Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2021

Why Verstappen’s grid penalty differed from Hamilton’s Silverstone sanction

2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen will carry a penalty into the next round of the world championship at Sochi following his collision with Lewis Hamilton at Monza.

The Red Bull driver was handed a grid penalty after colliding with his championship rival as the pair fought for position at the Rettifilo chicane. Verstappen’s car came to a rest on top of Hamilton’s, putting both out.

The pair have tangled once already this season, at Silverstone. On that occasion, only Verstappen retired while Hamilton was considered responsible. The Mercedes driver was given a 10-second time penalty during the race, which he went on to win.

As both drivers retired from today’s race, Verstappen had to be given a penalty for a subsequent round, as Formula 1 race director Michael Masi explained.

“If they had continued, it would have been a time penalty in the race,” said Masi. “However, they didn’t.

“So in Silverstone – you can’t compare them at all – you’ve got two cars taken out in one incident versus one car taken out in another incident. So they stopped, they could not continue to serve a penalty.

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“So a grid penalty, as we’ve seen, is what’s applied for this year, as we’ve agreed with all of the teams, it’s applied for when someone doesn’t continue.”

Hamilton’s Silverstone sanction was harsher than the typical five-second time penalty handed down for collisions involving drivers. However Verstappen’s three-place grid drop is typically the smallest such penalty. Grid drops of less than three places are extremely rare, though Sergio Perez was given a one-place penalty last year at Mugello.

Nonetheless, Hamilton’s penalty did not prevent him winning the race at Silverstone. That infuriated Red Bull, who lobbied the FIA unsuccessfully for a stronger penalty.

How seriously Verstappen’s penalty will prove remains to be seen. As things stand, he will start the Russian Grand Prix no higher than fourth, and could well drop behind his championship rival.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the team “are disappointed with the three place grid penalty, but accept the stewards’ decision.”

“We felt what happened between Max and Lewis was a genuine racing incident,” he added. “You can argue for both sides but ultimately it’s frustrating and disappointing to see both cars out of the race in what is proving to be an exciting championship.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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51 comments on “Why Verstappen’s grid penalty differed from Hamilton’s Silverstone sanction”

  1. So … are you or are you not supposed to leave a car’s width if your opponent is significantly alongside?

    1. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
      12th September 2021, 19:17

      Not always, there is no rule that governs all actions. Every collision is a separate incident which has to looked at. Many factors are part of it.

    2. Well, the stewards mentioned that since Verstappen actually had NOT been (significantly) alongside Hamilton at entry of the corner @proesterchen, that question did not even figure in the equasion. They also pointed out that Hamilton did actually take an avoiding line giving Verstappen some room (presumably enough to give Max the chance to back out / take to the left after as Hamilton had done earlier in the race).

      To be honest, had Max done what Lewis did in the first lap, Max would probably have had a really solid chance to get by on the run to the second corner.

      1. @bascb He might then have had to give the place back though. Since the Spa 2008 after the fact rule change, drivers cannot cut a corner and overtake on the next.

        Unless they count Curva Grande as a separate corner.

        1. Someone already did it in this race and got away with it though. I forget who it was, Lec and Bot maybe?

    3. Depends on the Stewards how they see the situation. They didn’t see it that Max was Next to Lewis and took it from there.
      So they blame him i would say racing thing but i am fine with the penaulty.

    4. @proesterchen If a driver attacking into a corner fails to draw fully alongside on the way in, the leading driver does not need to leave them a car’s width.

      So in the case of lap one, Verstappen did not need to leave Hamilton space at the exit of turn four, and in the case of the crash, Hamilton did not need to leave Verstappen space at the exit of turn one.

      1. @keithcollantine @proesterchen There is one thing that is not clear to me. When I saw the accident on tv, I immediately felt that Max was in the wrong. But I have trouble with the given explanation. We have seen from the Austrian GP that when you try to overtake on the OUTside, you need to be fully alongside to be granted room. When you overtake on the INside, only a half car width is enough to have the right of the corner.
        In Monza, Verstappen was on the outside at the turn-in but not fully alongside. So it was Hamilton’s corner to begin with. However, they stayed side by side and when they moved left, this time Verstappen was on the inside and more than a half car width alongside Hamilton. Was Hamilton not in the wrong here to leave not enough room?

