A step forward in stewarding – so far

Webber escaped a penalty for colliding with Hamilton in Melbourne

Webber escaped a penalty for colliding with Hamilton in Melbourne

The standards of refereeing in Formula 1 has been a hotly-disputed topic in recent years after a catalogue of controversial judgements.

For the first time this year experienced racing drivers have been brought in to advise the stewards. At the same time, the role of permanent steward previously occupied by Alan Donnelly has been abolished.

On the evidence so far this seems to have coincided with a badly-needed outbreak of calm and common sense.

Relying on reprimands

Over the first four races we’ve seen the stewards avoid using the strongest punishments available to them, opting instead for reprimands. Here’s a summary of the major decisions they’ve taken so far (ignoring speeding fines and yellow flag infractions outside of the race):

Round Driver Infringement Penalty
Australia Pedro de la Rosa Impeded another driver in practice Reprimand
Australia Mark Webber Collided with Lewis Hamilton Reprimand
Malaysia Lewis Hamilton Weaving in front of Vitaly Petrov Black and white flag
Malaysia Sebastian Vettel Overtook Jarno Trulli under yellow flags None
China Fernando Alonso Jumped start Drive-through
China Lewis Hamilton Dangerous driving in pit lane Reprimand
China Sebastian Vettel Dangerous driving in pit lane Reprimand

In the case of Webber’s collision with Hamilton at Australia, this sort of thing has been penalised in the past – for example, when Heikki Kovalainen hit Webber at Spa in 2008.

Should a failed overtaking attempt that leads to a collision automatically incur a penalty? I’m not convinced it should, and if this is a new interpretation it’s one I’m entirely happy with.

Reprimands were also issued for Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s driving in the pit lane at Shanghai, which attracted a huge amount of debate.

First, let’s clear up the facts: McLaren released Hamilton only fractionally later than Red Bull let Vettel go, certainly not late enough for them to get a penalty for an ‘unsafe release’. Hamilton ended up side-by-side with Vettel because he got out of his pit box more slowly than the Red Bull driver did.

Hamilton should have eased off the throttle and let Vettel go, but he didn’t, so he got a reprimand. Vettel should not have edged Hamilton towards the (vacant) pit boxes of other teams, but he did, so he also got a reprimand.

I suggest we can only judge whether the stewards got this one right if their decision stops it happening again – because dangerous driving in the pit lane such as this clearly cannot be allowed.

Does a reprimand set a limit of what a driver can get away with? If so, then they’ve been too soft – it’s no different to giving no penalty.

But if these reprimands mean “if anyone does that again they’ll be punished”, then I think the stewards have laid down some useful markers. We shall see.

The Hamilton-Petrov incident at Sepang was discussed at length here: Drivers as stewards make presence felt as Hamilton gets black-and-white flag

Bias

It was inevitable that bringing in people with recent F1 experience to the stewards’ office was going to lead to accusations that they favour teams they used to work for and drivers they liked.

So far the drivers’ representatives have been chosen well. Alain Prost, Tom Kristensen, Johnny Herbert and Alexander Wurz cannot be accused of being short on experience (though I do wonder what Prost’s take would be one someone knocking their rival off the track to win a world championship).

Nor do they have any obvious axes to grind, or particular vested interests that should disqualify them from the job. Whereas putting someone like Keke Rosberg or Ron Dennis in the room – however knowledgeable and impartial they are – would send out the wrong message given their closeness to particular drivers and teams.

The suggestion from some quarters that Wurz might be inclined towards McLaren because he worked for them five years ago cannot be taken seriously. It’s not as if that was his last job, after all, he’s raced for Williams since then. And tellingly, no-one suggested it might be a conflict of interest before Wurz was asked to take any of his decisions (see here: Alexander Wurz joins Chinese GP stewards).

Weighed against the alternative – a return to the days of having decisions taken exclusively by people without top-line motor racing experience – the current solution is clearly preferable.

So far, so good

In recent seasons we couldn’t trust the stewards to stay out of even the most innocuous incidents, and swingeing penalties were often handed down with little rationale or consistency.

Fernando Alonso (Monza ’06), Lewis Hamilton (Spa ’08), Sebastien Bourdais (Fuji ’08) and others all received punishments that there totally out of proportion with their supposed infringements. Others got away with tactics indistinguishable from ones their rivals had been punished for.

