Charles Leclerc, Romain Grosjean, Esteban Ocon, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Grosjean accepts some of his penalty points are deserved

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean accepts he deserved some of the penalty points he’s earned in the last 12 months, but believes the majority of them are questionable.

The Haas driver goes into this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix with nine penalty points on his licence. He had one deducted since the Mexican Grand Prix and will lose two more in one week’s time. But he remains at risk of a ban if he picks up three penalty points this weekend.

Asked by RaceFans whether some of the points he received were fair, Grosjean said “yes”, and pointed to the multi-car crash he triggered at the start of this year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“Barcelona, two points and three [grid] places, fair enough,” he said. “I made a mistake, it happens.”

However Grosjean reeled off a list of other penalty points he’s collected in the past 12 months which he disagrees with. the most recent was the point he picked up for a first-lap clash with Charles Leclerc in Austin, which moved him onto 10 penalty points.

“I think I got penalised enough because my race was ruined as well,” he said. “Even if you go further, Charles’ race was ruined because he had contact with [Esteban] Ocon, he had front wing damage and floor damage by that time.”

Two of the incidents Grosjean was penalised for involved Ocon.

“Last year Brazil with Ocon, lap one. I got two points in five seconds. Have a look at what happened between [Lance] Stroll and [Brendon] Hartley, lap one Canada this year. No penalty, penalty.

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“Lap one start in Paul Ricard with Ocon. I go absolutely straight, I don’t turn the steering wheel. Penalty.”

Start, Paul Ricard, 2018
Grosjean and Ocon tangled at Paul Ricard
The FIA has showed footage of Grosjean’s collision with Ocon at Paul Ricard to media including RaceFans, which indicated he did move towards the Force India.

Race director Charlie Whiting also called Grosjean’s penalty for delaying leader Lewis Hamilton during the Singapore Grand Prix as “one of the worst cases of ignoring blue flags that I’ve seen for a long time”, though Grosjean also took issue with that penalty.

“The blue flag in Singapore, why did I got two points and five-second penalty?” Grosjean asked. “I didn’t change the result of the race.”

Grosjean was attempting to pass Sergey Sirotkin when he held Hamilton up. “OK, I blocked Lewis and I apologise. I was in my fight as well. By the time I was in front of the Williams the Williams didn’t let the other car by either so I couldn’t move straight away.”

While the FIA has introduced the penalty points system to other championships, Grosjean isn’t convinced F1 should have it.

“Do we need it in Formula 1 where it’s supposedly the best drivers in the world? I don’t know,” he said. “Put it in NASCAR. Four guys are going to be banned a year!”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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17 comments on “Grosjean accepts some of his penalty points are deserved”

  1. Grosjean does not know when to stop moaning and making excuses…

    1. And his excuses are lame.
      He thinks he doesn’t deserve a penalty when he “got penalised enough because (his) race was ruined as well” or he “didn’t change the result of the race”.

      Without going into the details of the actions, an illegal move/action should be penalised solely based on that action, not on the result. We don’t want a situation where it’s okay to drive a backmarker off the track and only the front runners are protected against poor drivers.

      1. an illegal move/action should be penalised solely based on that action, not on the result. We don’t want a situation where it’s okay to drive a backmarker off the track and only the front runners are protected against poor drivers

        @coldfly – I’m now a bit confused. I’m not sure if it’s commentators or Charlie who said that penalties are eased off when a driver ruins his race (e.g. Kimi picking up a penalty for spinning Hamilton at Silverstone, vs. Vettel getting off lightly for a similar action against Bottas at France because it was Vettel who demonstrated his ballet grace).

        I agree, however, in that I would like to see consistency in terms of penalty awarded for the action alone, not the outcome. Likewise, the same penalty awarded to all drivers equally, irrespective of their history/notoriety (that’s why we have the 12 penalty points system for, to maintain history).

        1. I would like to see consistency in terms of penalty awarded for the action alone

          Exactly, @phylyp, especially the ‘penalty point’ bit.

  2. What’s with his jab at NASCAR? Some tensions with the other Haas team? It does seem unwarranted and uncalled for.

    I felt a bit sympathetic towards him while reading this (particularly when he brought up the Stroll/Hartley crash at Canada), but that last line soured it a bit.

    1. I suppose Nascar has much more contact so it might be needed.

      Not that I don’t think G is his own worst enemy and a tiresome moaner. If anything G proves the F1 points system isn’t tough enough. If you can drive like he has this year and not get a ban frankly who will get one!

      1. If anything G proves the F1 points system isn’t tough enough

        Yep, you’ve echoed what I’ve said earlier too – it is probably a bit too lax if no one has picked up a race ban since its inception, particularly with some of the incidents we’ve seen.

  3. Strangely enough, the two drivers complaining most about the penalty points system, Grosjean and Verstappen, are also the ones that has the most points… Which tells me it works precisely as it should.

    The complaints could mean that they are still refusing to learn, though that might just be them not wanting to lose face. At least Verstappen seems to have settled down a bit.

    1. @losd

      But it isn’t working as it doesn’t seem to have made any obvious change in their driving. The day a driver gets a ban they will start to take notice atm its an irreverence.

      1. After Grosjean was banned last time he settled down for a while. He even admitted as much in his “Beyond the Grid” podcast interview a few months back.

        1. That was a race ban for a specific incident which is fine but not for totting up offences which is the flaw of the present system.

  4. It’s probably a sore area for him, given he’s the only driver on the grid to have already faced an F1 ban in his career, but sadly, Mr Grosjean is almost as clumsy and unaware out the car as he is in it.

    Some drivers do seem penalised harsher than other, but in my opinion, He’s not one of them.

    Look at Spain, for example, flooring the throttle and spearing head on into the oncoming pack, taking out 2 cars… that even as an isolated incident could well have been a race ban. Arguably should have been.

    He’s constantly involved in clumsy incidents, it’s pretty simple, stop crashing into people and he’ll stop getting penalty points.

  5. I believe the penalty points system needs a overhaul. Many drivers get 1 or 2 points for small or inconsequential mistakes while some potentially dangerous actions are punished by 2 or 3.

    Take Grosjean for instance, most of his incidents were small in nature where a traditional time or grid drop penalty would suffice. This is racing after all so some “fender-benders” are expected. On the other hand, his crash in Spain where he recklessly came back into the track and resulted in a potentially serious crash involving 2 other drivers.

    How can such a small gap between those two types of incidents be justified?

    If the objective of the penalty point system is to curb dangerous behaviour then small racing incidents (like most of Grosjean incidents) should result in 0 or maybe 1 penalty point while dangerous behaviour (like Grosjean’s in Spain) should result in 5 or 6 or more points depending on the gravity of the situation.

    1. @paulk – good point, and I agree with the overall premise.

      Coming to the detail, I’d think that just bringing 4 points into the scale (1-2 for minor, 3-4 for major) should bring about more of the balance you seek. That way the penalty for a major incident will be 2-4 times more stringent than that for a minor one.

  6. “I didn’t change the result of the race.”
    – Yes, you indeed didn’t although you could very well have managed to affect the outcome of the race by that unnecessary delay in yielding to the race leaders. On the other hand, I agree with him on the Stroll-Hartley crash, though. It indeed was a bit weird that it didn’t lead to a penalty even though it was pretty clear who was predominantly (and or wholly) at fault there.

  7. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    5th November 2018, 11:01

    Just a dud driver. Barcelona was worth a race ban all on its own, such was the utter stupidity. He should be counting his lucky stars and show a lot more humility.

  8. Flop Of The Year 2018.

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