        1. @matthijs Perhaps that is why Max was deemed predominantly to blame but not wholly, and why he got the minimum penalty. I think it becomes shades of grey and is why the stewards are needed in these types of incidents. They have to look at how much a car was alongside and when and where into, during, and exiting the corner. We have clearly seen on numerous occasions with LH and Max that upon exiting a corner the leader seems to have every right to take the chance of squeezing his opponent and forcing their hand to either back off, go off, or make contact. It would seem at Monza LH had every right to squeeze Max as he did, and just as Max has risked his own car’s well being such as Keith points out in turn four’s exit, that is the hard racing part and is why sometimes the stewards have to have a close look at it to see who was responsible to do what and what time, and who could have done more to avoid the contact.

        2. That’s why I’m confused as well. Verstappen had the inside of the turn. So it was his turn. Honestly how could he have backed out even if he wanted to? When I watched the WEC race there were multiple times where LMP cars made the same move that Verstappen did and pushed the other LMP off the track. It was harsh but deemed fair by the officials because it was their turn. So how could the same exact pass be considered a penalty on Verstappen in the F1 race? I thought it should be a penalty on Hamilton for not leaving a car length, but even that would have been a bit harsh.
          You can’t even compare that incident to the one earlier in the race where Hamilton backed out, because if he had been on the inside he definitely wouldn’t have backed out. Had Hamilton caused a wreck there it would have been inexcusable so he can’t act like he did some kind of huge favor in that instance. His responses when interviewed after the race were very diplomatic. He definitely made the most of drawing attention to the fact he got hit in the head with a tire.

          Reply moderated
        3. @matthijs Depends on your point of view – as the apex of T2 is still the exit of T1. Deciding where one finishes and the other starts I suspect is an exercise in futility, and would probably result in a paradox of rules.

          1. @fluxsource Indeed. I have a hunch that the stewards thought it was a fault by Verstappen (like the majority of us does I think), but that it was very difficult to back it up by rules. Jolyon Palmer describes it very well here: https://youtu.be/C_J-sfngex4

  2. Let’s face it Verstappen did the maths coming into this race, and knew what he had to do to keep his slim lead of the championship. Hopefully Bottas and Hamilton will repay the deed by locking out the Redbulls for this next round of this Championship.

    1. And he was doing exactly that which the maths suggested: try to finish ahead of Hamilton to stay in the lead. Identical to Hamilton’s Silverstone action, trying to get in the lead.
      This might be new to you, but that’s precisely what motorracing is all about.
      Wishing ill luck to people at future events is such respectless football-hooligan behavior.

    2. Isn’t this kinda repaying what Hamilton did at Silverstone, so following that shouldn’t Perez than crash half the drivers in the first corner next race, practically taking out Hamilton for the race and leaving Verstappen unscathered… just as Bottas did?

      Reply moderated
    3. @Ajaxn “Hopefully” for you. The world isn’t made up of only Hamilton and Mercedes fans.

  3. They all know the rules and have agreed to how they would work. A 3 place grid penalty is generality given in place of a 5s time penalty when the driver to be penalised has retired, and 5 place for 10s. If they don’t think it’s fair, they can lobby to have this changed for next season.

    That said, I think it’s likely that Red Bull will nullify this anyway by taking their engine penalty at Sochi. That way it will have no effect, Max will start from the back just as he would anyway.

    1. @drmouse Except that still forces them to change their engine at Sochi which was probably not their optimal strategy. Sochi is typically not a good track for recovering from the back.

      1. @keithedin I would disagree with that – in the previous races at Sochi, we’ve seen several cases of drivers making up a large number of places from near or at the back of the grid.

        2019: Albon started in the pit lane and finished 5th (net gain = 15 places);
        2018: Verstappen and Ricciardo went from 19th and 18th to 5th and 6th respectively (net gains of 14 and 12 places respectively);
        2016: Magnussen went from 17th to 7th, Alonso from 14th to 6th and Grosjean from 15th to 8th (net gains of 10, 8 and 7 places respectively);
        2015: Massa went from 15th to 4th (net gain = 11 places)
        2014: Rosberg went from the back of the field to 2nd (after his mistake on the opening lap)

        We’ve twice seen drivers from Red Bull start from the back of the grid, or even from the pit lane, and still manage to make up a large number of points to score a decent amount of points. Even midfield drivers, who would have less of a performance advantage when compared to other drivers around them, have managed to make up a decent number of places during previous races too.

        With that record in mind, I would have said that, if Red Bull were going to take an engine penalty, Sochi is a pretty good place for it.

