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Horner fears penalties will encourage drivers to "dive"

NEWS STORY
06/07/2021

Following Sunday's penalty-fest, Christian Horner has warned that in future drivers could resort to diving in a bid to get rivals penalised.

In addition to penalties for Sergio Perez (twice) and Lando Norris, for forcing opponents off track, Yuki Tsunoda was punished for crossing the pitlane entry and Kimi Raikkonen for his collision with Sebastian Vettel.

Once the flag had fallen, 11 drivers were summoned by the stewards for yellow flag misdemeanours, resulting in penalties for Nikita Mazepin and Nicholas Latifi.

Norris was penalised for not giving Perez enough room as the Mexican attempted to pass him and thereby forcing the Mexican off track, while later in the race the Red Bull driver was penalised twice for similar offences against Charles Leclerc in Turns 4 and 6.

In each incident the offending driver was handed 2 penalty points, thereby bringing Norris to within 2 points of a race ban and Perez 4.

Horner fears that punishing drivers for what he feels are racing incidents will lead to drivers effectively 'diving' in a bid to harm rivals.

"The incident with Checo and Lando was racing," he said. "If you go round the outside, you take the risk, particularly when you are not in a position where you are ahead.

"I think the FIA, having awarded that penalty, then could not award a penalty for a very similar move with Charles," he admitted.

"These guys have raced in karting since when they were kids and it happens," he continued, "if you go around the outside you take the risk, even if you are ahead.

"So I think the penalties were a bit harsh and it does slightly go against the 'let them race' mantra we have been championing in recent years.

"You don't want the equivalent of footballers taking a dive," he warned. "I think we need to avoid that.

"But it's incredibly difficult and we talk about these things very often. It's a difficult job for the race director, but I do think that maybe the incidents that we saw could have led to more racing incidents than being deserving of penalties."

Horner said that the matter would be discussed by the team managers and drivers with Michael Masi ahead of the forthcoming British Grand Prix.

"I think they will discuss that at length, I'm sure," he said. "They always discuss incidents at the previous race, so I'm sure they will discuss this at Silverstone."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Mad Matt, 12/07/2021 14:13

"Hey @Kenji, to me it looked like Norris was on full lock so I don't think there was much more he could do but I think Jolyon Palmer takes a well balanced look at it if you search on YouTube."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by kenji, 08/07/2021 14:24

"@ Pawsche...There's nothing disingenuous about Masi"s statement. In these cases it's not as thought the drivers attempting a pass just appeared out thin air. The rule, as we understand it, states that once the passing car is substantially alongside then the driver being passed must give room. I think that it's quite clear really. In the Norris case Perez was clearly well alongside and Norris did nothing to stop his 'drift' to the edge of the track and force Perez into the gravel. If the door wasn't open Perez would not have gone there and if he did throw caution to the wind then that's another story."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Pawsche, 08/07/2021 11:20

"Masi's comment about 'giving a car's width' is deeply ingenuous. If you're being overtaken on the inside, it's possible - just open the steering a bit a take a slightly wider line. If it's on the outside however - if you're anywhere near the limit of adhesion (which as F1 drivers they should be!) it's impossible to tighten your line without spinning (or in an understeering car, just impossible). Outside overtakes have always been seen as risky, be it in anything ranging from karts to F1 cars.

Otherwise the FIA should think about getting the rule book rewritten by Debrett's.
"

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4. Posted by Egalitarian, 08/07/2021 8:44

"Footballers taking a dive? Would never happen. Can you imagine someone not playing fairly the whole time and being willing to compromise their integrity and seeing what they can get away with?"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by kenji, 08/07/2021 0:40

"It is possible to make passes around the outside as well as the inside as witnessed many many times, wheel to wheel. It requires a great of expertise and controlled aggression on behalf of the drivers involved. Sometimes it is ill conceived, sometimes it has a negative result due to the participants showing disregard and sometimes the drivers use the rules to increase their advantage. All those situations have been witnessed many times and the rules are there to try and establish a base line for transgression and suitable penalties for same. With three stewards adjudicating it would be nigh on impossible to collectively be selective. It would add up to a conspiracy. Faced with complex analysis of the problems the stewards have no other recourse but to implement the rules and subsequent penalties as prescribed. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Pavlo, 07/07/2021 20:31

"@elsiebc - Leclerc in his first attempt was in front already before he turned into the corner. In the second he was behind, and probably Perez would go away without penalty, if it would be their first clash.
Anyway, if we want to see no-DRS overtakes, they are only possible if the defenses like this are penalized. Otherwise it's too easy to slow down on the inside and see what attacker does, then either push him off the track or just accelerate better."

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by elsiebc, 07/07/2021 17:59

"@Pavlo Horner's "if you are ahead" references before the corner.
"

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8. Posted by Pavlo, 07/07/2021 10:22

"Interesting, Horner is in particular right in his sentence "if you are ahead". In all 3 occasions, at some moment the driver going outside was ahead, even if just a little bit. For me it is decisive - if you are ahead even marginally, you are fully entitled to get one-car-width. If not - you can expect that another driver doesn't drastically change the direction, but can't expect him to move and give you space. And this should apply regardless of attacking or defending."

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9. Posted by kenji, 07/07/2021 6:42

"@ Superbird70...I very much doubt that many attacking drivers would attempt to do this as the downside is just too great. On the other side of the coin some drivers defending would, I believe, have few qualms in driving another driver off the track if they thought that they'd get away with it. The major problem that i see with all of this is the consistency of rule interpretation on behalf of the stewards. Probably one of the worst I've ever seen was at COTA, possibly '15/'16 where Hamilton drove Rosberg off in turn one, one of the most blatant events. He got away with it!!! Once precedents like this are established it's hard to come back to the strict interpretation of the rules. The vitriol directed towards Masi is utterly ridiculous and uncalled for. The stewards see more and have more data than anyone else and they then apply their decisions afer the three of them deliberate. That is totally fair IMO. Most of the negatives result from fans 'favorite drivers' getting a penalty..not the fact that they may have deserved it!!!"

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10. Posted by Superbird70, 06/07/2021 21:58

"So a driver will drive into the gravel, go over the curbs, or take to the grass or runoff area in the hopes of having a penalty applied? Maybe one of the Haas tanks could survive that on a regular basis, but the potential cost in broken bits is a bit of a risk."

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11. Posted by Burton, 06/07/2021 19:18

"Perez's second penalty was particularly preposterous. Charles forces the outside on a sweeping corner, whatever corrections Sergio makes there the car will snap.
And if they're going to hand penalties for forcing a car wide treat them equally, not just when there's gravel."

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