Verstappen given race penalty for engine cover failure

F1 2015 season

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Max Verstappen has been given a drive through penalty for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix after the engine cover tore off his Toro Rosso at the end of Q1.

Despite the team battling to get the car out on the track for a single lap in the closing minutes of the first qualifying session, the engine cover ripped off of the Toro Rosso as Verstappen entered the Curva Grande, littering the circuit with debris.

The stewards have now imposed a drive through penalty for Verstappen after they deemed the team released the car ‘in an unsafe condition’.

Verstappen must serve his penalty during tomorrow’s race. The rookie is due to start from the very back of the grid after a series of penalties for power unit component changes before qualifying.

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    Will Wood
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    34 comments on “Verstappen given race penalty for engine cover failure”

    1. The event looked spectacular, a massive piece of bodywork flying off in Curva Grande, but given Justin Wilson’s accident, and the fact that tomorrow, prior to the start of the Grand Prix, there will be a minute of silence for him, it’s probably right to punish this rash behaviour of the team. Anything else would be ironic.

      1. Ironic?

        1. Hold a minute of silence for Justin Wilson, who was killed by flying debris, and at the same time allow teams to half-bolt their cars together, so that massive pieces of bodywork fly across the track?

          I think that would be very ironic.

          1. I get the point you’re making, but that isn’t the definition of irony.

            1. If ironic is not the correct word to use , what word would you suggest?

          2. I think the word you’re searching for is incongruous. But yeah, it was a bit of an Ikea moment (why do I have these screws left over?) that we shouldn’t see in F1.

            1. The way Verstappen put it, the mechanics knew exactly where the screws were meant to go but decided that since putting them in would use up the rest of the time left in the qualifying session he should just go out anyway. Pretty unacceptable, really.

    2. Again, one of those moments where this is completely NOT the fault of the driver, yet he takes the brunt of the penalty. A fine or the loss of Constructor points would be better.

      1. But in sending the car out before it was safe, Verstappen had a chance of qualifying. If they’d delayed until safe he wouldn’t. So a penalty against the car was justified. What if it had been a Merc and Lewis or Nico had secured pole then the cover came off? Would a financial penalty be ok then?

        1. Verstappen had no chance of setting a timed lap. He left the pit lane with some 20 seconds left on the clock before the end of Q1, so by doing that Toro Rosso team behaved absolutely irresponsible and should be severly punished. Docking all constructor points in the upcoming race (as unlikely they might be to achieve), on top of hefty financial penalty, would be proper reaction to such dangerous move by the team.

      2. Agreed. Just like engine penalties, unsafe pit releases, ect. should penalize the constructor and not the driver.

        1. Can’t punish a constructor better than by punishing the driver. That’s the only thing that really hurts them, because they hardly care about anything else.
          Also, the additional penalties for the race should be re-introduced. Their abolition is the reason why McLaren and the Red Bull teams are purposely heaping up penalties by changing engine parts to put them into their “pool”. Since they hardly get punished for it, the only remaining reason for them not to do so is money. McLaren and Red Bull can’t be troubled by that.

          1. I think that in this kind of situations you have to punish the teams with no constructor points for the upcoming race, instead of punishing de driver. This is a bad thing for the sport.

            1. @ Michael Steel:
              I don’t think it is bad for the sport.
              A team releasing their driver onto the track without properly attaching major parts to his car – that’s what’s bad. The way that thing flew off, it could’ve landed anywhere.

              Taking the constructors’ points away from Toro Rosso wouldn’t have hurt them a single bit. They scored zero points, and they knew that their chances of scoring were small.

      3. Team released him knowing engine cover was not safely fastened. Verstappen said it himself.

        1. Source? That seems unlikely.

          1. It is true.

            “We were really in a hurry. Normally we wouldn’t get it done, but I was quite surprised the team did a really good job on that.
            Then I think the bodywork was only like 50 per cent from all the bolts, because they thought it would hold on, as it’s quite strong. But I think it just got too much vibration out of the pit. It’s very thin carbon.”

