Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2021

Does F1 need a rule to discourage deliberate qualifying crashes?

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As Charles Leclerc secured the all-important pole position at Monaco by triggering red flags after thumping into the barriers at the Swimming Pool complex after running slightly wide as he entered the corner, shouts of “Schumacher 2006” rang through the media centre. Other hacks recalled “Rosberg 2014…”

The former incident referred, of course, to the record-setting champion’s cack-handed broadside parking manoeuvre at Rascasse which denied arch-rival Fernando Alonso an almost certain pole position. Until, that is, the stewards relegated the Ferrari driver to the back after a marathon enquiry into the ‘error’, which blocked the track, in turn preventing the Renault driver and other rivals from completing their flying laps.

Nico Rosberg’s incident was more subtle: Having set the fastest time in Q3 the German locked up – whether by design or error will never be definitively known – at Mirabeau, triggering flags that scuppered team mate Lewis Hamilton’s crack at pole. Crucially, there was no damage to the Mercedes – heightening paddock suspicions – but Rosberg survived the stewards huddle’ unscathed.

Now contrast these incidents with Leclerc’s accident: Not only did the Monegasque rip off the Ferrari’s right front wheel when he clouted the barrier going into the corner, but the subsequent rear wheel thump sent sufficient shocks through the transmission to the left hub to cause his retirement from his home grand prix on the reconnaissance lap.

Report: Leclerc’s qualifying crash not deliberate like ‘Rascassegate’ – Alonso
Does that sound as though Leclerc engineered the crash to deny Max Verstappen pole, a position the Red Bull driver effectively inherited after the Ferrari peeled into the pits and into the garage? For a deliberate crash look no further than the damage inflicted on his Renault by Nelson Piquet Jnr’s ‘Crashgate’ incident, wilfully caused by the Brazilian to trigger a Safety Car from which team-mate Alonso benefitted by design.

Indeed, according to a source the FIA found no difference in Leclerc’s throttle and steering inputs between his ‘crash’ lap and his previous effort save that he was an inch or two further to the right coming into the Swimming Pool. That made the all the difference, expensively so.

Thus, the outcry after qualifying was not only totally misguided but also begs the question: Why alter the regulations to penalise a driver who is ‘on it’ in the closing stages of qualifying but crashes in the process? During his post-race debrief, FIA race director Michael Masi admitted that F1 could consider a regulation similar to that applied in IndyCar and other major championships.

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“I know the IndyCar rule, which is also a rule in a number of other FIA international series and domestic championships around the world,” he said. “And we will look at it and together with all of the key stakeholders, determine if it’s suitable or not.”

Alex Palou, Ganassi, IndyCar, Barber Motorsport Park, 2021
IndyCar ensures drivers cannot benefit from deliberate crashes
What, then, do the IndyCar regulations say about such incidents? Article 8.3.9 states: “If a car causes a red condition in any segment, the car’s best two timed laps of the segment shall be disallowed, the car may not continue in the segment, and the car shall not advance to the next segment.”

Under IndyCar rules Leclerc (and Schumacher and Rosberg) would have lost pole position for triggering red flags, as, crucially, would any driver who happens to stray beyond the limit at any circuit in any qualifying session during what is the ultimate speed test of a grand prix weekend be penalised by the scrapping of his two best laps.

Potentially all this upheaval because Monaco’s unique circumstances dished out three incidents in 15 years, only one of which was deemed deliberate…

The fact is that the Monaco street circuit poses the greatest precision driving challenge of all, being devoid of run-off areas save where the local road system coincidentally provides them. Thus, accidents will happen as drivers give their all (and more), but that, surely is the essence of F1. Threaten a penalty and they will wind back through caution, denying fans the spectacle of drivers on the absolute limit as they shave the barriers.

As F1 has discovered all too often with its knee-jerk rule changes there are bound to be unintended consequences, which then rear their heads elsewhere, demanding yet another rule change, then another and so on. Leclerc’s incident was extremely costly for himself and the Scuderia, and you can bet both have learned a lesson. Experience is the best teacher, not some as hoc rule change imported from another series.

Hopefully Masi and F1 will find that the IndyCar regulation is ‘not suitable’ for F1 as a whole.

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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...

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  • 85 comments on “Does F1 need a rule to discourage deliberate qualifying crashes?”

    1. « Does F1 need a rule to discourage deliberate qualifying crashes? » Yes

      « Threaten a penalty and they will wind back through caution. » Drivers rarely do.

      No need for knee-jerk reaction, just work on it and come with a clever, loophole-less and mature regulation for 2022 🤷‍♂️

      1. Yes, it seems a “nontroversy”.
        Similar events are almost exclusive to Monaco – it is rare even on other street circuits.
        As seen in the previous cases, F1 rules have enough tools to deal with it now.
        Beyond that, will F1 police outtrack runs that causes a yellow flags and can equally hurt everybody trying to clock a fast lap.

