Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2018

FIA won’t change weighbridge rules after Vettel incident

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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The FIA will not change Formula 1’s weighbridge rules in response to the complaints following Sebastian Vettel’s incident during qualifying last weekend.

Vettel was handed a reprimand and fine after driving away from the weighbridge under his own power, damaging the scales as he did.

The Ferrari driver admitted he was frustrated at having to wait at the weighbridge when he entered the pits during a rain shower in Q2 before he had set a lap time. Daniel Ricciardo said the FIA should change the rules so that drivers who haven’t set lap times yet are not brought in to be weighed.

At present the drivers who are weighed during qualifying are chosen at random. FIA race director Charlie Whiting says he sees no need to change that approach.

“I think all it’s done is reminded the teams that if they choose to do something like that then they run a risk. Two risks, really, in this case.

“The frist one obviously was the time they spend doing a lap which is a little unpredictable. If you add another minute to that for the potential of being weighed then you need to factor that into your decision.”

Whiting said Vettel happened to be caught out because of Ferrari’s “unusual” tactics in Q2, where both drivers did exploratory laps and then pitted to change tyres.

“What annoyed Sebastian obviously was being stopped. Ferrari did something slightly unusual. They went out one on type of tyre to explore the track as it were, came in, and there’s a risk.

“There will always a risk that you’re going to be stopped. They know that and they should factor that in. This is what I’m always telling the teams. It should be something that they say ‘if we do this, how is this is how long it will take, we might get stopped so we have to add a minute’. It’s something they should always factor in.

“And I think it’s completely random. It’s a system that we program to say ‘we’re going to stop the first car, second car, third car, so we don’t know which cars coming in. I think Jo [Bauer, FIA technical delegate] seldom tries to stop the first car that comes in because in a short qualifying session like that the first car could be a car coming in with a mechanical problem having just done a half a lap. But to see two cars come in for strategic reasons after one lap is unusual. It’s just the way it goes.”

Whiting admitted the incident had been unprecedented for the stewards. “A driver losing his temper and breaking the scales, it’s not something that we’ve come across, frankly.”

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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
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32 comments on “FIA won’t change weighbridge rules after Vettel incident”

  1. As usual they refuse to use common sense. Not surprised. Would be such an easy and fair thing to change. If the teams need to take an extra minute into account, of course that lessens the time and chance to do something different an unexpected like Ferrari did, meaning everyone in this case would start on the same tyres in the top 10 and the race would be just another procession with no strategic excitement. That FIA don’t see this is incredible

  2. I think Vettel should be penalised with 2 day community service: weighing go-Kart kids with a mechanical scale.

    1. @coldfly Yes, he indeed should, LOL.

  3. Good. And now, for the second time in 3 races, the FIA had to clarify a paragraph in the rulebook that’s been there for years and no problem because Vettel think it’s unfair. How incredible…

    As Whiting says, it’s all calculable, they know beforehand that they can be delayed so there shouldn’t be any kind of problem. And Vettel should’ve been penalized for breaking the scales. It was embarrasing to see him childishly losing his temper like that…

    1. vettel only said it’s unfair, and in his situation – it was. ricciardo said the rules need to be changed, not vettel. btw the vettel-hate in english language sites is really disgusting now. please stop it

      oh, and another thing. whiting (what a surprise) forgot to say a few words about why his staff was so slow. weighing was not the main problem, it’s calculable indeed. but they worked like they on a holiday. you need to understand that you need to analyze these two things together. please do it!

    2. This is just tripe.
      What was childish about it?

      This silly rule needs to be done away with, its ridiculous and has no place in a sport that is measured in milli seconds.

      I can’t imagine in football a striker being pulled off to be drug tested whilst his team is on a counter attack, there is a reason why F1 is losing fans and it is silly rules like this that have no place in modern F1.

      1. @rockie your arguments are completely off. In a sport measured in miliseconds teams would underweight their cars constantly if the random weighting wasn’t there. It’s there for a reason.

        Besides, drug tests in football happen constantly, the difference is that it’s traceable for several hours after matches so they don’t have to happen during the game. Weighting a car, isn’t.

        What’s more, in football they can be tested at any time, any where, in competition or not. A bit of a tangent but it still proves you have no idea the measure they take everywhere, which is great. The more they regulate players trying to cheat the better, in any sport, in any way.

        1. Once qualifying starts the cars go into Parc Ferme, also if the car was underweight it would take breaking the FIA seal.
          So maybe have a rethink.

          Also I don’t see the FIA weighing the car before the race although anything can happen between returning the cars and before the race starts.
          Sooner than later we are going to have a driver not making it through and when it’s a battle between two championship contenders then it will irk every fan

          1. @rockie that’s not true, they can find ways, the rule is there for a reason. And besides, the rule has been in place for decades now… Ferrari tried a risky qualifying strategy, and they should’ve factored in the possibility of being called to the weight bridge.

            If it irks fans that the FIA is doing their job as scrutenieers, maybe they should be informed better. A fair championship is all we want after all.

            Vettel not only didn’t stop his car, he also fired it up and ran away while sitting on the scales. That’s childlish and should’ve been penalized.

          2. @fer-no65 I can see it is all about the dislike of Vettel hence you can’t have a rational argument.

          3. @rockie hardly, but I see you’re out of arguments so you claim I hate Vettel to end the discussion. It’s alright!

