Vettel’s grid penalty “consistent with what drivers were told” – Masi

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In the round-up: FIA race director Michael Masi explains why Sebastian Vettel was given a five-second time penalty for failing to slow sufficiently for double yellow flags, despite being ahead of the signal on-track when it was given.

What they say

Masi explained how Valtteri Bottas reacted correctly to the double yellow flags, unlike Vettel:

In Sebastian’s case it was a double yellow flag that was displayed, not a single. And that’s a very important point.

When a double yellow flag is displayed, there are effectively two tests, let’s call it, within the race director’s notes. One is that the driver will either be expected to abort that lap and [drive] into pit lane or not set a meaningful lap time. Valtteri was the other car that was there in that vicinity, which the stewards looked at as well and Valtteri aborted his lap, whereas Sebastian continued on his and I think from memory was about one hundredth of a second slower than his time that he had set.

So that, by all accounts, is a meaningful lap time and therefore the grid penalty was imposed. Particularly for a double yellow flag and that’s consistent with what the drivers were told last year and then reminded of again in the drivers’ meeting for this year, safety flags will be, and particularly yellows, will be something that are monitored and policed accordingly.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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On this day in F1

  • 25 years ago today Damon Hill took pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix while Jordan’s Rubens Barrichello joined him on the front row for his home race

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Keith Collantine
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28 comments on “Vettel’s grid penalty “consistent with what drivers were told” – Masi”

  1. Re Tsunoda – Ocon, similar but not exact. In this particular case we could easily say Ocon was forced wide but didn’t overtake.
    Verstappens scenario was that yes his line was compromised but he wasn’t forced wide. He was already ahead before he ran wide

    1. Exactly, he didn’t use that piece of turf to overtake. He used it in similar manner as Hamilton for many laps before.

  2. Has anyone asked HAM and BOT how different it is driving without DAS this year? Don’t remember seeing an article on that.

  3. After losing free-to-air broadcasts, German F1 television audiences for the season-opener fell from 4.7 million last year to 1.2 million this year.

    I still can’t understand why F1 believes their popularity will increase when they fine their audience for watching races.

    1. With F1’s cost structure, I doubt FTA can work anymore. They need the revenue offered by pay-tv, FTA can’t afford to pay anywhere near as much. I’ve been watching F1 from behind the pay-wall for the best part of over 20 years now (in fact we only used to get a few races a year live before that), in a sad way, you kinda just get to it.

      1. In italy we still have all races free on tv8, most of them are delayed but I don’t care, as long as it doesn’t cost! And then there’s the pirate streaming, they’re still around.

        1. I think the delayed broadcast would be great where I live because the races start after midnight, but I guess F1 knows better than us how to maximise their fan base. In regards to pirate broadcasts, that is like Free to Air without F1 receiving any broadcasting right fees at all.

  4. COTD: LOL. But it is fascinating as to how a paper bag entering the car can break your race.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th March 2021, 10:30


      If it blocks airflow, it can have a significant effect. Although not to the same extent as it was in a different location, Bottas had a plastic bag of some sort at this track in one stint where he appeared very slow.

      This track is awful for rubbish being about.

      1. They honestly need to address this. It is immensly costful when that happens.

  5. Two fantastic drivers fighting it out at the front in a different car

  6. On the Ocon Tsunado tweet above… I believe that’s called ‘clutching at straws’

    Clearly no lasting advantage was gained… as pointed out in the tweet

    Only a short non-lasting advantage

  7. Regarding yellow flags, the only thing that matters is what happens in the specific mini-sector, i.e., the remaining parts of the track are irrelevant. The aborting thing is redundant as long as a driver acts accordingly when within a yellow-affected zone, therefore, no problem if a lap time, as a result, is slower anyway, although improving even after slowing considerably enough to meet the criteria if track conditions are, for example, changeable. Nevertheless, the relevant marshalling sector is what truly matters, not an entire timing sector, not to mention a lap. In this case, though, Seb didn’t slow down as much as he should’ve, so clear-cut.

