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Penalty points not "harsh" insists Masi

NEWS STORY
06/07/2021

FIA race director, Michael Masi has defended the penalty points system which has left a number of drivers, including Lando Norris, close to a race ban.

The points handed to the McLaren driver and Sergio Perez on Sunday brought them up to 10 and 8 respectively over a 12 month period, 12 points being an automatic one-race ban.

Along with many race fans, Norris believes his punishment, in particular, was harsh, insisting that penalising a driver "for someone going into the gravel" is "not what Formula 1 should be", claiming that penalties should only be meted out in more serious circumstances

It is a view shared by, former bad boy, Max Verstappen.

"I don't think you deserve a ban for what he did or whatever," said the Red Bull driver on Sunday. "There's stuff… I've said it before, myself two years ago, that we should look into that but let's see."

"To be fair, it's a penalty point system that exists," said Michael Masi, according to Motorsportweek, "it's been there all the way through. It's no different to drivers on the road in the countries that have the maximum number of points that they have to abide by.

"They have to adjust driving style and stuff accordingly," he added. "I don't think they're harsh, it was discussed late last year, and it's funny because it affects different drivers and teams in different ways.

"The consensus was at the end of last year, involving teams, the FIA and F1 that there shouldn't be a change for this year. It's not something that we would ever change mid-year.

"The penalty scale is something the teams all agree upon, he said of a system first introduced in 2014, "and actually have input to at the start of the year. It's what the stewards use."

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1. Posted by kenji, 09/07/2021 1:51

"@ Pavlo...I seem to think along the very same lines. There was no doubt about where Perez's car was relative to Norris. I do believe that Norris purposefully allowed the drift to happen in the belief that his defence would be seen to be legitimate. If that's how he races then so be it but don't complain when you get caught out. Passing in F1, when so many cars are finely matched is in so many cases,contentious, and there will always be diametrically opposed outcomes. The stewards do a fine job, all things considered. It's my belief that those who shout loudest are usually those with vested interests and sometimes blind to reality!!"

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2. Posted by Pavlo, 08/07/2021 17:18

"@elsiebc - yes, I tried both Turn 3 and 4 in reality :) Turn 3 doesn't end where the "pushing" happened, so it's maybe more likely to "carry the speed" till that point in Turn 3 rather than on the exit of Turn 4.
On the video it looks like Perez was opening the steering and accelerating in both occasions. Mind that neither Perez nor Norris said that they were not able to leave the space. And stewards have even more data, so I believe they really pushed from the track on purpose."

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3. Posted by elsiebc, 08/07/2021 3:34

"@ Pavlo Turn 4 is not like turn 3. You don't accelerate out of turn 4, you drive through it, you're carrying speed through it. You brake according to the radius you will be taking. You don't brake for and set up a tighter radius for the off chance that someone is going to make a bonehead move and try to go around the outside there.
In your supposed example, the other driver is taking a wider radius. A wider radius means he can carry more speed. You can test that for yourself the next time you are on a cloverleaf. The wider radius is a longer distance and is not the fastest way around, despite the higher speed. It comes back to the fact that you should only be asking your car to do one thing at a time and a wider radius requires steering input for a longer period of time.
"

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4. Posted by kenji, 08/07/2021 0:37

"@ Pavlo...Yes, you are quite right. However due to the complexity and time constraints it doesn't usually happen. They can't publish all the visual evidence and the supporting factual analysis plus their reasoning in such a short time frame. Despite all of that, many team principals are loathe to accept the umpires decisions when it conflicts with their own bias as it would mean accepting the fact that their own driver was in error. IMO all team principals are villains and will massage the facts to suit their own ends. That said, some are more likeable than others."

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5. Posted by Pavlo, 07/07/2021 20:01

"@kenji - one thing that is missing is the ability of stewards to explain their decisions. I remember when Bottas had a "marvelous start" in Austria, the explanation of "no penalty" from the steward Mika Salo was totally unimpressive, and I was arguing with others as well. Alex Wurz (former driver, steward and commentator on Austrian TV) explained it much better and that left no doubts. Of course, not every TV sender has the commentators with that set of experience, and no one has access to the telemetry. I bet if stewards would explain the details, everyone here would agree."

