Grosjean insists he slowed down for yellow flags and posts data to prove it

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean took the Chinese Grand Prix stewards to task over his five-place penalty for failing to slow down for double waved yellow flags.

The Haas driver posted data on social media which he says demonstrates he did back off when he encountered yellow flags at the end of his last lap in Q1.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017
Chinese GP qualifying in pictures
The annotated portion of his telemetry appears to show he backed off by 45kph at the exit of turn 18 where the Sauber hit the barriers.

“So [apparently] I made no effort to slow down and didn’t abandon the lap,” he wrote. “Data shows a different point of view.”

“[By the way], didn’t even open my DRS,” he added.

The stewards ruled Grosjean “attempted to set a meaningful lap time after passing through a double waved yellow marshalling sector” and “made no attempt to significantly reduce his speed”. They handed the Haas driver a five-place grid penalty and three penalty points on his licence.

Grosjean set a lap time of 1’35.223 when the double waved yellow flags were shown. His next-quickest lap in Q1 was over 13 seconds slower because of a spin.

Haas qualified in the top ten in Australia and Grosjean believes they could have done the same in China.

“I wasn’t so happy with the car this morning in FP3, we struggled a little bit, but we made some gains with changes over lunch,” he said.

“The car was going to be P10, so we weren’t far off chasing Q3. It was looking all good, but then I couldn’t do the lap.”

Jolyon Palmer was also given the same penalty for failing to back off sufficiently for the same incident.

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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  • 44 comments on “Grosjean insists he slowed down for yellow flags and posts data to prove it”

    1. I wonder what would have been the outcome if it was Rosberg instead of RoGro

      1. @tifoso1989 Again (the same thing was said in response to the earlier article) it’s worth noting the way these incidents are policed was changed after the Rosberg controversy in Hungary last year.

    2. Mark Hitchcock
      8th April 2017, 12:22

      He definitely slowed a little but from the onboard it was clear that as he passed the Sauber he was not going slow enough to stop had it been neccessary.

      1. Agreed. The penalty is deserved.

      2. Quite true – had me wondering what if a torn-off wheel had been slowly spiralling into his path – quite likely not enough time to stop or even dodge.

        1. That’s because a precedent was set when Rosberg went unpunished. As i said at the time, very stupid and potentially very dangerous.

          Drivers today felt they only had to ‘show’ they were slowing rather than actually being concerned about what was around the corner.

      3. I wonder why they not just impose the drivers to use the pit speed limiter under double yellows.

        1. @unitedkingdomracing Because
          A – you cant just brake from top speed into 80khm at arbitrary places, that will be an safetyconcern in itself.
          B – 80kmh would be way to fast in low speed parts of the track and it would be unnecessary slow in other parts doing nothing but bunching the cars up and causing people to loose heat in tyres.

          I think the ruling was just. Grosjean clearly slowed down which is show by his horrbile last sector time but he clearly slowed down with setting a time in mind and not safety in mind. As mentioned before its immediately clear from everyone that views the onboardcam that he didnt pass the Sauber in a safe way. Im not impressed by Grosjeans complaints…

          I think a better rule would be to just invalidate all times set passing an yellow flag.

          1. Yellow flags are there for safety of marshals, not for safety of drivers. His telemetry clearly shows he was going too fast to stop as quick as possible, if needed and wasn’t much care on marshals safety.

    3. :p Who knows what would happen if it was Rosberg..

      But data is fairly clear. He lifted 50m earlier, went through the corner at a lot speed and also didn’t come on to full power until clearing the obstacle..

      So good on him to point out some data. What were stewards thinking?

      1. You will have ask Mika Salo what he was smoking while taking this decision. I didnt see Hamilton being investigated when Grosjean had a spin in Q1 also what were the marshals were doing waving green flags when Grosjean was in middle of track on start finish straight instead of yellows.

