Ross Brawn, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Brawn: “Nothing sinister” about decision to penalise Vettel

2019 Canadian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn has defended the FIA stewards following their decision to penalise Sebastian Vettel, which cost him victory in the Canadian Grand Prix.

A four-person steward team of Gerd Ennser, Mathieu Remmerie, Mike Kaerne and five-times Le Mans 24 Hours winner Emanuele Pirro took the hotly debated call to give Vettel a five-second time penalty for baulking Lewis Hamilton when he rejoined the track during Sunday’s race. It ultimately cost Vettel the victory.

The decision was widely criticised. Brawn said he “understands how difficult it must be for fans to understand why the driver on the top step of the podium is not the one who crossed the finish line first.”

“That’s why transparency is important when it comes to explaining the decisions of the stewards, especially in such a complex sport as Formula 1. It is in football, where despite the arrival of VAR , there is still discussion as to whether a handball should be punished with a penalty or not.”

Brawn believes the sport could do a better job of explaining such decisions to fans, but stressed his confidence that there are no “hidden agendas” in the stewards’ room.

“It might be useful to work with the FIA on solutions that would allow the stewards to explain their decisions to the fans and to elaborate on how they reached them.

“Having said that, I would emphatically add is that there is nothing sinister about a decision like this. You might agree with it or not, but none of those who take on the role of steward each weekend has a hidden agenda and fans can be certain of that.”

Brawn declined to give his view of the incident. “I don’t want to give an opinion on the decision, because in my position it would be wrong to do so,” he said.

“I have a lot of respect for the work of the stewards and for their professionalism and I believe they would be the first to say that they would prefer not to see a race outcome decided via a penalty.”

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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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100 comments on “Brawn: “Nothing sinister” about decision to penalise Vettel”

  1. Most importantly they stole the best race for a very long time from us. I know you will say Vettel did it by making a mistake. But that what occasionally happens when you’re in front in the slower car.
    I never understood why Vettel got more hate for every mistake and less admiration for every success than any other driver.
    We finally had a proper race between the current legends. Frustrating.

    1. Are you implying a WWE format?

    2. They have to make the decision that they think is correct. It was a great race but I personally don’t think that whether it’s a good race or not should have any influence on their decision

    3. Vettel stole the best race by making a mistake and compounding it by impeding Hamilton. There lies the blame.

      1. Correct!
        One has to add that Vettel’s behaviour after the race was disgraceful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a badly behaved competitor at a sporting event. Unfortunately Ferrari has decided to listen to him instead of telling him to behave like the professional sports person he is. He had no right to walk into the Mercedes garage without their permission. The fact he didn’t confront anyone or touch anything is beside the point. I’m quite sure if I wandered into the Ferrari garage uninvited I’d be told to leave, and maybe with a few bruises as well. The fact I might have some grievance regarding the price I paid for my ticket or the quality of the food wouldn’t be relevant to them.
        The impression I got from the TV was he didn’t follow the rules after the race regarding parking his car and being weighed, so he should have been disqualified.
        As I’ve said before, Ferrari need to apologise for his behaviour and thank the Stewards for their decision. I really think they need to let him sit out the next Grand Prix.

        1. No I don’t agree that maybe better should sit out the next F1 race, that would be to harsh on him, let’s move on from what happened at the Canadian grand Prix.

        2. Let me guess, Hamilton fan?

    4. @initially: Vettel is a good driver but he always succumbs to pressure. If Lewis wasn’t alert, he could easily have collided with vettel. Would you have complained about the race being stolen from you.

    5. Sorry, no one has stolen anything from me this Sunday.
      The race was great, the fight was great, the penalty was harsh, but it didn’t steal or diminish anything.

      Not giving the penalty “just because Vettel was leading” and “because it would be great for the show” would have been an awful decision, going against the rules and totally undermining the work of Stewards.

      1. @dallein i don’t agree, as soon as that penalty was called it felt like a kick to the gut & totally soured the race for me & i just lost all interest in the rest of it.

        i haven’t been so utterly disgusted by a penalty call since one in indycar a few years ago where helio castroneves got called for blocking which just infuriated me.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW5rC4fH8iA

    6. Initially , No Vettel stole that. If he had come back on tr5ack fairly there could have been an actual battle for position. Yet he bullied Hamilton into the wall and ruined the end of the race in doing so.

