Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

Verstappen’s penalty was harsh but correct – Brawn

2017 United States Grand Prix

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Ross Brawn has defended the decision to give Max Verstappen the penalty which dropped him off the podium in the United States Grand Prix.

But the former F1 team boss, who now works for Formula One Management, also said he wants such controversial decisions to be reviewed in the future.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2017
Poll: Did Verstappen deserve a penalty?
“It was a harsh but technically correct penalty,” said Brawn of the decision to add five seconds to Verstappen’s race time for cutting a corner while overtaking Kimi Raikkonen.

“I believe that once the dust is settled on this episode it would be good to review cases such as this with all the relevant parties – the FIA and the teams,” Brawn added.

“In every sport technology is becoming more and more important in allowing referees to take sporting decisions with more accuracy and readiness. It’s happening even in football, where a video review system is in place in leagues like Bundesliga in Germany and Serie A in Italy.”

“In Formula One we already have exceptional video technology but I think we need to look at how we utilise it in order to maintain accuracy and consistency.”

Brawn added his appreciated for Verstappen’s win in Formula One’s top driver poll. “It’s small consolation but I think he thoroughly deserved the ‘Driver of the Day’ award handed to him by fans, and once again shows just what an amazing talent Max is.”

2017 United States Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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  • 63 comments on “Verstappen’s penalty was harsh but correct – Brawn”

    1. Finally, someone from the inside who speaks sanity, LOL. +1.

      1. Is he? Most reactions I read did not disagree with the fact that Verstappen cut a corner. It’s the inconsitency that is stated by most followers. I can’t see how any technology is going to help with that.
        Unless Ross meens bordering asphalt with gravel or grass is new technology. At least that would help to solve track limits discussions.

        1. Who cares. The best one to open up was Jos!! That twitter rant. LEL

      2. He has managed to make a comment that does not at all mention the actual issue.

        I do not think anyone disagrees that Max cut the corner. The issue is that many drivers left the limits of the track for their own gain yet only Max was punished.

        I would have preferred him to come out and say, “Technically all the drivers should have multiple penalties, but because F1 is so messed up we just decided to punish one driver”.

        1. That would be JOS in a parallel universe, He would be probably named FOS and would be multiple world champion.
          Not mentioning his extra-racing curriculum…
          :)

        2. Michael Brown (@)
          25th October 2017, 16:38

          “In Formula One we already have exceptional video technology but I think we need to look at how we utilise it in order to maintain accuracy and consistency.”

          I found this when I read the article.

          1. Maintain accuracy and consistency suggests that they already have accuracy and consistency but should look to ways to keep up standards… They do not have any standards to maintain! If they did then we would have seen hundreds of penalties given at the USA GP alone!

      1. Comment of the Day! :)

        Ross Brawn, like always, harsh but correct!

        1. The issue is not that the penalty was technically correct, the issue is that there is only one driver getting a penalty for a foul committed by literally every other driver, during every session. FP1, FP2, FP3, Q1,Q2,Q3 and the race. And in the last round a penalty is given.
          So I might be technically correct, it’s morally wrong. The worst kind of wrong.

          1. -So IT might be-

            And I’m pretty sure that’s implied in Ross his message, else he probably would have said: It’s a harsh, but correct, decision.

          2. Ah but not every other driver in every session passed a bloke off the track on the inside for the podium. I too wish Max had just kept it a bit more left and been awarded the third place. Of course I get the hypocrisy of all the other drivers going wide at some point, but it simply was not for a podium place…ie. gaining a lasting advantage. Max’s pass was off the track for a lasting advantage. Had Kimi done this to Max, Jos and Christian would be arguing the opposite viewpoint.

            1. @Robbie It doesn’t matter if it’s for a podium place or for the 18th place. Either the rules are applied equally, or they are meaningless and stirring controversy. As if 8th doesn’t mean a thing for a team like FI or Renault. Nonsense argument.

            2. @Murph Sure I’m not clear to what degree the role of the pending podium played in their decision, nor whether they would have similarly penalized a pass done the same way for 8th or 18th, but surely the buzz would not be the same if it wasn’t the likes of Max and Kimi for third, part of the story being Max’s distant start spot.

