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

Ricciardo: Verstappen was penalised because he cut the corner

2017 United States Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo said he could understand the FIA’s decision to penalise his team mate for going off the track while overtaking Kimi Raikkonen in the United States Grand Prix.

However Ricciardo also said he understood why Verstappen tried the move in the first place.

Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Circuit of the Americas, 2017
Ricciardo forced Bottas wide
“If there’s a gap or a little advantage you can get somewhere, you’re going to take it,” said Ricciardo.

“Especially last lap, obviously you see a podium as well, it’s like bang, I’m going to do what I can to get this podium. It’s kind of instinct and in a way heat of the moment.”

Ricciardo drew a contrast between the stewards’ view on his fight with Valtteri Bottas and the verdict on Verstappen incident.

“I tried to pass Valtteri in turn one, we touched a bit and I kind of pushed him wide. He went off the track but kept his position but you could argue he went the longer way around, and I made contact and maybe forced him there.”

“So I think if you’re going the long way around you can’t really say you’re cutting the track. But obviously if you go the shorter way around then there’s a bigger argument. So I think that’s one thing people need to understand. I don’t really know much of the debate but cutting it on the inside is a bit different to going off on the outside.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting confirmed the stewards take a different view on drivers cutting corners to running wide on the outside of them.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2017
Poll: Did Verstappen deserve a penalty?
He told Sky “there was no other incident at that part of the track” where Verstappen passed Raikkonen.

“There were other examples of driving the track where no lasting advantage was gained. That’s the difference. We can come up with 20 or so examples of other drivers leaving the track but we examined them and we determined that no advantage was gained.”

Whiting refuted claims the rules had not been implemented consistently. “There is consistency where, with emotions running high, it’s easy to say other drivers went off and weren’t penalised, only Max was penalised,” he said.

“Only Max cut a corner.”

“If you look at previous examples of drivers cutting a corner, not running wide on the exit but cutting the corner, [Jolyon] Palmer was penalised in Monza, [Sergio] Perez was penalised in Spa, for doing exactly the same thing. As far as I can see, there is complete consistency.”

2017 United States 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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  • 37 comments on “Ricciardo: Verstappen was penalised because he cut the corner”

    1. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that something as relatively small as this that should be relatively small has pretty much dominated Formula 1 news for an entire week…

      If track limits had been enforced properly in the first place, we wouldn’t be in this position.

      1. I agree with you.
        But, on the other hand, my thanks to Ricciardo for finally explaining to me what happened with Max. I mean, I understood he got a penalty because of something, but I was really confused. It looked like a really complicated issue! But Daniel just smiled wide and was like “He cut a corner and gained a position, and that’s not good”, and now I get it!
        Thank god no one chipped a nail during that last race, or we’d be discussing the aerodynamic advantage of it and how that won the championship for years to come!

      2. But would strictly enforcing track limits all the time really lead to a better race? Wouldn’t you end up with something akin to Kickstart where the driver racks up a bunch of penalty seconds which need to be applied to their overall race time? I can’t see that being too popular.
        And what about times when drivers would say “well, if I hadn’t crossed the line I’d have hit the other guy and caused a collision”?.

        Personally I was miffed at the time but feel the race officials did the right thing. If they’d let Max take the podium, then had a stewards meeting, then finally demoted Max 2hrs after the race everyone would be up in arms. They acted swiftly and, in hindsight, arguably correctly. It’s not perfect but I don’t see any other option that would be. Apart from more savage track design that penalises/discourages any off-track driving with a risk of crashing.

        1. @bobsta
          Agreed, the BTCC have been cutting down (hurr durr) on track limits and frankly it detracts from the racing when somebody gets a penalty for just running a bit wide. I think having a common sense led – rather than data led – approach is the right way to go.

          That’s not to say the stewards couldn’t be a little more strict though, I think last weekend there were some drivers taking obvious liberties, especially through the esses and the penultimate corner.