    7. @Initially , did you even bother to read the article or just wanted to comment first?

    8. Thank you!

  2. The issue becomes a problem when people get away with almost exactly the same moves without punishment. Ricciardo points out that Hamilton should have gotten a penalty in Monaco in 2016 since he did the same… But they let that one go…
    Now it’s Hamilton again who profits from this inconsistency and then we start thinking about why he benefits twice from the same situation.

    As much as I think this penalty for Vettel is according to the rules.. that still doesn’t explain why the stewards get away with being inconsistent.

    1. tony mansell
      11th June 2019, 11:40

      Its not the same official, its not the same track, its not the same incident. Its not necessarily even under the same rules that apply but fans still are quick to criticise for inconsistency then those same fans say they should’ve let that one go as it spoiled the race. I think they should let all bar but the most blatant barge back on go but the rules, as they stand,don’t allow for that interpretation.

    2. It’s of course not Hamilton’s fault. He’s a great driver and racer. But again and again he gets this special treatment. Him and Alonso. No idea why but I’ve watched F1 for a very long time and never have I seen two drivers be treated the way they are/were. Incredible.
      Before you hate on me, I really do like Hamilton. I think he’s obviously an all time great. Alonso on the other hand, not so much.

      1. That decision against Alonso up against Kubica that time was a farce. I think it cost him the championship, or near eneough.

      2. tony mansell
        11th June 2019, 12:54

        So Lewis Spa 2008?

        1. You’re not going to undermine my point by mentioning one instance out of so many. Do better.

          1. And yet he did, you lose.

          2. Nah he didn’t. It’s not Alonso or Hamilton – it’s those they perceive to be the best. It happens in all sports where the best teams/individuals get the decisions going in their way. Must be a weird human thing that we naturally assume the best won’t cheat whereas the underdog will.

    3. @w0o0dy The Hamilton-Ricciardo incident from Monaco three years ago isn’t properly comparable with this one, though. The Verstappen-Raikkonen incident from Suzuka last season, on the other hand, is, and that is what set a precedent for this type of incidents.

    4. Hamilton should have gotten a penalty in Monaco in 2016

      Hamilton left a cars width on the outside, Vettel did not. Case closed.

      1. Have you watched the clip? Hamilton did not leave space for Ricciardo, that is why people are mad, this was pretty much the same move from Hamilton and he got no penalty.

      2. Not closed, because it’s not only about a car’s width. The stewards added the argument that VET rejoined the track unsafely… which is not true. He did not return on the racing line, the way HAM did at Monaco. The return part did not bother HAM, it was the squeezing. So, we have 2 separate maneouvers, but the stewards connected them so they can justify the penalty. And the squeezing part VET applied to HAM is exactly what HAM did to RAI in Austria 2018. Now it was considered something dangerous, back then… racing. We also have for comparison the squeezing from USA 1st corner. When the driver from inside brakes so late and squeezes/pushes etc off-track the driver(s) from outside… should that be a penalty or not? Cause the outcome is the same.

    5. @w0o0dy @initially at Monaco 2016, they analysed the footage and found that even tho Ham did move to the right, there was actually still a car’s width between him and the track limits, because of that, his move was deemed to be a “feint” rather than a block. As @jerejj says, Verstappen vs Raikkonen Japan 2018 is much more representative

    6. Wrong. The case of Hamilton-Ricciardo was different, and Lewis left him more than car-width space (Vettel didn’t).

      1. Wrong. In fact it is the opposite. Watch the video.

        It was just that HAM was scared by the unstable Ferrari to try claiming the spot when there was space, while in Monaco there was not even a slight chance for RIC to attempt as he was pushed to the wall from the apex.

        Also in Monaco HAM did get advantage by going out while in Canada VET lost. When VET returned on the track there was enough space and time for HAM to attempt a pass, but he didn’t. After that as VET was in front he claimed the racing line.

        HAM did manage to force VET in making a mistake, but he wasn’t prepared to take benefit from it on the track. Stewards are such a joke this year. The shouldn’t be considered a top sport anymore.

