Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

No knee-jerk rules change following outcry over Vettel penalty – Masi

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1 will not hastily revise how it polices drivers going off the track following the outcry over the penalty which cost Sebastian Vettel victory in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel was given a five-second penalty for leaving the circuit and rejoining the track in front of Lewis Hamilton, forcing the Mercedes driver to take evasive action.

Following the subsequent round of the championship in France, FIA race director Michael Masi was asked whether the criticism of Vettel’s penalty meant similar incidents would now be treated differently.

“No,” he replied, “treat them exactly the same. My view is we’ve got a rule book there and the rule book is the one that we’ve got for the entire 2019 season. I don’t think it would be wise in any sport to change anything mid-year.

“Is it something, like any rule book, that you can look at moving forward? Absolutely. I think we’re always in constant [evolution] with everything.”

Daniel Ricciardo was give a five-second time penalty after it was found he forced Lando Norris off the track by rejoining the circuit onto the racing line.

Masi indicated the rule could be reconsidered for the 2020 F1 season, although any rules change for next year at this stage will require the unanimous approval of the teams to be implemented.

“I think if all teams agree with it, [it’s] no different to any other set of regulations,” said Masi.

“But there’s also the International Sporting Code that has its provisions in it that are also used from a code of driving conduct side. So that’s got its own process which obviously isn’t just Formula 1-specific, it’s for the entire sport. So it’s something we’ll look at collectively.”

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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
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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  • 18 comments on “No knee-jerk rules change following outcry over Vettel penalty – Masi”

    1. Someone needs to stand against the Italian Mafia. While at it Liberty should really kill all special privileges to given to that team.

      1. Don’t forget pizza and mandolino @Chaitanya

        1. we are forgetting Cheese and wine as well.

          1. @Chaitanya But, those are more French than Italian.

            1. Oh, I always thought Tuscony region is famous for its wine and cheese.

    2. That approach sounds right.

    3. Obviously we shouldn’t change the rules because Vettel started crying.

      If the roles were reversed and Lewis went off track, and Sebastian had to take avoiding action to prevent contact, Vettel would be singing praises for the same rule.. and suddenly Ferrari would have heralded the racing in 2019 as the greatest and fairest they’ve ever seen.

      1. We should ignore what generalisations the drivers involved in a particular incident make. We shouldn’t ignore the almost unanimous opinion of other current and former drivers. It’s ridiculous that someone’s victory should be taken away because they make a mistake and involuntarily hinder the car behind them.

        1. @krommenaas A) the FIA stewards found it to be voluntarily blocking, B) determining that a return to the track was unsafe doesn’t depend on whether it was voluntarily or not, C) if you make a mistake that causes you to go off track and entirely cut a corner, I’d say it’s ridiculous to complain about losing the lead to a car less than a second behind.

          1. A) But almost noone else in F1 did
            B) That’s precisely the rule that should change. Penalties should be the result of voluntary violations, reckless driving or gross incompetence, not of breaking a bit late.
            C) He didn’t lose the lead though; it was taken from him

            1. Vettel just had to stay off the racing line, which the stewards found he could have done, rather than blocking Hamilton and forcing him off-track and to brake. What he ‘deserved’ was to lose time and momentum by going off track – he’d have been passed by Hamilton after the corner. He cut off that chance deliberately and potentially dangerously. It really shouldn’t be that big an issue to anyone.

            2. He 100% lost the lead when he outbraked himself

            3. But almost noone else in F1 did

              And no one else matters as they don’t have all the information. Pointless argument. Vettel deliberately blocked a driver and got the most lenient punishment possible and then threw a massive tantrum anyway.

    4. “Will we learn from our mistakes? Absolutely not”

    5. I think there should be an element of justice rather than limited time penalties to the punishments, so if you punt or push someone off or skip the track with 4 wheels, you will finish behind them regardless of where they end up. Race ending damage should result in dsq.

    6. Ok, some penalties seem harsh, but I wonder how they would race without the rules imposed in the last two races.
      Current tracks have inside and outisde white lines similarly smooth.
      AS long as everybody would be ok with that, it could work.
      But it wouldnt work if one week they apply soccer rules, the other, rugby rules.
      Oddly, all these talk about rules may be a consequence of tracks and aero parts.
      Tracks because most of them allow for alternatives lines outside whitelines
      Aero because any touch is catastrophic.
      Other series – open or closed wheels – seem to deal well with touches and excursion.

    7. Good that they decoded not to change it.

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