              And do we really want a cut and dry laser beam sending drivers out of races by their mere touch? I think there are shades of grey between equally, and meaningless and stirring controversy. Always has been in F1. I think there has been good argument by most, for a positive rating for F1 for not over-burdening us with numerous line infractions all weekend that were quite impotent in their overall impact to the outcome of the event, until there was a very impactful infraction near the end.

              And what if Kimi had forced Max off? I don’t think that was the case whatsoever…but what if he had? Perhaps F1 would have consistently let Max go too, along with everyone else all weekend.

              Ah I just wish they would build penalties for going off, right into the tracks, into the runoffs. Whatever works. An inch or two drop off the edge of the track onto grass? I don’t know. I just know there are issues when they start to use laser beams, or the equivalent being a no tolerance policy, and police an already small grid into penalty hell, or stuck in kitty litter, done for the day for a small error.

              So if we can’t tolerate over-penalization nor cars cruelly taken out for sometimes silly reasons, when they could have continued had they not been bottomed out in the litter, perhaps it’s lasers ala tennis after all…if they can bring themselves to depart from having never used them before. I’d hope they would get a few free ‘dings’ until they found the limits, and then something like three ‘strikes’ after which you lose a second off your final placing in the race. Just throwing stuff out there as examples of why I don’t think cut and dry cuts it. And yeah, it can be controversial, because few instances are alike, and a little controversy in the mix is a good thing for the buzz of the sport. So it’s not either ‘equality’ or ‘meaningless,’ just those two options. There’s nuance in between. There’s meaning to F1 drawing a line between going off the track impotently, and going off potently, just as there would have been a huge degree more potency if that was for the WDC on the last lap in the last race of the season.

            3. @robbie

              And what if Kimi had forced Max off? I don’t think that was the case whatsoever

              Not sure if you saw the onboard of VER. But that argument could be made with great support. At least he avoided a touching by steering to the right and left the track as a result. If he kept his line he could have touched with Kimi ( who steered back to avoid the same crash).
              In hindsight he could have passed without leaving the track.. hmm.

          3. If Bottas hadn’t gained a HUGE advantage by leaving the track and that way stay ahead of Max – Max wouldn’t have needed to overtake Raikonnen in the last corners because he would have been on his tail a lap earlier.
            In view even more reasons why the penality is unfair because earlier Max was delayed by someone else not staying on the track.

            1. Exactly, overtaking is already hard enough with the dirty air as it is. It’s absurd that defending drivers are given leeway to leave the track to defend against an overtake (which is a lasting advantage), but attacking drivers get penalized.

            2. @Jelle That sounds like a valid argument. I just can’t remember how close Max was to VB when VB went wide to keep him behind. If they were that close that VB was indeed holding Max up, then I agree there’s an inconsistency there. However, I don’t think we can define this, either way, as VB or Max going wide and off track to pass another car. Going wide with no change in the running order is less severe than going off-track to make and complete a pass on the inside. If going wide is a ‘huge’ advantage as you say, then I would think it would be VB not going wide that would have held back Max more.

            3. Also it has to be acknowledged that anyone leaving the track is gaining an advantage of some sort otherwise they would not have left the track at all. Even if someone goes off because they missed the braking point then they have gained an advantage as otherwise they would be braking earlier to make sure they stayed on track.

              Also what is the difference between gaining 0.2 seconds by cutting a corner when not overtaking and gaining 0.2 seconds by cutting a corner while overtaking? Either way they have gained 0.2 seconds.

              The drivers were consistently cutting corners and going wide (to enable faster cornering) all through the race and they were doing this to gain lap time. If that prevented someone from catching them or enabled them to close in on the car in front, is that not just as bad as cutting a corner while overtaking?

    2. I think everyone can agree the penalty for the corner cutting on its own is correct, although you can argue Max steered slightly more off track to avoid a collision with Kimi. We can get past that now.

      The thing fans don’t understand is why Max is the only one to get a penalty, while we’ve seen track limits exceeded all weekend. Lewis Hamilton’s pole lap included. In my opinion, you either enforce track limits or you don’t. I read some arguments about a difference in exceeding track limits inside or outside of a corner. But i don’t think there is a rule that makes that distinction. Whether your run wide for a better exit or cut a corner to shorten the track, in both cases you gain an advantage. So again; either enforce track limits, or don’t; and let them race.