  3. I didn’t suspect anything ‘sinister’ I just thought it was a racing incident and not penalty worthy as was immediately opined by the Sky commentators when it happened.

    1. William Brown sr
      11th June 2019, 14:14

      I think Vettel made more than one move to the right and crossed the lane line not leaving room for Hamilton, didn’t leave enough room. Stewart’s had more views the sky sport

      1. sky had onboard views from both cars been analysed by some very experiences race drivers who understand how the cars react to certain situations better than any camera shot or bit of data will ever tell you.

        it tell’s you a lot that pretty much every former and current driver that has commented on it thinks the penalty was wrong. it’s not even that split among the drivers, probably as much as 98% of those that have commented think it was wrong.

        so are we now saying that current/former drivers know nothing?

    2. I agree with you. Nothing sinister – just a bad decision that ruined the only F1 race that’s got my heart pumping this calendar year.

  4. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    11th June 2019, 11:51

    Whether someone agrees with the decision or not, everyone understands that it killed the race. Vettel didn’t have the pace to extend the gap to Lewis and the latter wouldn’t attack. It ruined 15 laps of what (could have been) some great racing between two champions. In addition, it isn’t great to see the leader who dominated the whole race taking the chequered flag and not win.

    1. So? Rules are rules. We do not waive them because it’s more fun if we do.

      I don’t get all the trashing and gnawing. It’s easy to see it could have ended in an accident, and that than on different circumstances the 5 seconds penalty would have been absolutely forgettable. That on this particular instance changed the result of the race is unfortunate, but it’s bound to happen now and then.

      In the end it’s just 7 points. Sadly Vettel will end up way more than 7 points behind Hamilton by the end of the championship, and all this drama will be completely forgotten by then. Hopefully I’m wrong and competition gets a bit closer later on, but I’m not counting on it.

      1. @yivi

        The rule wasnt designed for these type of incedints. Also, once investigation started they pro-actively looked for blame.
        Cars have joined just like Vettel did at many starts of races. He was infront, Lewis was easily able to slow on Vettels one move over.

        1. The rule was designed specifically for this type of incident: a driver leaves the track and has to rejoin the race. If they do so in a way that forces another pilot to take evasive action to avoid a crash, they didn’t do so in a safely manner.

          The alternative is to make leaving the track more expensive and difficult (e.g. gravel, walls) or having pre-defined re-entry routes. The first has security problems (more cars crashing), the second is being done more and more.

          Either would have make the penalty unnecessary and would have made Vettel lost the position (or maybe not leave the track at all).

          I’m not happy it happened. Would have preferred that Vettel won this time. Hopefully will do at some other race this year.

          1. @yivi

            Vettel rejoined safely when Lewis was further back, then moved across once like you’re allowed, like Lewis did to Verstappen at Monaco many times.
            He did nothing wrong. It’s obvious from Lewis’s inboard camera he wasn’t impeded.

          2. Ahhhh, Big Joe, I’ve really missed your ridiculous anti-Hamilton comments in the past two weeks since the last race.

            Even assuming your absurd hypothesis that Vettel rejoined safely is correct, he then moved once, yes. Without leaving a space for Hamilton. So deserves a penalty for that.

            It is obvious from Hamiltons camera that Vettel didnt leave a cars-width space on the right side of the track.

          3. @Big Joe

            LH was on the racing line, then clearly, from his onboard, was forced, all 4 wheels, off the track. Of course he was impeded!

    2. @panagiotism-papatheodorou

      Totally agree with you.

      But what EVERYONE seems to be missing, is that this whole scenario was caused by Vettel himself.

      Had he not once again cracked under pressure and been forced to make this mistake, none of this conversation would be taking place.

      1. Certainly not EVERYONE has missed that, but not EVERYONE thinks it was a penalty worthy mistake.

      2. @stubbornswiss

        Had he not once again cracked under pressure

        Why are you so insistant on constantly putting Vettel down? Because of 2010 when he was able to beat Lewis at times in the faster McLaren?
        He is barely allowed to tell us why Ferrari can’t deliver a car as good as the Merc. Yet he hints it is not good on its tyres.
        Trying to keep a faster car behind for that length of time, like he’s done regularly should be commended, not attacked and ridiculed.
        You obviously only watch F1 to enjoy seeing other drivers that try so hard, fail. Then gloat when the driver with the easiest car to drive wins the money and trophy.

