Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Silverstone, 2015

Alonso escapes penalty as 11 drivers lose lap times

2015 British Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Silverstone, 2015Fernando Alonso escaped a grid penalty for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix after his team fitted the wrong tyre to his car during qualifying.

Alonso was sent onto the track with a tyre which was supposed to be used by team mate Jenson Button. McLaren admitted a “communication error” had led to the mistake and the stewards gave the team a formal reprimand.

Also during qualifying eleven drivers – more than half the field – had lap times deleted for abusing track limits. Most drivers were penalised for going off the track at Copse (turn nine) and at least one was found to have gone off at Club (turn 18).

Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniil Kvyat, Roberto Merhi, Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel all had one lap time deleted, while Pastor Maldonado lost two of his times.

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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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22 comments on “Alonso escapes penalty as 11 drivers lose lap times”

  1. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
    4th July 2015, 17:21

    I don’t like them, but I understand the safety argument for tarmac car park run off areas. What I don’t understand is why the immediate stretch of off-track section also has to be something grippy. Why can’t there be 2 feet of gravel/grass/dirt, then the tarmac? Just enough to discourage and punish small mistakes but the tarmac is still there to ‘catch’ you in any bigger problems.

    1. @weeniebeenie, in the case of Silverstone, the main reason is because Dorna would object to what you are suggesting as they feel that would increase the chances of a driver being thrown from his bike, thereby increasing the risk of them being injured.

      1. Put a ‘lid’ on those area’s when motorbikes are racing, or something like that.

        1. And then a lid will come off during a bike race, or something like that :P

          1. @raceprouk
            Given that the technology exists to allow stadia to slide football pitches to the outside, surely there’s some way of introducing moveable grass verges at racing circuits.
            Maybe not sliding, given the costs, but some sort of interchangeable inserts that could be either concrete/tarmac, or turf, which could be changed depending on which series is racing there.

          2. And they’d just get ripped up and cause a hazard

          3. I agree with Dave. What you are creating is just more things to go wrong.
            One option might be removable speed humps like the ones used at chicanes that are bolted down and removed for MotoGP.

          4. ^^ That could work quite well, as the holes needed for the bolts will be too small to be a risk, and of course would be flush with the tarmac.

  2. I have seen many comments saying how good it is by the FIA to give penalties to drivers who were abusing track limits. Well, it is good that the FIA is recognising this is an issue on modern tracks, but giving penalties is not the way to handle it, in my opinion. Giving penalties is such an unclear way of dealing with it. “Yay my favourite driver just set the 7th fastest lap! Oh wait, he’s only 10th tenth now..” It’s not ideal.

    Just going to let you in on a little secret here. If you don’t want drivers to go over the run-off area, you don’t want to act police every corner on every race track, maybe, just maybe… replace the AstruTurf with actual grass! Ha, how about that? It will discourage drivers from dipping their wheels further than the kerb stones, while at the same time it punishes drivers who do go across the white line in a natural way. What more do you want?

    AstroTurf and similar surfaces are designed to give the same amount of grip as grass, but the two reasons it doesn’t work in the same way are 1) AstroTurf is more predictable (‘smoother’) than grass, so drivers have confidence running over them with full throttle, and 2) the tyres pick up dirt when running across grass, making the driver suffer for the next couple of corners. I do not understand why this problem has not been recognised yet.

    1. @andae23 Considering the farce that was the multiple penalties and complexity of how to implement them, do they really think it’s the media that is creating negativity around F1?! Also, I wonder if we will get a list of all the lap times they deleted.. or do we have to go back ourselves and check.

      Taking it to an extreme – if the track limit is the white line – what’s the point in having kerbs at all?

    2. Silverstone hosts bike races as well as cars; the circuit has to be certified for both.

      1. @raceprouk I know, but that’s why this is such a big issue. At the moment, FIM requires circuits to be built with smooth verges, so basically AstroTurf or asphalt. In my opinion, the ideal solution for circuits graded for both car and bike races is to have kerb stones which act as a verge for bike races, i.e. bikes will only go onto the kerb stones if they absolutely need to. Meanwhile, cars can ride the kerb stones and will probably gain some lap time while riding it, with grass running along the edge of the kerb stones. Anyway, something like that, FIA and FIM should work together to figure this out.

  3. I believe there is danger in using “mixed media” at the edge of a racetrack. A sideways excursion may cause a car to flip when it transits across from low to high adhesion surfaces. Also agree with comment about bikes.

  4. So this is old news? Grid is the same right?

  5. The wrong tires lol you couldn’t make this up, what are McLaren/Honda doing!?

    As for the track limits, someone tweeted Martin Brundle & he said that putting a curb there would be a problem because it could launch the cars into the air, i do like those sausage curbs though :P

    Why not put some of those flip-down sprung foam bollards on the edge of the track.

    If the white line is the limit of the track, then where the red/white curbs are located, have the white line running on the outside edge of the curb, that way the driver will know the limit of the track.

  6. Individual tires designated for individual cars and/or drivers has rigged written all over it. So the officials are making sure Mclaren are going to be running at the highest performance? That’s awfully nice of them. Nice to see officials making sure a team does not make a performance gaff. Otherwise, the tires are equal and swapping them between teams, much less the drivers, would make no difference.

  7. C’mon McLaren. Are you not tired of embarrassing yourselves? Amateurish was the word Alonso used to describe the situation. You are just proving him right.

  8. Gravel traps please. :)

  9. The simplest way to solve the issue is to give the drivers significant time penalties for exceeding the white lines. Ten second penalty every time they put two wheels over the white lines. And get rid of the stupid curbs, they shouldn’t be using them anyway!

  10. Giving a driver a penalty for abusing track limits is a step in the right direction. Despite this, the whole issue of track limits shouldn’t even be a thing. I know from a safety point of view the era of grass and gravel has past us but there must be another deterrent that will stop people taking advantage of run offs. The question shouldn’t be ‘should we bring back gravel and grass?’ nor should it be ‘what time penalties do we give?’. The question should be ‘what can we do to prevent drivers from running wide and gaining an advantage?’. Abrasive runs off? Polystyrene bollards? Bigger curbs? Moats?

  11. Bring back good old hay bales for car races. Then the drivers will respect the track limits!

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