        1. When everyone is, or at least can if they want, exceeding track limits, typically in the same spots on the track, citing LH in quali as you have, then there simply isn’t a big advantage gained by any one driver over the others. They all can and are doing it. Allowing their cars to be forced out with momentum as they work their brakes and tires.

          Max’s pass on the inside, not in the same spot as everyone else all weekend, for a trophy and big points, crossed the line…pun intended. There were simply no other infractions nearly as impactful to the outcome of the whole weekend’s event, as that move by Max. No equality in insistence’s amounted to no equality in penalties. As in, Max got one for taking it too far. As much as I wish him the trophy.

      1. If Bottas hadn’t gained a HUGE advantage by leaving the track and that way stay ahead of Max – Max wouldn’t have needed to overtake Raikonnen in the last corners because he would have been on his tail a lap earlier.
        In view even more reasons why the penality is unfair because earlier Max was delayed by someone else not staying on the track.

        1. Kimi could have cut the corner just like Max did to defend and prevent his overtake.But he didn’t. So Kimi fair and square to the podium. What happened between Max and other drivers had nothing to do with that.

      2. lewis pole lap didn’t exceed track limits.

          1. Yeah when I see that video of his quali run, there’s nothing to complain about and I can see why the stewards would let that kind of driving go all weekend…they were all doing that so nobody had an advantage over anyone else. That is simply not the same as passing a guy on the inside by going off the track to do so.

            As I have said elsewhere…if the stewards were so-called ‘consistent’ by not penalizing Max, by simply ignoring that he was passing Kimi, and instead just looked at drivers going off track all weekend, ie. being consistent, would Kimi and Ferrari fans and perhaps others who are neutral have considered that fair? That ‘consistency?’ Or in fact was not Max’s excursion inconsistent with what the other drivers were doing all weekend? And this resulted in a penalty for an action different from what all the others had been doing.

            1. Rules are there for everyone at the same race. I does not matter the circumstances. If yu gained a lasting advantage ( and HAM, BOT. Sainz did for example) then the rule should be used.
              point… no discussion there.

      3. Verstappen loves to block himself as well. If there is no place to go, you apply breaks.

    3. I really hope Brawn finds a good way to solve this, because it goes really to the core of fair competition. We need the rules to be fair, we need consistent stewarding and we need desicions that are clear to understand.

      Yes, the penalty WAS according to the rules, and it did pretty much exactly follow precedent for penalties given for earlier such incidents this year. But when the viewers see drivers going off track all the time while defending, sometimes while overtaking and always when they try to go faster, that is very far from a clear message.

      As in football, or tennis, there is a white line, and the moment you go over it, it means you our out and face the consequences – not scoring, losing service, losing possession of the ball etc. It is easy to see, and clearly policed.

      Sure, it would be best if the track layout was such that it wouldn’t even occur, because it would not give an advantage. But since there are all kinds of practical obstacles to that, this will not be easy to do. So then at least have a clear and easy to follow rule that is policed, so that everyone who views can immediately understand what is happening.

      And yeah, it is great that the Stewards have far more angles of view than we do, so that they can make a far more educated desicion than we ever could. But then, shouldn’t that evidence be released so that fans and followers can fully understand the ruling?
      And if something like a ruling exists like Kimi mentioned after the race – that there are some places where you are and some where you are not allowed, and that this is known by all the teams – then please, please FOM use those garish CDI skills to paint those green and red (or different colours) immediately in a replay of an action to show that it IS in an area where the FIA has no issues with it, or the opposite. Because then we would all understand a “great laptime” not being accepted because of going off track at “bad” places. And we could get rid of complaining about driver XY having gone off track to get a better time etc.

    4. “In Formula One we already have exceptional video technology but I think we need to look at how we utilise it in order to maintain accuracy and consistency.”

      Good words… Now take action on them… Words count for nothing without action.