        I hope Vettel produces another stunning pole to equal any that Lewis produced, then keeps him behind just as long again. Anything is better than the best car and team getting another 1-2 and millions more in prize money.

      3. Wayne Caton-Packer
        11th June 2019, 13:47

        Totally agree, and not because I’m a Hamilton fan. I wanted nothing more than to see these two race and to hopefully see Hamilton overtake, and yes the penalty theoretically robbed fans of that chance, but at the end of the day, it was Vettel who once again made a mistake whilst under pressure from the ever chasing Hamilton, and I think that it is ridiculous him to say, “What was I supposed to do, I didn’t have control”.
        Well if you hadn’t have made yet another mistake, then you wouldn’t jave been in that situation.
        I think a lot of Vettel verbal dialog and petulant behaviour after the event, were more of a smoke screen to distract people away from the fact that yet again he had cracked whilst under intense pressure from a rival.
        Also, as race fans we might not agree with all of the rules, but the rules are the rules and all teams and drivers participate knowing what they are. The race stewards are not there to interpret what the teams, drivers or fans would like, they are there to see that the rules are followed.
        Just one last point about Vettel, he does have a history of not wanting to follow the rules or team orders when it suits him. Multi 21?

        1. Good points. Well said.

      4. Swap his car with Lewis’ and he would be cracking instead. It’s extremely difficult trying to win a championship in F1 against a dominant car.

    3. Whether someone agrees with the decision or not, everyone understands that it killed the race

      How do you think it should have been managed @panagiotism-papatheodorou?

      1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
        11th June 2019, 16:52

        @3dom There are two ways. Either no penalty is rewarded and it is called a racing incident. If a penalty was rewarded, they had to first warn Vettel of it. Let Ferrari tell him to give the position to Lewis and race to the finish or he will get a 5 sec penalty.

        Either way racing continues and we have a proper fight. If Vettel had to give the place, it would still be controversial but better for the sport.

    4. @panagiotism-papatheodorou Vettel is the one who killed he race. If he had left enough space then he could have actually battled for position like a sportsmanship like driver would do.

      Yet somehow Vettel seems under the impression that instead he should simply crash into other cars when there is a fight for position and then complain that they should not have been there and they should give him more space.

      If Vettel actually learned some racecraft, then races could be a lot more entertaining. Or you must think a spinning Vettel is entertaining and indeed in some way it is that, but it’s not “racing”.

  5. The statement is appropriate for his role. What is completely missing is something about the need for both Liberty and FIA to change in order to avoid this issues.

    I may understand that they applied the rules to the letter. I may not agree neither to the rule itself nor to the complete ignorance of the context in which it was applied.

    What they need to understand is that if a decision like that one creates such a big reaction in those who are there paying for the show, in those who are following the show in their homes again paying to do so, well the rule must be questioned and eventually changed.

    If Ross thinks this is a problem of clarity, of explaining what happens, he’s completely missing the point. The audience is smart enough to understand that what happened. There are tons of complicated rules: they need to simplify the rules, not explain them better.

    When we had poor races at the beginning of 2018 season they were quick in changing the rules to allow the cars to follow each other closer, for the good of the show. I expected a similar reaction. Imagine FIA and Liberty issuing a statement like “We applied the rule because the rulebook say so. We are aware that, as formulated, the rule may damage the show, so we’ll react by changing it in accordance with teams and drivers to offer a better show”.

    They made a mistake when they conceived the rule, not when they applied it. They need to react to the first event, not the second.

    1. The rule is fine. Making exceptions because “but this time it really affects the result of the race!” would be really silly.

      Then penalties would only be applied when they don’t matter, or when they do not affect a popular team.

      1. Agreed, the rule is fine. It’s not right to be able to leave the track and rejoin dangerously and ruin someone elses race. It just sucks that this time that rule spoilt the race. I doubt if Vettel and Hamiltons positions were reversed there would be half the attention because it would be the championship leader getting pegged back a bit.

