Tag Archives: penalty

Maldonado handed penalty for deliberate crash

Maldonado swerved into the side of Perez to cause a deliberate crash

Maldonado swerved into the side of Perez to cause a deliberate crash

Pastor Maldonado has been docked 10 places on the grid for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The newest F1 race winner caused a deliberate crash in Saturday practice with Sergio Perez.

As Perez moved off the racing line to allow Pastor past, the Williams driver swerved and slammed into the side of the Sauber, causing damage to both cars. Maldonado crashed several corners later.

After a similar incident in Spa last year with Lewis Hamilton, the stewards have again punished Pastor for another needless crash.

This all but certainly rules him out of challenging for the win on Sunday.

 

Hamiton’s penalty: Was it fair?

The smile has surely slipped from Hamilton's face after his disqualification

The smile has surely slipped from Hamilton’s face after his disqualification

Lewis Hamilton’s most recent penalty has drawn as much controversy as you’d expect. The Brit’s demotion to 24th on the grid has ruined his chances of a probable victory, over a fuel issue which probably wouldn’t have cost him pole.

However, others have argued that the penalty was fair – after all, this isn’t the first time McLaren have under-fuelled their car.

Let’s have a look at both arguments…

For

On one side, rules are rules. FIA Article 6.6 deals with how fuel samples are carried out, and it clearly states that “the car concerned must first have been driven back to the pits under its own power.”

Clearly, this was not the case. While Lewis stopped on track with enough fuel for the sample, he should have been forced to go back to the pits like everybody else – and this would have caused him to drop below the limit.

Furthermore, it soon became clear that McLaren were not being completely honest with the media over the incident. After qualifying, Martin Whitmarsh stated several times that the stoppage was not fuel-related, which obviously turned out to be completely false. The problem was identified after Lewis left the pits, and management surely must have been immediately alerted to the situation.

Their behaviour in this case should not have earned them extra punishment, but still reflects very badly on them as a team.

Against

At the end of the day, a very simple argument may be the best one – a 23 place grid drop is extremely harsh for such an infringement.

The extra fuel in Hamilton’s car to bring him back to the pits would have slowed him down slightly, but nowhere near enough for him to lose pole position, as he evidently had it in the bag.

Others claim that since the incident occurred in Q3, the penalty should only drop him out of the top 10 and no further. This would make more sense, as the drivers knocked out in Q2 clearly suffered no loss from this debacle, and therefore shouldn’t gain a place.

Personal opinion

I feel that, at the end of the day, rules are rules. It certainly is a harsh penalty, but in no way unfair.

The half lap of fuel that was required cost him about 0.05-0.1 tenths of a second on his flying lap, well below the gap between him and Pastor Maldonado, but this makes no difference. Whether a car is 1 tenth or 10 seconds ahead, it doesn’t matter – all drivers should have to abide by the same rules.

Put it this way: If Michael Schumacher – in his domination years – qualified 0.5 seconds ahead of anyone else, while using an illegal fuel mixture that gave him an extra 0.1 seconds, does that make it acceptable? Of course not. It’s not a perfect example, as Lewis or the team clearly weren’t trying to break the rules in such a manner, but the fundamental point remains.

If McLaren/Hamilton want fair treatment from the FIA, then they will have to deserve it. All 24 drivers should abide by the rules in the correct manner, and if one breaks the rules, they should be punished accordingly, no matter how insignificant the incident. Look at Sauber – a tiny rear wing radius issue caused them to be thrown out of qualifying in Australia 2011, and they deserved it.

With such a tight and unpredictable 2012 grid, McLaren should know better than to get caught up in such petty incidents – it may cost them the title.

Kobayashi hit with 5-place grid penalty

Kamui Kobayashi has suffered another setback to his Hungarian Grand Prix drive, with the news that he has received a 5-place grid penalty for ignoring a red light at the end of the pit lane. The red light was for the FIA scrutineering garage, but Kamui went straight on into the Sauber garage.

This means that the Japanese driver will drop from 18th to 23rd on the grid, in between the two Hispania drivers. This means that the back row will be both Japanese drivers, with Sakon Yamamoto in 24th place (again).

Meanwhile, Pedro de la Rosa, fellow Sauber driver, will start from 9th on the grid, with a chance at his first points of the year.

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