        2. I personally think they need to get rid of time penalties for stuff like that. Collisions maybe, but not overtakes. Let the drivers sort it out. It’s the driver in front’s job to keep the guy behind him and the driver behind to pass the one in front. The fastest route will be in the racing line and rubbered up with grip. If a driver wants to dip it down there, than so be it. COTA used to have astro turf just beyond the curbs. Kvyat actually hit is in 2015 and crashed off turn 19 at COTA because of it. I think they had to go to the full tarmac and double curb because of the sports cars that run there more frequently than F1. I would love to see the turf, gravel, or some sort of slick paint being used just beyond the curbs.

      3. it’s technically 4 and a half days right now…not quite an entire week

        1. … but it sure FEELS like a long time :-)

    2. The problem is, some drivers and FIA personnel seem to be making the following assumption:

      “Going a further distance means no advantage gained”.

      From seemingly intelligent people, this seems to be pretty dumb at best. Of course if you can carry more speed and run wider to gain an advantage, travelling further but going quicker overall. I really don’t understand why this is so hard to grasp by some of these full time F1 professionals.

      1. This is the reason there was that whole furore that little bit of infield track at the exit of Ascari at Monza a few years ago – where the stewards eventually dropped the issue as basically every driver ran wide there and had been doing it for years. If the drivers didn’t gain an advantage from running wide then they wouldn’t do it – the racing line being the fastest route through a corner, often the straightest as well.

        1. @telvee32 They also replaced the gravel trap of the Parabolica with a tarmac run-off area and didn’t expect the drivers to use the run-off area to straighten the corner, which of course did happen. Funnily only at some tracks (Red Bull Ring is maybe the best example) track limits are strictly enforced, as if these are the only tracks where leaving the track is actually advantageous.

      2. Yeah, exactly that. It worries me that officials don’t understand that

      3. Exactly, I have been confused how this is not part of the discussion.

        At COTA turn 19, it was faster to exceed the track limits than to stay in them. If you did this and the car in front of you didn’t then you gained an advantage. You might gain .1 a second a lap doing this and soon you will be in a position to pass for a position.

        Maybe the FIA should restate the rule to be, if while exceeding the track limits you gain a position you either will immediately give the position back or have a 5 second penalty.

        1. It would need to be more comprehensive than that, since you also don’t want drivers to retain a position against a potential overtake by exceeding track limits. As far as I can see, you are allowed to do that if you are somewhat forced off track (like Bottas vs Ricciardo in Austin), but not if you go off by yourself. Although even that hasn’t been consistently enforced.

          But you’re right, the term ‘gain a lasting advantage’, isn’t the correct terminology since gaining time is definitely an advantage and yet on some corners you are allowed to exceed track limits to gain time, and at others you are not. And this seems to be up to the discretion of the race director and stewards, and therefore changes from race to race and from corner to corner. Hence why no one understands or agrees with all the penalties (or lack of them).

          1. Good point

            An over engenering solution maybe to have sensors where a car must be 4 wheel over the line. If a car trips a sensor the car has an .xx second cut in power that equalizes any advantage gained.

            Another option is to say, so long as you don’t go more than 2 car wides off track and don’t straight line a corner, then race.

            1. I think a sensor is the only really objective way to go…

              There’s numerous ways the rules could be made with a sensor… x number of faults in a race or a specified time period leads to a penalty or only something that shows a time gain vs the car in front or behind that lap.

              Penalties could be automatic time penalties, denying use of DRS or electric boost for x laps, hell you could even DSQ a car if it spends too long outside track bounds.

              I think the biggest issue with something like this would be what to do with the driver that forces another car wide knowing the other car gets a hard penalty for going off track.

      4. @john-h The thing it’s simple to look at things on TV & draw the conclusion that running wide is an advantage as you can carry more speed etc.. However remember that the FIA & the stewards have far more data than just the TV pictures.

        With all the timing, tracking & telemetry data they have they can see far more accurately within a few seconds if an advantage has been gained or not & exactly how much time was gained or lost.
        With relation to turn 19 last weekend I gather that the timing & telemetry data showed that running wide over the new double kerb did cost drivers time as bouncing over the back edge of the kerb (As well as a series of bumps behind it) caused the cars to bottom briefly which caused a slight speed loss & with some cars the bouncing over the kerb unsettled the car enough to warrant a hesitation to get back on the throttle.