        1. Fair points. Maybe my memory of Sochi is more weighted towards the fights at the front of the field, where overtaking does seem to be difficult. There have been several cases where the two Mercs or two Ferraris have been unable to get close to each other despite the following one appearing to have more pace. All I would say though is that the top cars now have less of a pace advantage over the midfield than most of the examples you mentioned. And you’d have to compare this with other tracks to see how easy or difficult it is to make up places there as I’m sure Redbull and Merc will have been calculating to help inform their engine replacement strategy.

          1. Leading up to Monza the talk was that Monza and Sochi would be Mercedes’ strongholds. I’m sure Max’s penalty will have some effect on RBR’s decision whether or not to take an engine penalty, but at the same time I do wonder if it will still come down to what the lay of the land looks like after qualifying. e.g. If it doesn’t appear after all that the Mercs are dominant at Sochi, then perhaps Max just takes the 3 place penalty. If Mercs appear dominant and lock out the front row, then perhaps RBR considers it a mulligan and takes their component penalty and concede this was likely to be an LH win anyway. Hard to know what they will decide. After all, the cars are different than last year and previous ones, RBR are super strong consistently now, and it remains to be seen how strong Mercedes are at Sochi relatively, and RBR don’t have to decide today.

  4. “If they had continued, it would have been a time penalty in the race,” said Masi.

    I don’t believe this at all. Or at least it’s conditional. The first thing the stewards look at in any incident is the consequences. It doesn’t matter how many times they say otherwise, it’s just the truth. Taking this incident for example – with both drivers out, Verstappen got a penalty. If both drivers continue with no damage, then there’d be no penalty. If Verstappen was out of the race but Hamilton continued, then no penalty (unless they changed their view of who was at fault).

    Same logic would have applied to the incident at Silverstone. Lewis got a penalty because he came off better and was deemed predominantly to blame. I just get a bit tired of this talk about the consequences not being taken into account when clearly they are.

    1. @keithedin By ‘consequences’, they are talking about either material damages (i.e. the cost of repairing the cars, which was brought up by Ferrari and Red Bull this year because of the budget cap) or the current championship situation (i.e. they won’t refuse to penalise a driver just because it might materially effect the championship standings or final result).

    2. I think you have a fair point on consequences (ie they clearly do get considered). Personally, I actually think they should be considered MORE.

      One of the thing that feels unfair when looking at the Silverstone incident vs. this incident, is that IF the stewards were correct, and LH was responsible for Silverstone, and MV was responsible for Monza, then the penalties had very different consequences given the circumstances. The net effect of Silverstone is that Lewis gained 25 points over Max, and the “penalty” didn’t have any impact. The net effect of Monza is that Max will start from 3 places back (and we won’t know the consequences from that until after the race).

      I’m not suggesting that the stewards amend their decisions once everything has played out, but that penalties do actually consider the consequences. If you’re deemed to be responsible for an incident that removes your championship competitor, then it’s probably right that you are unable to score points against them in that race. On a similar vein, if you take out your both yourself and your championship competitor at a time when they are likely to have scored points against you, then maybe you should be penalised points (or at least a penality that has an impact on a subsequent race, much as MV has recieved).

  5. “You can argue for both sides but ultimately it’s frustrating and disappointing to see both cars out of the race in what is proving to be an exciting championship.”

    Wise words from Horner. Not a fan of his, but I agree here. A tad less aggression and we would have had more racing. That crash is a shame, really.

    1. If you believe Horner in this instance more fool you. I think Redbull is secretly glad that Lewis didn’t overturn their lead on Merc friendly track.

      Reply moderated
  6. Unfair on Max. At least it was a slow corner (silverstone). Last time Hamilton did not get his own way and had competition his team mate won the title. Hmmm.

    Reply moderated
  7. I personally think that the grid penalty is a fair punishment for Max. Hopefully this will help him develop a better understanding of when to be aggressive and when to bide your time. His judgement was probably already skewed due to his slow pit stop but he really let himself (and his team/his supporters) down when he walked away from the incident without checking if his title rival was okay post crash. Following such incidents driver safety should override ones impulse to skulk away to fester in ones own juice

    Reply moderated
  8. This call is bad. You either need to leave room or you don’t. If you have to already have the move made and be back on the racing line, then you don’t need room. The only people who need room are those who are alongside. Watch the replay of the corner, and tell me VER is not alongside.

    From the moment they start to turn right, VER’s front axle is about level with HAM’s back axle. And from that point he only moves more and more alongside through the corner. he didn’t lock wheels, he didn’t dive bomb. It was a solid move. HAM gave no room, and VER was going to hit that curb regardless.

