Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

F3 and Moto GP show why F1 needs the ‘long-lap penalty’

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1’s stewards have taken flak for some hotly disputed calls this year.

In Canada Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag in first place, but the watching world knew he had a five-second time penalty and that Lewis Hamilton behind him was the true winner. Whether you agreed with Vettel’s penalty or not, this was not a satisfactory way for a race to end.

The stewards did not cover themselves in glory at Suzuka, either. They first said ‘no action’ over a collision between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen on the first lap. Then, following a furious radio message from the Red Bull driver, they conveniently located some ‘new evidence’ which prompted an investigation.

Leclerc was penalised – eventually. Not until after the chequered flag had fallen did the stewards finally decide his lap one error merited a five-second time penalty.

Stewards’ rulings are always going to be contentious. But whether you felt either, neither or both of these incidents deserved penalties, both could clearly have been handled better.

It’s also true that both could have been handled worse. A few cases from this year’s Formula 3 championship should give F1 pause for thought.

During the first F3 race of the French Grand Prix weekend Juri Vips was given a five-second time penalty for cutting turn nine while passing Alex Peroni. However several laps later the stewards changed their minds and rescinded Vips’ penalty.

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Juri Vips, F3, Paul Ricard, 2019
Vips and other F3 drivers were incorrectly penalised
A fault with his radio meant his team could not tell Vips his penalty had been lifted. After the race he complained that, had he known his penalty had been cancelled, he would have attacked Robert Shwartzman and Pedro Piquet ahead of him, knowing that he wouldn’t lose any places he gained at the flag due to his sanction.

Unfortunately, this was no one-off blunder. The F3 stewards rescinded other penalties last season. In the second race that weekend Liam Lawson had a five-second penalty for causing a collision with David Beckmann undone after the race. In race one at Sochi the stewards overturned a five-second time penalty for Keyvan Andres after they discovered an engine problem on David Schumacher’s car had caused Andres to hit it.

In sport, the referee’s decision is final. But it also needs to be a final decision. These are all cases of decisions being taken before all the relevant facts were in. The same was true when the F1 stewards decided too hastily not to issue a penalty over the Verstappen/Leclerc collision at Suzuka.

The pressure the stewards are under to render a speedy verdict is understandable. But the need to get the call right first time has to take priority. Getting the right decision late is always preferable to getting the wrong decision early.

The need for F1 to avoid a similar scenario is obvious. The verdict on Vettel in Canada may ultimately have been the correct one, but imagine if the stewards had first said he was in the clear then changed their minds 10 laps later and given him a penalty. The reaction would have been off the Richter scale and – much more importantly – it wouldn’t have been fair on him or Hamilton.

How can F1 avoid this kind of scenario happening? The solution lies in looking at how the problem has arisen.

A few years ago the only time penalties available to stewards involved sending drivers into the pits for a ‘drive-through’ or ’10-second stop-go’. These were thought too harsh for some infringements, so five-second [and 10-second] time penalties were introduced.

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Giving the option of less severe penalties was definitely an improvement. However it also created an inconsistency.

A drive-through or stop-go penalty must be served within three laps of it being imposed. But five-second time penalties may not be served until the end of a race if a driver does not make a pit stop after receiving one. That created the opportunity for the penalties to be rescinded, which was not possible with drive-throughs and stop-gos (unless the stewards changed their minds extremely quickly).

Red Bull Ring, Moto GP. 2019
Moto GP added lap penalty lanes…

Red Bull Ring, Moto GP. 2019
…such as this one at the Red Bull Ring

The ideal solution would be to impose a short time penalty but do so as swiftly as a drive-through. Another championship has already figured out how to do this.

This year Moto GP added extra loops to each of its tracks which riders must use when instructed by the stewards. These ‘long lap penalties’ add several seconds to a lap and are a useful way for the stewards to impose a minor penalty which might cost the rider a single position.

Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, 2019
Vettel was first home but didn’t win in Canada
As always, no penalty regime is going to be perfect, and decisions on contentious matters like Vettel’s Canadian Grand Prix penalty are always going to attract criticism. In F1’s case, adding the infrastructure for a long lap penalty would be straightforward at many tracks but challenging at some, such as Monaco.

But replacing the five-second time penalty with a long-lap penalty offers clear benefits. The penalty is imposed swiftly, rather than potentially dozens of laps later. It means stewards, competitors and fans know that once a penalty is applied it will not be rescinded. It makes sure the running order on the track is the true order of the competitors, and not awaiting a post-race adjustment. And it reduces the chance of a driver taking the chequered flag in first place when the crowd knows they are actually second.