      2. @jeff1s to some extent, don’t we already have that in the form of the grid penalties for changing parts?

        You’re not going to want to crash if there is a risk that you’ll then damage your gearbox and get a grid penalty – in many cases, the grid penalty might set you back more than a deliberate crash would.

        1. Good point there Anon.

          And the Schumacher incident shows that if you just “park up” you are likely to get penalized for it like Schumacher was. Puttin in a new rule to “solve” this rare occurrence would just be adding another couple of lines of BS to the already thick rulebook. Surely we WANT drivers to go all out, heck that is what makes Monaco interesting, that they go to the limit on these tight tracks.

        2. No they don’t go to the back of the grid for fixing parts. Leclerc would simply have started from pole if Ferrari hadn’t overlooked the issue with the driveshaft hub.

          Besides, this is not about deliberately crashing nor about Monaco, but about taking too much risk and disrupting a quali session in general. Take Tuscany last season. Or Austria. There are lots of cases where quali was disrupted and drivers didn’t get to set a time due to someone going off.

      3. @jeff1s I agree with your second point. Intellectually, it would seem as if drivers would have incentive to back off. But in the moment, that rarely happens. That’s especially true in qualifying, when track evolution is high and drivers must constantly better their times just to maintain position. These drivers are there to compete; I find it unlikely that the threat of a penalty for crashing will curb their natural instincts any more than the penalty of crashing itself. Nobody is there to be cautious when that means they will lose places.

        Having said that, I’d be curious to hear opinions from IndyCar drivers (or any of the other various series that have a similar rule) about whether or not they modify their behavior in quali due to it. That would probably get us further than all the punditry and speculation we have at the moment.

      4. @jeff1s

        « Threaten a penalty and they will wind back through caution. » Drivers rarely do.

        I think that should read as “Some drivers might do right away. Other drivers might scoff at it initially, but after being penalized they do.”

        Just look at the track limits. Most drivers were pretty much able to keep their cars on track after learning it would be penalized. Some drivers didn’t take the penalty into account properly and it cost them. At some point he will understand the costs of taking too much risk are higher than the cost of making sure not to go off track.

    2. It’s so odd to me that everyone wants to think about this in terms of “did he mean to or not? ”

      Sure, if he did it deliberately that would be a huge deal and he’d been disqualified. No new regulation or discussion is needed for that. And it’s clear there’s no good evidence LeClerc did it on purpose.

      What we’re talking about here is if a driver who impedes everyone else should have a penalty. Motivation only matters when you can prove something deliberate. Otherwise it is just normal risk and reward for the driver.

      I also find these arguments about drivers not pushing hard enough odd. Anyone who’s driven a car hard should know it’s a question of balancing on the edge. “If you really in control you’re not going fast enough”.

      A great formula one driver is one who can get around Monaco really quickly without crashing or causing a yellow flag.

      One reason I like formula one is the fragile cars reduce deliberate crashes and other reality show nonsense. It is disappointing the rules don’t address disruption of qualifying. Anybody who has to be towed back from qualifying shouldn’t start on pole. Parc ferme means nothing when you can rebuild an entire car. In the sport looks like bad reality TV show when one driver can just keep another from setting a qualifying lap.

      1. I was going to comment along the same line.

        Funnily nobody complains that a driver not getting out of the way gets a penalty for impeding. In a way a crash or causing double wave yellows is exactly the same, impeding other drivers except that it is more obvious and should be penalized accordingly.

        1. I was thinking along those lines, but you put it much better.
          Treat disprupting other peoples laps by triggering a yellow as an impeding and let the stewards assess it as such. It then doesn’t matter if it looks intentional or not (not that anyone would deliberately give themselves a grid drop anyway).
          A drop of a few places is in line with the cost of a bad quallie lap anyway, although it does also weaken your banker lap.

      2. @slotopen, @jeanrien, OldIron, I am/was not in favour of more rules like this; as @bascb said above: if you do it batantly like Schumacher, ie. w/o risk of damage, you are quite likely to be penalised; had Rosberg been fighting another team, I doubt he’d have gotten off as simply with the stewards believing their idea of his ‘character’ not doing stuff like that. But, you do give some solid arguments why, like other penalties that intentionally or not impeded qualifying for others, this one might merit one.

        I do still think that it’s also on other drivers/teams to just get their first ‘banker’ in (but what if they had been impeded there?! ie. not so one-dimensional), but you did change my thinking here.