    And let’s be clear, this is not the first time HAM has squeezed someone off. I am not a VER fanatic, but this was a bad call.

    1. hobo, I’m genuienly interested in your take on the first lap incident with VER and HAM. How do you see that differing from this incident or do you think Max was at fault for squeezing Lewis off there too?

      Reply moderated
  9. Hamilton was adamant he gave his rival sufficient space but believed there was not enough room for Verstappen to try and overtake him.
    So which is it Hamilton, sufficient or not enough?

    1. I don’t think he logs on here and therefore probably won’t be able to answer your question.

      Have you considered writing to him instead?

  10. Totally unfair rule and it’s even admitted here. A 10s penalty next race is the correct choice. At the outside one place grid drop. Everyone knows a 3 place grid drop is much more costly than a 10 second penalty. The unprofessionalism of F1 stewarding must be addressed.

    1. @balue It’s been established for quite a while that if a time penalty cannot be served in the race due to retirement it is replaced with a grid drop in the next race, with 3 places for 5s and 5 places for 10s. I believe Bottas’ 5 place drop at Spa, for instance, was in lieu of a 10s penalty. If this is unfair, it should be addressed, though I am unsure why this is only brought up when it affects Max…

      1. @drmouse Is it? Where do you have that from? Perez got one place grid drop from causing a collision in Mugello. What was that ‘in lieu of’ then?

        But even that’s beside the point about what is a fair and accurate. 5 place grid drop for Bottas wiping out the front rows is perfectly reasonable, giving him a 10s penalty in the race, should he have survived the carnage, would have been a joke.

        In no way does a 5 second time penalty equal 3 place grid drop, or 10 second 5 places, especially on tracks where overtaking it’s extremely unlikely with cars of similiar speeds like Monaco or even Monza. Even my gran would understand that.

        1. @balue
          Bottas wasn’t given a “5 place grid drop for Bottas wiping out the front rows”, he was given a 5 place grid drop for misjudging his braking and colliding with Lando. 10s would have been a perfectly reasonable punishment for that, or even a bit harsh considering the conditions at the time.

          Also, a 5s/10s can be a worse punishment than 3/5 places, depending on when you have to take it, where you are positioned in the field and how easy or difficult it is to overtake at the specific track. In the midfield, there is quite often a 5 second train of more than 3 cars, or a 10s train of more than 5 cars. They need to apply the same penalty for the same incident, whether to a front runner, back marker or midfield car, and also the same punishment no matter which track they’re at. They can’t say “Oh, you’re at Monaco, so we’re going to only give you a 1 place grid penalty for that gearbox change” any more than they can say “Ah, it’s Sochi next, that’s a pretty easy track to overtake at so we’re going to give you a 10 place grid drop instead of 3”.

          Heck, if RB were planning to take a new engine at Sochi, which they could well have been given the characteristics of the circuit, then this penalty would mean nothing at all. They would start at the back either way.

          1. @drmouse You are just repeating FIAs argumentation, and even that’s false like I showed you with the Perez Mugello penalty, which you handily ignored.

            There is nothing uniform about the penalties like you make out. In Austria Perez got a 5s penalty for not leaving Leclerc enough space in a similar incident to the Verstappen/Hamilton now. Leclerc was never ahead but his wheels where alongside the sidepod. For wiping out the front row and taking out championship protagonists at the start, Grosjean got a race ban, so no way 10 sec is fine for other cases. It’s all about who you are, what team you belong to, the carnage caused, and the possible backlash to the decision. The rules are poorly thought out, and the stewarding poorly done on top of that with variation being the rule more than the exception.

            The Ocon incident now mirrored Leclerc/Hamilton at the same track previously, but one was penalized, and the other was not. Siding with FIA would be impossible and you would be forced to judge for yourself. In one case you would agree, and the other not. In this case, the rule was changed. And guess why FIA changed it? Due to other people telling them how rubbish the rule was.

          2. @balue

            So, yes, the stewards have leeway to award different penalties, like the 1 place grid drop for Perez. They still generally replace a 5s penalty with 3 place grid drop and 10s with 5 places.

            I’ve just rewatched the Perez/Leclerc incident. If I’m looking at the right incident, Leclerc was actually ahead at turn-in, which would give him the right to space on the outside looking at the stewards ruling for the HAM/VER incident. Watch it in slow-mo and you can see LEC on the left ahead of PER just before he starts steering to the right. Of course, this may not be the right incident, in which case I’m happy to be corrected.