The decision not to penalise Vettel for passing Trulli under yellow flags in Sepang is a good example of sensible stewarding. Had they dogmatically stuck to the rules, Vettel might have lost a deserved win. But they had the sense to see how much he’d slowed down by and made the right call.

It’s still early days – we’ve not yet seen how they handle a call on a driver going off-track and gaining an advantage – an area which has seen many dubious and controversial calls. And it remains to be seen whether some of these ‘reprimands’ will be open to abuse in the future. But I’m optimistic that F1 is heading in the right direction.

Do you think the standard of stewarding has improved in F1 this year? Have your say in the comments.

Stewarding in F1

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131 comments on A step forward in stewarding – so far

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  1. Stewarding has gone from to strict, to being to lenient. I feel Vettel should have been penalised in China, and Webber should have been penalised in Australia.

    • Renzo said on 21st April 2010, 19:20

      maybe the mcLaren team should get penalized for unsafe release

      • The McLaren lollipop man can only really watch what whatever is in the fast lane. Vettel wasn’t in the fast lane when he released Hamilton. The Red Bull and McLaren lollipop guys released their drivers within a second of each other, and on top of that, Hamilton had wheelspin.

        I feel Hamilton had every right to stay side by side with Vettel. Vettel forcing Hamilton to the right, would have been incredibly dangerous if there were more mechanics out there.

        • Renzo said on 21st April 2010, 20:03

          you can always lift off…

          • fanboyhater said on 21st April 2010, 23:42

            “Hamilton should have eased off the throttle and let Vettel go, but he didn’t, so he got a reprimand. Vettel should not have edged Hamilton towards the (vacant) pit boxes of other teams, but he did, so he also got a reprimand.”
            It says it right there- in the article you just read!!!!!!
            It’s all well and good to have it in for someone ( after all, i have it in for people who have it in for people ;)), but it really was a 50/50 situation.

          • Tallbloke said on 22nd April 2010, 13:35

            You can always peel left and not look right then steer right as Vettel did.

            In that situation you have to penailse all involved parties the same – espically as they are both racing for position & both made it a dangerous situation (Hamiliton for crossing the white line & Vettel for pushing him wider).

            I personnally think that Vettle actually caused more danger (and no I’m not a Hamiliton fan) moving to the right knowing Hamiliton was there was far more dangerous than the 2 cars side by side.

        • matt90 said on 21st April 2010, 20:33

          As Hamilton entered the pits first you would expect him to come out first anyway unless or he suffered a slow stop. The fact the Vettels box was first meant he was always going to stop and then be released just before the McLaren was, as Lewis was still travelling to his box when Vettel arrived at his. If there hadn’t been any wheelspin, I believe that Hamilton could have been released even later and still come out in front.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd April 2010, 0:00

        McLaren released Hamilton only fractionally later than Red Bull let Vettel go, certainly not late enough for them to get a penalty for an ‘unsafe release’.

        • macahan said on 22nd April 2010, 3:14

          Webber should not been a penalty if all and any overtaking attempts that fail get a penalty then drivers will not dare to overtake on track. A obvious ramming well that is another thing but the video shows now such thing. I agree right call on this one.

          Ham & Vet. You could argue that since the RB pit was behind the McLaren that the lolipop guy should have seen that RB lolipop guy already lifted his. If Ham hadn’t had his wheel spin he probably would slotted in right before Vet and Vet might had to lift slightly to avoid driving into the back of him. But now he had really bad wheel spin so didn’t get out right and ended up beside Vel at this point since the fast lane is only supposed to be 1 car wide (my understanding) Ham should lifted but didn’t. Vet shouldn’t have edged him over as he did but it was all vacant pits they passed as he did so. I feel reprimand is sufficient in both cases or alternative both should gotten penalty.

          I hope in the cases that reprimands been given it’s a form a president that hey do not do this again or risk getting a penalty. So another driver weaving like Ham could/should expect to risk getting a penalty because it’s been cleared as bad driving, running next to another driver in the pits on pit ground could/should be a penalty as well if you try to edge someone in the pits. Simply for any other driver do not do this or you can get a penalty instead of just a reprimand depending on circumstances (if the pits had not been empty I feel both drivers should gotten penalty but now all pits they passed was vacant). Well the Williams pit was not but that was the next one over and Ham didn’t get closer to it then a normal release and Vet didn’t start edging until after their box.