    5. I know a lot of people might disagree with this, but I’d like to see them get rid of the 5 second time penalty.

      A drive through penalty is generally considered to be 20 seconds, which is what is added onto the end result if it gets awarded after the race. Likewise, a stop-go penalty is considered to be 30 seconds. Having these with the 10 second time penalty would create a nice lineup of 10, 20, and 30 second penalties. I’ve always thought the 5 second penalty is not enough for most offences, such as overtaking off-track (I’m not specifically talkig about this incident), and hitting another car.

      Ideally there would be an algorithm that determines how much advantage is gained, or how much disadvantage is inflicted on another driver, and a specific time or number of positions could be docked accordingly at the end. Obviously this isn’t possible, therefore the best option currently is to apply penalties there and then in the race with fast and consistent decision-making, which can only be achieved by having the same person or team doing it at every race.

      What is clear though, is that if that was a genuine video of them using windows media player (or something similar) to investigate the overtake, then it’s pretty clear why they struggle so much. I have better technology to examine a video on my phone. I’d have expected a sport as technologically advanced as F1 to have some purpose built software, that is directly linked to the cameras and communications, and enables them to conduct investigations in a proper manner. And perhaps let them do one frame at a time if they need to

      1. The might be investigating incidents by using windows media player, but this is how they decide what penalty to give:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz-PtEJEaqY

      2. I know a lot of people might disagree with this, but I’d like to see them get rid of the 5 second time penalty.

        A drive through penalty is generally considered to be 20 seconds, which is what is added onto the end result if it gets awarded after the race. Likewise, a stop-go penalty is considered to be 30 seconds. Having these with the 10 second time penalty would create a nice lineup of 10, 20, and 30 second penalties. I’ve always thought the 5 second penalty is not enough for most offences, such as overtaking off-track (I’m not specifically talkig about this incident), and hitting another car.

        So if Bottas were right behind Max and Kimi, Max would be demoted from 3rd to 5th because of the penalty? Speaking of harsh :)

        1. @azmo
          If they knew they’d be hit with a longer penalty, they wouldn’t do this stuff.

          They do it, because they get away with it…

          …BUT comparing this incident to one in a free practice session is massive stupid. Apples and pears.

          1. @cm-cm, And we want to see them do it and not be afraid to even try

    6. Because of his integrity and knowledge, if Ross says the penalty is justified, I’ll take him at his word. I’m happy he decided to come out of retirement.

    7. Technically the call was right. But according to how the race was being stewarded not. No other penalties were given for the same offense.

      Next this Conelly guy has to go:
      Max has raced from Abu Dhabi 2015 a total of 39 races and was given 5x a penalty (including one double in Abu Dhabi 2015). All from Connelly. 

      In the 28 races Connelly wasn’t a Steward Verstappen never got a penalty. Connelly was a Steward in 11 races. Max finished 8 off them. From those 8 races he got 5 times a penalty from Connelly:

      2015 Abu Dhabi: track limits (5s + 1p)
      2015 Abu Dhabi: blue flag (drive through + 2p)
      2016 Mexico: track limits (5s + 1p)
      2017 Hongarije: botsing 1e ronde Ric (10s + 2p)

      1. No other penalties were given for the same offense.

        No other F1 driver made the same offense.

        Of course there were plenty of drivers, including Verstappen himself, who at some point went outside the track limits without overtaking or even without any other car nearby. This was allowed by the stewards as long as there was no time gain. FIA’s timing system has sectors for almost every corner so they can check that rather accurately. Not a single F1 lap was disallowed over the weekend, alluding to the fact that running wide at some corners did not gain time at all.
        In the F4 qualifying sessions several drivers had one or more lap times disallowed because they exceeded track limits and gained time, showing that the stewards did actually enforce this rule quite rigorously.

        From those 8 races he got 5 times a penalty from Connelly

        Since they were all entirely justifiable, I don’t see the problem.
        Now you probably want to show that Connelly has a thing for Verstappen, but you could just as easily say that Verstappen only decides to break the rules when Connelly is acting steward. Or you could call it coincidence.

          1. Or you could call it coincidence.

            It’s Gary Coincedence then ;)

    8. Woody (@woodyproducts)
      25th October 2017, 7:53

      I remember the pass of the year 2015, Verstappen on the outside Nasr at Blanchimont at Spa. He was rewarded for it. Well, it was a brilliant action. Unfortunately he was with four wheels outside the track.

