Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2016

Mercedes scraps plan to appeal Rosberg penalty

2016 British Grand Prix

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Mercedes has confirmed it will not appeal against the penalty Nico Rosberg received in the British Grand Prix.

Rosberg was given a ten-second time penalty for receiving forbidden assistance via the team radio while trying to solve a problem with his gearbox.

“The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team today decided to withdraw its notice of intention to appeal against the decision of the stewards of the British Grand Prix,” said the team in a statement.

“We were able to prove to the stewards that a car-stopping gearbox failure was imminent and, as such, were permitted within the rules to advise Nico of the required mode change.”

“However, the advice to avoid seventh gear was considered to breach TD/016-16, and therefore Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations.”

“The team accepts the stewards’ interpretation of the regulation, their decision and the associated penalty.”

However Mercedes intends to raise concerns about whether Formula One has become “over-regulated”.

“During the coming weeks, we will continue discussions with the relevant F1 stakeholders on the subject of the perceived over-regulation of the sport,” the statement added.

2016 British Grand Prix

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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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    55 comments on “Mercedes scraps plan to appeal Rosberg penalty”

    1. sunny stivala
      11th July 2016, 20:09

      as I said on the other page, Mercedes and Rosberg gained more than they would have lost by breaching the rules and taking a penalty

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      11th July 2016, 20:15

      Good how they weren’t moaning about over-regulation before it affected them…

      1. Are you sure they weren’t?

      2. Not like Christian Horner, moaning about everything…

    3. The penalty for Mercedes is a Joke…….
      If they hadn’t instructud Rosberg we would never had finished and in that case had no points.
      Now he finished his race and scored 15 points in the end.

      With a penalty of 10 seconds other teams will follow in the near future.

      Rosberg should be taken out of the results of the british GP and should also recieve a 10 place gridpenalty for the next GP.

      1. Disagree. The mode change instruction was allowed, and Nico already asked and answered his own question so he knew what to do but unfortunately the team affirmed it and blew it for him. You would not be asking for this harsh a penalty for your favourite driver. If the penalties were as harsh as you request in general, F1 would come to a standstill.

        1. Team should have hold their mouth after his question. Penalty for infringment was unknown beforehand.

          They could have went from 5s to DNF.. But they picked 10s.

          Establishing a base, that many teams will now take.

          Especially Mercedes, since they have 10s race pace in hand usually.

    4. F1 is not over-regulated, next up, they should introduce new rules about driver’s drinking. Drinking will be possible only in DRSZ zones (DRink Serving Zone) and 2 different brands of drinks should be served during the race.

      1. Furthermore, any driver that fails to use each type of available drink for at least two minutes during the race may face a penalty. Cars must carry on board between 0.7kg and 2.5kg of drink, ensuring that a 0.1kg sample of each type of drink is left to be inspected. Any driver who fails to do this will be seen to have gained an illegal advantage, and will be excluded from the result.

        1. I hope that somebody from the FIA is not reading this page, because this sounds perfectly legit in today’s F1 world.

        2. The sport will follow these regulations with little trouble for 3.27 years, until someone points out to Charlie Whiting that technically the liquid in the drink moves, which technically will affect the motion of the car, making the drink a moveable aerodynamic device and that any team running it would technically be in contravention of article (oh, jeeze, I can’t be bothered to look it up) and could be disqualified by a protest. This of course will be declared on the Monday following a race and subject to enforcement the following race, and will need to be changed immediately — in the interests of reducing costs of course….

          1. Plus one team or another will query the Driver Exhaust System whereby DRSZ intake may or may not be equal to the DREZ (DRink Exit Zone) which may lead to the possibility of a driver being seriously underweight in comparison to their starting weight. As well as diuretic ingredients in the two brands of drinks being banned, the use of Vindaloo curries in the evenings before each event will also be banned. Drivers will be required to wear diapers (sponsored by Tena) from the initial weigh-in to the post-race scrutiny (yeuch).
            Oh, and someone needs to close the tag, so let’s try.