      • It wasn’t an unsafe release, it was yet another ridiculous Hamilton move… he’s by far and away becoming the bad boy with a smug smile in F1.
        Look at the tape again. Not only on entering the pit does he pull a bullish moron move, he then proceeds to drive where the pit guys have hoses and walk!!! What an idiot. Button is a class act. Hamilton may be one of the fastest guys out there, but he needs a coach more than anybody in the paddock. He drives with Briatore/Mosley eithics.

        As far as giving Vettel a reprimand; he didn’t cross the white line so I find that other than maybe mentioning that he should be careful, I believe sharing publicly that he receive a reprimand is absurd. He didn’t break a single rule. Hamilton needed to let off and he didn’t. Even if it was a 1″ (or whatever cm equivalent) advantage that Vettel held, it was his responsibility to NOT race in the pit lanes in the pit crew area: PERIOD.

        • Chris said on 22nd April 2010, 16:10

          I have to ask — did you actually watch that part of the race? Vettel was squeezing Hamilton into the pits area in an attempt to get him to back off. That was the most dangerous thing I’ve seen in a long time. At that point their wheels were basically interlocked, so a touch could have been really bad. I’m not saying Vettel deserves a penalty, in fact I think they should let drivers sort out every situation themselves.

          • DannyJ said on 22nd April 2010, 20:33

            Hamilton shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

            Hamilton poked Vettel in the eye like a naive playground upstart, and Vettel gave him a shove back. In school, both kids would have got detention, one for starting a fight, the other for raising to the bait.

            The reprimand was a simple and proportionate response in my view.

          • I did watch the race. I saw a driver in the appropriate place with more than a wheel advantage and I saw a driver who had a late release and clear disadvantage attempt to kill a bunch of people by not following the rules. Hamilton is quickly becoming a hot-headed punk and I’m glad Vettel didn’t budge. It was his fault. Yeah, he moved over so that Hamilton couldn’t take the pit lane spot, but he didn’t slam into him or even cross the fast lane white line. Why would Vettel deserve any punishment. He’s racing on the track and Hamilton is racing off of it to give himself an advantage. He’s got no class despite his kind remarks “after” the race.

    • polishboy808 said on 21st April 2010, 19:20

      And many will say Hamilton should have had been penalised in Malaysia and in China. I agree, it has become way to leient…..

      • By the way, before anyone accuses me of being Hamilton’s biggest fan, I believe he should have been penalised in Malaysia. I’m a fan of Alonso.

    • BasCB said on 21st April 2010, 20:00

      After the abundance of superfluous and wrong penalties given in the last couple of seasons, i think it is good to show, that the Stewarding is not there to punish any racing on track.

      I think it is important, that the stewards follow up on previous reprimands and warnings, though to make it clear where the limit is.
      Vettel and Hamilton were very close to the limit in China. Next time somebody does something similar, there should be an immediate penalty.
      I also expect Lewis to get a penalty rather sooner than later, as this was allready his 3rd reprimand/warning this season. If he does not start behaving, slap his wrists.

      • PJA said on 22nd April 2010, 9:42

        I can only think of two reprimands for Hamilton so far this season, weaving in Malaysia and dangerous driving in the pit lane in China, what was the third one?

    • MigueLP said on 21st April 2010, 23:25

      have you read martins brundle opinion.i think he is tottally right penaltys should have been applied

      • Bigbadderboom said on 24th April 2010, 12:28

        With all due respect to Martin Brundle, he doesn’t always seem to know his own mind and often the only thing consistant about his opinions are their inconsistancy. I like Martin and I like his grid walks and his attitude, but his politics and interpretations change with the wind.

    • sato113 said on 22nd April 2010, 1:01

      why punish webber? that’s what’s called a racing incident! it’s just racing!

      • wasiF1 said on 22nd April 2010, 1:57

        If anybody talks about the China incident between Hamilton & Vettel in the pits then I think both of them needs to be penalized for their action, I was surprised that they didn’t but I wanted not to be given because it was very entertaining.

        Webber’s move in Australia was an racing incident, & I was delighted that they didn’t gave any penalty to Vettel in Malaysia that shows the maturity of the steward.