      1. Lol, true. It was just bizarre how FIA paraded that overtake around as the seasons best, when it was clearly an illegal overtake.

        Perhaps the stewards felt that Nasr being on worn tyres and going to the pits anyway was a mitigating circumstance (ie Verstappen would have gotten past anyway), but still.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          25th October 2017, 16:43

          @patrickl They gave the same excuse for Alonso illegally overtaking a Toro Rosso at Abu Dhabi 2013. “His tires were much better that he was going to get past anyway.”

    9. I felt moved enough to register and comment upon this.

      Put simply, had there been a wall on the inside of Kimi’s Ferrari, would Max have overtaken him? No. Track limits should be considered, in essence, as walls. Drivers respect walls so they should respect track limits. The penalty was completely correct.

      1. Hey @welshcole You’re not wrong, but I think it is awfully hard for a driver in Max’s shoes to, in the heat of the moment, pretend there’s a wall there, unless that has been made very very clear by F1 at the start of the race as to exactly where the virtual wall is.

        Personally I think Max wasn’t initially heading as far inside or off track as he ended up, but when he saw Kimi move right (nothing wrong with what Kimi did) he moved more right too…perhaps more right than he needed to…and that’s when he ended up too off-track.

        I take your point but I think for the key F1 and FIA insiders that affect these kinds of regs, they must have valid reasons why they don’t just put literal walls where walls, ‘in essence’ now are. I suggest they don’t want to be too police-y or sterile, nor too restrictive, nor do they want only half the grid able to finish the races, and they like a little controversy as it creates some buzz, as some of the reasons we’ve only seen more forgiving tracks and runoffs rather than more walls.

        Perhaps a few inches left and Max would have been considered enough on the track that he would have gotten away with the pass. Hindsight is 20/20 of course and it might have made things easier to understand perhaps, if the drivers had more clear understanding of what they were and were not allowed to do at that track on that weekend. I do wonder what was said to the drivers about going off track in general and if for example they were told it would be ok here here and here as going off offers no lasting advantage at those spots, unless you pass someone by doing it in which case that’s not on at any point around the track.

        1. Yeah Robbie, you’re spot on there. You could put up a strong argument that Kimi failed to leave a car’s width once Max was clearly alongside, or going to be alongside, but nobody else has raised this ….

          I wonder how many inches of tyre a driver has to leave on the gray stuff to persuade the stewards that he remained on track? One inch, two?

    10. Technically yes, but inconsitency is what Ross Brawn also means. But again The Stewards must see the complete picture of the attack on Kimi and than judge, because they are racing and that is what we all want as fans.
      You see in the case in Austin that Kimi left the door open for Max, because his tyres were finished(fuel?) and he made a mistake of coming out at the corner before. Max his tyres + quality of the car were at that time better and Max took that oppertunity of that big gap. You see that the car is at that point with four wheels inside the track.
      Kimi did-or did not not seen him and he went to the right, but at that time he saw Max, because you see on the video that his car is going to the left to avoid a collision. In a split of second Max turns his car to the right to avoid also the collision and then Kimi cursed himself and apologized to the team. You can hear it clearly on the radio. But if Max turned his car in that first corner (when he made this move on Kimi) straight away with four wheels out of the track(white lines) than it is ofcourse a different story and he need to be penalized!
      So, in my point of view it was a act of beautifull racing and then it is my opinion harsh that the penalty is given.

      Solution 1: 2 times when leaving the track with four wheels to gain advantage you will be penalized
      Solution 2: Grass of gravel out of the track
      Solution 3: higher Kerbs

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        25th October 2017, 16:45

        I disagree that Verstappen avoiding a collision (which I won’t dispute) does not then give him the excuse to turn that avoiding action into an illegal overtake. He should have completed the overtake and then given back the position.

    11. Track limits are used now since in the past if you went past the track limit you had an instant penalty, by not being able to finish the race. The current track limit ruling is very difficult to enforce, unless it is a blatant abuse, as seen in this last ruling against Max. Why then do they not enforce the track limits during Qualifying? Cutting corners to gain an advantage on the grid is just as wrong as the situation with Max, the only difference being it changes the start. I have watched many of the drivers using that tactic to get a better position at the start.