This may seem a counter-intuitive argument. It’s tempting to say that the stewards are human, they’re fallible, and therefore the option to rescind a penalty should exist (even though it does not in the case of drive-through and stop-go penalties). Particularly in a sport like F1 where, unlike football or rugby, the game does not stop while the referee makes up their mind.

But removing the option for the stewards to withdraw a penalty will bring valuable clarity for drivers and fans. And the stewards too, for if they know a penalty cannot be retracted, the essential importance of getting it right first time is obvious.

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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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  • 70 comments on “F3 and Moto GP show why F1 needs the ‘long-lap penalty’”

    1. Sure!… because over-complicating things is the motto of F1 and is much easier than anything else!

      I would suggest:
      – Make any in-race penalty non-reversible (even if taken after the chequered flag).
      Harsh? Yes. But it will be harsh for everyone and always.
      – drop 5 sec penalty and just leave drive-through and stop-&-go

      1. @dallein this doesn’t solve the vettel-hamilton thing where the penalized driver was the first to cross the finish line

        1. But does that matter? Personally, I couldn’t care less. Cars don’t normally cross the line in the order they finish, because almost-lapped cars finish before cars that are ahead of them in the race.

          1. Everyone realizes there are almost-lapped cars in the proximity of the leaders by the last lap, but this is about the optics of having the two leaders take the checkered flag when the first one to cross isn’t actually the winner. It doesn’t look right, as compared to back markers in the vicinity which everyone understands.

            1. What’s the difference? Seriously, I just don’t get the distinction you’re making here. If ‘everyone ‘ is capable of understanding what’s going on with backmarkers, why not with the leaders?

              I do agree that it’s not ideal visually, but something very rare and merely a little undesirable doesn’t seem to me to be sufficient justification for changing any rules.

            2. Dave, the situation of SV taking the flag before LH even though he wasn’t the winner is just one unique example. The article points out more relevant times when the long lap would be a better alternative, as spelled out in the third last paragraph.

          2. You say “because almost-lapped cars finish before cars that are ahead of them in the race”. This is not true. On track when the leaders reach the checkered flag on their last lap, the back markers or lapped cars as you call them will be a lap or a few laps down. The race terminates when the first car passes the finish line but the lapped cars, although a lap or few down, will have to pass the finish line and then their race will be over, a lap or few lesser than the race leaders. So the lapped cars will not finish “before the cars that are ahead of them in the race”. Hope that clarifies it.

          3. @Dave But technically the almost-lapped drivers don’t finish before the race-leader, though, as the chequered flag only comes out once the race-leader in question is about to cross the timing-line.

            1. Ahmed, Jere, you appear to have misread my comment. Backwaters don’t finish ahead of the leader, but they do finish ahead of cars that they haven’t been lapped (again) by, if they’re between the leader and those cars.

      2. How can you watch f1, see the mess and then agree with it….
        You must be new to f1.
        As I’ve said before motogp long lap would have solved russias confusion. Ideally making a mistake should enough but modern tracks are pure evil.
        On Ham Vet, having the long lap would add insult to injury.

    2. The Long Lap idea is interesting but unnecessary for F1 if the race direction and stewards do their job properly and penalise rule breaking consistently rather trying to make racing better, which is not their job.

      The Japanese race was a disgraceful regulatory mess leading to close calls with deadly flying wings, visual evidence of jump starts ignored, action cleared and then later investigated, chequered flags waved a lap too soon. And that just the worst of it.

      Long Laps wouldn’t solve the problem. Better race direction and stewarding will.

      1. @Witan again, see above. Guys, have you read the article?

      2. I kind of like the long lap idea, that way, say Vettel in Canada takes long lap; he then has a chance to fight on equal footing to for the win, and as fans, we are not robbed of a great fight. Of course, just how many tracks could actually support this with existing layout(s) properly. Interesting concept, and coming from MotoGp, one of the purest forms of racing on the planet.

        1. The problem with the Long-Lap is Vettel could have (and probably would have) refused to go through the Penalty Lane. He declared in the race he had every right to take a short cut across the grass and to then try and crash Hamilton out of the race, so why would he have driven that extra part? What then? I guess the Stewards could impose a ten second penalty or wave a flag at him. In the end we’d have the same situation as we do now: Vettel believing he hadn’t made any mistakes with his late braking and dangerous rejoining the track and shouldn’t receive a punishment.

          1. @drycrust

            Exactly right.