        So far so good.

        • gondasek said on 22nd April 2010, 8:51

          I don’t see a point why Vettel should be penalised, he came to pit changed his tyres and went out he didn’t cross any white lines so he was ok.Saying that he was pushing Hamilton, Hamilton shouldn’t be there in a first place!!.It was Hamilton who had a wheelspin therefore ended side by side with Vettel so he is the one that should ease off…

  2. Tiomkin said on 21st April 2010, 19:07

    I believe they have improved, I have no bitter taste in my mouth. Non of this change results after the race. On the question as to whether they are too soft, I’m unsure. I’m just glad that the action takes place on the track on not in the stewards hut.

  3. Renzo said on 21st April 2010, 19:11

    what I don’t understand is why you should get a reprimand or a penalty for a contact when you’re trying to overtake; we can’t complain then if there aren’t overtakes…

  4. rampante said on 21st April 2010, 19:12

    What now becomes important is how you can issue a penalty after several reprimands. I think that could cause more trouble for the stewards than an aggressive stance in the first place. If for example Vettel or Hamilton are given similar punishments in the next few races when do the stewards/FIA say they now receive a grid penalty. If this was to happen we would have Vettel on two and Hamilton on the same only he would also be carrying a Black and white warning (I think the last time I saw this was in the late 80’s. Please correct me if I’m wrong). I want races to be decided on the track but I don’t want to see drivers constantly on the receiving end of warnings. This is not a dig at any particular driver and I know many will think it is but to be involved in 50% of the races under scrutiny is unusual.

    • Invoke said on 21st April 2010, 19:27

      So your saying reprimands should be grouped together into a ‘three strikes and your out’ type system, even if they are for completely different offences?

      I would think the reprimands are specific, and a warning that if you do the same thing again you will receive a penalty. We will have to wait to see if anyone repeats the same offence to know for sure though.

      • rampante said on 21st April 2010, 19:43

        Not what I said but in football terms you can’t get 4 yellow cards for different offences and not be punished by a red. What is the point of reprimanding a driver x amount of times if there is no penalty. This is not about Hamilton it is about the sport. We could have a situation where a driver takes another out (racing incident) weaves erratically (breaking the tow) driving out with the pit lane, brake testing another driver, blocks someone in practice etc. The point is not who did it but what do you do about it.

        • yup, this is the problem with reprimands, where is the line drawn? Can a drive do these things in the last couple of races of a season knowing that they have a couple of reprimands left in their season’s “reprimand budget”.

          • Mike said on 22nd April 2010, 2:29

            The problem here is that if I can get away with 3 things I will do so won’t I?

          • BasCB said on 22nd April 2010, 9:57

            Good Idea! Maybe we could give them a points budget for offences, like you get in several countries like Germany and others. It is additional to taking fines and penalties though.

            I do think the Steward should and will take into account previous behaviour when judgin an incident.
            A driver who already had several reprimands and then commits something worse, or just does not stop doing questionalble things, should be punished more harsh than a first offender.

    • US_Peter said on 21st April 2010, 19:36

      Agreed. I see the ambiguity of the “reprimand” as the biggest problem at the moment. There should be some clear rule that says either that if drivers repeat these moves again, they will be penalized, or maybe alternately that if they receive x number of reprimands they’ll be given a 5 place grid penalty. I think there needs to be some kind of correlation between reprimands and possible punishment with repeated reprimands. Of course then the question becomes if the reprimands have to be for the same offense to warrant punishment, or if just repeated reprimands in general warrant punishment. I think there will always be grey areas, and Keith is right that they are certainly headed in the right direction, I just wish there were less ambiguity about reprimands. What do they really mean?

      • I agree on this. Repeated reprimands should have some kind of penalty. If not, it doesn’t mean anything.

        On the other hand, much clever stewarding process this season than previous ones.

        Another “+” in Jean Tod way of managing FIA.

    • Ferrero said on 22nd April 2010, 7:13

      The other problem with Reprimands is that it makes other drivers feel (quite rightly so, I might add) that they will not be punished for doing something similar later in the year. If one driver races another through the pit lane at Spain and they are both penalised, one has to ask why? Is it somehow worse because they did it one race later? The stewards have essentially boxed themselves into only giving a reprimand for the first time any driver does this, or they are being blatantly unfair.

