It’s like Dilbert’s drunken lemurs escaped and disguised as Stewards of the Meeting.

          1. There doesn’t seem to be any course of appeal to a higher body either. Marussia must have done a poor job of arguing that one with the stewards, a simple video replay showed clearly what happened.

            1. Yeah, I remember Jules being quite upset about it afterwards, saying that the stewards wouldn’t really listen to him and basically politely ignored his explanation of the incident.

      4. +1 on Hulk. He can’t just disappear.

        On Perez, I have mixed feelings. He deserved a penalty, but 10 seconds feels a bit harsh.

        1. @paeschli
          Yeah, Pérez’s penalty might be yet another case of confusing cause and effect, pretty much along the lines of the 2014 Gutiérrez-Maldonado “encounter”. Grosjean’s spin looked spectacular, which probably influenced the stewards. But I don’t think 10 seconds are inappropriate in this case. If they keep applying this penalty consistently, I’m cool with it.
          But for that to happen, they’d need to start showing any kind of consistency.

    4. Curiously the FIA seems to think Perez is now on three penalty points, which I’m sure is wrong because, as above, he took two in the USA last year:

      1. Why does that not surprise me?

      2. Well, both this penalties were too harsh. It seems that stewards continuously forget how to think logically.

        1. these*

      3. @keithcollantine It’s well known that the FIA can’t count or do simple maths.. explains a lot! Not only the original 25 points change (later amended), but now the super licence “10, 8, 5, 3, 1″…….

      4. Had an email from the FIA confirming Perez is on four, not three.

    5. You can easy earn a penalty if the incident happens during an overtake, but you can apparently bump into the driver in front, ruin his race, and everyone shrugs their shoulders. Not even a word of apology from Sainz, as far as I know.

      1. At first, I had no idea what you were talking about. Then I noticed that your user name has “Finn” in it, so I’m assuming you’re referring to the first-lap incident between Räikkönen and Nasr?
        Nasr did apologise after the race. As to the incident itself, I remember it being quite unspectacular, a typical race incident. However, I haven’t been able to find any replays on youtube.
        Btw, Bottas had a similar coming together (if I remember correctly) with Maldonado in the first corner, cutting Maldonado’s tyre, too. Nothing came of it. Which is fine, because accidents like these can and will always happen, even though nobody’s really to blame for them.

        1. Yes, my mistake, I meant Nasr. Sainz bumped into him 2 weeks ago. And I must be uninformed about Nasr mentioning the incident.
          But what I meant is that incidents with relatively similar outcome have a totally different status. Even more than that, Nasr”s was a clear driving mistake, while the one Perez was involved in is more of a racing incident to me. But I’m bias, right?
          And I don’t think the word ‘spectacular’ should be factored in. The outcome is much more important than a nice little spin that may have raised some eyebrows.

          1. Kaikkilla on vääristymä.
            I agree with you on the word “spectacular” being inappropriate in this context. In fact, that was a German colloquialism that shone through. What I meant to say was that the incident didn’t raise my eyebrow, because I didn’t perceive it as reckless driving. Having found a replay now, I can tell that Räikkönen turned in from far outside and went for a narrow line, while Nasr chose a more “neutral” line that aimed for the apex at the exit of the corner. So, their lines were overlapping, but that shouldn’t have been a problem, since Nasr was behind Räikkönen. Then, Räikkönen had to back off unexpectedly (from Nasr’s perspective) to avoid contact with Sainz, and turned in quite abruptly, which made him cross Nasr’s line. They barely touched, but it was enough to damage Nasr’s front wing and puncture Räikkönen’s tyre. That was bad for them, given the place where it happened, but in that case there was absolutely no reason for punishment. Typical incident in the heat of the moment, when multiple cars are fighting against each other and reacting in ways that are difficult to foresee.
            Picking up on Grosjean, I think you’re confusing cause and effect, too. It is true that Grosjean didn’t lose nearly as much time as Räikkönen, but what’s crucial is that Pérez knew Grosjean was alongside him, but took no measures to leave him enough space at the exit of the corner. Instead, he floored the pedal, went onto the kerb at the exit of the corner and left Grosjean absolutely nowhere to go, thus causing the collision. That’s why he deserved a penalty.

            1. Oh, I see, you watched the replay and you could tell it was Raikkonen who triggered the accident by braking and that he entered Nasr’s line, and not the other way around. Ok then. Maybe you could provide an analysis on the Melbourne incident as well and make Sainz into a victim. Have fun!

            2. @floring:
              Why are you being so aggressive? I can live with you disagreeing with me, but I don’t get why you take refuge in sarcasm instead of sharing and reasoning for your view.

              Anyways, I didn’t say Räikkönen triggered the accident. I only focussed on him because you were imlying it was all Nasr’s fault, so I explained why I think there are mitigating factors. In fact, the actions of three drivers contributed to the incident, plus the existence of a fourth one.
              There’s Sainz (or Verstappen, I can’t tell them apart), who was twitchy under braking and went quite deep into the corner coming from the inside. Then there’s Räikkönen, who initially tries to outbreak the Toro Rosso on the outside but has to back off to avoid going wide or colliding, then goes for the inside line. Then there’s Nasr, fighting Bottas and, braking on the same line as Sainz, having a similarly twitchy and late braking. Nasr’s last twitch happens at the same time as Räikkönens change of line, leaving only a very short moment to control the car and make a decision, then he tries to slot into the gap that initially existed, but was already closing. The german media (they do make up a lot uf stuff, but I can’t picture why they’d be specifically interested in Nasr) quoted him saying that he could’ve probably avoided the collision, but misjudged the situation. I agree with that view. On the other hand, a misjudgment in a free-for-all kind of racing situation that leads to a minor coming together (with dire consequences, but unless one is a determinist, consequences are not what a judge should be looking at) is a textbook example for a racing incident.
              Btw.: A good video of the incident can be found here.