    3. I am far more interested in a rule change preventing lapped drivers to unlap themselves during a safety car period or after a red flag, preventing idiotic situations where an incompetent driver who parks his car in the wall is still capable of finishing second and subsequently can parade in the paddock pointing out extremely small mistakes of his rivals as if nothing happened, aided by a clueless press, a bought in teamboss and a gang of inept fanboys who wouldn’t recognize a proper race driver even if they choked on one.

      Reply moderated
      1. haters gonna hate? lapped drivers need to unlap themselves otherwise the drivers that weren’t lapped gain a massive advantage even if they were only 2s ahead. not to mention the safety risk of restarting a race with a bunch of slower cars up front…

        Reply moderated
    4. We need something that puts the pressure on the drivers to not crash or cause a yellow flag. I always say that drivers must make their first laps count because you never know what can happen in the session. By the way, anyone believes karma here? Maybe Leclerc not starting was some sort of karma…. but hey, we will never know. I mean Schumacher and Rosberg’s incidents were rewarded badly, who knows maybe both of them arguably lost a world championship due to those incidents. I’d rather leave the rule as it is, due to the rare instances, or extend the session by 5 minutes like some of us suggested in another article.

      1. @krichelle Extending for the sake of it has downsides too.

      2. I don’t get it, Rosberg was not penalized in any way and most certainly he didn’t lose the 2014 WDC because of his Monaco incident

        1. As for losing the title, indeed about rosberg, I don’t think the monaco thing cost schumacher the title, he was 13 points behind alonso in the end, renault was faster at that stage of 2006, so it’s likely the result would’ve been alonso on pole, schumacher 2nd, even with schumacher starting first I think the chance to pass at the pit was decent, if you assume schumacher 2nd like he would’ve been I think, it’s a 4 points swing in the title, nowhere near enough, and if you assume schumacher 1st, which is a bit wishful thinking I think, it’s an 8 points swing in the title, again not enough unless you also remove some unluck such as the puncture in brazil, but when you need to change 2 events to make something work, generally it’s not close enough.

          1. I meant that was probably the real public revelation of Rosberg’s tactics, which probably cost him the championship due to bad behavior. Good things don’t come to good people. But we will never really know if he did attempt to break Hamilton’s lap in Monaco…

        2. And the FIA still won’t investigate it seven years later.

      3. Agree with the extension, no matter the downsides, my only annoyance with leclerc’s crash is he ruined a very interesting 2nd half of q3; I’d have also liked to see him in the front positions in the race ofc, but that’s on him.

    5. It’s worth looking at. Nico Rosberg 2014 at Monaco was, if not deliberate, very careless. So I’m surprised something was not brought in after his actions in 2014 that in all probability denied Hamilton pole and the victory.

    6. Good luck proving something being deliberate. Especially in a sports where there are fans and haters for any driver

      Reply moderated
    7. Perhaps we’ll find out the absolute truth of Rosberg’s case in an autobiography (if he makes one) someday.
      More relevantly on the matter itself, nothing needed. Only one of the three Monaco cases was definitely intentional, and every knee-jerk reaction has unintended consequences, as the article rightly points out, so leave alone things that aren’t broken.
      No one most definitely crashes on purpose because of damage risk. The infamous 2008 Singapore GP crash gate is the only exception and yet people still wanted to unfairly make Leclerc look bad.
      The IndyCar rule would only discourage drivers from pushing to their machinery’s limit, i.e., go against Motorsport’s purpose in general. Furthermore, if a driver on a provisional pole should get penalized for causing a red or yellow flag caution, so should a driver causing red/yellow at the end of Q1 and Q2, like Mazepin in Bahrain (Q1).
      The key point in this matter is, ”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

        1. @jerejj @bascb
          I get the argument of we look only at crashing but it bothers me if we consider impeding for which drivers are penalized. Crash, red flag, double yellow is some form of impeding other drivers.

          A driver in a bad spot is better to drive through the gravel to “get out of the way” causing yellow and impeding competitor “for free”.

          I don’t like when rules (indirectly) encourages unsportsmanlike behavior.

      1. @jerejj – Whilst I agree with your point in general, I disagree with “The IndyCar rule would only discourage drivers from pushing to their machinery’s limit, i.e., go against Motorsport’s purpose in general.”

        It would discourage the weaker drivers but not the better ones. It would separate the men from the boys….

        For me, a big part of motorsport is trying to find the limit without going over it. It’s why I hate the idea that drivers can just go over the limit and go wide onto tarmac runoffs without any penalty. Something like the wall of champions at Canada is exciting because you have to find the limit and if you go slightly over it, you’re in the wall.

        1. @petebaldwin My point is more specifically that in Motorsport, the purpose is to be as fast as possible, be it driving around a circuit in the lowest possible time or driving from point A to point B, i.e., rallying. Drivers need to take some risks for the smallest of time gains, so penalizing them merely for making a genuine error could discourage them from pushing in fear of a mistake, even a small one.

