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Penalties, penalties, penalties


As previously reported, even though he hadn't sat in the car, far less turned a wheel in anger, Brendon Hartley was warned that he faced demotion to the back of the grid following an engine change to his Toro Rosso.

Sure enough, the rookie Kiwi heads straight to the back of the grid on Sunday after picking up a total demotion of 25 places.

This constitutes 10 grid positions for 'his' 6th ICE of the year, 5 for his 6th MGU-H, 5 for his 5th ES and 5 for his 5th CE.

Meanwhile, Stoffel Vandoorne gets a 5 place drop as he takes on his 8th ICE of the season and Nico Hulkenberg drops 20 places, 10 for his 6th MGU-H of the year, 5 for his 5th ICE and 5 for his 5th TC.

While Max Verstappen has taken on a new Energy Store and Control Electronics without penalty, it is almost certain the Red Bull driver will be given a new engine for Sunday which will incur a 10-place drop.

And it's only Friday morning.

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1. Posted by Rhaycen, 22/10/2017 8:35

"Honestly, this whole penalty system is nonsense. Specially because it doesn't actually achieve the goal they claim to pursue. This is all because of some misguided idea about saving cost, which will never happen when you have engines that are impossibly complicated.

You want to save money, give the teams 1 motor per weekend. If the motor blows or breaks, you can install an older motor. Simplify the engines, like a basic V6-Twin Turbo without all the MGU-K & H stuff attached to it.

It is much easier and cheaper to design and maintain that, than an ultra complicated engine that has to last for 5+ races at the levels of punishment that they get from F1 racing."

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2. Posted by Editor, 21/10/2017 11:06

"@ C5

RE: "not that they're reading PitPass comments, but hey, gotta start somewhere..."

Well, we're not sure that the FIA reads the reader (fan) comments on Pitpass, but the FIA does read our news articles.

We know this not only from the various complaints we've had over the years – directly from the FIA and even a legal threat from a former FIA 'big wig' - but from feedback from others in the paddock who tell us we are not popular with the sport's governing body and particularly its president.

Mat Coch will be only too glad to tell you about the time other members of the media put pressure on the FIA to have him excluded from the paddock following an number of critical articles by Tony Purnell. The very media that should have been writing similar articles.

We always knew Max was a regular, as was/is Bernie, while various team bosses are regulars.

Very few F1 sites can claim that not only did Bernie Ecclestone phone to "discuss" an article but made the call on his birthday from Brazil.

And even fewer sites can claim that his first two calls were rejected because we were busy... and asked the (then) F1 supremo to call back later. Which he did. And it was all very agreeable, as ever.

The feedback we are getting is that Chase and co are aware of us, and aware that unlike some sites, we will not be told what we can or cannot write nor can we be threatened.

So, no I'm not sure the reader (fan) comments are seen by the powers that be, but I do know that if something 'bad' were to appear they are certainly watching."

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3. Posted by Pavlo, 20/10/2017 22:10

"C5: nice idea, but will not work. Changing the engine should be anyway better than not starting/finishing the race. With 5 points penalty (or 2%, whatever), some teams (when knowing that the engine will not survive) will just retire on lap 2 and get away with their 0 points. Will not improve anything.
You are right that the system should ensure that the penalty high enough to encourage not to break the rules, but should also encourage getting to the edge - so the price for crossing the edge should be noticeable, but not killing.
And I think that the current rules work fine.
If not Ferrari self-destroying their chances, any extra engine change would be disastrous for Mercedes. Midfield teams already get penalties pretty rarely. We all make fun of +75 places penalty for McLaren, but who really cares whether Alonso starts 15 or 22 if he is anyway not going to finish? They needed to build the engine that survives the race and didn't care about any penalties you may invent.

Also I disagree that we need a system that would allow Sauber with their reliably slowest car be higher than McLaren. I think that the team that got a good car with the bad engine and made it more-or-less work deserves more than the team who bought external reliable engine and failed to build a competitive car at all."

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4. Posted by Mad Matt, 20/10/2017 21:33

"I have some sympathy with C5s points. The only thing I'd say is that in the past some teams have said the real point is to win the Drivers Championship, or at least they feel that's what gets the biggest recognition and therefore sponsorship money comes via that means.

I'm not too fussed overall as in football the team suffers if a player gets two yellows and they go down to ten men. It's not the fault of the other players and yet they suffer too. In F1 it's a team sport too, so the driver suffers if the car breaks and the team suffers if the driver loses control and bins it.

The large numbers are just there to work out the order if multiple drivers get penalties... no big deal."

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5. Posted by C5, 20/10/2017 19:57

"It's not a popular opinion, I know, but I for one DO get the penalty system, in the sense it's an incentive for the engine manufacturer to do their job well. Those who can't do that have less chance of scoring constructor's points and getting positive windfall of securing a top place in the driver's championship.

That said, the impact this has in other parts, like the driver's championship and the individual races, are obviously somewhat unfortunate.

So my suggestion to the FIA (not that they're reading PitPass comments, but hey, gotta start somewhere...) is: Get rid of grid penalties, get rid of penalizing the driver's championship, and impact the constructor where they care the most. In other words: Deduct Constructor World Championship points as the penalty.

I'd say 5 points per change (equal to the 5 grid spots today) should be enough to get plenty of attention, even at the top teams. And a back-of-the-grid team with good reliability gets a break over mid-fielders with horrid reliability (Hello, Sauber and McLaren).

Add to that, that the score cannot be negative, and you'll automatically also have the bigger impact at the end of the season, where everyone cares the most, and discretion to the FIA to not apply a penalty if the team can prove the change is exclusively caused by the driver crashing the car: If the engine penalty should not affect the driver's championship, a crash-prone driver (Hello, Verstappen) shouldn't affect the constructor's championship more than he already did by not finishing.

Or, if 5 points sounds too unfair to the lower end of the grid, then how about 2% of the current Constructor World Championship points (going into each race), rounded up to the nearest integer? So, applied for this race at COTA (and yes, I know the points scores would have been very different if this had applied to the 2017 season, but just as an example) Mercedes with 540 points gets a penalty of 11 points per component, while Ferrari with 395 points would get 8 points deducted per component, and McLaren with 23 points or Sauber with 5 points both would get a penalty of 1 point per component.

I would think this scheme would get a lot of attention in the boardroom. And by the hard-core fans. While the occasional viewer (who for some reason is so very important?) likely wouldn't notice it (or care) at all.

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6. Posted by FormerF1Fan, 20/10/2017 19:39

"It is F1 captain, but not as we know it..."

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7. Posted by Ro, 20/10/2017 18:53

"Its a joke really! Its more like musical if the No 1 driver doesnt want a penalty all he has to do is drive his team mates car....who gives a rats a**e how many engines they use...surely all the engine manufacturers have a stock of the engines, all ready assembled and ready to go so where is the money savings ?"

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