          4. @fer-no65

            Laid my arguments down but you making driver based which I didn’t do its an outdated rule and FIA and FOM have different cameras no one can play with anything.

          5. The FIA seal doesn’t seal the entire car, and significant parts of the car can be swapped out for a number of reasons. Under limited circumstances (principally damage), even ballast containers can be swapped out. Simply because the rules require similarity of component swapouts does not teams would necessarily do this unless it was enforced.

        2. What benefit could Ferrari have gained if they haven’t set a lap time? Could the rules be tweaked so they only weigh cars that have recorded a time since they were last in the pits?

    3. I don’t often side with Seb, but this time he was provoked by stewards dawdling around, seemingly not understanding the pressure he was under because of imminent bad weather.

      Change the rule, weigh all the cars as they return to the pits after the session has finished?

      1. @frasier also not possible. They’d do a couple of laps underweight, and just ballast the car before the season ends. It has happened, remember BAR at San Marino 2005?

        Maybe they were slow and that needs correcting, but their job is to measure well, and if the team or driver are in a hurry, its not their problem. The rule doesn’t need to change.

        1. if the team or driver are in a hurry, its not their problem

          If it influences the end result, then it is their problem. Ferrari or any other other team on the grid have a right to expect the officials to do their job efficiently, the guy in the on-board camera shot was moving excruciatingly slowly, no need for that.

          1. That’s why I said that maybe needs correcting, but the rule is fine as it is and what happened still doesn’t mean you should damage the weight bridge.

        2. Why not weigh every car that comes in after completing their fastest lap of the session? It would prevent the cheating you are (rightly) afraid of, it would be consistent, and it would make sense. There is literally no point in weighing a car after an installation lap if as you (rightly) say they can simply be ballasted when they return to their garage before heading out for a fast lap.

      2. On another report on this exact subject I asked why random testing is done, why couldn’t the teams be weighed as they were eliminated, and the reply is years ago Ferrari were caught changing the weight of their car during Qualifying. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I suspect it is true. Obviously Vettel doesn’t like the process, but from the sounds of it Ferrari were the ones caught cheating, so they need to at least accept this random testing was a consequence of their own actions years ago.
        Jo Bauer had decided to test certain car x, y, z as they rolled into the pits, and it happened that Vettel’s car was one of those.
        F1 cars are extremely dangerous when the engine is running. Damaging the weighbridge was just an example of that. Someone could have been killed or injured seriously. The rule is the car is pushed onto the weighbridge by people, weighed, and then pushed off the weighbridge, and then, after everyone is out of the way, the car is started and is allowed to drive away under its own power.
        Maybe there’s a way to weigh cars as they drive through the pitlane, but deciding you don’t like the process when you’re experimenting isn’t the right way to do it. Ferrari were experimenting with their tyres, and if they have time to experiment after 3 practice sessions, then they have time to be weighed as well.

      3. Officials doing their job excessively slowly without good cause is already prohibited. However, the prohibition is a contractual matter, not an International Sporting Code issue, so we are unlikely ever to hear how that investigation goes. From a rules perspective, the officials’ error and Vettel’s are two separate problems, thus they are handled separately.

  4. They should only randomly call you after you set a lap and you’re entering the pitlane.

    1. That would only work if the mechanics were prohibited from touching the car for any reason whatsoever until a time was in fact set. It is questionable whether this would be practical.

      1. Hence why the original comment said “entering the pitlane.”

  5. and why would they change it? just because ferrari and vettel consider it unfair, cos it happened to them this time?
    i’m pretty sure it happened a lot of other times to other teams and nobody complained, now ferrari could have been affected and bam let’s change it, let’s clarify it, let’s bla bla bla… oh come on.
    as long as the selection of who is called in is totally random, and it appears it is, then it is good and doesn’t need changing.

  6. The only reason people are making an issue of this is because -just like with the fuss over the Red flag delta- it involves Vettel.

    Any other driver it would have either passed unnoticed or there would have been outright calls for bans, massive penalties etc. I’d have loved to see the sort of posts the same complainers would have made had it been Hamilton, Verstappen or someone like Grosjean.

    Instead, because it’s Vettel the rules that have been in place for years are suddenly wrong.

  7. Perhaps there is a better way to do it, and maybe in time it will change, but rules should not be changed as a kneejerk reaction because one of the senior drivers doesn’t like it. Even is the rule is subsequently changed the rule was in place at the weekend and Vettel deliberately broke the rule, along with the scales. . He was lucky that he got off so lightly. What he did was potentially dangerous and people have been penalised in my opinion for less.

  8. The rules should definitely be changed.

    Personally I can’t stand Vettel and his attitude, and what he did was immensely immature.

    However, I fail to see the point of weighing a car that has not posted a lap time, running the car as underweight in that scenario makes no sense as there is no benefit to doing so.

    A much better solution as @Cope mentioned above would be for the cars to be weighed after each session where they have improved their laptime.

    i.e. They post an inital lap, they get weighed, if in their next run they don’t beat that time, they don’t get weighed, if they do beat it, then they get weighed again.

    Eliminates the risk of teams running an underweight car, encourages longer sessions and doesn’t penalise those who are changing strategies before posting a lap.

  9. This issue here, in my opinion, is how slow the crew were moving in the weighing process. The guy that picked up the cone that Vettel hit literally took 10 seconds to do so. This process could be sped up to take no more than 10 seconds total and then nobody is upset.

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