Ross Brawn says FIA don’t help Ferrari. Senna’s GP2 penalty says otherwise

Bruno Senna, unlike Felipe Massa, got a penalty for his alleged unsafe release

Bruno Senna, unlike Felipe Massa, got a penalty for his alleged unsafe release

The FIA stewards have further muddied the waters about what an “unsafe release” from the pits is.

They gave a penalty to GP2 driver Bruno Senna for incident that was almost identical to the one involving Ferrari’s Felipe Massa at Valencia two weeks ago – when Massa got no penalty.

In today’s GP2 feature race at Spa-Francorchamps Bruno Senna was released from the pits alongside the Durango car of Alberto Valerio, just as Massa was released alongside Adrian Sutil. In a near carbon copy of the Valencia controversy, Senna drove alongside Valerio’s car before slotting in behind it. Senna, like Massa, was leading the race before his pit stop.

The FIA stewards described Massa’s move as “Unsafe release from pit stop, although no sporting advantage was obtained.?? It’s hard to see how the same assessment does not apply to Bruno Senna.

After the Valencia incident Ferrari were told the matter would be investigated after the race, and then received a ??10,000 (??7,979) penalty. It was clear they didn’t expect Massa to get a time penalty, as his lap times fell off sharply towards the end of the race.

But in the GP2 race the announcement very quickly came that Senna was being investigated, and he was shortly given a standard drive-through penalty. Senna’s team mate Karun Chandhok received a penalty under similar circumstances at Valencia, although in that case it was clear he had delayed a competitor. Senna did not seem to.

Afterwards Senna said:

I am really sad about the rules not being applied consistently. Nothing happened at Silverstone when I had to lock-up to avoid [Lucas] di Grassi, and Massa was only fined for what happened in Valencia.

On ITV’s coverage before the Belgian Grand Prix qualifying session ex-Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn was denied the FIA treat the Italian team leniently in such matters.

Robert McKay on the F1 Fanatic Live Blog remarked:

Ferrari don’t get special treatment, everyone else just gets unfavourable treatment.

This kind of inconsistency is precisely why so many people believe that.

As far as I’m concerned, both releases from the pits were unsafe, but only Senna got the correct penalty.

More on the Massa penalty: Fine for Ferrari, Massa gets off free and the FIA gets it wrong on every count

Update: GP2 feature race report – Romain Grosjean wins at Spa; Bruno Senna gets a penalty

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32 comments on Ross Brawn says FIA don’t help Ferrari. Senna’s GP2 penalty says otherwise

  1. martinb said on 7th September 2008, 9:50

    They should fine the Spa organizers for having a dangerously narrow pit lane.

    I saw the incident, and I think Senna should not have been penalised. He did not affect the race result, he slotted in behind the guy already in the fast lane, and he didn’t hit any pit crew (although it was close).

    “The rule is crystal clear. If you release a driver who has to slow to let someone pass it is an unsafe release.”

    Agreed, by this definition it WAS an unsafe release, but let’s be realistic here. You’re asking too much of the lollipop man. It’s very difficult to watch his crew and judge the speed of an approaching car if it’s a close call.

    They should have a fast lane, and an accelerating/decelerating lane, in the pits, and allow side-by-side driving with the man in the fast lane having preference.

    Alternatively, electronically monitor cars in the fast lane and block any release if there’s a car in the potential collision zone.

  2. mail123456 said on 7th September 2008, 11:19

    Senna’s pit at Spa 2008
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDnsITiQtrs

    @martinb – watch the mechanics at next box … they just jump from their places to avoid Senna’s car … is it safe ?:)

  3. ninguen said on 7th September 2008, 11:30

    For me it was clearly unsafe, but different for the release of massa, as in Valencia they had enough space to run in parallel until the wall on the end of the pit, and then massa braked so let the advantage to who was before on the run.

    Given this i still think that the FIA is being erratic, as this kind of treatment let´s room for improvisation and unfairness. It should be specifically forbidden to be at pair with another car at any moment on the pits, with this i think the rule would be clearer and the openness to the stewards to have a mistake.

    And i still think that a sanction to mass would be very unfair as this very season it was not the only incident in f1 and they also got away with nothing.

    The rule needs clarification

  4. NDINYO said on 7th September 2008, 11:43

    Keith i need help here – GP2 cars have 4 litre engines that produce only 432kW compared to smaller Formula 1 cars that have 2.4 litre engines that produce 582kW. How is it possible that the cars with the smaller engine produce more power and are 10 seconds faster than the cars with a bigger engine?

  5. mail123456 said on 7th September 2008, 11:45

    then they (FIA) must do it … not just to wait and see how race will finish and then grab a magic ball and “invent” something new … also it was clear that Massa break the rules … stewards release a note that he did … just like Senna did it … so when they admin that there is a something, they just need to follow their rules … or write a new new one BUT we need to see every time the same … end of story

  6. It seems most of you guys have only recently started watching F1. Recordings of many previous races in the past show some serious mistakes which went unpunished. Sorry the team you are backing has not the history of Ferrari guys.

  7. Robert McKay said on 7th September 2008, 12:14

    “Sorry the team you are backing has not the history of Ferrari guys.”

    What’s that got to do with anything? Because Ferrari have more history more decisions ought to go there way?

    “They should have a fast lane, and an accelerating/decelerating lane, in the pits, and allow side-by-side driving with the man in the fast lane having preference.”

    Yes – that is exactly what they should have and then releasing a driver would not be a problem. Arguably the problem would just be moved to the driver feeding into the fast lane, but that should be much more easy to judge.

  8. Nobody is above the law but some people think Ferrari is being given preferential treatment. My point is that this is not so in early and late history but some guys miss the point and always take the opportunity to knock Ferrari. There have been some near misses in the pits before. Why bitch now all of a sudden? The present rules made to stop straight car/driver versus car/driver competition were brought in to stop Ferrari’s domination of F1 and Bernie was concerned that viewers would drop off. It seems some people hate a champion.

  9. I forgot to mention that yours is a good suggestion Robert but maybe space will not always permit. Maybe the FIA should sit down with all concerned parties and revise all the rules with a view to cutting out any unfairness

  10. Robert McKay said on 7th September 2008, 15:06

    “Maybe the FIA should sit down with all concerned parties and revise all the rules with a view to cutting out any unfairness”

    Agreed – the FIA needs to clarify the situation.

  11. It is a pity the FIA is discrediting motoracing by inflicting unecessary penalties on drivers who are doing their upmost to play fair but make competative moves that make the sport interesting. Hamilton and Senna have been robbed. Maybe the FIA do not favour Ferarri but they are not doing a good job of proving otherwise at the moment….

  12. Then there was Spa…..maybe I must skip watching Monza. Its a dangerous track to take revenge on and the guys look serious judging by recent utterings!

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