      2. @jerejj Masi is not talking about deliberate crashes.

        Just go back to how many times quali was disrupted by drivers going off. Say 3 times per season on average? That’s what he’s talking about.

    8. There is a good reason to penalize deliberate crashes, and the best part is that the stewards can already do this with the current rules!

      This situation in Monaco is just another reason to have a one lap shootout for the top 10. There are no obstructions possible, viewers get to see every single lap of all the drivers in their entirety, and the only time it’s really unfair is when the weather conditions are changing – which only happens once or twice in a season and isn’t much of a problem.

      Qualifying is still super important in F1, yet often we only see the final five seconds of a lap because the tv director can’t keep track of the proceedings other than via showing the finish line. That’s really bad design for a spectator sport as the finish line is often the most boring part of the circuit.

      1. Shootout qualifying is ideal at Monaco.
        The only thing better would be to not go there at all.

      2. @cashnotclass

        This situation in Monaco is just another reason to have a one lap shootout for the top 10.

        I don’t agree at all, I personally find the single lap formats to be dull to watch even if it’s just for the top 10. It just always saps all the excitement & tension out of the end of qualifying.

        Formula E do it for the top 6 & it’s awful to watch & there hasn’t been a single qualifying session in that series that has been all that exciting or memorable at the end since they introduced the format. It’s a format that simply always ends up falling flat with very little (If any) excitement or tension.

        A format with multiple cars track where everybody has the same track conditions & where the positions can change as each car crosses the line at the end imo is way more exciting to watch as the tension/excitement builds through each segment with the final seconds always offering some excitement. Thats why the current format is so popular & why the old 1 hour format was as well.

        1. @roger-ayles – I don’t like shootouts for the top 10 normally but I’d love it at Monaco. It’s the best part of the weekend so seeing each driver have a full lap around that track on the edge would be really exciting to watch.

    9. No need for penalties. Car damage is enough of a payment.

      1. indeed, that’s what I thought. Leclerc DNSed, that’s enough of a penalty…

    10. Too many holes in this story. Basically some would have called it an outrageous conspiracy theory had Schumacher not been found guilty, just as they do with Rosberg and Leclerc, and others would be convinced they all are. Others will think some are, some are not. There isn’t a uniform view on this.

      Plus it’s weak argument to say Leclerc is different because a crash to the front caused an unforeseen damage to the rear as if he would have known.

      Also, only one of those incidents caused a red flag.

      I say introduce a rule about yellow or red flags. You disturb other people’s laps and cause them a sporting disadvantage with potential loss of points and millions revenue, you pay for it. You don’t get to benefit in any way.

      1. @balue It would have been just as risky to crash & cause damage to the front as it’s very easy to pull the suspension arms out in a way that damages the chassis (Due to the way the tethers are connected) & a chassis change is an automatic pit lane start.

        That is what prevented Max from taking part in qualifying after an identical looking crash during FP3 in 2018. It pulled the front suspension out in a way that damaged the chassis & they couldn’t build up a new car in time for qualifying.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGWuPTxVN8k

        1. @roger-ayles Red Bull didn’t do a monocoque change for the 2018 crash. 2016, yes, but not two years later.

    11. I don’t think a separate rule is needed. It would seem FIA investigated the three incidents being cited anyway, and only MS was found to have done something untoward, and he was penalized. Without a separate rule.

      In the case of NR and CL, imho what we saw was two drivers who had nailed great banker laps, whether intentionally or not, and that gave them a level of comfort to then go all out for their final attempts, and in doing so they overcooked it. Did they intentionally go off/crash? No I don’t think so. But did they intentionally throw a bit of caution to the wind because of their uniquely strong previous laps? I think possibly.

      Interestingly, to me at least, even though we often hear people say, ah see, you need to put in a banker lap in Q3 for you never know what might happen, the fact seems to me to be that most drivers don’t do that, and as Max described, it is a build up throughout qualifying that crescendos at the end. I wonder if a banker lap is moreso something that the odd driver ‘flukes into’ rather than does intentionally. After all, with plenty of minutes to go, who can trust that even their great initial lap of Q3 will hold. The banker lap holders still come out for a final attempt, for there can be no guarantee said banker lap is enough ultimately. Unless of course it starts to rain or something…or a crash close enough to the end of the session that they just end quali there.

      As well though, I wouldn’t object to them resuming after a red flag, and letting the cars that were on track at the time be given back enough time to complete their final runs once the track is cleared. After all, had CL crashed a few minutes into Q3, surely they would not have ended quali at that. They would have just stopped the clock and then resumed the session once the track was clear. That they decided to end the session was a tad arbitrary but I suppose understandable given how little time there was left. In this case they would have had to add time to the session if they were to resume it in order for the drivers to have time to get around to the line in time to start a hot final lap, and I’m not sure there is allowance for that, is there?