        It is also worth looking at the fact that earlier this year when the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar series ran at COTA they came to similar conclusions with regards to track limits & also decided based on practice data that it wasn’t an advantage to run off wide so allowed drivers to run wide on the outside of corners but not cut the inside as they felt cutting the inside did gain an advantage.

        1. @gt-racer – But then why do certain drivers take a slower line EVERY lap? It seems odd to spend millions of pounds and hours developing a car to get every last millisecond out of it and then deliberately take a much slower line by going off the track lap after lap after lap.

          People mis-understand the whole “advantage” thing though and focus on small things in isolation. If you have two corners that are exactly the same except one is just two painted lines on a airport runway and the other has a wall around the edge of the track, would you approach both in the same way? Would you respect the wall and MAKE SURE you didn’t hit it by slowly building up your speed through the corner and testing the limits of your bravery and car or would you just fling it in and hope for the best?

          When I used to race karts, I’d go to a new track and someone would say “have you managed to go through turn 3 flat out yet?” I’d try but it would take a few laps to build up to it because if I went flat and went off the track, I’d be straight into the tyres and it would hurt. I tried to go flat but my foot just wouldn’t let me until a few more laps passed and I managed it.

          I haven’t raced a car where there is no punishment for going off so the closest thing I can liken it to is playing on the PS4. I’ve never felt the same stress about whether to keep my finger on the accelerator or not. I just go flat out, understeer straight off on most corners and then reign in my speed until I’ve got it right and are putting in decent laps.

          I appreciate that it’s a bit of an extreme example and there are millions of holes that can be poked in my argument but that’s the issue for me. Would the final turn in Canada matter if there wasn’t a wall there? Would it even be viewed as a challenge if messing it up and going wide resulted in a little bit of dust on your tyres and 0.1s lap time lost?

      5. Exactly my thoughts, the FIA sees cutting a corner as gaining a lasting advantage but running wide gets treated like a disadvantage for the driver because he covers more distance. In many cases the drivers will try to enter and exit as wide as possible in order to carry more speed through corners. Max would have an advantage if he had the racing line like Kimi, like he said, if it was the faster line he would take it every lap instead just once while overtaking.

    3. You know what maybe they should just put up concrete walls to define track limits. that would put a stop to all of this nonsense!
      These people are the highest paid and supposedly highest skilled race drivers on the planet. Yet they cannot work out out where the track starts and finishes.

      1. They know exactly where it starts and finishes and can drive to it 99% of the time, but it’s the other 1% that makes walls an issue at high speeds and acute angels.

        I think the real issue is how to police track cuts. They can’t have someone in every corner watching every time a car drives past and they can’t use lasers that measure curved track edges.

        1. @guybrushthreepwood Now there’s an idea! Super massive gravity bending magnets on each corner. Forcing the laser to follow perfectly the contour of the turn.

        2. Or…the system worked just fine. Now I still haven’t heard why drivers were allowed to go wide, mainly in the same spot, other than it gave the drivers no lasting advantage and was the long way around. I suppose they could have reinforced a strict rule about that, but they obviously didn’t deem it necessary in the US. I don’t recall much talk all season about strict track limits, as we have heard about in previous recent years.

          But when a driver did cut a corner, off the track, for a lasting advantage and a pass for a trophy, that wasn’t on.

          The system worked, without over policing, and without walls that end races and force more of a parade effect on races.

      2. @johnrkh, @guybrushthreepwood I was thinking about this and how corner-cutting is controlled in other sports. In downhill skiing and slalom plus kayaking etc, there are pylons marking gates and competitors have to pass between the pylons to avoid penalties. Miss the gate, go outside of the pylon and you’re in trouble. But any other path between one gate and the next is acceptable.
        Could this idea work for racing? Place a pylon on the inside of a corner and another on the outside to form a gate, and then any competitor who either does not go through the gate or part of whose car hits the pylon is judged to have left the track and given a penalty.