            The Grosjean incident you reference was the one which triggered the stewards and the teams to agree that the consequences of the incident should not be taken into account. It was precisely the massive over-reaction from that incident which caused everyone to back up and rethink it all.

            I’m certainly not saying the stewards get it right all the time or that there is nothing which could/should be changed to improve things, but it is not even half as bad as you are making out here.

          3. @balue

            To quote the stewards from the Perez Mugelo ruling:

            We consider there is some merit in mitigating penalty and therefore reduce the normal penalty for an offence of this type from 3 grid positions to 1, noting that a grid penalty is appropriate as Car 11 was exiting the pits, whereas Car 7 was on a fast lap and therefore the driver of Car 11 was wholly to blame.

            It was due to mitigating circumstances that they reduced the normal 3 place penalty to 1, but the normal penalty would have been 3 places. The stewards used their discretion here and specifically notes that they were choosing to give a lighter penalty than normal. However, it is very rare that they do so.

          4. @drmouse If we agree on the principle I can just refer to my first comment

          5. @balue OK let’s go back to your first post:

            Totally unfair rule and it’s even admitted here. A 10s penalty next race is the correct choice. At the outside one place grid drop. Everyone knows a 3 place grid drop is much more costly than a 10 second penalty. The unprofessionalism of F1 stewarding must be addressed.

            I disagree that a 10s penalty next race would be fair, given that the team could then work their strategy around it for the whole weekend. In addition, I can’t remember a single time when anything but a grid drop had been carried over from one race to another, so this would be an absolutely unprecedented move.

            A 1 place drop would be ridiculously lenient. Even RB have not tried to argue that there are extenuating circumstances which would warrant that as there were for Perez.

            I have argued elsewhere that the relative cost of grid drops and time penalties are incredibly situational. In certain situations and certain tracks, a grid drop is more costly, but not always. There have been many times when there have been more than 3 cars within a 5s interval, or more than 5 cars in a 10s interval, and some tracks are easier to overtake than others, but the stewards would be accused of inconsistency if they started trying to adjust the penalties all over the place so that they had equal costs at all times. “This is Monaco, so we’ll only give a 1 place grid drop instead of 5 for that gearbox change” wouldn’t fly any more than “The next track is easy to overtake at, so we’ll give you a 10 place grid penalty there in place of the 10s you can’t serve here”.

            Now, personally, I don’t think this incident would have earned a penalty last year, or the year before, and I wish that were the case now. However, a 5s time penalty would have been consistent with this year’s rulings, and translating a 5s penalty to a 3 place grid drop is consistent with both this and previous years’ policy. The stewards don’t always get things right but, in this case, they are being consistent and, IMHO, professional.

          6. You’re again just parroting FIA and not judging the penalties, except for the 10s penalty next race, and even that is dismissed as being ‘unprecedented’ which makes the whole thing just circular reasoning.

            It’s pointless to continue.

          7. @balue I think you’ll find I judged several of the penalties in several ways. I am certainly not “parroting FIA”, although I have referenced a previous judgement (which you specifically brought up) to show consistency in approach, which is important.

            – I judged the 10s penalty for the next race as being more lenient than a 10s penalty in the same race and explained my reasoning, as well as stating it had never been done before.
            – I judged the 1 place grid drop to be very lenient, based on the one previous use you could point to.
            – I judged the relative merits of different penalties in different situations.
            – I finished off by judging the consistency of the approach taken.

            All of the above included my reasoning.

            However, if you just want to dismiss my argument, saying I’m just parroting the FIA, that’s fine. I have a feeling I am not going to convince you, and your last comment leads me to suspect you aren’t even going to consider any opinion but your own. At the end of the day, even RB can’t disagree too much given that they are making no attempt to appeal. The stewards have looked at the incident, with access to far more data than we have, made a judgement, and awarded a penalty which is consistent with the overly-harsh penalties they have been handing out this year. It’s done with, and probably won’t even have a massive impact. If the penalty system is deemed to be incorrect, they can lobby for it to be changed for next year, but changing approach mid-season would not be fair to anyone who had already suffered from it this year.

            As a final point, I don’t remember hearing anyone complain about the grid drop substitution before now, even though it has been used several times. I must wonder if it is only such an issue because of the driver who has ended up on the wrong end of it…

  11. They need to stop using grid penalties and time penalties as if they were substitutes for each other in my opinion. Do one or the other so it is fair on all drivers. If you can’t serve a time penalty due to a race ending crash/failure, serve it at the next event. Or stop giving time penalties and only apply grid penalties.