            Also, vettel had every opportunity to fight for the win by pulling a 5s gap(he has 3s after running Hamilton off the road) but chose to cry and moan instead.

          2. @drycrust

            The problem with the Long-Lap is Vettel could have (and probably would have) refused to go through the Penalty Lane.

            That’s easily fixed.

            Ignoring an instruction by the stewards can already be penalised. There’s probably already rules to cover it, for example, if a driver does not come in for a drive through or stop-and-go within 3 laps, but my thought would be:

            If a driver does not drive through the “penalty lane” within 3 laps, it is instantly upgraded to a drive-through. If he doesn’t complete this within 3 laps, the driver is disqualified.

            Ignoring the instructions of the stewards, no matter what the reason, is a serious matter and should always be dealt with harshly.

            1. The penalty for not serving a drive through / stop and go penalty within 3 laps is being shown the the black and white flag and being disqualified, if I am not mistaken. I see no reason it would have to be different for this “long lap” thing, exactly as @drmouse and @losd mention.

              Certainly an interesting way to do it, it makes it pretty clear what is going on for everyone to see. I hope the FIA go and sit down with the GDPA and discuss how to do this. Serving the penalty on track, during the race, is always to be preferred.

          3. That’s simple: Refusing to follow instructions is an immediate black flag. He could then choose between 2nd place, or last.

        2. If Vettel had known for certain he’d receive a black flag (to take it to the extreme), or other major penalty, he wouldn’t have done what he did. He’d have lost the place, but been right behind Hamilton in position to fight for the win.

          Tbqh, I thought at the time that Vettel knew he couldn’t stick to Hamilton’s tail, hence why he did what he did. So there probably wasn’t going to be any battle of that nature whatever happened – but knowing there would be harsh penalties applied would still have stopped the silly defending of a lost position.

      3. Long Laps wouldn’t solve the problem. Better race direction and stewarding will

        Agreed. The issues with stewards in F1 has not been that the stewards did not have the tools available to come to the correct conclusion nor was it was about f1 not having flexible and clear enough rules to give out correct penalties and non-penalties. Apart from the sensor issue with false starts (where a car can be moving when the lights go green without triggering the system) the other issues have been all about the stewards doing their jobs poorly. The stewards need to be better. The tools and rules are fine.

        1. I think the stewards do fine the vast majority of the time. Every incident is different even if in merely subtle ways, and for sure sometimes the FIA or F1 want them to lighten up and let them race, and that is not the stewards fault nor up to them. If they are told ‘let them race’ then when an incident has lots of shades of grey to it then they will lean towards letting it go, whereas different stewards at a different time under different parameters might not have, and instilled a penalty.

    3. Just make sure you look at all the evidence the first time, and make sure you do it properly before making a final decision. How hard can that be? Surely you had access to the “new evidence” the first time round, and obviously missed that you had it. Just make sure that doesn’t happen.

      1. One can only conclude that no, it isn’t easy to make the right decision first time.

        1. Especially when its Ferrari who made the infringement

    4. Problem with F1 penalties is smaller teams getting penalised while single Italian outfit getting away with murder. A problem which has gotten worse since Masi took over.

      1. That’s why Vettel wasn’t penalized in Canada, right?

        1. Forgot you’re the one who carries on his battle against ITTTALLLIANN MAFFIA

          https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Chaitanya%20near%20mafia%20site%3Aracefans.net

          1. @m-bagattini, whilst I don’t fully agree with his viewpoint, it has to be said that some of the decisions that Masi and the stewards have made since Canada have helped reinforce that viewpoint.

            There was a huge outcry within the sport when Ferrari were only given a financial penalty in Germany for Leclerc’s unsafe release when all other instances of an unsafe release under race conditions in previous years were punished with a time penalty – compared with those in race penalties, a €5,000 fine was significantly weaker than usual (even some unsafe releases in practise sessions have attracted higher fines than that).

            In that situation, it caused such a backlash in the next meeting that the FIA held with the teams that the FIA was forced to backtrack and publicly state that all instances of an unsafe release in the future would always receive a time penalty.

        2. Since Canada look how many times their drivers were let off scott free even in instances where actions were dangerous(Germany for unsafe release, Italy for weaving on straight, and most recent ones coming in Japan). Also remember Baku 2017 and Mexico 2016? Both those instances Vettel got away with minimal penalty and in Mexico what was said about Charlie was far worse than words used by Steiner in Russia. Also it was really surprising Penalty Verstappen got in Monaco for pushing Bottas into wall which was more dangerous than unsafe release by RBR itself.