    4. Regarding track cutting, I feel its a case of “treat the symptom, not the cause”. If drivers are consistently going wide on a corner, then it should be the track layout that’s reviewed. For example, turn 19 in Austin, where cars are carrying a lot of speed, if this corner was widened on the inside to require less turning, turn 20 could be more of a passing place.

    5. WEC is run by Fit and are brilliant at enforcing track limits. Surely they can do the same in F1? Max penalty was fair but turn 19 etc should have been punished for repeat offenders. Different circumstances but the Max incident should put a light on all track limit infringements.

    6. Remember in Germany 2012, when Vettel was penalized for overtaking Button using the run off after the harpin at Hockenheim? I guess they view defending and attacking differently… because that move was very similar to Daniel and Bottas.

      I agree with FIA’s penalty on Max. He cut the corner, and that’s kinda obvious. But I also don’t like the argument of “he went the long way around”. That’s also an advantage…

      1. But I also don’t like the argument of “he went the long way around”. That’s also an advantage…

        Yes, but crucially, no other driver gained a position while ignoring track limits. The Bottas-Ricciardo incident was the closest we got to that, but like Ricciardo says, he collided with Bottas and forced him wide, and Bottas didn’t gain a place, he only kept it.

        1. Perfect explanation Nase!

    7. The solution is easy and also not that expensive. Replace that red band of paint which goes all round the track with grass. Good old natural slippery dirty grass. Only the red band. The tarmac run offs can stay

      In Abu Dhabi replace the turquoise bands, in Russia replace the blue bands etc etc

      1. The solution in Abu Dhabi is actually quite expensive. The only way to make the race not suck is replacing the track by another one.

    8. On a partially side note, the US GP taught me that Bottas is the most correct driver of all. He never closed the door on an approaching driver, never squeezed someone to the outside of the track while making a move. He chose a line and stuck to it, where the only assurance of an overtake was taking the better line. Ricciardo for example clearly pushed Bottas out at turn 1 when there was no need to, the circuit is two thousand metres wide and Ricciardo pointed his car towards the outside kerb. I was happy when Bottas kept the position despite running wide. What Kimi is said to to have done to Max, squeezing him towards the inside, is something else Bottas didn’t do. I may be forgetting something from previous races but I’ve warmed a bit more to Bottas since Austin.

      1. Bottas is too correct to be a top driver, if someone wants to overtake you should try to force him into a mistake. Staying on the racing line is honorable but it makes overtaking relatively easy

    9. Agreed, by going off track Bottas could keep his speed and defend his position, so he gained an advantage going off the track. Simple
      They need to do away with run off areas. Something which seems relatively simple seems to now be totally subjective with a load of mental gymnastics thrown into the mix.

    10. Ricciardo makes some good points. The fact remains that instances like his battle with Bottas is what the fans want to see. Real, hard fought, racing. This should be encouraged and not restrained.
      Personally I was never a fan of gravel traps. If a car spins the gravel worked find but if a car went straight at speed the trap might aswell have been tarmac. I remember well Schumacher’s big shunt at Stowe in 1999, when his car skated across the gravel losing hardly any speed. It resulted in Michael missing most of the season, and his chance of winning what could have been an eighth championship.
      Sausage curbs were the bain of last years race in Austria, a solution no doubt applied to prevent drivers taking liberties. The result, lots of torn up cars and blown tires.
      There is no easy solution. Verstappen is an exciting young driver to watch, and the sport has a very bankable star in the Dutchman and that is always important for the sport to grow and progress.

    11. I find the title of the article somewhat misleading!!!
      I know Keith was FOR (the penalty given to Verstappen), but… nowhere in the text of the article can you read that Ricciardo said: “Verstappen was penalised because he cut the corner”. So to me the headline is just a head-turning piece of text. No, people, there’s no quarrel between RIC and VES.

      1. @daniboyf1 – It is mentioned! Just re-read the article. It probably is not exact words but that is what they mean.

        “So I think if you’re going the long way around you can’t really say you’re cutting the track. But obviously if you go the shorter way around then there’s a bigger argument. So I think that’s one thing people need to understand. I don’t really know much of the debate but cutting it on the inside is a bit different to going off on the outside.”

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