        1. Because when GRO spun, it wasn’t a double waved yellow flag incident.

        2. Grosjean’s spin brought at yellows, as the car was still moving, which means lift off, but you can still set a time. Giovinazzi’s crash brought out double yellows, as the car was stationary and missing a wheel, which means be prepared to stop. The difference between yellows and double yellows is why Palmer and Grosjean got penalties and Hamilton didn’t.

          1. Plus, if you look at the on board at the start of the qualifying highlights video on the F1 channel, you can see that it’s green flags for Hamilton, even though there’s a bunch of smoke, as I think Grosjean had just about recovered it by then

    4. Slowing down 45 kph apparently is insufficient according to the FIA… and rightfully so, since double yellows imply that drivers must slow down and be prepared to stop.

      1. That might be true, but the stewards comments – “attempted to set a meaningful lap time after passing through a double waved yellow marshalling sector” and “made no attempt to significantly reduce his speed” – pretty clearly aren’t true.

        1. They should simply make it so if there’s double yellows and you improve your time, it is a grid penalty, simple as.

          1. From the article, I surmise he had not even set a time yet, so how does one judge that?

          2. @hugh11, as @beejis60 notes, in the case of Grosjean he quite clearly was going to improve on his time given that, although he had set a time, it was extremely slow because he was recovering from a spin. Furthermore, Grosjean could point out that, if you then compared the sector times of his previous lap to the 1’35.223 time he set, his time in that particular section of the lap was slower than on his previous lap – so your proposal would probably have seen Grosjean not receive a penalty.

            1. Though as @f1-liners said lower down – “Giovinazzi was at metre 5350-5375, and Grosjean went full throttle again at metre 5310”

    5. It’s down to the stewards interpretation of what happened, so I think if they feel the grid penalty is justified then, as long as they are consistent, fair enough.

      However, the three penalty points is harsh. It’s not like he went barging through at full speed, really is it? It seems unjustified and disproportionately large.

      1. @strontium, it is in line with the penalty that Perez received last year for speeding through a yellow flag zone during the Singapore GP, so they could cite that particular precedent.

      2. John in Fargo
        8th April 2017, 19:37

        Recall that penalty points are separate from driver / constructor points. 12 penalty points in 12 month period = one race suspension.

    6. Michael Brown (@)
      8th April 2017, 14:15

      It’s almost as if you’re supposed to be going slow enough to stop the car

      1. Well played.

      2. Andy (@andybantam)
        9th April 2017, 0:59

        Haha! Exactly!

    7. I remember the Alonso vs Webber’s wheel incident in Brazil (2003?). Any time there is a car or big parts stranded in the middle of the track you HAVE to back off completely, its not just your safety at risk. Kinda sucks on a hot lap though!!

    8. I wonder if Gro will be criticised like Lewis was for tweet telemetry data? 🤔🤔🤔

      1. RoGro didn’t tweet a telemetry sheet btw.

        1. Naw, he just tweeted a piece of paper with scribblings on it. 😏

        2. the point is not why he was criticised, its why he was not fired

          1. And why should he have fired?

      2. Of course he will and has been already. Because just like with Hamilton it doesn’t help his case.
        Double waved yellows means he has to be able stop. He slowed down as if it was a yellow zone.

      3. @kgn11 – Lewis did it because he got beat. Grosjean because he got a penalty. So no. Gro shouldn’t get the same criticism.

        1. What’s the difference? They both did it because they felt aggrieved by what they felt was unfair treatment by stewards & team.

    9. From the inboard it seemed that yellow flags were already being shown between the penultimate to last corners, and he only seemed to back off once he saw a car was stranded on the middle of the track, already having passed the apex of the last corner. If that was really the case, than his argument is moot, really.