    Re the Ocon-Tsunoda move that didn’t get shown on the world feed:
    Indeed. Tsunoda overtaking him eventually cancelled the effect, so no need for any action.

    A nice helmet design.

    Yes, a perfect advert, but people should remember that every race won’t be similar as not every track is as racing/overtaking-friendly as BIC. The next one in Imola is one of the harder ones in this regard, so I don’t expect as much passing and battling for positions, although a positive surprise is possible, as is anything in F1.

    ”With teams set to focus fairly soon on next year’s car, it may be that nobody pulls away to any degree”
    This could happen, but if no one pulls away, neither does anyone catch either, i.e., the pecking without pretty much any in-season development would remain the same until the end.

    1. @jerejj Yeah it’s ridiculous, but seems Vettel has become the new pet hate object now that it’s too obvious and economically unwise with Mazepin, and there has to be someone. Just look at the front page how many Vettel stories there are, even though he’s really a non-story.

  8. I (think most fans) didn’t disagree with the forceful 5 pace grid penalty, but why give the guy 3 penalty points when he couldn’t see the yellow flags/panels, his team didn’t tell him, and his dash only showed (a single/simple) yellow.

    1. I think that after a few years ago we had several instances of almost huge accidents, and then Rosberg showed how you can still get a pole lap despite having waved yellows, and I think Hulk had a lap a bit like that too, the teams, drivers and stewards got together and agreed on a standard penalty, to take away the inconsistency between the (rolating) steward panels at races by installing a standard of grid penalty+penalty points for every such instance @coldfly.

    2. @coldfly The 5-place grid penalty is effectively an aggravated offence for a yellow flag breach (to emphasise, I believe the reasoning given for the aggravated penalty to be valid). Ameliorating the penalty points would have undercut that. If the mitigating factors had been deemed persuasive enough to reduce one, they should have been enough to reduce the other as well.

      The FIA clearly did not think the mitigating factors were persuasive enough to avoid the aggravated offence, so both elements increased accordingly.

    3. wasn’t it for colliding with ocon at the end?

  9. Did anyone watch the Nascar race at Bristol last night? For the first time since the 70s they ran a Cup race on DIRT!

    I’m in the UK so could only watch the highlights but it looked really fun. Nice to see a top series not afraid to try something totally different.

    1. Watched the first stage yesterday. Very cool they did this.

  10. Re German TV: Boom, what a big slump. Expect the next race to be under a million viewers.

    1. Michael Baldwin
      30th March 2021, 12:23

      These german viewing numbers don’t show how many have deferred to watching it through other means online. Just because numbers through paid channels have decreased doesn’t mean that all the fans have stopped watching..

    2. Imola is one of four races that will be broadcasted FTA. Barcelona, Monza and Sao Paulo being the other three.
      But yeah, viewership will decline given the german drivers are obviously and seemingly not able to contribute in a positive manner.

      1. I googled and I see that F1 TV is blocked in Germany due to the deal F1 has with Sky. I’ll assume there are other ways to view in Germany from other streaming services. I’m not surprised at the decline because of the lack of FTA coverage, but at the same time it would be interesting if it was possible to know the total viewership in Germany via all media given there is now an MSC on the grid again.

  11. Michael Baldwin
    30th March 2021, 11:59

    I loved the first race, it was wonderful to see a closer field battling it out. I can’t wait for the rest of the season. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for McLaren and Ferrari to be up there with RB and Mercedes!? It’ll be wonderful to see Daniel once he’s comfortable with the car, racing Norris and hopefully the top 2 teams!!

    On a side note, something has really upset me about our sport..

    I knew F1 was a money orientated sport, and as in pretty much all business “cash is king”. There has for recent years been a push for a more sustainable and green sport going into the future. We all know this is cute when in the grand scheme of things there is so much pollution and waste involved in this sport. We also understand that this is needed in our increasingly polluted planet, and I support any efforts to become more sustainable.