  5. Neil said on 21st April 2010, 19:19

    A step forward? Vettel tries to kill Hamilton and mechanics and gets a reprimand?

    • steph said on 21st April 2010, 19:28

      I think that’s a touch extreme as Hamilton could have backed off if he had wanted…

      • Steezy said on 21st April 2010, 19:36

        Agreed. It’s abit like Jarno Trulli and Sutil’s collision last season in Brazil.

        Trulli was angry that Sutil didn’t let him onto the track, but all Trulli had to do was back off and tuck in behind if he really wanted to.

        It’s the ego of the drivers and the race mentality, they don’t want to give up that position.

      • lightsout said on 21st April 2010, 23:41

        And Vettel could have given him room too. Hamilton is at fault, but Vettel made it worse.

  6. JHunt123 said on 21st April 2010, 19:29

    I guess the black and white flag to Hamilton meant nothing otherwise he should have got a penalty after the pit incident? Or does it not apply because 1) its a different sort of bad driving compared with the weaving 2) it was not in the same race or 3) the black and white flag is not the same as a reprimand so he was not on a ‘watchlist’. If that is the case does that mean that everyone is allowed to do one type of dodgy move, per race, and allowed to get away with it ? (sorry i mean getting a black white flag or a reprimand) Or does that mean that the first person to try gets away with it, and subsequently being reprimanded and the law laid down that everybody else who tries will be penalized? I think not penalizing Webber for a racing incident, or Vettel when he clearly slowed is good judgment. However, letting people get away, if even the first time, with questionable moves certainly raises questions.

    • Jarred Walmsley said on 21st April 2010, 20:27

      Black and White flag is different from a reprimand and it was also a different type of bad driving

      • JHunt123 said on 21st April 2010, 22:13

        Yup and that sets a bad precedent because these decisions imply that every driver is allowed to do one of each type of bad driving once without consequence. God bless the mechanics and spectators.

      • Icthyes said on 22nd April 2010, 0:16

        And I hope they stay different. As it is, there’s a warning, official warning, and punishment. If you didn’t have the first, then you’d have to give strong warnings for minor offences, or let them go unpunished.

        Let’s take Hamilton and Webber at Monza ’08 for an example. That’s a black-and-white flag incident to me, where a driver takes racing a little too far.

        Hamilton (again) and Raikkonen at Spa ’08 would be a reprimand penalty to me. Common sense would tell you that Hamilton made a clear effort to give the place back, and won it again because Raikkonen was in a slower car and practically brake-testing Hamilton into La Source. Still, it was a marginal call and Hamilton could have done more to make sure he was following the rules – rather like Sunday’s incident, hence a reprimand.

        Clear penalties would be like Schumacher cutting the chicane in Hungary in 2006, and not giving the place back (for which he went unpunished).

        • JHunt123 said on 22nd April 2010, 0:49

          Trouble is if they know its a warning for the first offence, that’s an invitation or a get out of jail free card. They WILL use it. Some moves should have zero tolerance (both Vettel and Hamilton in pitlane..). See how Hamilton is a central theme in your cases here? But I do agree that at Spa he was hard done by.

          • Icthyes said on 22nd April 2010, 2:06

            Hamilton is as much a central theme because he’s the driver I follow the most. I didn’t remember Vettel pushing Alonso in the pit-lane in 2008 until someone mentioned it on here, for instance. of course Hamilton is involved more in these kinds of things, but they may owe a lot simply to Spa 2008 being so controversial in its implications and the consequences rippling down to Australia 2009 (which is no excuse, of course).

            I don’t agree it acts as a get-out-of-jail free card, precisely because the lesser punishments are meant to be for less offensive transgressions, which are characterised by being in the heat of the moment; it’s not like you get a flag for smashing into someone on purpose.

            And if reprimands are made to be cumulative, then there’s very little danger of drivers deliberately hoping to get away with a lesser punishment.