      I think the current tracks are not just safe, they are mamby pamby safe. The element of danger in F1 is becoming laughable, and with the upcoming abortion called the Halo, is testament to that.

      Sorry I got off track on that last bit.
      I personally would prefer the screen, as the replacement for the Halo. At least you can see the drivers better.

    12. These are spososed to be the best drivers in the world let them sort it out on track themselves.
      Obviously blatant swerving, brake checking and ungentleman like behaviour should be punished.

      The tracks show the limits by punishing those that exceed them – I liked the lava idea but grass and gravel should be enough.

      Reduce the width of the cars and the size of the front wing so they stop punctures and hitting each other and spraying the track with carbon fibre. Move to Simpler aero and more power and tyres that wear out rather than degrade….

      Job done.

      Friday practice removal – do it but introduce more Monday testing after Gp weekend.

      No more races – 21 weekends of life is enough according to my wife😬😀

    13. Vettel overtook Lewis in turn 1 using the runoff to make the corner. Bottas stayed in front of RIC using the runoff to make the corner. Sainz cut the corner in his

      1. overtaking of Perez. Max cut off the corner in his overtaking of Kimi.

        Only Max got a penalty and you could make a good case saying he avoided a collision.

        Hypocrisy it is

    14. Michael Brown (@)
      25th October 2017, 16:53

      In Formula One we already have exceptional video technology but I think we need to look at how we utilise it in order to maintain accuracy and consistency.

      I mean, the race director showed us viewers illegal overtakes live but the stewards took no notice.

      Perhaps we need more stewards monitoring more corners?

      Also, in 2014, sensors were installed on the exit of the second-to-last corner in Austria. When a driver exceeded the track limits, the sensor notified the stewards of such, so they could quickly review and delete lap times. The same should happen at other corners where drivers extend the track, such as the second-to-last turn in Austin.

      Every year in F1 there is always one race where track limits become a controversy, or the stewards decide to be overly harsh on track limits for one Grand Prix of the season and then go back to their usual hands-off approach to drivers continually abusing track limits for the rest of the season. At the end, the general opinion after the controversy is that people want consistency.

    15. Ok Ross thanks for stating the obvious. The issue wasn’t whether the penalty was correct or not – of course it was. The issue is the continued lack of consistency and transparency with the stewards.

      I hope Liberty reviews their stewarding practices for 2018 and confirm a group of 3 that remain the same throught the season(s).

    16. Michael Brown (@)
      25th October 2017, 17:28

      I would like an official, clear statement from the stewards, the FIA, or Liberty as to what breaches of track limits are allowed and what are not. At the moment Verstappen was penalized for “leaving the track and gaining an advantage,” but Bottas was allowed to drive off the track to continue fighting for his position, and every driver during qualifying and the race was systematically extending the track as part of their racing line. Does that mean they were leaving the track but not gaining an advantage? I personally disagree on that. I think “leaving the track and gaining an advantage” applies to corner cutting, track extending, and leaving the track to overtake another car or to defend.

      1. I think that when they were all going wide in all the sessions, including the race, pretty much in the same spot or two on (off) the track, that meant that nobody was gaining any real lasting advantage over any other driver doing the same. Obviously F1 didn’t put a stop to it ahead of the race. So to say VB gained an advantage by going wide to help himself stay ahead of Max, must include that Max could have followed him off the track to keep up his own momentum too, if he so chose. But the incident in question is about an actual pass, not in what had become a ‘customary’ place to go wide all weekend. Had we seen an actual pass take place with one car off the track at that customary spot where all were doing it, probably a different story and a 5 second penalty would have occurred there too.

      2. You cut the corner by inside, you gain meters, it’s an unfair advantage. You run external of turn, normally doesn’t matter as you take more meters and loose time. That’s how it works 95% of cases.
        About specific fact, Max wasn’t so awake coz Kimi was saving fuel, Max could have easily gone through further straight or turn. After pass Max gained
        4 sec. after 10 sec.!! Everyone sow Kimi was running in “flinstonish walking” mode.. not Max fury?