        3. Vettel got 5s in canada, Stroll got a drive thru for doing the exact same thing in Monza, after getting hit by the idiotic vettel.

        4. Vettel got 5s in canada, Stroll got a drive thru for doing the exact same thing in Monza, after getting hit by vettel.

      2. We get it, you don’t like Ferrari. Just let it go already.

    5. Why not simply introduce a single VSC lap for the penalised driver alone? The technology is already there

      1. Imagine coming over Raidillon and suddenly a car driving at 150KM/h appears right in your driving line.

      2. @Welsh Chris That would be too risky at certain types of track-sections, though, as @ho3n3r points out.

        1. The problem with the Long Lap in the picture above is it is right in line of where a driver or rider who makes a mistake is going to be heading. It would be much better to have the Punishment Lane in a place where the risk of being hit by an out of control vehicle is lower.

    6. Duncan Snowden
      22nd October 2019, 12:54

      I remember suggesting something like this on a Usenet newsgroup years ago, my reasoning being that with the (then relatively new) pitlane speed limit, the drive-through and stop-go became too blunt an instrument; F1 needs a penalty that penalises a driver without completely ruining his race. A “penalty loop” which can be taken at speed, with the car leaving and returning to the track off the racing line, could provide such a thing. Drivers could even be required to use it several times for a harsher penalty, eliminating the drive-through and stop-go, with the associated dangers of the pitlane, altogether.

    7. The long lap penalty introduced in MotoGP this year is honestly one of the most stupid things to have been brought in to the rules. To start with it was just plain confusing because some riders were not sure as to whether they had to go through it or to go through the pit lane and of course some of them got it wrong, there is already enough confusion in modern motor racing thank you very much without more being added in.

      Some people complain that going through the pit lane is too harsh a penalty so the long lap is a good idea but the thing is this, penalties are supposed to be harsh! How else are drivers/riders supposed to learn to avoid making poor driving/riding decisions if all that is happening is that they are just being put back to where they were before the infraction? They should get penalised properly instead of taking a penalty which is effectively just trying to reverse the infraction as though it never even happened.

      It is also downright dangerous because they have to place it in a run off area on the outside of a turn to ensure it is a “long lap” but this leads to you potentially being in the firing line of someone else’s accident should you be directed to take this penalty. And then there is the problem of rejoining the circuit safely, not so bad on a motorcycle because you can look around but I imagine you would not be able to see very well in a car, especially a Formula One car with the high cockpit sides and halo attached.

      So this is a big no-no, certainly for Formula One and the like, and I hope that MotoGP will drop this monstrosity by the time 2020 comes around if not sooner. You have a pit lane which can be used, and has been for many years, very safely for in-race penalties, you don’t need another lane half way around the circuit which is totally exposed to potential accidents, and really that is the bottom line.

      1. Valid points, I’ll counter with the confusion of the riders though—that’s just teething issues of the system. They’ll get used to it. F1 also have radios which could help clear up confusion if there is any.

        Regarding the routes for the “long lap”, I don’t think it necessarily needs to be on the firing line of a corner, of course it heavily depends on the track, but you could have the entry to the long lap at the exit of a corner (like some pit entries are) and rejoin like a pit lane with a white line.

        Naturally not all tracks have the space for such a thing, but there are other work arounds also. Weaving through some bollards for example (located off the track of course).

        I like the idea. Let’s not knee-jerk either way. Who’s got Masi’s number?

      2. I agree about needing harsher penalties. If drivers know that anything potentially dangerous is a black flag, and anything actually dangerous is a multi-race ban, the stewards won’t have (m)any of those incidents to judge.

        Things that aren’t safety related – e.g. jump starts – are then the only things the stewards have to worry about.

      3. Gavin Campbell
        22nd October 2019, 19:06

        I actually disagree – it hasn’t been used too much but it stopped that trying to drop a position and minuscule time penalties.

        Also the slight issue in Moto GP is there is no ship to shore radio a la F1. So there was some confusion on its introduction but otherwise I think it’s been a good addition.

        Also for corners like T1 in Russia (or the first proper corner) it could be used for running wide. No if no buts, skip across the chicane – earn yourself a long lap.

        Also it’s easier and more visible – especially further in the field as it sorts out the running order so you can see where people are running rather than needing pen and paper to work it out.

      4. Exactly. The Moto GP solution looks extremely dangerous as a car that loses brakes on the straight could drive full speed into the side of a car that serves a penalty. Such a collision is what killed Anthoine Hubert at Spa.

