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Explaining grid penalties

NEWS STORY
21/07/2012

Mat Coch writes:

In Germany fans were faced with the confusing prospect of four drivers receiving grid penalties for different infringements at different times.

While on the surface it would appear to be a straight forward case of counting down five places from where each driver qualified to determine their revised grid slot, the reality is slightly more complicated.

In Formula One grid penalties are applied in chronological order. In essence that means that each of the four drivers has their penalty applied independently of each other in the order they were handed out.

Romain Grosjean was the first to receive a penalty when his gearbox was changed after the British Grand Prix. The Frenchman qualified fifteenth, meaning logically he will drop to twentieth. It's all straight forward so far however the complexity arises when one looks at Nico Rosberg.

A new gearbox for the Mercedes driver meant logically he'd start twenty-second, having qualified seventeenth, yet on the provisional grid issued by the FIA he was shown in twenty-first.

Marussia's Chief Engineer Dave Greenwood explained to Pitpass that because Grosjean's penalty was handed out first it is applied first. The grid is then reshuffled prior to Rosberg receiving his penalty.

As a result Rosberg was effectively sixteenth on the grid when his penalty is applied, the resulting five place drop seeing the Mercedes driver line-up twenty-first on the grid and not, as maths would tell you, twenty-second.

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