Hulkenberg doesn’t understand Massa crash penalty

2015 Singapore Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg says he doesn’t understand why he was penalised for the collision with Felipe Massa that ended his race in Singapore.

Hulkenberg tangled with Massa at turn three as the Williams driver was leaving the pit lane. The stewards gave him a three-place grid penalty for the next race and penalty points on his licence, but did not hear from either driver beforehand.

“The accident with Felipe was very unlucky and I don’t understand why I’ve been given a penalty before there has even been the chance to discuss the incident in the stewards’ room,” said Hulkenberg.

“I saw Felipe coming out of the pit exit as I went through turn one, but I was ahead in turn three, I was on the racing line and I took the corner as usual. Then I felt the contact with my left rear and my race was over.”

“In my view it was my corner and I’m surprised Felipe backed out of it much too late, locking up just before he hit me.”

Team principal Vijay Mallya backed his driver. “We are surprised a penalty was given to Nico, especially considering that he was the one who ended up out of the race and with severe damage to the car,” he said.

“We’re even more surprised the drivers weren’t called to the stewards’ room to give their view on the events.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    40 comments on “Hulkenberg doesn’t understand Massa crash penalty”

    1. What is different with this incident to the Maldonado Gutierrez crash at the 2014 Bahrain race.

      1. Gutierrez left Maldonado more room, and Massa was further alongside Hulkenberg.

        1. @kingshark plus the fact that the Bahrain pit exit doesn’t go round 2 corners, so seeing another car leaving the pits is easier

      2. Well, for one the stewards listened to what the drivers and teams had to say before handing out a penalty @w-k. Also, those incidents were not all that much alike, as in Bahrain they come out on the inside of the next corner instead of feeding around a corner and then on the outside of a right hand corner.

        I also think it should be the driver coming out of the pits who has to be careful when re-joining the racing line, not the driver who is ahead and on it at that moment.

        1. That’s what those blue lights at the pit exit order. The justification being the joining car will be carrying less speed than the car already on the track.

    2. I understand that sometimes Stewards have to decide penalties during a race, particularly when both cars are still circulating and one driver might face an in race time penalty. In this instance however, Hulkenberg was out of the race. I don’t see why they couldn’t investigate it at the end of the race, and give both drivers an opportunity to be heard.

      1. yeah, giving a penalty for next race surely could have waited to hear what the drivers and teams had to say. In FI’s position I would probably try and argue that because they didn’t do that, the team can present new evidence (driver statements etc) and request the stewards in Japan to review this desicion

    3. Agree with Hulk. It was 50/50, or 60/40 but not intentional and no malice. Should have written this one off. Massa’s front right was crazy-strong to surivive that impact though!

    4. Just been watching the slow motion replays of the accident and am amazed that Massa thinks he was without blame
      Hulk was in front and took his normal line
      Massa is attempting to rejoin the track and to hell with anyone in the way !

      1. Massa even locks his brakes rather than go off track, Massa drove into a wedge, it’s his fault and it is a result of just coming out of the pits on cold tyres. In the end I think it is a slam dunk as Massa was never ahead, and had a chance to avoid and also veer off.

        1. Massa had half his car alongside Hulkenberg, who knew he was there, having seen him coming out of the pits, and also presumably been told by his team. Massa also had the inside line and the apex. And Hulkenberg could have stayed a little wider and maintained the position.

          But by all means, don’t let facts get in the way.

          1. The fia rules clearly state that when rejoining the race from the pit the onus is on you to do so safely. I.e. Don’t just expect everyone to get out of your way.

            1. Are drivers expected to account for wreckless last second changes of direction with warning of fraction of a second?

            2. I see Max isn’t letting the facts get in his way

      2. It was in no way massas fault. Hulkenburg had full view of massa leaving the pits and should have realised massa would have been on his inside. He should have took a wider line around the corner to give room for massa to join safely. Massa had nowhere to go and had no sight of hulkenburg until he suddenly appeared at the corner.

      3. Hulk was on the racing line. He was T-boned by Massa coming out of the pits. What are the stewards suggesting that all drivers must leave one car’s width on the inside of the corner where the track meets the pit exit? Had this incident occured on the public highway Massa would find himself in Court. Massa is the one at fault and should have the penalty not Hulk.

        1. Firstly, there was no T-boning; the collision was side-to-side. Secondly, Hulkenberg turned in on Massa; Massa’s onboard proves that beyond doubt.

    5. I was on the racing line and I took the corner as usual. Then I felt the contact with my left rear and my race was over.”

      Good decision for racing, hard to have wheel to wheel racing if your are allowed to do whatever you want if you are on the racing line. Massa backed out of these situations many times in the past, so nice to see him standing up for himself.

      Hulkenberg should have left a little more room for Massa and I think he would still have been in front out of the corner as he had the momentum…

    6. As a Hülkenberg fan, I’m trying very hard to put the blame on Massa.

      Sadly, I can’t. Entering T3, Massa is half a car behind Hülkenberg. There’s an overlap of half a car. Massa had every right to have the car there, even if Hülkenberg may have pulled ahead in the next straight.