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6. Posted by Pavlo, 07/07/2021 19:48

"@elsiebc - exactly, you brake, turn and accelerate. If inside is another driver - you turn less and accelerate lighter or later. If there is another driver (or a wall, or gravel) outside - you do exactly the similar, accelerate lighter or later to be able to turn sharper.
Think about it - another driver was able to brake later, turn with higher speed on the outside (!) and accelerate faster staying within the track and leaving you space. How can you say you can't do the same?
"Why would Perez do the same thing" - because he wanted the same outcome. And he got it - in both cases "offender" ended up several places above after serving the penalty.
Actually I think second incident was just a mistake, he almost lost a car."

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7. Posted by elsiebc, 07/07/2021 16:49

"In turn 3 you brake, hit the apex, accelerate out. If a car is on the outside of you, you can't accelerate as much. In turn 4 you brake, turn in, and drive through the corner. The amount of your braking is determined by the radius of the racing line. 1) You don't adjust your braking just in case someone tries to make a stupid move around the outside, and 2) You cant' magically move that arc 8' to the right when you're halfway through the radius. And no, you don't brake mid corner while you are turning. Ideally you do one thing at a time: accelerate, brake, or turn. When you do combine two it needs to be in small inputs, definitely not enough to change your track out by two meters.

And for those that doubt me, just ask yourself why would Perez do the exact same thing in the exact same place to another driver knowing that a penalty was issued to Norris? And then do it again in another corner with similar characteristics? "

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8. Posted by kenji, 07/07/2021 10:54

"@ Pavlo....thanks for the comment. So many people like to pile in and shaft Masi and his men...unfairly IMO. I recall a race some while back when a GP was started in the rain and there was a massive pile up involving Raikonnen, Varstappen and Vettel. It was mega messy not unlike the following hoo har in the social media world!!! When the ultimate analysis was presented it showed just what a mass of data/camera angles and real time actions was available to the Stewards including in cockpit frame by frame driver movements as well. We, the great unwashed, never get to see all that and that's where the decisions of the Stewards originate! Do they mess up? I guess that no one is infallible but when it comes to interpretations of the rule book matched to real live action i can only accept their rulings..no matter what."

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9. Posted by Pavlo, 07/07/2021 9:36

"Agree with @kenji. In soccer stewards just started, in F1 they review video and telemetry for a long time.
It's very easy to see whether Perez could make into the corner on that speed within the white line or not. If he technically couldn't - there would be no penalty.
Same as soccer, Norris should have left space. If Perez were too quick, he would still go off but it would be obvious for stewards that it's not Norris' fault. But if Perez would manage to stay on track, it proves that he was entitled to that space."

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10. Posted by kenji, 06/07/2021 14:34

"@JCR...?? In this instance it was Norris who took the gamble. He tried to use the excuse that it was his corner and that Perez should not have attacked. Well he knew exactly where Perez' car was and failed to give a cars width...that was a gamble with the rules as he must have known what they are. Subsequently he paid the same price as Perez did with the later Leclerc infringements. I understand what Horner et al are saying but there is a rule and it should be enforced. If there are better solutions then I'm sure that they will be implemented...but IMO there is no easy out. ATM."

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11. Posted by jcr, 06/07/2021 13:15

"Kenji ??
If who takes the gamble ??
Surely the gamble is on the outside.
Christian Horner put it very well, We are going down the football route
if it dos,nt work, lie down and roll around on the ground,
or in this case run wide onto the gravel and your opponent gets a penalty !!"

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12. Posted by kenji, 06/07/2021 11:03

"@ Old Git....The rules are quite clear and unambiguous, leave a cars width and if the passing car is either alongside or slightly in front then it's that passing driver's corner and you need to yield. The rules are the same for all drivers/teams. If you taker the gamble and it doesn't work then you pay the price...like most things in life really."

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13. Posted by Old Git, 06/07/2021 10:55

""Adjust your driving style" - so if you've accrued 8 or 10 points, and sombody wants to overtake you, you must roll over and give way - that's totally stupid."

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