            Asked why the team was keen for him to go out he said: “Just to check the engine and see if everything was alright.”


          2. Google it.

      4. @bradley13 The idea behind it is to dissuade teams from being careless in order to gain advantage that would give the drivers a better result, since the driver’s championship tends to get more attention. If your driver is, for example, fighting for position, an unsafe release from pits may give him a couple of extra tenths. You can penalize the team, but the driver still gets the better result.

      5. @bradley13 A fine wouldn’t be. Points…..well that makes more sense.

    3. His car looked cooler with a blown engine cover :D

    4. I’m surprised that the penalty for Verstappen and the team isn’t greater, such as exclusion from the weekend. Sending out a car knowing that the pieces were not secured is criminal! Exclusion would send out a clear signal that such behaviour is totally unacceptable.

      1. Agreed, as much as you don’t like to see a driver suffer for a team mistake, you have to remember it’s a team sport. If what is reported about not fastening the cover with all the bolts is true I think they’ve been hugely lenient just giving a drive through.

      2. I’d say the penalty should be the same as that for being released with an insecure wheel. That, IIRC, is a 10-place grid penalty; added to the 20-place penalty he already has, that means he’d have to serve a drive-through (or maybe stop-go) anyway.

    5. Penalty well deserved and you cannot separate team from driver as thats like saying if a driver makes a mistake that the team should not suffer losing constructors points they are a team so should be treated as one whether a driver or mechanic making the error.

      1. Agreed. Been saying the same thing for a while now.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        5th September 2015, 23:49

        If the team makes a (stupid) mistake which does not benefit the driver, then it should be a financial (team) penalty only.

        1. @coldfly Most of the team-mistakes that are penalized by the rules benefit the driver one way or another. Unsafe releases or unsecured tyres for example, give the driver a couple extra tents of seconds advantage in comparison to those who took their time to wait for a free pit-lane/secure the tyres.
          In this case they secured the PU cover poorly in order to get it to run at any cost. They wanted to get extra practice time, which I think it’s very clear how it benefits the driver.

          1. That’s true, but give the team points deduction in the constructors ‘ Championship, don’t punish the driver. It’s ridicules.

        2. Driver is the team so they all get a penalty I do not understand how you can try and separate them? Drivers also make errors which cost the team but you cannot punish just the driver. I know this is OPINION but for me you win as a team lose as a team so take penalties as a team. I never understood in 2007 when McLaren lost all constructors points why drivers did not lose all their points as their points were all based on what the team had done wrong and they would never have been in the position they were without the team cheating. That was the only example of separating team and drivers and it always seemed inconsistent with how penalties had always and still are given out.

          I can see how yesterdays incident can be put as a pitlane speed issue for a driver in practice sessions with just a fine but this is debris on track which is far worse than 1mph too fast in a pitlane.

    6. They sent him out on inters?

    7. Just take him out back and shoot ’em!

    8. Jelle van der Meer
      6th September 2015, 7:51

      Next to the drive through penalty Max also got a 10 place grid penalty due to engine change – HOWEVER the engine change penalty is NOT for a NEW engine but for putting in the Spa engine but breaking the seal without FIA supervision.

      Really Toro Rosso is making lots of errors that are costing both their drivers.

      Quoted from Autosport:
      Verstappen has also been given an additional 10-place grid penalty, though this is irrelevant in practice as he is already last on the grid having not set a time in qualifying and received a previous penalty for an earlier engine change.

      Although the latest engine switch was a return to an old unit, the team was penalised as “the FIA seals have been removed from the ICE [internal combustion engine] of car #33 without FIA supervision”.

      That penalty was already anticipated by Verstappen.
      “It’s the one I used in Spa, but it is declared as a new engine as we cut the seal,” he said.

      1. Long live F1, rules must make F1 safer and better. But this kind of rules just make F1 a less interesting for the fans who actually love the sport in general. With rules like this it is very hard for the drivers to set there minds in a positive way for the race.

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