Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2016

Hamilton takes second 15-place grid penalty

2016 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton will collect a further 15-place grid penalty, bringing him up to a total of 30 for this weekend’s race.

Mercedes has chosen to change his power unit again ahead of the second practice session at Spa. Hamilton is now on his seventh turbocharger and MGU-H abd his fifth engine and MGU-K.

Hamilton had already incurred a 15-place grid penalty for changing two power unit parts during the first practice session.

Mercedes have therefore chosen to increase the supply of fresh power unit parts he can use as a further penalty will not substantially disadvantage him. Previously he would have started no higher than 16th but as there are only 22 cars on the grid and because grid penalties no longer roll over to subsequent races he will not be able to take a full 30-place penalty.

2016 Belgian 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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62 comments on “Hamilton takes second 15-place grid penalty”

  1. Might as well take another 15 before practice 3.

    1. +1 And anything else they can fit in the repair trolley.

  2. Time for a donut in the start finish straight now I think….

    Will he even make an attempt to get out if q1? Or just save the tyres?

    1. Hard to say– Should at least do one run in Q1 to take the shine off his race set of tires, but beyond that, I don’t know if there’s any point.

      On the other hand, he could always get pole, drop to the back of the grid, and probably make it back up to the top 5, and still have reasonable stats for the race. :)

      1. If he qualifies in the top 10 he will have to start on those tyres in the race though

        1. Not necessarily, they changed it to the compound used for the fast lap in Q2, not Q3, remember, so he could set a top ten time on the medium in Q2, go for pole in Q3 and still start on the more durable tire.

          1. Which is *exactly* what I said. Qualifying into top 10 *is* Q2 and no matter if he does q2 on hard or soft he will still start the race on used tyres over fresh ones.

      2. Senna’s pole tally is not getting any smaller. He better get out there.

    2. A few less high-power laps on his shiny new power train might be a nice bonus for the rest of the season.

      1. He could just replace the engine again after qualifying.

    3. There wouldn’t be much point attempting to qualify to a greater extent than to simply set a lap, as the only people who can start behind Lewis are people who receive penalties after him.

  3. Good. It seemed a bit weird they wouldn’t just break the seal on all required parts for the rest of the season.

    Even if they think he should take updated components in a few races time and he has to take another penalty, he’s only dropped 6 places (at worst) in this race. Probably safer to be at the back for the start, anyway.

  4. Maybe an idea for a rule change next year: take surplus grid penalty places into the next race.

    1. That’s what they did last season

    2. I think this was the case before. Wasn’t it changed to the current system because Mclaren kept taking 150 place penalties at each race last year?

      1. Yes – because it made a mockery of the sport in much the same way as issuing more grid penalties than there are cars on the grid does in the first place.

        1. What I would like te see is subtracting surplus penalty places after the race. So if Lewis finishes 1st despite starting last, he’ll end up last anyway ;)

    3. It started that way, then got changed to the system where you took drive through or stop go penalty depending on how much of a drop you still have left. Now they just roll with it. I think they should line lewis him up on the old grid

  5. Did they do what I thought they should or was there a problem with the swapped engine?

  6. No need to go for qualy, save your engine and tyres Lewis, I wonder if Mercedes might opt for another engine change but I doubt they have produced enough of them, it will be a legal way to trick the FIA.

  7. So why don’t all teams do this? Just take a race or two that you can overtake at, use 4 engines over P1,2,3&Q, and have an abundance of parts for the rest of the season?

    1. @sam3110 Because most teams aren’t running out of power units yet. If say Williams wanted to do this, while they are still using only their third, they’d have to use their remaining permitted allocation without penalty before being able to start introducing power units over their seasons allocation.

      Add to most other teams don’t have the luxury Mercedes have of letting results slide. Hamilton if he had a unit to use without doing this would be on for either 1st or 2nd, now he’s going to have to fight for 6th realistically.

      What other team can afford to throw a podium away like that unless it’s absolutely needed. Honda last year were only really making it so they had to nip past Manor to be back where they should be.

      1. 6th? I think he will be running for podium with 1 or 2 SC period! I think he will overtake at least 4/5 at start, and at first corner if no accidents, after eu rouge he will take another 2/3… by the end straight of first lap he will be around 9-10! worst case scenario 12/13 end of first lap.. and 2/3 car per lap until first PS! he will be around 6-7, until second stops, 1 car per a few laps, and by second stops he will be within podium, and if any SC, high chance he will be on podium with 1st within reach on table…

        I ve a feeling Ros will have some clash with one of the Reds! And he will tell charlie that he had fully locked this time for real, but couldnt make it stick..

        1. Don’t need to watch the races at all now!

  8. Is it also possible for Hamilton to speed inthe pit lane on purspose and take a reprimand in order to reset his repirmands to 0 ?

    1. … I sincerely hope that no one would consider actually doing that.

      1. N Lauda is on record saying a racer ought to ‘cheat’ (and not get caught) when possible in order to win

        1. Sure, that’s his view as a racer. But for the sport, a cheat should be caught every time.

          Anyway, it’s not really cheating so much as taking advantage of the rules. I think with things like the pit lane speed limit, that just shouldn’t be done.