  7. Icthyes said on 21st April 2010, 19:31

    Stewarding certainly seems to have improved, but we do have to see how the issue of reprimands go. Are all drivers a) allowed one reprimand, and then a penalty for doing it again, or b) is a reprimand for one driver a warning to all? I hope it’s the latter, and more to that there’s some kind of clarification from Todt, something like “I would like to see the stewards to take this stance A/B on the issue…”

    I say this because although we’ve had an outbreak of common sense and looking at the context of the incident rather than the letter of the law (though it was Charlie Whiting who ruled over the Hamilton weaving episode), it would be nice to go one further and have a pre-emptive, rather than ad hoc clarification of the kind we’ve had over the past few years, which have been open to accusations of bias (e.g. the “wait one more corner” rule for cutting a corner and overtaking, which upheld a decision made previously, but which if known before would have meant the incident itself would never have occurred!)

    • US_Peter said on 21st April 2010, 19:42

      I agree, and further to the point of being proactive and preemptive with rulings, I also think that it would behoove the stewards to issue rulings during the race rather than waiting until afterwards to investigate. I realize that in some cases, such as the Vettel/Hamilton pitlane incident, they want to speak with both drivers and hear everyone’s story before being too rash and issuing a penalty without understanding everyone’s position. That said however, I prefer drive through penalties to grid penalties, which obviously must then be ruled on before the end of the race. Also, the faster a penalty is issued the less room there will be for argument over bias.

  8. Bleu said on 21st April 2010, 19:36

    It has been better this year. About Hamilton’s black/white flag, I have to say that the problem there is that it was first time I have seen than while watching F1. On the old season reviews I have seen it once, but in general it’s very uncommon sight. The place where it could easily shown is missing apexes, I don’t mean complete chicane-cutting but the situations where you have outer wheels on kerb and inner wheels outside the track.

    Regarding drivers, it’s almost impossible to find drivers who aren’t “biased” if you look their former teams. Then you can look nationalities and so on.

  9. Vincent1972 said on 21st April 2010, 19:38

    i think this year stewarding improved a lot. but stewards should consider drivers with a same types of reprimands to get penalties the 2nd time to avoid abuse. reprimands should be a warning not to do it again otherwise you’ll get a penalty. this is for avoidable incident like vettel/hamilton behavior on china pitlane. if they behave again in any race, the’ll both get a penalty. but i hope safety should not be compromised. to be fair, i think hamilton/vettel will not behave the same if there’s someone standing or there’s car pit in progress.

    • US_Peter said on 21st April 2010, 19:46

      Yes, but as Icthyes pointed out above, and Burt below, shouldn’t these reprimands be a warning to all drivers? Surely if Alonso and Webber (just as a hypothetical) behaved in a similar way to Vettel and Hamilton in a pitlane incident, they should understand from the Vettel/Hamilton reprimand that this behavior is not acceptable.

      • George said on 21st April 2010, 20:00

        There was a clarification to the weaving rule after Malaysia, I guess this will be the same deal.

  10. Burt said on 21st April 2010, 19:38

    I’m happy with the decisions so far. If a reprimand is also a warning / yellow card to the whole field then everyone understands there will be a penalty if it happens again. No excuses next time.

    Luckily for McLaren, Brundle wasn’t steward this weekend, he would have given both drivers penalties.

    • Icthyes said on 22nd April 2010, 0:08

      And probably to Button too!

      • It’s funny, people have accused Wurz of not giving Button a penalty because Wurz used to drive for McLaren. I don’t for a second beleive that is the case, as he has driven for Williams, Honda and Brawn since so any association he has with McLaren is long in the past. Personally, I think it would be better to apply scrunity to the fact that Wurz has a very recent association with Button at Honda/Brawn – and I know the two of them got along very well while they were team mates there. And for all I know, they may still catch up for a beer every friday.

        Now, I am not suggesting for a second that Wurz based his decision on his past/present association with the driver involved. I think Wurz has a lot more integrity than that. I just thought it was interesting that some peopl jumped on the McLaren bias bandwagon, using an old, out of date association to support their assertions, when a far more recent & pertinent one was sitting right under their nose, so to speak.

        And the fact remains that Button didn’t get penalty, when many (myself included) think he should have. So draw from that what you will :)

        • I think people should remember that the professional driver is not in charge of the panel of stewards, and nobody has said that they have a casting vote in decisions made by the stewards. So what if Wurz is or isn’t friends with Button? If the rest of the panel want to punish him and Wurz just says that they shouldn’t, but has no good reason, then there is no reason to expect the others to go along with it.