          2. Article 3.15 is the moveable aerodynamic device regulation.

        3. Will red bull refuse to supply Mercedes with on board drinks

          1. HAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! greg-c you killed me with that one!!

    5. I would have thought it would be the other way around, with the mode change being the coaching and avoid seventh gear being the imminent failure!

      1. Shifting through 7th gear was the coaching part…

        Avoiding 7th and chassis setting was allowed.

    6. A driver cannot wear custom helmets. A rule made because they can make stupid rules.
      Regulations just to show who is in power.

    7. Maybe these rules are not quite there yet but I like the spirit behind them. I would love to see drivers coping with problems, as much as I’d love them to cope with the treacherous conditions seen at the start of the race, for instance.

      In the old days, a faulty gearbox had to be nursed home and they didn’t have the chance to discuss it at will with the pitwall, nor the pitwall that all the information available.

      If these kind of rules were definitive (as in FIA saying to the teams: look, this isn’t going to change at all), the teams would adapt to it, and they would start developing systems or ways to avoid having to specifically tell the driver what to do. If Rosberg had a message in his steering wheel saying: “Faulty 7th gear”, he could’ve nursed the car home using 1st to 6th only for instance.

      1. In the old days, you had a clutch, a gear lever, a steering wheel and an accelerator.

        Now you have dozens of switches, each with several positions controlling a micro-component of the car.

        Rosberg needed to be told how to reboot his gearbox. Fair enough. He also needed to be told to avoid 7th, which should be allowed… as should warnings about brake failure, engine mode settings etc.

        The only thing that should be banned is explicit driving instructions – where to brake, which gear to use, where to turn in etc.

    8. I never understood why they were appealing in the 1st place. Finishing 3rd vs a DNF is a no brainer. Perhaps if the harshest sanction of disqualification was imposed I would understand. But without that radio communication Nico was either going to to drop places like a stone or, he would have had to retire.

      1. Yes, I think you are right. The Mercedes team took a balanced view and decided that unless they advised their driver, he probably would not finish. So they weighed the decision that no points would be awarded for a non-finishing car versus the points likely to be awarded to a car after sanction by the stewards and decided that some points were better than none at all.
        Damage limitation.

      2. It makes even less sense given that in-race time/pit-stop penalties (and a 10-second post-race penalty falls under that definition since at least 2007, when McLaren tried and failed to appeal a penalty issued that way) are fixed and final*. It isn’t possible to appeal them in any appeals court, though the FIA court can and will take your money for lodging one. This applies even if the penalty was issued for something that was arrant nonsense from any reading of the regulations. If you get a 10-second or a stop/go penalty for wearing a silly hat in the paddock, you can’t appeal that in the FIA court, even though there are no regulations specifying the amount of sense a hat must make to be permitted in the paddock.

        Mercedes were always onto a loser with this one, and I’m glad they recognised this before a judge had to explain it to them.

        * – Note that this does not apply to instances involving disqualification or suspension not due to failure to accept an in-race penalty, to technical breaches, organisational errors, nor to any penalty levied due to investigations occurring outside of race weekends. The aim is to ensure the stewards’ decisions are at least somewhat respected by teams and to encourage in-race penalties to be taken in-race instead of people driving on and hoping to win the day in court.

    9. Hopefully the absurdity that is this radio rule will be looked at & dropped sooner rather than later.

      The whole thing is making F1 look ridiculous, No other category has these dumb radio restrictions…. No other category would have penalize a driver for been told how to fix/manage a gearbox issue…. Its just an utterly ridiculous situation.

      1. As implied in your comment, the problem with F1 is that they keep changing the rules without first testing them in lower divisions. This is contrary to what happens in other sports.

        In football for example I remember that a few years back they run a minor friendly tournament in which the off-side rule did not apply in free-kicks. The result was chaotic so they decided not to go ahead with it.

        In F1 they keep changing things without testing them at all. The most obvious example of course was the new qualifying format for 2016, which had to be dropped within two races. They could have easily tested this and the radio ban in GP2 or any other racing division.