      2. @yivi @jmzwiv exceptions have been made and consistency is something that really does not apply to the FIA. But that’s not my point.

        Every time a driver rejoins the track it is inherently dangerous. Grosjean rejoined while having a chunk of carbon stuck in the halo on lap 1.

        Every time a driver defends his position it is inherently dangerous. Ricciardo moved and lead Bottas to break when the latter was chasing him.

        Vettel made some of both this moves, yet he was penalized while the others were not. I’m not saying that Grosjean and Ricciardo deserved a penalty, I’m saying that we have to let them race.

        Formula 1 is a dangerous sport. It is absolute duty of every part to make everything possible to prevent injuries. On the other hand, it is also their duty to make it an interesting, spectacular show.

        1. +1

          Every time a driver rejoins the track it is inherently dangerous. Grosjean rejoined while having a chunk of carbon stuck in the halo on lap 1.

          Exactly. The part where they decided that VET rejoined the track unsafely… altough he did not rejoin on the racing line directly (and HAM never raced over that patch of tarmac where VET rejoined), but when HAM rejoins at Monaco directly on the racing line they say is safe, although we all know the rest of drivers are expected to take exactly that route. This really intrigues me.

    2. @m-bagattini

      Well said Matteo

  6. At the start of a race, whenever cars go off at the first few corners, they are no longer allowed to rejoin until every other car has passed.
    The precedent is now set.

    1. But that is at the start of the race, when a different precedent has been set that the rules are more relaxed. This isnt exactly new information.

      And Vettel didnt have to wait until Hamilton had passed. He could have rejoined whenever he wanted, just as long as he wasnt unsafe, which he was deemed to be by the stewards due to the inability to leave a space for Hamilton.

    2. I don’t understand why people must jump to hyperbole to make a point. It has been stated many times, the first lap is treated differently due to the chaotic nature of the whole field piling into the first few turns at this same time. Even then the driver must reenter the track safely.

      Whether you agree or not, the Stewards based on telemetry and in car camera deemed that Vettel had control of his car and did not have to squeeze Hamilton into the wall and block the pass.

      1. So if Vettel was headed for an accident with the wall, would Lewis still have stood his ground going towards Vettel?

      2. “Even then the driver must reenter the track safely.”

        Like Perez did in 2018 at the Canadian GP start? No penalty was given, as it was called “racing”

    3. You didn’t see the race at all did you? Perhaps watch back the highlights since right after the start Grosjean rejoins the track and he does it safely. Yes even Grosjean knows how to do that by now!

      Lets be fair, Vettel knows this too though. Quite often has he spun of and then had to wait for the whole field to pass him by.

  7. It was interesting hearing Sky commentary team each have there turn to say it wasn’t penalty worthy. However on another day they (or maybe just Crofty) bemoan the lack of clear track boundary and consistent penalties when leaving the track. Either we are being a bit loose with the rules for the sake of the racing or we aren’t, can’t have it both ways.

    1. @jmzwiv
      I think Martin Brundle summed it up when he said that we cant pick and choose when the rules get applied. For example, we cant miss an obvious penalty in football just because its 2-2 and it’s a great game.

      Yes, it sucked the joy out of the race. Yes, it ruined a potentially exciting last few laps. Yes, it caused a lot of controversy in the sport which is never a good thing.

      But should any of this matter? No.

    2. @jmzwiv I think the track boundaries thing has more to do with when many cars frequently and intentionally take a wide line and go off track, usually at the same corner, than it has to do with small errors and going off somewhere where nobody would normally do that to maintain their momentum or what have you. Nobody is taking to the grass lap after lap to ‘gain an advantage.’

  8. Given what I’ve seen on this site and others, I find it hard to believe that all four stewards agreed that it was an action that should be penalized. I think that should be investigated.

    1. Given what I’ve seen on this site and others, I find it hard to believe that all four stewards agreed that it was an action that should be penalized.

      That’s because, unlike the ranting masses on the internet, the stewards actually investigated, looked at the evidence and drew an informed conclusion.

        1. @velocityboy
          No, the former drivers did not review all of the evidence. They reviewed the only evidence available to them, which was, what? A couple of onboard video streams? The stewards had this plus much more.