    We’ve all witnessed these changes In the sport whether it is by introducing hybrids or bio fuels. It may not make our sentimental sides happy, but can support it for longevity of this great race series.

    Maybe I’m clutching at straws, but I thought the FIA/F1 would always acknowledge human rights issues from countries they venture to go to.. We all remember races being missed out when people were rioting, speaking out against their rulers. I am greatly saddened that after the atrocities that have been exposed in Saudi Arabia we (F1) have decided to play fiddle to their sport washing of their nation.

    Is it so easy for them to play on the ignorance of fans from various sports that we will forget the crimes they have committed and carry on doing so…. Evidence of the assassination Of Jamal Khashoggi has been acknowledged by the international community, as well as MBS being instrumental in his murder…. The country is under strict rule, where teenagers are receiving capital punishments for speaking out against their rulers. Why have we tarnished our beloved sport for this blood stained money??

    I suppose $1.5 billion on sporting events is a fair trade for all the lives lost…..

    There are enough other countries around the world that could have had a grand prix without a compromise in human rights. I would like F1 to change some of the places we go to. Obviously interesting tracks should be a priority but decent human rights should be a prerequisite….

  12. Captain Pessimist here again…We had a close fight between the best RB they’ve started a season with in years and a Merc that the team are not happy with. What do we think will happen when Merc sort out their car? My bet is on Merc dominance from about the 4th race onward.

    1. @velocityboy Of course what you suggest is possible, as Mercedes has simply proved in the past 7 years to be formidable and to sort themselves throughout the seasons even when they haven’t started as strongly as some seasons, or more to the point when others like Ferrari in 2017 and 2018 seemed to have gained some ground. But really, have Mercedes ever started a season in this hybrid era looking vulnerable? In 2017 and 2018 it was moreso Ferrari that had gained ground, but Mercedes were still winning races immediately too, and had no reason other than through playing mind games, to be doubtful within their walls that they had a winning car still.

      This season does seem different but it is early days and yes even as a huge Max fan I am not handing Max and RBR the trophies just yet. That’s part of the reward Mercedes gets as the reigning Champs not just last year but for the last seven. They are still the benchmark to be knocked off the block over this whole season. Someone has to actually prevail over them on average over the whole season in order to take the trophies away from them.

      But what I think is different now is that Mercedes does at the moment seem more vulnerable than ever in this chapter, and RBR seem more close to them than Ferrari were, or at least I have more faith in Max taking this year’s RBR car places that SV/Ferrari couldn’t.

      I think you are being (and you admit it) pessimistic in that RBR may have started with their best offering in years, but that in no way means it is the best they can do and there is nothing more, full stop. Mercedes on the other hand were certainly much happier with their car for the race weekend than they had been in testing, and admit they came a long way over a few short weeks.

      So…what do I think when Merc sorts out their car? Well, they still have to prove they have sorted it and that they will continue to do so, and that it hasn’t got some inherent issues that might dog them all season, and I know that can easily sound overly optimistic given their history. And there is nothing saying RBR won’t also continue to hone and improve and learn as well, and boy what a starting footing they seem to be jumping off from, no?

      Merc dominance from the fourth race onwards? Highly possible as they have proven. It is what many had predicted even after their relatively poor testing days. From race one even not just race four. But something tells me ‘dominance’ in the traditional way they have dominated is too strong a word right now, and that rather Max/RBR are going to be too strong to be dominated, and Mercedes are rather going to have to fight tooth and nail to still be called the benchmark, and even then, if they prevail, RBR will have at a minimum put a big dent in it and put some real and lasting worry in Mercedes’ minds for next year.

  13. Two observations as I’m filling in my f1 excel stats sheet, Since f1 races show the time splits between drivers, why don’t they show the time behind for qualifying? The official f1 website just has lap times and not how far behind drivers are. It’s a pain trying to work out how far teams are behind on pace. Secondly, as temperature is so critical to tyre performance for teams, why’s is so difficult to find the temperatures for qualifying and races

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