    8. Good write up Keith, I think this is a good idea as well.

    9. Where would such a long-lap be added in Monaco, Suzuka, Spa?
      Also: How would making wrong decisions irretractable make things better?

      The problem lies within the idea the stewards would need any kind of time-pressure, or that the quality of the decisions would improve with quickness. It really absolutely does not work that way.
      Give it a proper trial at wednesdays after the race, in Paris at the FiA-headquarter. If it isn’t worth the effort, do not apply a penalty.

      1. Monaco – Not sure…perhaps a stop/go box in the Nouvelle Chicane?

        Suzuka – In the tarmac run off at Turn 1 or Spoon?

        Spa – In the tarmac run off at Les Combes, Pouhon or the bus stop?

        1. @geemac
          That does seem quite dangerous to me. The corners you named for Spa and Suzuka all are either very fast or have the cars approaching very fast. A car going off there while another car is running more slowly and at odd angles to the track (the “long lap” would inevitably have to lead cars back to the track somewhere), both cars meeting… that is not a good scenario at all.

        2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          22nd October 2019, 15:38

          You could go the long way round the round about at casino

        3. That’s why I think this penalty zones will just add problems, costs and potentially safety issues as well. When things start getting over complicated, the best is to stick to simpler solutions. Just revert to the. Drive thru and stop and go rule. If they too harsh, so be it. Drivers will be less relentless; this won’t solve the wrong calls by the stewards, but this will give them more pressure to get the right calls first time. And even when there will be wrong calls penalizing drivers, so be it. Sometimes this will go against them, other times this might be on their favour. But from my side, the least interference on races, the better. Right now everything is overly sanitized.

          1. Gavin Campbell
            22nd October 2019, 19:10

            Or just steal from Moto GP – if there’s a track that doesn’t have it or can’t have it they revert to time penalties.

            Spa has acres of space for a long loop somewhere.

            Monaco I think it would be impossible but because 1 or 2 tracks can’t support it isn’t a good enough reason to throw the idea in the dustbin for me.

            Also just throw it in F2 or F3 for a season and trial it out. I don’t know why everything gets put straight into F1 all the time.

    10. You already have a moveable wing, move it where it will cause more drag for one lap. We can call it DIS, Drag Induction System, or my favorite, the PENalty Implementation System. I am a very childish person.

    11. While I quite like the long lap idea, I think the current situation (5/10 second penalties for “minor” infringements, stop/go and drive thru penalties for more serious ones) works pretty well. The issue in Japan was the stewards indecision in whether or not to investigate Leclerc.

      The stewards are under enormous pressure, there is no doubt about that. F1 is a fast paced sport and they probably feel the need to investigate incidents as quickly as possible because they know us keyboard warriors will have their heads if they dilly dally. I say give them the space and time to review the evidence and make a decision…if we all cut them some slack they will make good decisions. To be fair, they made the right decisions in the end in the F1 examples highlighted in the article (Leclerc in Suzuka and Vettel in Canada).

    12. There have been way too many penalties already this year, which makes it almost impossible to enjoy F1. Make a mistake, you get a penalty on top of the mistake that costs you already, this is just stupid.

    13. Analogy: Olympic biathlon.

    14. I like the long lap idea, but it may be better to first come up with a single group of stewards that would be scheduled to handle all races. If they blunder, the FIA can then replace them with a new set of stewards who again would be scheduled to do all races. This should at least introduce consistency with the application of the rules which is one of the things we fans gripe about the most.

      1. @velocityboy They tried that with one steward a little over a decade ago. They had to be removed as there was too much bias perceived to be coming from the permanent steward, to the point where the FIA was not trusted to make an unbiased selection of permanent replacement.

    15. That’s actually a really good idea, you could even set up shorter and longer penalties with the cones

    16. Why overcompicate things? How is this any different to the “joker lap” Bernie suggested, as one of his crazy ideas to spice up the show and everyone loathed? And as many above have suggested, it can’t be applied to all circuits and even if it did, it could create accidents if the driver taking the “long lap” is hit by another who happened to lose his brakes for example.

      I don’t like it either when penalties are applied post-race and screw the results of the finishing order as we see it, but at some point you have to accept that things like this happen. Even if we drop the 5-10sec penalties and keep only the drive-through, the 10sec stop-and-go which are served almost immediatly.. and even if we introduce the “long lap” penalty, we could still end up in a situation like Austria 2019 where something happens at the last lap, or the last few laps and until the stewards decide, any penalty would only be applied post-race and screw the results anyway.