              Also, from your comment about Sainz and Melbourne, I conclude that you must’ve been fuming in these two races. Frankly, I didn’t even remember Sainz as being in there somewhere. I mean, Räikkönen was already in a lot of trouble, being forced to run wide by Vettel, bumping into Nasr while trying to say out of the dirt… Yes, Sainz did hit him. Leaving aside that “victim” part, are you implying he should’ve been penalised? I personally don’t think so, because he didn’t do much wrong. It was simply getting troo narrow with too many cars trying to squeeze through, and Räikkönen tried to avoid contact with Vettel and was forced to back off at the entry of the corner, to which Sainz couldn’t react fast enough, as he was immediately behind the Ferrari. A bump here, a bump there, not really anybody’s fault.
              I know it sucks when your favourite driver repeatedly finds himself on the losing end of such incidents, but that’s the way it sometimes goes, unfortunately. Sometimes, a driver gets unlucky, while the rest continues and scores valuable points, and there is nothing to soothe the frustration. Punishing other drivers for being in the wrong place at the wrong time wouldn’t help, either.

    6. Interesting to see how many people think a driver should be penalised for having the audacity to hold the racing line…

      1. Well, holding the racing line isn’t everything there is. Sure, some drivers like to argue that they did everything just like in every other lap, or that they simply stayed on the racing line. To be honest, I think that’s a quite autistic view. Racing isn’t about staying on the racing line no matter what’s happening. Racing is about a bunch of cars all tryiing to get around a circuit faster than the others. The racing line is helpful in that case, but it’s more of an ideal than a granted right. If you’re battling with someone, the first priority is to ensure that they have enough space to survive once they’re besides you. Bullying someone off the track by stubbornly staying on the racing line is grounds for penalty, because races would get extremely processional if drivers were entitled to do so.

    7. Sepang is the widest track in F1 and I think that sometimes may confuse drivers especially around turns 1 and 2 just like that. I think Hülkenberg was a bit more to blame but that penalty is too harsh. 5-second-penalty and one penalty point is maximum in my opinion.

    8. Michael Brown
      29th March 2015, 16:35

      Pérez’s penalty was justified, as he drifted into Grosjean. I don’t think Hülkenberg’s was justified. Sure, Kyvat was ahead, but that doesn’t mean he can drive like Hülkenberg isn’t there.

    9. Ritesh Patnaik
      29th March 2015, 16:39

      Both the penalties were quite harsh.. Safety limits are one thing but you need to allow the drivers to race.. This doesn’t encourage any sort of racing.. That was completely meaningless. Both were helpless. Even the experts felt so , the commentators said so.

    10. Force India used to start brillantly and then slow down as season and money runs away.
      I cannot imagine if they will be racing in USA!!!!!
      Worst team (along Manor) of the grid

      1. Seriously?? worst than McLaren?

    11. Both penalties were unfair in my opinion.

    12. I don’t think either really deserved a penalty. For Hulkenberg he was trying a fairly common line trying to hang around the outside, Kvyat was distracted by Ricciardo on the outside and didn’t leave him space I’d say. For Perez he was entitled to take the racing line there, it wasn’t a smart move by Grosjean to attempt the pass around the outside with so little overlap.

    13. Both penalties were a stretch, frankly. Ridiculous that every incident needs a penalized “guilty” party. This is racing.

      They did not cost them points, though, as both Force Indias were 17.5s from Nasr in the end, and nowhere near 10th place further up.

    14. Perez and Grosjean collision was just Perez running a little wide on corner exit. The Hulkenberg and Kvyat collision was probably done based on the consequence of Kvyat getting turned around. I don’t think Kvyat realized he hadn’t cleared Hulkenberg. Pretty harsh penalties for both, especially on Hulkenberg.

    15. I’m starting to wonder how biased many comments are due to how popular or unpopular is the driver, I do not mean to question anybody’s opinion (it is a personal matter after all), it is just that I have seen many times that Checo and Hulk are on a similar situation and “the hulk” is always favoured on public opinions.
      Is it because of his nickname is linked with a popular comic character? because honestly he hasn’t proved anything yet at F1.

      1. I think you’re partly proving your own point by arguing against a perceived general bias in favour of Hülkenberg, which in my opinion doesn’t quite exist. It’s just that the two incidents were very different. Both Kvyat and Hülkenberg had reasons to do what they did and could also have defused the situation by driving more carefully. Grosjean, on the other hand, was completely at Pérez’s mercy, driving on the outside line alongside the Force India, and Checo must’ve seen him hanging there, but didn’t leave him any space, which is why they collided.

        1. Thanks for your input in this, it helps me to better understand the sport and the community

          1. @drrapg
            Gracias a tí por tu reacción positiva. :)
            Saludos a México

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