      1. Did you even bother to read the article? He braked 50m early for the last corner.

    10. Did not really help his case to share this graph.
      Giovinazzi was at metre 5350-5375, and Grosjean went full throttle again at metre 5310 ;)

      1. Did not really help his case to share this graph.

        @f1-liners You are exactly right. I wasn’t able to verify the location of Giovinazzi’s car, nor your claim about him going full throttle, but I do find that graph interesting to look at, and it seems to suggest he was more guilty than you say.
        It seems the graph is related to two different cars going passed the crash, with Grosjean presumably being the black line and someone else being the red line, so implying that Grosjean was more innocent than the other driver, who presumably wasn’t penalised.
        In this case Grosjean braked 50 metres earlier and claims he was doing 45 km/h less speed.
        Grosjean’s annotation suggests the spacing between the black line and the red one is 45 km/h suggesting the vertical grid is 50 km/h increments, and the horizontal scale is the metre distances of the 5.451 km track. Once we’ve figured that out, then the graph gets really interesting.
        A 50 km/h vertical grid suggests the horizontal line below the trough on the black line is 0 km/h … meaning one driver slowed to under 30 km/h while the other slowed to 45 or 46 km/h, but the slowest point is at distance 5150, and from there it shows the speed increasing so by the time we get to the 5350 to 5400 region the “black car” is accelerating from 120 km/h to about 132 km/h, while the “red car” is accelerating from 151 km/h to 160 something km/h.
        A lot hinges on where the crash and debris actually were. This graph suggests the location was in proximity of 5150, and if it was then Grosjean would appear to have grounds to feel aggrieved, but if it was in the 5350 to 5400 region then, by handing this graph to the Stewards, Grosjean nailed the lid on the coffin shut. They had no option but to give him a penalty. If one looks at the quote attributed to them, “attempted to set a meaningful lap time after passing through a double waved yellow marshalling sector”, then it appears Grosjean did in fact show them he was guilty.
        It may be the horizontal scale wasn’t calibrated with the start finish line on the track, but Grosjean would have needed to have presented evidence to the Stewards that this was the case.
        By writing “kp/h”, that could easily suggest to the Stewards Grosjean has no idea what the graph means because the “p” means the same as the “/” does. He also doesn’t write down what his minimum speed is (30 km/h?), nor where the 0 km/h line is, nor what the speed scale being used is. This is important because if the vertical scale is 50 km/h increments then the car will be “off the graph” at top speed, so the speed scale is selectable, hence the need to include it. The next problem is he didn’t write on the chart where the region covered by the actual crash and debris is, which the Stewards should have known before they interviewed Grosjean, nor does he show which lines relate to the accelerator and brake pedals.
        As I see it, the only hope Grosjean has now is if he can prove the horizontal grid was out of calibration with the start finish line. I would be really surprised if this was the case, but there was a “bump” in the track that was removed earlier this year and maybe the calibration was upset when that happened.
        Overall, I can’t help but think Grosjean thought the Stewards wouldn’t understand what they were looking at if he handed them this chart, but the outcome says they did.

    11. Neil (@neilosjames)
      8th April 2017, 16:58

      Feel sorry for him, but double waved yellows need more than a lift and the loss of a second.

      As long as this is applied consistently all season, I’ll be a very happy bunny.

    12. I’m sorry but Grosjean is such a child. Double waved yellows doesn’t mean just ease off the gas, I don’t care about your telemetry. I’m afraid he’s making a fool of himself again here.

    13. Andy (@andybantam)
      9th April 2017, 0:46

      Absolute slam dunk penalty for the both of them. It was as clear as day to my mind.

      As has already been mentioned, this was a double waved yellow flag incident so you have to be prepared to stop. Both offenders didn’t look anything like they were prepared to stop suddenly.

      I’m amazed they did it at all. It’s really unsafe and moaning about it just makes Grosjean look silly.

    14. Pathetic penalty, one car that crashes should not require other cars to stop, just how big are these new cars? F1 is for babies now, safer than riding your bicycle at home.

      1. @aliced

        Yes they should. Unless you want situations were one driver getting out of a crashed car is hit by another car going off at the same point.

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