      1. The penalty was unfair though; at most it should have been a stern talking to, or a small fine.

    7. I would say that both of them could have done more in order to avoid the accident, but Hulk could have done a bit more. However, I don’t feel that he should have been penalized. He paid the price for the move: what it could have been a point finish, became a DNF, and Massas retirement wasn’t possibly connected to the accident.
      Hulk said that he followed his usual racing line, but can you actually follow your racing line if there’s someone on that line? It doesn’t really matter if they would have been involved in an on-track fight and that way Massa took the inside line, or the Brazilian just came out of the pits. Massa was on track, he had the corner, you cannot really expect him to disappear from there. Massa could have backed off, as he had the inside line and lined up next to the German. Hulk could have backed off, as he was outside and maybe didn’t expect Massa with the cold tyres to represent a threat.
      I don’t blame the stewards, they judged the situation (according to my opinion) correctly, however they misjudged the penality. I don’t blame any of the drivers, it’s more like misunderstanding each others intentions and options. It was a simple racing accident with Hulk coming off badly, that’s all.

      1. Totally agree. Racing incident. Those blaming Massa are wrong in my opinion.

    8. The NBC commentators mentioned that drivers exiting the pit line have an obligation to enter the track in a safe manner. They thought Massa might take the penalty. Is that not in the rules? If so why did Massa not get penalized?

      1. The line that marks the pit exit ends in turn 2; the collision was in turn 3. For all intents and purposes, Massa had already safely rejoined the track.

      2. They do have that obligation, but I don’t think it automatically follows that an incident between a car exiting the pits and a car on the race track must be the fault of the driver exiting the pits. Had Massa exited the pits and immediately pulled over onto the racing line, that would be unsafe and then I would say Massa was at fault. However, in this instance Massa held a pretty tight line out of the pits, moving only slightly to the right and this movement did not initiate the contact. The contact was made when Hulkenberg turned in on Massa and left him nowhere to go. To me, once Hulkenberg acknowledged that he knew Massa was there, it seemed a strange decision by him, he could have left him room and still probably made the move stick, but instead took a line that acted as if Massa wasn’t there at all, so I can’t say I’m shocked by the decision – though agree with Hulkenberg that the stewards acted unnecessarily swiftly.

        1. It’s made worse by the fact the exit, while technically off the racing line, very quickly puts you right on the apex of 3. Really, the pit exit should to like they do at Laguna Seca; the pit exit stays inside the track, rejoining totally off the racing line after the slow corner.

      3. I think there is a rule like that, but it doesn’t mean you are not allowed to race the other car if you are alongside him to some degree, and it shouldn’t mean the other car can just take the normal line even if he is just 10cm ahead.

    9. Oh no. does this mean the next few races are going to be Massa showing videos from his phone to anyone who listens?

      1. With Jarno Trulli no longer active in Formula E, perhaps they could team up. Felipe would bring the video’s, Jarno brings the pictures.

    10. The only way this makes any sense is that Massa was beyond the white line of the pit exit and was therefore not rejoining the circuit which means Hulk needed to give him a car’s width…

      frankly this was either a racing incident or both should have been penalized with a minor penalty but to me NOTHING should have been decided until the radios were analyzed and both drivers were before the stewards.

      A real shame for both.

    11. It was 25/25 for me. They don’t need to give out penalty points or anything for this.

      The other 50% goes to whoever designed the pit exit.

    12. Bad call. Racing incident, no faults, no penalties. It’s racing!!

    13. They are racing for the position.
      only (less than) half car behind, should back off?
      10% length of a car behind, should back off?
      90% length of a car behind, should back off?

    14. Hulk turned in on him….. if it was any other corner at any other time there would be no question… when a car is half overlapped on your inside and has the apex you cannot just turn in on the guy and wipe him out when the guy on the inside has nowhere to go.

      Getting half on the inside at the apex is part of making a legit overtaking move.

      1. Massa would have never made the turn and probably ran in to Hulk even if Hulk had left enough room, it was a bad call by Massa which ended both of their races. I can’t stand drivers that run up the inside of people like that, on a line that has no chance of contesting the corner, that was an absolutely greedy maneuver from Massa. The Hulk could have left more room, but to be honest, what person in their right mind tries to pass like that.

        1. Massa was clearly ahead in T1, just about ahead in T2, and still at least half alongside in T3. But hey, let’s not let facts dampen this witch-hunt.

    15. Massa should have been more cautious, but this was just a racing incident and no penalty should have been given. It’s really frustrating that they’ve compromised Hulk’s next race too. Stupid penalty.

    16. All right guys..whoever faulted felipe should accept the blame now. Hulkenberg accepted the blame for crash after watching videos closely.I don’t know why people always try to speak negative about felipe..take that cry guys..

    17. What i find most funny is that this statement from the Hulk is what Massa usually says. Especially a few years ago he was using this excuse all the time when slamming doors and hitting people by his side.

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