      The drive-through and 10sec stop-and-go are ment as harsh penalties. The 5-10sec penalties are only usefull to be handed before the pitstops (before half way through the race) without interfering with the results post-race. The “long lap” would create more problems than it would solve.
      The only thing i would “add”, other than consistency on the stewards side, is to bring back a little trick that the stewards forgot, or didn’t bother using it once they introduced the 5-10sec penalties a faw years ago.. just order the leading driver to give up his place to the following one. It’s reserved for incidents like Vettel-Hamilton in Canada for example. If Vettel passed/or stayed ahead of Hamilton while off the track or any other minor ‘not-so-legal’ way, then order him to give his place back/to Hamilton and move on with the race. If he complies then he could try to reclaim his place back in a legal way. If he refuses to comply, then give him a drive-through for disobedience.

    17. I don’t see how adding an extra penalty option helps, when the problem identified is that stewards aren’t thinking through their responses to situations carefully enough.

    18. This comment section opposition to the long lap is baffling, it reminds me of 2012 and 2013. F1 was interesting but the fans only want to see their favourite drivers and teams win.

    19. Well we have that already in F1. It’s called a drive through penalty.

    20. 2 Points: 1 If a driver is going to fast to stay on the track he is a danger to cars on the track as well as cars off the track.
      2 The beauty of the longcourse option is that it usually corrects the running order, ie if a driver gets/stays ahead by foul means he loses that position and rejoins behind the car he fouled rather than remaining ahead and using his turbulence to induce extra tyre degradation on his opponent and blocking his opponent’s progress.

      This doesn’t guarantee correct decisions by the stewards, but it does let the race flow and is a lesser penalty than even a 5 second stop/go.

    21. I wouldn’t be averse to having it replace the five-second time penalty… be much better than having to constantly look at the distance to the cars behind to see where they’d actually end up.

      But obviously they’d have to build reasonable lanes for it on all the tracks for it to be consistent (wouldn’t want it dropping in and out as a penalty), and I don’t think that’s realistic.

    22. An alternative would be to limit speed on the start/finish straight, which would be easier to implement, maybe safer, and also flexible, allowing different time penalties. But I prefer the loop idea as more fun. What I definitely agree with is implementing penalties during the race. I’m less bothered by steward mistakes than changing results after the race, unless it’s for a technical infringement with the car.

    23. I think when a penalty is under investigation, the stewards should have 5 laps to come with a verdict. Always an instant 5 second penalty for every fellony. This should be final.
      This means teams cannot come complain. Only a driver can trigger an investigation over the radio, stewards have to move fast and if they cannot find fellonies, the investigation expires with a warning to the driver. Three warnings equal 5 seconds. This means a bit more on the edge racing. Stewards have to try to come up with a list what are fellonies. Like braking under steering, changing race lines, and yes also cutting corners in the first three laps, that means first corner needs to be taken with enough space because you simply cannot see pipping people coming, but you got to expect them. I think any restart should be with pacecar, eventhough i think VSC is more honest, but the actual safetycar gives better restarts. They should also restart in rows of two, with a racer not at fault of any fellony caused by someone else taking up his spot that was recorded during crossing the line prior to a caution. This way it has no meaning to take someone out for whatever reason on purpose.
      Anyway. 5 seconds per penalty could result in 15 instant seconds if three fellonies are recognized by stewards. Word is final, BUT appeal can be done by teams after, but this won’t affect classification, but results in a fine for the party at fault. So either the team or the FIA will have to settle with a fine of 100.000 euro. This way wrongly accused teams get compensated.
      In VET-HAM incident in CA, i think no F1 car slows down on grass, and VET did his best to keep the car straight when he rejoined. He could also have just brazed and then he would have taken HAM out, who actually did not do anything to try to avoid VET. HAM should have lifted for a second and not trying to pass when VET had his involuntary rejoin in the way he did. After they could have fought the battle.
      In this case stewards got to recognize physical facts on track. And to solve this, the run off should be made with a boundary line with a strip of grass, then gravel, and then a road to rejoin safely. So you know you made a mistake, you slow down without getting launched or slide back on track, and then you can rejoin in a safe matter from the end of the safetyfence, with enough sight on the track.

    24. If the hypothetical long lap was imposed at Canada 2019 80% chance Vettel would have ignored the instruction and still crossed the line ahead because he is a petulant child of a man.

    25. We don’t need to solve every problem

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