        Instead they chose to introduce these changes straight to the pinnacle of motorsport that F1 in supposed to be.
        It just doesn’t make any sense…

    10. F1 reminds of EU now, regulating regulated regulations…

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        12th July 2016, 15:00

        Mercexit confirmed

        1. Imagine Mercedes actually pulls a #mercexit, and we get a Ferrari/Red Bull four-way fight to WDC.

    11. I’m not surprised at them breaking the rule, and I’m not surprised at them withdrawing the appeal.

      Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team is a formidable set up, with the best of everything, including the best minds and analysts. They are in no way rookies, just stumbling along making mistakes as they go.

      They knew exactly what they were doing from the start, deliberately breaking the rules to save what would otherwise have been a much worse situation for Rosberg, regarding championship points. And they knew full well that they wouldn’t go through with the appeal.

      We can only wait and see what will be the next drama in Mercedes 2016 season.

      1. Possible but I doubt it. They couldn’t have known for sure what the penalty would be.

      2. @stubbornswiss So why didn’t they risk it, with all that might, for Lewis at Baku? Potential 2nd for sure with a substantial lead (10s+) over 3rd? A 10 second penalty and they retain a Mercedes 1 2.

        They reacted instantly to a live situation, there was no consultation, it was an instinctive response from engineer to driver. They got lucky with a relatively light penalty. There’s no way they could have predicted the stewards decision. Potentially a DQ? They wouldn’t consciously risk that. Rather mitigate a DNF and hope for the best!

    12. omarR-pepper
      11th July 2016, 22:33

      It seems I’m the only one here, but I like the rule.
      I know many people (including Horner) are saying: “OK, so if it’s just 5 seconds, let’s start to break the rule as soon as the driver can build a gap”. But it doesn’t have to be the same penalty all the time. If every team (or worse, the same team all the times) starts to break this rule, it wouldn’t be so surprising that next time a stop-go penalty is applied, or a black flag.
      Rules are there for a purpose. They make the races more interesting. There are utterly nonsensical rules as the helmet ban, but this one has produced better racing and more dramas, and it needs to be reinforced, not boycotted by teams, or bashed by fans. FIA / Bernie / whoever decides should mandate to return to “old-style” steering wheels, maybe just 4 buttons (start/ stop, drink, radio, pitstop limiter) and there we would see who can really tame the beast and who should go home to enjoy F1 on TV instead.

      1. Part of what makes f1 interesting is the technological improvement it brings to the breed. There are amazing innovations in an f1 car, and if the price of that is a few extra buttons and some radio calls to IT support – that’s cool.

      2. No, you’re not the only one who likes the rule. A couple of years ago I suggested the ban of all team to driver communication as a means to limit driver ‘coaching’. But what we have at the moment is a confused mixed bag rule where some instructions and warnings are allowed and others are not. This surely cannot be sensible.
        FIA has to allow all communication from team to driver or limit it to Race Director to driver – for safety instructions.

    13. Do Nico and Max quietly exchange trophies now? Do they wait until Hungary or do they courier them to each other? What is the protocol in this situation? What if a driver refuses ? It must be an awkward situation for both drivers after all the podium celebrations.

      1. Andre Furtado
        11th July 2016, 23:51

        Don’t think they keep the original. They get a replica. But I assume there is an exchange at the next race.

      2. I think in Raikkonen and Fisichella just exchanged they trophy in small press event, held up at the next race. But since it was unofficial ceremony, maybe it’s just the agreement from both sides on how and when the exchange happens. It was 2003 Brazilian GP. As for if the driver refuses, unless there’s an appeal for the decision, I think FIA can help to enforce it, and really what’s the point holding the trophy when the history records otherwise and it will only tainted the driver legacy?


      3. Nico and Max (or more likely their teams with optional FIA supervision) will likely arrange a quiet exchange of the trophies). This may be at the next race, or at the test, or at some other mutually agreed point. The amount of publicity involved is up to the teams and drivers.

        The FIA can enforce trophy exchanges by penalising the driver who doesn’t hand it back, but I don’t know of any time it has ever needed to do so. It would probably need the driver or team who didn’t get the trophy to protest a breach of Article 12.1.1e of the International Sporting Code (“failure to apply decisions of the FIA”), as otherwise the FIA has no way of knowing if an exchange didn’t happen through amicable agreement (for example, if the drivers think the original way round was the “morally” correct finishing order, or if they’ve decided to wait for the trophy makers to finish making replicas first) – which wouldn’t necessarily be a failure to apply a decision of the FIA, if mutual – or whether malicious withholding of the benefits of gaining a particular position in the race is involved (which would be a regulation breach – and could potentially be pursued as theft).