      1. @robbie Extending a session would have downsides, such as taking away from the support category race often scheduled after F1 qualifying, or in some case, make an already delayed session even more delayed, e.g., Hungaroring 2016, Monza 2017. Even sunset time might come in the way of continuing further, so not much allowance if any.

        1. Also the tires would probably be shot at that point. It seems that the current system is actually fairly well thought out.

      2. @robbie you’ve pretty much nailed it as far as I’m concerned.

        The only thing that I’ll add is that teams are consistently holding all drivers back until the very last second before sending them out for that one last flying lap even though time and time again we see them all tripping over each other and disrupting their best lap.

        They all know that all it takes is for someone to go off track and bring out yellows and their hot lap is ruined, let alone the impact of a crash, yet they continue to take the risk. They know the risk so as far as I’m concerned they can’t complain about it.

        My message as a driver if I wasn’t on provisional pole would be “get me out early so I get a clean run for my second go”

        1. @dbradock For sure, and I think much of the time the track allows for good spacing and much of the time drivers do go out early enough. It’s just hard to do at Monaco. And I don’t think the drivers complain about it much more than in a ‘that was a shame’ kind of way, and they quickly move on. I don’t think the drivers are the driving force behind Masi considering some Indycar type rule, and frankly I don’t think it will go past a consideration and a discussion anyway, and indeed there will be no rule change imho. It’s just part of the game. At Monaco an incident more often causes a red flag due to the confines within the barriers, and at the other tracks it would be more often a yellow, and then there is to consider that many drivers may have had that yellow at a certain corner happen behind them and have been able to finish their lap. Many scenarios can happen but overwhelmingly things go according to plan, so when they don’t they just should accept that’s part of the game.

          There’s the deliberate crashing aspect to this and I think that is extremely rare, and it seems they check telemetry for that anyway, and then otherwise incidents are not on purpose, so there is no need for an Indycar type rule, imho. It seems Indycar has a near zero tolerance rule for anyone that disrupts qualifying for the trailing car or cars yet to come out, but I don’t know if there are nuances to that.

          1. @robbie I’m not sure I necessarily agree that they go out early enough. Too often the “front runners” elect to be the last on the track which in my way of thinking is risky at best. I know the rewards from track evolution can be pretty huge but there is a risk involved and sometimes it just doesn’t pay off.

            Monaco especially is one of those places where getting out first can be pretty useful as it definitely is one that has probably more than its share of “incidents” during qualy.

            But you’re absolutely correct that the drivers (with a couple of rare exceptions where there had been a suggestion of “deliberate” interference) normally don’t complain and just say “it was a shame”. And I agree that the most likely scenario is that Masi will consider it and move on without any changes being made. I just wish that on occasion he’d perhaps be a bit more cautious with his statements so the F1 media and followers don’t go into meltdown.

            1. @dbradock Yeah for sure it can be risky even at the other venues that aren’t Monaco, but it sure seems the norm though. I wonder if the reward from, as a front runner, coming out last, is that on average the cars in front by then are doing their hot laps, and are not on warm up laps which would of course potentially impede the front runners coming through. By the majority of the cars in front being on hot laps, perhaps the odds are, and of course they have GPS tracking on this, that there will not be a car impeding ahead, assuming nobody has had an off of course, and it would seem statistically that it is better to risk that, than to risk coming up on slow cars that can be an issue even when they have moved out of the way. They must have countless stats on this and weigh the odds of when the best time is to come out, and then yeah of course there are always risks no matter when they come out for anything can happen.

            2. @robbie I’m sure your right about the stats. They’d have huge amounts of data. I still wonder at times why a team doesn’t elect to use common sense or maybe intuition rather than a computer model to say “hey let’s try something different” just once or twice.

              It becomes a joke at some tracks where they all bunch up to the point where occasionally some don’t even hit the start line in time to make their second attempt.

              Of course I agree – they’re using the best possible data, but as a person that works with data full time I’ve also found that occasionally it works even better with a bit of human overwatch, and I think sometimes teams forget that.

              It certainly adds to then tension at the end of qualy though so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

      3. @robbie That’s because, just like Dieter, you don’t understand the actual scenario that Masi is working on. I get it you are lost in the propaganda that Dieter is spouting and react to the headline.

        The thing is though, Masi is not talking about this for penalizing “deliberate” crashes. Just as it’s not about Monaco. How many times have we seen Q3 ended because of yellow flags during the final run. This happens quite a lot. Every season.