    17. You cut the corner by inside, you gain meters, it’s an unfair advantage. You run external of turn, normally doesn’t matter as you take more meters and loose time. That’s how it works 95% of cases.
      About specific fact, Max wasn’t so awake coz Kimi was saving fuel, Max could have easily gone through further straight or turn. After pass Max gained
      4 sec. after 10 sec.!! Everyone sow Kimi was running in “flinstonish walking” mode.. not Max fury?

    18. Sorry for duplicate comment, something wrong with my cellphone

    19. Dear Mr. Connelly,

      Thank you for being so prominent in the news as a Formula 1 steward lately. You managed to do that for several following years now as we remember your activity at the GP’s of Japan and Mexico last year. It is clear that you take your voluntary job with the FIA very seriously and I understand that your field of interest is extending to Motor Sport Safety, rules and regulations. From various sources the information that I am getting is that you are considered to be an expert in this field and that you are highly regarded for this.

      I guess that as small boy in Queensland you probably dreamed of becoming a hero, like all small boys do. So it must have been with pride that you saw yourself announced In a recent interview with RallySport mag.com.au, of March 2017 as “The Innovator” that started something very special.You instigated the safety procedures for ‘Eye in The Sky’ and the ‘Langley Park Super Special Stage’.

      But you are a human being as well. In the same interview you come across as a reasonable fellow. I quote: “But the people in F1, including the drivers, are just as friendly and courteous as they are in rallying.” And you go in saying: “…they are genuine, well intentioned people” All this sounds as if you are a good judge of character and that you have a keen eye for the underlying personality of your fellow man. And because of all this it must have hurt you that many ‘well intentioned people’ doubted your intention by handing out penalty’s in a very inconsistent way.

      You failed miserably in the GP on the Circuit of the America’s in Austin, Texas. To be clear about the word ‘failed’ I want you to understand what I mean by that. It is not because you gave a justifiable penalty in lap 56 of the American GP. You failed to hand out all the other ‘justifiable’ penalties during 3 days of practice, qualifying and racing.

      I refuse to call you an ‘Idiot’ or ‘Moron’ or even a ‘Lunatic’. Simply because Idiots, Morons an Lunatics are not to be held accountable for what they do. They are out of their mind, unaware and unconscious. You are not. You knew exactly what you did by executing your authority. You enjoy your function as a steward. It is the morbid streak in you to single out some drivers for punishment that causes me concern. In fact you gave Max Verstappen a compliment by ‘just’ giving him a penalty. In a strange way you strengthened his motivation and there is one thing we all can be sure of and that is that Max Verstappen will win F1 Races long after you are gone.

      You can argue that some actions on track deserve these penalties more than others. You can argue that gaining a lasting advantage (overtake) is different from gaining an advantage in lap-time (speed). You can even say that an intended move that leads to exceeding the track-limits is more punishable than exceeding these limits as a result of a loss of car-control. But apart from all these considerations the result of applying penalties in a way that enlarges confusion and that kills the joy and appeal for racing does more harm than good.

      It might be so that you are not aware of the preferences in your judgement. It is very possible that you are convinced of your own ‘good intention’ but it is the underlying emotional motivation that might be hidden in your personality that needs attention. It needs to be thought over and maybe even counselling to be cured.

      You are an ambitious man who gets things done. You have achieved a great career In finance and in the motorised world. You are an Australian and you enjoy friendships with famous Europeans. You like Carlos Sainz Sr. KimiRaïkkönen and, being an Aussi, Daniel Ricciardo. Being a man that lives by the saying it must have occurred to you that consistency is paramount and being a steward in F1 it is exactly this that is asked of you in this capacity as a judge.
      But there is no reason for you to feel the need to ‘educate’ (constantly) young racing drivers by executing your “Befehl ist Befehl” method. It is not where the POWER of JUDGEMENT, that has been given to you, is intended for. Well Mr. Connelly just think about it for a while and if you come to the conclusion that you like to be considered and be rememberd as an inconsistent person and someone that is steered by preferences rather than by objectivity, just continue like you did up until today.

      But please remember that nobody is able to guess your ‘good’ intentions as long as your actions appear to be judgemental.

      Best regards,
      Jeroen Bons

      1. Amen !

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