        1. +1 for the replies, thank you guys.

    14. “We were able to prove to the stewards that a car-stopping gearbox failure was imminent and, as such, were permitted within the rules to advise Nico of the required mode change.”

      This was the big win of this whole situation. And the further clarification that taking it further by saying specifically how to switch gears being over is also great. Now we have a clear line of what is acceptable and what is not. As long as it’s upheld in such a fashion.

      So for future reference hopefully other teams will not be so pussy foot (like Force India with Perez at Austria) in relaying important critical information to their drivers.

      It’s good to see a few comments here (so far anyway) siding with the ruling. These radio restrictions aren’t all bad. Could use some refinement and further clarification sure, but it would be terrible if they get scrapped and we’re returned to previous levels of driver coaching. Rosberg was 9/10ths of the way there with figuring out the gear change anyway, really didn’t need the confirmation from the engineers anyway.

      1. “So for future reference hopefully other teams will not be so pussy foot (like Force India with Perez at Austria)”

        Huh? They were told they weren’t allowed to warn Perez or Hulkenberg about their brakes. Are you saying teams should just disregard the rules? Which rules are they allowed to disregard in your view?

    15. This is a pathetic rule and i hope the big teams put a stop to it.

    16. While I don’t like the idea of teams not being allowed to assist the driver, he is supposed to be the expert driving the car, so he shouldn’t need coaching in a race, but unfortunately there is. I think someone suggested a few weeks ago they have a standard “demerit” system, e.g. 5 seconds time penalty, whenever there is information given to the driver of this nature. So if the driver wants some information or the team decides they don’t like the way the driver is driving, then the team can decide whether the benefit in giving the information is worth the penalty in supplying it. For example, if the team believes they have a choice between loosing two places by the 5 second time penalty or having to retire, then they would supply the information; but if they believed they would loose two places giving information that makes no difference in the car’s lap times, then they would withhold it.

      1. @drycrust This is what Horner talks about actually. Now the precedent is set, 10s penalty for radio ban infringement and the team will make sure to count if it’s better to violate it or not, depending on the circumstances. For Mercedes, the car behind could almost always violate it in the future because they can make the 10s gap much more easily to 3rd place, unless Ferrari or Red Bull stepping up to the game.

        1. @sonicslv Yes, I agree. With the gap Mercedes currently have had over the other teams they could do two infringements and still be ahead of the other cars, but then they would have a very annoyed driver to deal with if that driver lost a place to the other Mercedes driver. In this case Rosberg was behind Hamilton, so he didn’t loose a place to Hamilton, although he lost one place thanks to Verstappen being less than 10 seconds behind him.

    17. So I have to shift thought it ?

      Can’t tell you = no
      Can’t tell you Nico = yes

      1. Exactly: there could be a code in the reply. Mind you, there isn’t any reason why they couldn’t send the answer to Nico using one of the other two way radio links to the car, e.g. the one used for the on board cameras. They could also put the message in code on the board they hang out on the side of the track.

    18. Does anyone know if this whole incident will have damaged Rosberg’s gearbox? Haven’t seen anything on this.

      1. No idea yet. Also, if the gearbox is damaged, it may just be a gear – which can be substituted with any of the other 29 allowed in a season – rather than the whole box – which would trigger a penalty.

    19. My interpretation is they aren’t going to push it in case the FIA decide to change the interpretation of the rule or increase the penalty for future infringements. Mercedes are probably saying we can deal with a 10 second penalty so why rock the boat, the precedent has been set and we’re good with it.

    20. Karma is biachhh Nico Rosberg insists restrictions to the use of team radios should not be changed, despite recent complaints from team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

    21. should that now trigger a gearbox change for nico if the gearbox was in that much danger of failing so invoking a grid place penalty for the next race

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