        That’s damage done, so why not penalise this? Even if it’s not for pole actually.

        It’s like with the penalties given for tyres coming off after a pitstop. Absolutely ridiculous to give a penalty for that since it’s a race ending situation already. Yet it was clear teams were not taking this seriously enough and a lot of incidents happened. How many tyres have come off since the started handing out penalties. A lot less than before. Penalizing drivers/teams for taking too much risks works.

        BTW Extending the session time is useless, since they don’t have tyres left anyway.

        1. @f1osaurus Not an awful lot overall, but more often at the end of Q1 than Q3.

          1. @jerejj Last season it happened in Q3 in Austria, Tuscany and Turkey (and perhaps more that I forgot). I guess it depends on your tolerance of what is “a lot”, but 3 times a season is clearly “a lot” more than pretending it’s just 3 times in 15 years.

            1. @f1osaurus Yes, those three. Also, Mexico in 2019, as you pointed out in another post. Other cases that come to my mind are Canada 2019, France 2018, South Korea 2010, Japan 2012, Japan 2015, Austria 2016 (Q1), Hungary 2016, Singapore 2016 (Q2), China 2017 + Bahrain this year (Q1), besides the Monaco ones. Quite a few times, yes, but still only blatant cheating deserves a sanctioned consequence, no other.

            2. @jerejj That’s not the point. The point is that the blog is (deliberately?) missing the point and tries to drum up some bar stool anger mob based on a utterly incorrect and one side presentation of what Masi was referring to.

    12. Man_From_The_Future
      29th May 2021, 16:00

      Just because Leclerc damaged his car, doesn’t mean that he didn’t do it on purpose and shouldn’t be used as proof. Maybe he tried a little bit too hard and miscalculated the outcome. After all causing a crash that may look like the one Schumacher did, could cost him his reputation.
      He probably wanted to damage the front with a slight touch, but panicked and simply overdone it. As for the damage, he almost got away with it.

      Reply moderated
      1. @Man_From_The_Future Of course, it does. No one crashes on purpose because of damage risk. The infamous 2008 Singapore GP incident is the only exception to this rule.

      2. RocketTankski
        30th May 2021, 11:01

        Oh Man from the Future! Can you tell us is there any point in the decades to come that Lewis and Mercedes don’t win everything? Do they clone Lewis and let “2-is” Hamilton carry on collecting trophies for another half a century? Is Grandpa Horner still moaning about it?
        Does Indycar introduce a rule to keep giant spiders off the track?

      3. I think Occam’s Razor applies here. Simple mistake.

    13. Chris Horton
      29th May 2021, 16:36

      Totally unnecessary.

      If there is another provable deliberate instance then impose a race ban. The indycar rule will create a circumstance where a driver is penalised for a legitimate error. Red flags are just the nature of the beast at Monaco/other street circuits to a lesser extent.

      Reply moderated
    14. There is already a rule. Schumacher was penalized in 2006, when it was clearly deliberate.

      1. @regs Exactly, how does an F1 blogger like Dieter not realize this? This is not about deliberate fouls since that already can land people a penalty. However, this “yellow flag handed someone pole everybody else complaining they didn’t get to complete their run” scenario actually does happen a lot. Why not look into seeing if this can be improved upon?

    15. I think the idea is worth debating but actually I’m in favour of leaving the rules alone and allowing stewards to analyze data, if need be, to decide if an action was deliberate and disqualify them or give a grid penalty if so, as under existing rules. It was hugely disappointing not to see Verstappen and Bottas complete their fast laps, Sainz too, but nothing’s perfect and often failing to accept that fact just worsens the outcome.

      1. Really good comment!

    16. I haven’t fully thought this through, but for final stage qualifying red flags, what about extending qualifying to allow all of the drivers, apart from the one who caused the session ending red flag, enough time to complete one outlap and one flying lap? There would be no benefit then for deliberately causing a red flag.

    17. I think it’s good as it is at least the driver(s) got stamped for a whole life with his a action!

    18. The Indycar rule sounds terrible to me and overly harsh on drivers making genuine errors when pushing to the limit. I don’t like the idea of deleting previous laps when they disrupt their rivals’ laps unless there is obvious intent behind their actions such as Schumacher 2006.

      I do wonder if a compromise solution which could cover most situations would be that when a driver causes a significant impediment (double yellows or red flags), then their rivals are given an extra 2-3 minutes to complete additional laps, while the driver who caused it is not. And so that this doesn’t happen multiple times per session and only at the most significant moment, this could only apply during the final couple of minutes of Q3. This isn’t perfect as rivals may have already completed part of their laps and taken the best out of their tyres, but would at least give them more opportunity than currently. It would probably be enough to disincentivize intentional wrongdoing to secure a better grid position since it would be much less likely to reward the driver causing the impediment.

