Hulkenberg and Magnussen cleared – Palmer, Nasr and Haryanto penalised

2016 Austrian Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen have escaped penalty while Jolyon Palmer, Felipe Nasr and Rio Haryanto have all been given a three place grid drop and super-licence penalty points for an incident in the first qualifying session.

The stewards, including ex-racing driver Martin Donnelly, investigated the five for failing to slow for yellow flags.

They determined that despite setting his fastest lap of the session Hulkenberg had lifted sufficiently past the marshal post. “Although the driver went ‘green’ in the sector where the double yellow flags were displayed, the telemetry clearly demonstrated that he had decelerated on approaching the flag point and that his speed reduced in the yellow flag sector,” noted the stewards.

When asked about his actions in the press conference, Hulkenberg said “I did lift, I did lose time there but still with new tyres, track improvement I might have gone faster”.

The stewards looked less favourably on the actions of Nasr, Haryanto and Palmer whose telemetry “clearly showed that the driver made no reduction in speed and was at full acceleration through the yellow flag area”.

“Notwithstanding the fact the driver could see the disabled Car 55 [Sainz] on the side of the track, the regulations are clear that on display of double yellow flags a significant reduction in speed must be made. This did not happen.”

The stewards gave two penalty points to each driver, which brings Nasr and Haryanto to a total of four points in the last 12 months, Palmer to a total of two. Each was also given a three-place grid penalty. The trio will start the race from the back of the field.

The yellow flag was caused by Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Toro Rosso which had stopped on the side of the circuit. Sainz had been forced to revert to the engine he had used in the European Grand Prix following a failure in FP3. “We were not expecting to use this one here, because we knew in Baku (this engine) had suffered quite a lot,” he said.

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    Chris Turner
    Being pelted by rain on his first visit to an F1 race at the 1998 British Grand Prix wasn't enough to dim Chris's passion...

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    11 comments on “Hulkenberg and Magnussen cleared – Palmer, Nasr and Haryanto penalised”

    1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      2nd July 2016, 17:50

      Yes, come on Nico.

    2. How did he “slow sufficiently” if he managed to improve his time?

      Again terrible inconsistency by the stewards.

      1. For a yellow flag the driver had to slow down only for 200m not the whole lap. He could have found more time somewhere else than what he lost in that yellow flag zone

        1. @bharat141 Yes, but he still went green in that sector. GPS data must’ve shown he slowed down sufficient rather than the sector time.

          1. There’s two definitions of sectors on FIA-approved tracks.

            The most commonly used one is the three-sector one, which is what viewers generally see. If a driver goes green or purple in a sector where a yellow flag is waving, an investigation is automatically triggered.

            The other method is where a track is split into up to 20 sectors (some have a few fewer), which allow more finely-grained judgments of whether compliance was made with the regulations. I’d prefer to call these sub-sectors. If a driver can show they slowed down sufficiently in the sub-sector(s) the yellow flag covered, the stewards assume the green was due to going considerably faster in other sectors and excuse the driver. Failure to show this leads to the penalty being issued. At no point is GPS necessary to prove compliance, unless the sub-sector telemetry collector fails.

            1. @alianora-la-canta Actually the sector is only referring to the 3 sector of the track. What you call the sub-sector (and I don’t know what the proper term for it either) is divided per marshall posts (the one that waving the flags).

              And @huhhii like Alianora said, on yellow flags, the driver only required to lift after a marshall post that waved yellow flag until the first marshall post the wave green flag, not necessarily the whole sector. Given proper circumstances like in Austria after T2 when it’s just after a corner to a not long straight, the time loss could be minimal.

            2. The sub-sectors can be between 2 marshall posts, and often are, but nothing in the regulations requires this. If it’s a long track more than 4 km long (thus making each of the 20 maximum permitted sub-sectors more than the 200 m that is the maximum gap between marshal posts permitted for international racing to be held on a circuit) or if it’s a particularly incident-prone part of the track (in which case marshal posts may be less than 200 m apart, at the circuit’s discretion and based on FIA/national sporting authority recommendations), then a sub-sector may include multiple marshal posts and/or begin/end in a place other than alongside a marshal post.

              In either situation, it’s the speed within the sub-sector(s) within a yellow-flag zone that’s used for definitive determination of whether a yellow-flag infringement occurred. The speed reduction is in the sub-sectors involved, rather than a whole sector.

              And why not strictly between the marshal posts affected, as one would expect from the regulation wording? It’s because the FIA does not have a system that allows marshal post-to-marshal post times (therefore speeds) to be computed with quite the level of accuracy of full sector or the newer sub-sector times, and hasn’t since the introduction of electronic computing. What we currently see is extrapolation from the cars’ onboard electronics systems – and although these have become increasingly accurate, there are still occasions where they can be in error, necessitating a cross-check with trackside data.

              Those of you who were watching before the mid-1980s (including 1981, when the original version of the relevant regulation entered the rulebooks) would have seen F1 in the days when timing exactly between flags, to the same standard as the timing used at the start/finish line, was possible. We are getting close to the time when I think it will be possible again – and not a moment too soon.

      2. According to that report the penalised drivers didn’t actually lift their foot off the accelerator, while Hulkenberg did, so his speed was below the “significant reduction of speed” threshold. Maybe, because of the distance Sainz was off the track and the fact he was clearly visible, the stewards were less concerned about the reduction of speed than they were about the power coming out of the engine in the 200 metre zone.
        Maybe Hulkenberg braked prior to the 200 metre zone, and then after passing the 200 metre zone he then applied full throttle so got some extra power from the MGU-K, which he could have used to improve his rate of acceleration.

    3. Looking at the top 4 starters, there is a chance that Nico could lead into 1st corner with Kimi behind him… that would be interesting how Lewis will get back.

    4. I don’t get this, yellows should set a maximum speed limit in the yellow flag region. There is the same amount of danger from a car doing 200kph normally but lifted to 190kph to that which is doing its Max @190kph.

      1. An F1 car can decelerate from 200km/h to zero in about three seconds. In lifting his foot off the accelerator he’s already started that process and shown intention to stop if required. I don’t see the problem particularly since the view was clear.

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