          I read somewhere (cant remember where so not going to post a link, therefore take this with a pinch of salt) that it was only after reviewing the steering trace alongside other evidence that it was instantly unanimous.

          So unless all of the former drivers have access to this too, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to understand.

          1. @minnis
            Are you really saying that when former drivers view the on board footage which shows the steering input, that they don’t know what’s taking place? I don’t believe that at all.

          2. @velocityboy They can’t possibly be able to view it in conjunction with the other telemetry, because they didnt have access to it.

          3. They can’t possibly be able to view it in conjunction with the other telemetry, because they didnt have access to it.

            Just like the stewards, you’re making a big deal when it’s obvious it’s not the case. I’m pretty sure there’s no need for any telemetry in this case.

          4. @mg1982 on what grounds would you deliberately ignore evidence that you have access to?!

            Counter argument: Vettel would have been in complete control of the car, but as soon as he hit the grass he mashed the throttle in order to rejoin ahead of Hamilton.

            Without telemetry, prove me wrong.

          5. @velocityboy

            Are you really saying that when former drivers view the on board footage which shows the steering input, that they don’t know what’s taking place? I don’t believe that at all.

            Are you really saying that when 4 stewards view all the evidence it is impossible for them to come to an unanimous conclusion?

    2. @velocityboy The people who say this penalty was unfair then immediately go on to say that it is so because it spoiled the race. That’s not how rules work.

      Hamilton has spent most of the race pushing Vettel into a mistake. He kept the tension up for all of us. In the end of course Vettel cracked, basically lost the position, but by use of a foul keeps his position without putting up an fair fight.

      How is that fair?

    3. Right @velocityboy – and that is exactly why I think what Brawn mentions in his statement

      “It might be useful to work with the FIA on solutions that would allow the stewards to explain their decisions to the fans and to elaborate on how they reached them.

      points to a badly needed improvement in stewarding.

      We can all agree/disagree on whether a penalty was merited, whether the rule is a good one etc. But in a sport where there is just so much telemetry and video feed, why doesn’t the FIA publish results to help fans see what the stewards saw.
      Because it is quite awkward that we are debating what who did (i.e. discussing what the facts are) – when there are facts that should do that job – instead of discussing whether we feel it is right to penalize in a given situation, and whether the penalty was harsh or meek.

  9. This is the real issue.

    Penalty was lenient, inline with rules. But it was against the spirit of #LetThemRace. And this is what we want to see.

    Unless there is cutting the track to gain an advantage or crashing deliberately, there should be no penalties.

    If two rivals do what they did, that was perfectly acceptable for my taste, it was not within the regulations. But if F1 is a show, then regulations need to change to accommodate good racing.

    1. Penalty was lenient, inline with rules. But it was against the spirit of #LetThemRace. And this is what we want to see.

      Until the next time Hamilton does something the baying masses deem penalty worthy and then the argument will be about how the stewards are too lenient instead.

  10. I think we miss Charlie Whiting in these kind of situations. He could have just been on the radio to Ferrari telling them to relinquish the position by gaining an unfair advantage, instead of imposing a 5 second penalty. Then at least we would have had a battle to the end with the 1st position to finish coming first.

    I have to say I wasn’t that impressed with Vettel’s childish antics after the race though. I’m not sure some of the heroes he often quotes would have behaved in such a way. Not getting weighed even, should probably be disqualified.

    1. Cristian Martin
      11th June 2019, 15:48

      He did get weight, you just didn’t saw

  11. I don’t necessarily disagree with the fact that Vettel received a penalty, just that they’re handing out time penalties. Those who cross the line first, deserve to be first. Especially with two constructors who outrace the rest of the field, time penalties are near impossible to get out of and can cost you your hard earned victory, Max’s 2nd place in Monaco for example. Remove time penalties and just hand them a penalty in driver’s points, team points or if you so wish do so in the next race. This way you don’t have to race anymore, as it doesn’t matter when you cross the line apparently.

  12. NeverElectric
    11th June 2019, 14:00

    So much to-ing and fro-ing on this, as if it is a matter of morality and similar subjective notions.
    Yet it is all so simple, the emotions aside.

