Albon says his penalty points are ‘undeserved’ but his track record gives cause for concern

2022 F1 season

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Halfway into the first year of his return to F1 racing, Alexander Albon is already halfway towards a one-race ban.

Over the first 11 races of the 22 on the 2022 F1 calendar, the Williams driver has already collected six penalty points. He described it as a “huge amount” and said “every single one of them is undeserved.”

Any driver who collects 12 penalty points over a consecutive 12-month period receives an automatic one-race ban. Albon should be grateful the rule specifically refers to a consecutive period, otherwise he could have already copped an automatic race suspension.

When Albon was dropped from his Red Bull drive at the end of 2020 he was already on seven penalty points, all of which had been collected since August 2nd. Those points were wiped from his licence as he didn’t race in F1 during 2021.

As it is, the rate at which he has picked up points since returning gives cause for concern. He obviously can’t afford to collect another six or more points over the coming races.

Albon collected his latest sanction for an incident with Lando Norris during the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race. That brought his total for the season up to six.

“I’m on a huge amount this year and I would say every single one of them is undeserved,” Albon told media including RaceFans. “But that is what it is.”

Albon believes the standard used to hand down penalty points has changed from race to race following feedback from drivers to the race directors. “I’m sure we’ll have a chat again in the drivers briefing next race and the goalposts will move again,” he said.

“It’s tricky because I do feel that obviously the FIA are learning what they want to be doing with the driving and until they find it there is a bit of inconsistency.”

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Albon sent Stroll spinning in Jeddah
Albon received his first two penalty points this year for colliding with Lance Stroll during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. He picked up a single point each for track limits offences in Spain and Monaco. He also has a single reprimand, which did not include a penalty point, for impeding Mick Schumacher during qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

He hasn’t come away with a penalty every time he has faced the stewards. They decided he had not infringed on three occasions: an unsafe release investigation in Saudi Arabia, an impeding investigation in Spain and allegedly driving unnecessarily slowly during qualifying in Canada.

However Albon should also feel grateful two potential incidents were not even investigated. Charles Leclerc was furious he spent almost a full lap behind the Williams as it was being shown blue flags in Monaco, until it skidded off the track. The stewards also decided Albon’s collision with Sebastian Vettel in the Austria sprint race did not merit an investigation.

Albon’s penalty points over his last 12 months racing in F1

2nd August 2020British Grand Prix2Involved in an incident with Kevin Magnussen
6th September 2020Italian Grand Prix2Caused a collision by failing to leave the required one-car-width for a competitor
27th September 2020Russian Grand Prix1Failed to follow the race director’s instructions when rejoining the track
11th Octoboer 2020Eifel Grand Prix2Caused a collision with Daniil Kvyat
27th March 2022Saudi Arabian Grand Prix2Caused a collision with Lance Stroll
22nd May 2022Spanish Grand Prix1Repeatedly exceeded track limits
29th May 2022Monaco Grand Prix1Left the track and gained an advantage over Mick Schumacher
9th July 2022Austrian Grand Prix sprint race2Forced Lando Norris off the track

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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23 comments on “Albon says his penalty points are ‘undeserved’ but his track record gives cause for concern”

  1. I think Albon should rather have a clear look at his driving and clean up there before saying they are all undeserved. I really don’t see Albon as a driver like Maldonado, or Mazepin, who racked up infractions for often being far too aggressive on track (and outside of it), but when you look at his substantial amount of points he had in his last year of racing AND how many he has, and could have gotten more so far, it seems he does lack some awareness of what is going on around him.

    1. I recall a few others pointing this out during in his Red Bull tenure too as he seemed to have a habit of not knowing what was around his car with some clumsy incidents at that time. Hopefully he’ll take the criticism on board and make changes but it’s not looking likely if he refuses to accept he deserved any points.

    2. @bascb Isn’t it ironic that the drivers getting the most penalty points are often the ones that “deserve them the least” according to their own words. I think that taking responsibility for incidents, at least some of them, help the drivers grow and avoid similar mistakes in the future.

      1. Ha, that is so true @jeanrien!

        I liked how Norris mentioned in an interview after the Austrian race (on F1TV) that while he felt it was a solid race, his own off track moments probably cost him a position.

  2. The SA points were certainly undeserved, but he should be happy he didn’t get any for a clear-cut blue flag rule infringement in Monaco, nor for spinning Seb off in the last Sprint.