      1. @keithedin For the sake of fairness, the same should also apply to the final minutes of Q1 and Q2, but overall, extending has cons that outweigh the good intent, so not worth doing.

    19. Gavin Campbell
      29th May 2021, 19:56

      Actually I disagree due to the car park run offs on modern circuits there’s no penalty in causing a yellow.

      In the first 40/50 years of the championship you wouldn’t think of going off in qualifying on purpose. Furthermore you would have to decide how much to risk on a hot lap as if you go off you could wreck your car and not make the start or worse.

      Now at Paul Ricard every driver will take their car to the limit and over during qualifying. There’s no risk in getting it wrong, so put in a banker and then so what if it goes a bit wrong.

    20. I sure would hope that no such rule is necessary…but this day and age…is anything really possible?

    21. Think how there already is a track limit rule which deletes your lap if you just goes slightly over the line to gain the slightest of advantages (think Norris, Imola), so no stretch to have it deleted if you upset the whole apple cart of qualifying and secure your advantage.

      The bonus is that there will never be a doubt if you got an advantage by cheating (possibly championship altering), PLUS we will see less disturbed and anit-climatic qualifyings.

      Almost a no-brainer really.

    22. Why not a have your say article? I’d be keen to see the percentages. The for and against articles I always thought were a hallmark of the site, at least mark this one as opinion…

      I doubt the drivers would try any less, which is the main argument against here. They will always give it their all.

      I still think it’s bonkers that there’s an advantage to crashing in qually, regardless of the situation surrounding it. It’s not really a knee jerk at all, just a change in philosophy.

      As you say the particular reaction was misguided in this
      particular scenario, but that the teams, including drivers, had the reaction at all when they found out shows how on everyone’s mind it was.

      Remove the possibility to gain advantage by ruining others laps through flags and you remove the doubt and immediate skepticism. I don’t think it’s unfounded for fans to have the same reaction that the teams themselves have.

    23. deliberate qualifying crashes

      ?
      Michael Schumacher was punished for deliberate qualifying crash.
      That means there is rule to discourage deliberate qualifying crashes. What am I missing?

      1. @denis1304 The point of the debate

        1. Actually you missed my sarcasm. It went over your head like ISS.
          Indycar rule doesn’t distinguish between accidental and deliberate crash.

    24. Monaco is probably the best and also the worst location to prevent other people from going faster: It’s easy to do but the margin between making it too obvious and wracking your car is very fine.
      Wouldn’t it be much easier at other venues? A harmless spin or a trip through the grass followed by distributing some dirt and gravel all over the track would do it without risking your car.
      But how often do we see the provisional pole sitter interrupting (intentionally or not) the second run?
      It’s very rare. Maybe Bottas in Austria 1 last year comes to mind, just maybe also the “interesting tactics” at Monza 2019 and of course the three Monaco incidents.
      That’s 5 times in 15 years. One blatantly on purpose (Schumacher) and an other one questionable (Rosberg). The rest was just pushing hard (or everyone trying to outsmart each other).
      So please no new rules until it becomes a dirty habit.
      Btw, there is an easy fix: Make sure you get out on track ahead of your rival…

    25. Thus, the outcry after qualifying was not only totally misguided but also begs the question: Why alter the regulations to penalise a driver who is ‘on it’ in the closing stages of qualifying but crashes in the process?

      What an incredibly short sighted and downright pedantic take on things.

      It’s not per se about deliberately crashing either. If it’s actually deliberate they will no doubt receive additional penalties.

      The issue is that drivers on provisional pole can (and do) take more risk than others and seeing how this happened already many times before, it’s an absolutely valid point to be made

      Also you completely missed the fact that this is not about Monaco. Just go back to Q3 in Mexico, Austria, Tuscany. Rosberg alone already caused 2 or 3 of these incidents where he went off in Q3 handing himself pole. Deliberate or not, there clearly is a cause and effect.

      So there is a perfectly valid reason to penalise drivers who disrupt an entire session like that. Their actions cause “damage”. I’m not sure it will help or necessarily even improve things if a rule is added, but a valid point it is.

      1. @f1osaurus Bottas was the one in Mexico and Austria, and Ocon in Mugello. Rosberg only in Monaco. Nevertheless, I still disagree with your overall view.

        1. @jerejj Rosberg went off several times. It was a continued row.

          I portray facts:
          – It does happen about 3 times per season
          – It’s not about deliberate crashing
          – It’s not about Monaco

          All 100% correct. I haven’t actually given my view on whether applying a penalty would be better or not. Just pointing out this blog article (deliberately?) completely missed the actual point Masi is making.