    I completely understand that Verstappen did what he did. I am loving this season, it is like a pressure cooker that is slowly building up steam.

    1. I don’t think they can legitimately move to using grid penalties in place of all time penalties. If drivers are not punished in the race where they committed an infraction they will start doing so on purpose. Making up even 1 place this race is almost always worth more than losing one in the next race. For instance, finishing 1st then 3rd gives 40 points, where two 2nd place finishes is 36 points. 5th then 7th is the same as 2 6th place finishes, but one in the bank now is better than waiting for the next race.

      I guess that applying a time penalty to the next race could be done, but that’s normally going to be less of a punishment than applying it in this race. The team can make preparations for it, possibly adjusting the setup or changing the strategy well in advance for the whole weekend to minimise the effects of the penalty. The same can be done for grid drops, of course: I fully expect that Max will take his engine change next race, which will nullify the penalty (except for making him take it at a race he may not have been intending to).

      1. Yep I agree that it will be difficult [to move to using grid penalties in place of all time penalties]

        My point is more to make it equal for all drivers if you are deemed at fault, regardless of if the incident you are involved in was race ending or not.

        I am not sure what the answer is but I would love to see a standardise approach rather than sometimes time penalties and sometimes grid penalties.

        ps I am not address it just because of Max (as you mentioned in another post) I think rules should always be under review to ensure they are applied in the best way possible.

        Reply moderated
        1. TBH, I don’t really like the time penalties they have at the moment. How much they affect a driver depends a lot on what point in the race they are awarded as well as how far down the field you are. They also affect drivers around you differently depending on many conditions, too.

          Personally, I think something like the “long lap” would be a better solution, which would at least force the driver to take the penalty “immediately” (within 3 laps). It would also stop penalised drivers from holding up other competitors and stop them having to adjust the race result at the end as often, and would even allow a more graduated penalty system (if a long lap is about +2s, they could give a varied number of long laps for penalties from 2-10s or more). It could even be passed to the next race on retirement, possibly with an extended amount of laps to take them (within 10 laps rather than 3, maybe) top stop it being a larger penalty when the pack is bunched up.

        2. However, all that said, I think they have a fairly consistent approach right now. They apply a penalty in the race wherever possible for infractions in the race. If the offence is outside the race or a time penalty cannot be taken in the race due to retirement, they give a grid penalty. I don’t think it is either possible or fair to move all of them to time penalties, especially carrying them over from one race to another, and grid penalties are a reasonable way to do that in these cases. Also, at the end of the day, if drivers don’t want to get penalties they could always try following the rules….

  12. I am a Max fan, I don’t believe there is any argument that this one is on Max. The issue I believe is that the punishment is way out of kilter with similar incidents. This sanction is very likely to have a big impact on Max and the championship whereas the 10s penalty handed to Lewis for his mistake in Silverstone is nowhere near as impacting, basically for doing the same thing…

    Reply moderated
    1. @malrg Unfortunately, it would be near impossible for them to make penalties have the same impact at all times.

      A 10s penalty if you have half a minute either side of you to your next competitors will have little to no impact, whereas it could drop you a large handful of places if it must be served shortly after the start or a restart, or even in the middle of a safety car period. Similarly, a 5 place grid drop could cost a driver a large number of points if they are near the front of the grid, and nothing if already starting at the back. The track they are given at can affect this even more. A 3 place grid drop or a 5s penalty is likely to be much more costly at Monaco than at Sochi.

      As things stand, there is a reasonable consistency in the penalties which are handed out. Currently they are being consistently harsh, IMHO, compared to previous seasons. However, given the massively different impact an identical penalty can have in 2 different situations, I think this is the best we can hope for. Trying to get consistency of outcome is more likely to screw everything up than improve anything.

      The only reasonable way I can see to give a consistent outcome on the race result is to move away from in-race penalties (grid/time/drive-through/stop-go) altogether, and instead apply penalties to finishing positions. So, rather than a 5s time penalty, you would get a 1 place result drop, meaning if you finished in 3rd place your official result would be 4th. However, even that doesn’t give consistence of outcome, because they are not just competing for the race result but for the world championships: A 1 place drop may mean, say, one team finished a place lower than they otherwise would, whereas another team stays where they are.

      To summarise, it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to make all equal penalties have the same impact.

      1. Fully agree, impossible to make it 100% even regardless of circumstance, but i thing there should be a little more freedom for the penalty to be malleable to keep it in kilter with the events within the season to date. But yes, very difficult.

        Reply moderated

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