    1. @jerejj I cannot guess the reasoning which led the stewards to conclude his incident with Norris deserved a penalty but the incident with Vettel wasn’t even worth investigating.

  3. I think the issuing of Penalty points for a driver exceeding track limits is wrong! Crashing / Impeding I can understand – and a time penalty (5s) during a race for exceeding limits, (but not like the OOT amount in Austria – that was a little overzealous!!) or a fastest time deleted during qualifying is the correct punishment…

    1. I do agree with time penalties, although I think 3 times is a bit strict and 5 times would fit better.
      But definitely agree that that should not be worthy of a penalty point.

    2. It is ridiculous these penalty points for track limits. There are many reasons why drivers exceed track limits and most of them are not intentional. FIA just mirror the current EU policy of sanctioning everything even if it doesn’t make sense.
      Meanwhile Rome burns.

  4. I honestly think penalty points are not being used in the spirit they were intended, as to prevent dangerous driving. We’re giving out penalty points for almost every infraction, including a lot where no danger was posed from the infraction.

    Some of the things that have been given penalty points
    “Crossed pit entry line”
    “Ignoring blue flags”
    “Left track”
    “Gained advantage off track”

    Like, cool, those are all things you can give penalties of various degrees for because they broke a rule, but do we really need to hand out penalty points leading to a potential race ban because you put your car all four wheels over a white line?

    1. So true. The correct way to deal with things like track limit violations in a race is by penalising the driver in that race. Leaving the track certainly isn’t a safety issue. Speeding in the pit lane might be worthy of points as it is a safety issue, but often speeding in the pit lane means they’ve mistimed the braking and went a couple of kph too fast for the first few meters, and that is detected every time automatically and penalised. So yes, stick to the original spirit of points which was to penalise outright bad driving which was causing collisions.

    2. Crossing the lines is only awarded penalty points in specific circumstances. Either the driver does so around the pitlane, which is a safety issue, or falls afoul of the rules many times (even in Austria nobody got any penalty points).

      Given that Vettel was given a (suspended) penalty for upsetting the race director last time out, one wonders what penalty Albon will get for basically declaring a bunch of different stewards panels were all full of it. That in addition to his earlier admission that he simply ignored the blue flags in Monaco because he didn’t care.

    3. Penalty points were never intended to be just for dangerous driving @sjaakfoo. They are supposed to punish repeated rule violations which individually may not merit a severe sanction, but taken together indicate a driver who is unwilling or unable to follow the rules, and thereby deserving of a more serious penalty.

      Keeping the car on the track is about the most basic requirement of a racing driver. It is right that drivers who repeatedly abuse track limits should be subject to penalty points. If you can’t keep it on the black stuff you have no business being in F1 anyway.

  5. I cannot take someone complaining about penalty points seriously when his defence boils down to ‘my car is so bad I cannot take a corner without crashing into another car.’

    Sorry, mate, that’s on you.

  6. some racing fan
    18th July 2022, 19:13

    The fact that he is blaming his car rather than himself is already a possible cause for concern. He’s not in the same league as drivers like Maldonado (way too aggressive, crashed all the time, possible mental health problems), Mazepin (slow, incompetent, unrepentant), or even F2’s Ragunathan (Mazepin x 10- physically unfit, cripplingly stupid, underdeveloped and ignorant, slower than a snail). Albon can improve but he has to identify the initial problem first- himself.

    1. Before, Hamilton was the cause of his career destabilization now it’s obvious he can’t keep a car on the tarmac without incident.

    2. There’s some Grade-A ableism going on here.

  7. I don’t take penalty points seriously since no one ever got a race ban because of them and if one risks they bend the rules to not give a race ban.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      18th July 2022, 22:06


      Yea, they seem to become slack on giving drivers penalty points when they are close to getting a ban. I remember Hamilton in Russia one year basically was about to reach 12 penalty points until the stewards decided to cancel the two he was about to get given. There was a reason behind this, but i still have a feeling that they were worried about him being too close to a ban and were a little soft on him.

      1. Plus the fact that under the race notes for the weekend what he did shouldn’t have been penalised anyway. I do agree they realised they were getting close to a ban for some silly penalties of which half were contentious though and seemed to be less trigger happy.

  8. I’ve got a solution for you Albon. Join a top team!

  9. Albans absolutely correct. Penalty point were introduced to combat dangerous driving. Now their handed out like smarties to accompany even the slightest infringement

    Total waste of time that does nothing for F1

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