      2. @mike
        Why not? It’s not a dangerous maneuver if he simply presses the pit-limiter button a split second earlier as he exits the pit lane.

        Simple really.

        1. @hellotraverse I think speeding in the pits is rule that should be enforce with exceptional strength. Purposefully breaking it would be, in my eyes, utterly irresponsible.

    2. If he gets an actual penalty, then would the reprimands reset? That would be odd. He might end up with a penalty and then stay on two reprimands.

    3. I certainly would …both reprimands were absolutely stupid

    4. What’s the point in that, he could just forget to weigh the car after 3rd practice….

    5. If Lewis needed to reset his reprimands, it would be far easier for him to do it by simply wandering into a compulsory press conference two minutes late. Maybe by deciding to take a bunch of photos from the podium instead of listening to instructions to attend a post-podium conference. This would get a non-racing reprimand (which is still sufficient to get the grid penalty and reset because one of the two reprimands Lewis has was obtained for questionable driving during a driving session), and the worst that’s likely to happen is that the 10-place grid penalty would be joined by a fine.

  9. Sums up how stupid the rules are. 30 place penalty when there are only 22 places.

    1. … ? How would you do it?

      If anything, the stupidity is in that it’s designed to prevent teams from using lots of parts and yet in this scenario, it’s encouraging it.

      1. I would say instead of a grid penalty it should be a points penalty. This grid penalty is not really damaging to Mercedes’ season.

        1. @aliced The problem with taking away points is that a team like Mercedes who are leading the constructors standings by 159 points are not going to be hurt much if you take points away while teams a bit further back could drop 2-3 spots down the order if they lose just a few points & that could hit them hard when it comes to prize money distribution which is based on the constructors standings.

          It was felt that the grid penalty system was the best was to remove any incentive for the top teams to change components just for the hell of it.

          1. isn’t the fee the teams pay each year based on the number of points they had too? So if the FIA took away points, they’d be shorting themselves some cash and we know that’ll never happen.

  10. To be honest I can see this leading to a rule change to try and prevent it being done like this.

  11. Rules are Rules, if I was Merc I would do a complete power unit change overnight before FP3.

    This is not any different than what McLaren/ Honda did this year.

  12. I’m really *annoyed* at Mercedes over this because it is damaging the sport. They don’t care because it benefits them but the result will be the re-introduction of penalties being carried over or stop/go’s being served after the start of the race which disproportionately affects the teams at the back of the grid.

    This was a widely known loophole which was left open because otherwise, it meant an engine change for a team lower down the grid resulted in a 2 race penalty or a stop/go having already started last – as happened repeatedly to McLaren last year.

    Thanks Mercedes – always looking after number 1. I hope both engines blow up (and I’m a Lewis fan)

    1. I don’t like it, either, but rules are rules. It could be changed by, say, making any grid penalty over the number of cars carry forward. But the teams must work with the rules as written, and if they can turn them to their advantage, that’s their job.

      The solution: change the rules so the loophole doesn’t exist. It’s the same as the tax system in this country (UK). If they don’t want people taking advantage of a loophole in the tax laws, close the loophole. Having a go at people who stay within the rules but find an advantageous way of doing so is stupid, especially from the people who wrote the rules in the first place!

      1. Carryover has already been tried and rejected because it annoyed viewers too much, who have problems with the concept of conduct at one race affecting another, unless the conduct was such that doing the whole penalty in the race weekend where the offence occurred was impossible (for example, dodgy driving that ends the culprit’s race but is too dodgy for that to be sufficient penalty).

        1. @alianora-la-canta

          My point was, carry-over could be done in a more complicated, but fair, manner.

          This year, there are 22 competitors. Therefore, take the first 22 places (no matter where you qualify) at that race. Any beyond that get carried over to the next race.

          The main problem with simplistic carry over was that a low end team could have multiple races ruined by a single change over the allowance, where a higher-up team would take all the pain in one race. With this slight tweak, Merc would have been penalised next race for this move (although they’d never have done it), but a manor would only have a penalty in one race for a change of up to 22 places.

          1. The annoying part for viewers was that there was any carryover at all. More complicated systems of carryover don’t eliminate the carryover, hence the source of the annoyance.

    2. Hamilton already had massive bad luck that his races were compromised by the components blowing up. It’s ridiculous that he even has to incur another penalty for replacing those broken parts.

      It’s like when you have a technical malfunction you get penalized twice.

      At least there is this loophole that if the amount of bad luck turned out to be ridiculously high, you can throw away only one more race and get the parts back. Otherwise his championship hopes would have been over completely.

      1. The problem with closing to loophole is that the teams will start doing other things the FIA don’t like… Like not running in practice to save life of their engines.

        It’s a noble idea, but tough to get the balance right.

      2. @patrickl
        Totally agree, the blow ups already impacted Lewis’s season and he is being further punished by the rules just to stay competitive with everyone else. Any other team in his situation can do the same thing and start at the back of the grid which is huge punishment when the car and driver combo is more than capable and likely of being on pole.

      3. @patrickl
        “It’s like when you have a technical malfunction you get penalized twice”

        You’re absolutely spot o on that one.