    1 – Did Vettel make a mistake under pressure and go off-track? YES.
    2 – Does the FIA have rules about how a car that goes off-track can rejoin the track? YES – see F1 Sporting Regulations 2019, Regulation #27.3, third paragraph, inter alia:

    “Should a car leave the track the driver may re‐join, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage…”

    3 – Did Vettel rejoin safely, as required by this regulation? NO, his rejoining the track blocked another car that had remained on track, forcing that other car to take evasive action
    4 – Could Vettel have done anything to rejoin safely? – YES, he could have lifted and braked, allowing the other car to pass safely before he rejoined.
    5 – Is there precedent for this? – YES, Suzuka 2018, Verstappen, similar incident, Verstappen went off the track on lap one, rejoined unsafely, pushed Kimi off the track in the process, and received a five-second penalty. Charlie Whiting said then,

    “You are required to rejoin safely and Kimi was there and pushed him off the track. So I think that was a fairly straightforward one for the stewards.”


    5 – Following the incident, could Ferrari have done anything to ensure Vettel avoided the penalty? – YES, the penalty came ten laps after the incident. Ferrari could have ordered Vettel to give the place back to Hamilton during that period. This should have been uppermost in the minds of their strategists once Hamilton reported the incident, and it should have been an easy decision to make given that the Ferrari had demonstrably superior speed on the circuit and thus would have been able to overtake Hamilton and retake first position.

    This is simple, it is open-and-shut, it is surprising that it is such a big deal for so many fans on social media. Some of that is clearly out of a desire to see more racing, but that can only happen within the rules as set by the FIA and practice as set by precedent. Some of the fans’ reaction is to do with their opinion of Hamilton, some to do with their opinion of Vettel.
    The FIA position, however, as defined in the rules of the sport, is fairly straightforward.

    1. Point 5, excellent. I can’t recall that possibility being mentioned. However, Ferrari probably (rightly) thought Hamilton was actually faster in the race and Vettel wouldn’t catch him. Had the opposite applied, Vettel was faster, then they might well have considered that. But then had Vettel been faster, he wouldn’t have made the mistake under pressure.

    2. 3 – Did Vettel rejoin safely, as required by this regulation? NO, his rejoining the track blocked another car that had remained on track, forcing that other car to take evasive action

      YES, he did rejoin the track safely… because he did not rejoin directly to the racing line and no other car was impeded in any way… anyway. NO, his return to the track did not block another car. Because the track has the width of like 3-4 cars, the racing line was in the opposite side of where he rejoined the track, then when VET was back again on tarmac with all 4 wheels, HAM had like the width of 2-3 cars left at his disposal, and that width space of 2-3 cars included the racing line too… which he was going to follow anyway. So, the actual return to the tarmac did not cause any problem. It was that he continued to steer right, crossing to the other side of the track, creating the squeezing, block… therefore that ”dangerous” moment which triggered the evasive action. So, including the return to the track as an argument for the penalty is a pathetic move by the stewards in order to create a bigger fault when justifying the penalty. In 2016 Monaco HAM really rejoined the track unsafely by the book and tech speaking. He returned to the track directly on the racing line, which is exactly the path the car following him was going to take. And yeah, RIC had to take evasive action too in order to avoid an accident.

    3. 4 – Could Vettel have done anything to rejoin safely? – YES, he could have lifted and braked, allowing the other car to pass safely before he rejoined.

      Say that to the stewards too about 2016 Monaco.

      1. @mg1982 Again, Hamilton rejoined the track to the LEFT. So he did that safely. How on earth is that even remotely connected to Vettel rejoining unsafely?

        See Verstappn in Japan 2018 on Raikkonen. Exactly the same with the same penalty.

        It really is not that hard if you actually look and think.

    4. Brilliant

  13. One prior case of cutting corner without penalty was Mexico 2016 race start. It was a mystery at the time that Hamilton basically sped across the grass and visually gained a huge gap on all the other cars. Arguably that’s the same scenario as at Montreal. Only difference is that Lewis cut the corner so much that no one was right behind him. So he didn’t have to block anyone.