          1. @f1osaurus But not in qualifying. Monaco in 2014, yes, but I can’t think of any other qualifying from 2014-2016 where he could’ve gone off and caused a yellow flag caution. Austria 2015, he spun off at the final corner, but so did his teammate at T1.

            1. @jerejj Yes in qualifying. When else?

      2. But where do you draw the line? When is an incident severe enough to be penalized? Is putting a wheel in the dirt and throwing stones on the track enough? Or outbreaking yourself and rejoining the tracker only a few seconds later but causing a temporary yellow flag?
        Those incidents happen every qualifying, every session. That would mean lots and lots of penalties applied afterwards. Noone would know the grid for quiet a while.
        As well there would be an immediate demand for penalty points to be applied. You’re a Hamilton fan. Would you really think that Hamilton deserved a further penalty and penalty points for his crash in Brazil 2017? That would be ridiculous.

        And bigger incidents in q3 just aren’t enough of a factor to require such drastic measures.
        Only “malicious” Rosberg and Bottas have done it successfully (once) and at least Bottas would have been on pole anyway. Schumacher was punished, Leclerc as well (by DNS).

        As long as the rules work perfectly fine, we don’t need more of them…

        1. @roadrunner Yeah who knows if it even makes sense to introduce a penalty, since we want them to drive on the utter limit of what these cars are capable off.

          It just sickens me how this blog completely misrepresents the matter at hand and tries to paint everyone, who thinks even looking into this makes sense, as some sort of whacko

          I can’t help thinking Keith himself would have produced a much better article indeed actually taking into account the pros and cons of introducing a penalty for this.

          To be honest I’m personally more in favor of having a fair fight. So indeed when you see how often cars go off in quali and then actually the car going off is the one who benefits from the fact they went off just does not feel fair. Of even the fact that they go off so often to ruin other people’s lap feels unfair.

          Similarly all these last moment jinxes that we see at the end of straights are just bullying and also dangerous. That’s also a rule in IndyCar to ban that out.

          Sometimes it does make sense to at least think about these things and see if the situation can be improved.

    26. Jockey Ewing
      30th May 2021, 11:03

      I think one of the easiest way of triggering a double yellow, is to break these nice wide front wings, they are much easier to wreck than the former ones. At some street circuits, and at some well known high or sausage like kerbs. The effort not even has to succeed all the time, can be mild, the expected “value” is still there. (I mean for example if one driver makes efforts at his second run at Q3, after having an unexpectedly strong first one, then such driver can do it in a very subtle manner, if the double yellow gets triggered 10 times out of 100 efforts, then that will seem totally legit on TV and telemetry as well).

      The problem is, that the margins and edges are so small, that even if there would be a very professional big data + AI service, fed and taught with all of the historical data of F1 runs, to provide many aspects of the data to the stewards in the case of an incident:
      The likelihood of a human error is very high compared to the reliability and consistency of these cars and IT systems.
      And no matter how perfect an analytic system is, referencing a human error, dizziness, distraction, will still succeed quite often, just because the huge gap between the consistency and reliability capabilities of a human and a machine.

      But I am still on the side, which says: F1 should make serious effort to build such analytic system, to experiment with it. Likely this would not be mature enough in 1 years, so I would not mind if it would not be introduced too early. The current efforts are showing htat data engineering is aleready involved into stewards decision, so well done, that is the righ direction, but do not stop at an inital step. F1 has everything to make serious steps in this field, they have wealth, they have a very challenging goal to achieve (the nuances, the human factor), and Amazon is amongst those companies who have a lot of experience with this. But of course for example Renault is or was sponsored by Microsoft , this could be a project involving multiple giants.

      So imo until they can come up with a mature soulution for this difficult problem, they should not make big changes, more likely very incremental ones, letting the technology a bit more advanced than the goals they try to achieve with it, or they will meet too much boo-boo like in the case of VAR at football. Imo such technologies are far from dead, they just need to become more evolved. And they will become more evolved as history and phenomenons of the unicvese are quite periodically repeating themselves.

    27. Jockey Ewing
      30th May 2021, 11:25

      So the problem is, even if such (of course fast and accurate) analytical service would exist:

      In the huge interval of [ no human error, but bad intentions … legit driving, human error ] there still has to be a boundary, and one side of it will be the offences, and on the other side of it there will be the legit racing incidents.
      (I mean the interval is wide, because optimally the analysis takes basically everything, former pecedents into account, and it is wide because there the human error proneness is compared to the machine consistency. That can be projected to a comfortably wide interval, to see more clearly.)

      Will decisions based on it look less marginal? Will they generate less debate? Around the boundary, the reception from the fans will be the same.

      If they would start to reference dizziness, distraction and things like that to avoid penalties, then even life signs would be monitored, and included into the decision, but not even that would change anything.

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