    3. “I’m really *annoyed* at Mercedes over this because it is damaging the sport.”
      I really think you are looking at this from the wrong perspective. If it is “damaging the sport”, it’s because of the rules, and Mercedes did not write the rules.
      I might agree that the carry-over of grid penalties from one race to the next also “damages the sport” because of the retributive nature on the less successful teams. But your last statement “Thanks Mercedes – always looking after number 1.” is naive. This is racing; they are all looking after number 1.
      As Keith related here http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2006/12/17/the-piranha-club-power-and-influence-in-formula-one-timothy-collings-2001-2/, it was Ron Denis who said “Welcome to the Pirhana Club”.

    4. Where have you been for the past year or so? The loop-hole that you refer to was only made possible by the 2016 rules. Last year the non-served grid penalties were being carried over to the next race but the rules were changed to not carry over additional grid penalties this year although Mercedes objected to the change. So please don’t comment on here as if it was an oversight by the FIA to benefit Merc.

      1. Wooolfy, actually, the requirement to carry over the grid penalties into the following race was dropped back in 2015 – it came in around the 2015 British GP, and many felt that it was in fact brought in to help out Honda given that they were clearly going to take multiple major grid penalties later in the year.

        You have forgotten that Button, Alonso and Raikkonen were all unable to serve the totality of their grid penalties in the 2015 Mexican GP (70 places, 15 places and 35 places respectively), but none of those drivers carried those penalties over into the next race in Brazil.

    5. I think one of the presenters remarked that Mercedes actually voted against the current system and were accused of looking after their own interests, so it cannot really be as you suggest now can it? As others have said, they are playing by the rules and this time it suits them.

    6. There were rumours abound about this but I was hoping that they would just stay that. I have lost a bunch of respect for Mercedes. Not too bummed about them subverting FIA rules as all the teams do that. The teams just care about the letter of the FIA rules while ignoring its spirit as we see with back markers for example. How does this gel with Merc’s driver equality policy? If Rosberg doesn’t win WDC this year its likely he will burn his bridges and head into Indy or FormulaE.

      I would add that this business of top shelf drivers pairing up is hurting the sport. We need 3-5 top teams so the aces of the pack can compete more freely and shop around more. The technical and financial aspects of the sport need a shake up for that. Hopefully the buyer CVC finds will realise that and ignore Bernie’s push of WWE-fication of F1.

      1. Driver equality? You honestly think they are being unfair on Rosberg by doing this?

        But it wasn’t unfair for Lewis when his engines blew up?

        1. There is always an element of luck involved in sport. HAM has been on both ends of it before, losing WDC by 1 point in ’07 and winning it by 1 point in ’08.

          Yes Mercedes are being unfair on ROS as they are going too far in mitigating HAM’s bad luck all in one race. The sporting gesture would have been to take the penalty over 2 races as intended by the rules. That would have been fair to both drivers, the sport and to the fans. Or they can go the way of other teams and say ‘we have a number 1 driver and a number 2 driver’. That is fair too.

          To me, someone claiming the moral high ground in words but not in actions is not worthy of respect. In the end, its a question of what F1 means to you.

          ““An electric tension filled the air, the odd blend of hope and fear that any live performance bore, with its risk of imperfection, chance of greatness. […] Miles considered Barrayaran marching bands. It wasn’t enough that humans did something so difficult as learning to play a musical instrument. Then they had to do it in groups. While walking around. In complicated patterns. And then they competed with one another to do it even better. Excellence, this kind of excellence, could never have any sane economic justification. It had to be done for the honor of one’s country, or one’s people, or the glory of God. For the joy of being human.” – Lois McMaster Bujold. “Diplomatic Immunity (Vorkosigan Saga).”

          1. @scarlet-fever That’s silly. They would do the exact same thing if it was Rosberg. They are doing the best they can for both drivers all the time. Please, don’t contribute to the favorite nonsense. And if you are, at least be a Hamilton supporter so I can build up my stereotype.

  13. Perhaps if the engine supply did not cost $25 million per season per car they would not need to have dopey rules around component reliability in a ridiculous attempt to “control costs”.

    1. Maybe if they didn’t have dopey rules about component reliability the engines wouldn’t cost $25 million

  14. When we had carry over penalties everyone complained, now we don’t everyone is complaining and wanting them back. On top of this everyone complains the rules change too much. F1 fans are a joke.

    And to all the people having a go at Mercedes:
    1) they protested against removing the carry over rules and were bad mouthed for it.
    2) you think any other team in their position wouldn’t do the same? Yeah right.

    1. The carry over penalties were fine. The only problem with them was that they did not work for Honda and created poor optics for the sport, so they were abandoned. That happened as Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault ganged up on Honda and stuck them with dismal engines that could only be improved at a slow rate.

      The only jokes in F1 are shabby rules (creation and enforcement) and price gouging. And if they keep at it, they will keep bleeding viewers to other events.

      Anyways, let’s enjoy the race today. We can always get back to discussions later.

      Good track for Force India to show up Williams again, maybe even scare Ferrari and RBR a touch.

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