    I guess for me the disappointment is that over the years it just hasn’t been consistent in ruling during races by the stewards. And with so much inconsistency already, maybe they should have let it slide or give a warning this time, like they have done before. I’m no Vettel fan by the way, actually quite the opposite and quite enjoy the comedy that followed.

  14. One prior case of cutting corner without penalty was Mexico 2016 race start. It was a mystery at the time that Hamilton basically sped across the grass and visually gained a huge gap on all the other cars. Arguably that’s the same scenario as at Montreal. Only difference is that Lewis cut the corner so much that no one was right behind him. So he didn’t have to block anyone.

    I guess for me the disappointment is that over the years it just hasn’t been consistent in ruling during races by the stewards. And with so much inconsistency already, maybe they should have let it slide or give a warning this time, like they have done before. I’m no Vettel fan by the way, actually quite the opposite and quite enjoy the comedy that followed.

    1. But this this is not about corner cutting. So what’s your point?

      Why not compare to an actually comparable incident instead? Verstappen got the same penalty for the same offence in Japan 2018.

      1. I think if you read carefully what I wrote you get my point. If there is a bigger grass area at the corner Vettel could have sped through just like Hamilton did at Mexico 16 and get like 30 extra metres and Lewis wouldn’t be right behind him. No? Honestly you sound angry but if you think about it and look on Youtube the race start from Mexico 16, you would get my point. Of course the blocking move was wrong but sped through the grass and gained the same advantage Hamilton should have gotten the same penalty. No?

        And honestly every incident is differnt. Arguably the Max incident was different to this. And don’t be so angry please.

        1. Of course the blocking move was wrong but sped through the grass and gained the same advantage Hamilton should have gotten the same penalty. No?

          He should have been penalised for not rejoining safely even though by your own admission he rejoined safely?

          I mean I rest my case right here that people just want to see Hamilton punished and will always argue that any punishment against another driver is unfair.

          1. Whatever man. You seem not to be able to read.
            I’m pretty neutral. Honestly don’t want to waste discussing with someone like you.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI-nMx-gnTU
            Just watch that and tell he doesn’t deserve a penalty. If he tried to rejoin safely in the shortest distance, i.e. the second turn, he would probably be last. Instead he skipped a whole corner. When everyone else were bogged down. Sigh. People would still argue he did nothing wrong there.

  15. James du Preez
    11th June 2019, 15:45

    Same race how about Romain Grosjean’s first or second corner rejoining on the very first lap? Explain how that was not dangerous, then he too should have had a penalty. Stewards consistant, I think not.

  16. Wow, Talk about a bunch of Cry Babies. There is a real world out there. Go get some.

    1. I assume you have seen the real world!? hehehe

      1. Kscornerworker
        11th June 2019, 20:35

        Thought#1 Monaco is a much narrower track. There is not always a place to re-enter the track without being on the racing line.
        Thought #2. Vettle made 2 moves to the right. The second one did not leave a safe space for Hamilton.
        Thought#3 The race was not stolen from us. It still happened. Maybe some people would have preferred an accident that took out the first two possibly the first 4 cars and let somebody else completely motor run through to win?

  17. Here’s the thing most people seem to be missing. Vettel is a dirty driver. He has history. If it weren’t for that history the Stewards might have been tempted to let it go as a racing incident. The fact is Vettel isn’t above driving into other drivers, or have them drive into him.

    Monza last season is a classic. The move Vettel tried then left him spinning after driving into Hamilton. In my opinion, this incident was him trying a similar stunt. This starts with him slowing down, and had he his way, it would have ended with Hamilton driving into the back of him.

    The trouble is most people are fair and can only judge with that mindset, they can’t see, wont see a dirty driver.

    The stewards are wise to him, that’s why they are stewards.

    It would be interesting now for someone to research the other Vettel ‘incidents’.

    1. If all you have is stark bias, leave it at home, we don’t need to hear it.

  18. Mabey we should make the cars driverless

  19. The saddest part of it all is all you guys rambling like crazy about this or that microscopic detail making the difference. The point is that racing is no longer aloud. Even a trace of it it is penalized one way or the other, like the “sport” wasn’t boring enough already.
    F1 is officially dead.

    1. “Cheating is officially dead”

      FTFY

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