          The reprimands given out are made public, so there is no excuse from other drivers to say that they were unaware certain actions are not acceptable.

          Can everyone stop assuming that their least favourite driver is going to benefit from this change and wait until the end of the season before declaring how bad it is?

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd April 2010, 15:55

            Can everyone stop assuming that their least favourite driver is going to benefit from this change and wait until the end of the season before declaring how bad it is?

            Hear, hear!

          • Actually Rob, Button is not my least favourite driver – far from it. And I wasn’t suggesting for a minute that I have any criticsm of the stewarding process this year – if you look back through my other posts I have been quite vocal about being in favour it. I was merely pointing out a potential issue which may raise questions about bias, that no one else appeared to have noticed.

  11. F1withMySon said on 21st April 2010, 19:40

    The stewarding in the past few years has been a huge source of frustration, and it has completely ruined some races for me – absolutely ridiculous for a top-level sport like F1.

    This year so far, I applaud the injection of some “common sense” into the sport. Well done.

  12. statix said on 21st April 2010, 19:52

    please add dangerous button driving when 2nd SC was out.
    this was extremely stupid and should be penalised.

    • George said on 21st April 2010, 20:02

      Please tell sunday driving grannies this, I wouldn’t have to tootle around at 40 in a 60 limit then :).

      Have you seen the onboard looking back from Button’s car by the way? It looks a lot less dramatic from that angle.

    • Patrickl said on 21st April 2010, 22:17

      After the safety car leaves the track, the lead car dictates the pace. Button did. No problem there.

      • Metallion said on 22nd April 2010, 7:26

        I don’t think the rules actually say that the lead car dictates the pace. It’s just the result of no one being allowed to overtake.
        It’s not allowed to slow down too much though so it could be argued that Button did wrong.

        • Patrickl said on 22nd April 2010, 9:38

          See that’s the problem. People “think” instead of “know”. Would it kill ya to actually check the rules?

          40.11:
          At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than ten car lengths behind it.

    • sato113 said on 22nd April 2010, 1:04

      it was stupid, but i seriously think the camera angle exzaggerated the closeness of the packed up cars.

    • sumedh said on 22nd April 2010, 11:04

      Agreed!!

      Button slowed down so much that Hamilton had to go off-track and lose positions.

      And when he charged back to regain his old place, Webber unfortunately had to go off-track and lose positions at the final corner.

      That incident was totally ignored, not even a reprimand being given to Button or Hamilton.

      The lead car dictates pace fine, but if it forces other cars to go off-track just before the restart, dirty tactics I say

  13. We have yet to see this done but I’m under the impression that reprimand means establishing a precedent – it hasn’t been clear before but now we are issuing a reprimand, now every driver knows that is not to be done and will be penalized for it.

    Similar example may be Spa 2008 controversy – after Hamilton was punished on the next race there were several corner cutting and drivers knew they have to wait for one more corner before attempting overtake again.

    Also, I don’t see reprimands as a yellow card so that driver will get penalty if he accumulates several of them.

    I still think Button should have gotten a penalty for slowing down too much during safety car period as that area is clearer in the rules. And due to dangers of it I don’t think it would be unfair to punish Hamilton and Vettel for dangerous behaviour in pitlane – Hamilton almost ran over a pit crew at 100 km/h, he barely regained control of the car…

  14. Reflecto said on 21st April 2010, 20:03

    Hamilton should have gotten something for the dangerous pit entry driving, same goes for Alonso. U can never cross the white line!!

    • rampante said on 21st April 2010, 20:10

      there is a difference between the pit entry and the pit lane. What both of them did was perfectly ok.

      • Jarred Walmsley said on 21st April 2010, 20:28

        No, what Alonso did was fine, Hamilton almost went backwards on the track

      • Dr. Gonzo said on 22nd April 2010, 3:10

        No it was not “perfectly ok”

        From:

        APPENDIX L TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPORTING CODE
        4. Entrance to the pit lane
        a) The section of track leading to the pit lane shall be referred to
        as the “pit entry”.
        b) During competition access to the pit lane is allowed only
        through the pit entry.
        c) Any driver intending to leave the track or to enter the pit lane
        should make sure that it is safe to do so.
        d) Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the
        Stewards of the Meeting), the crossing, in any direction, of the
        line separating the pit entry and the track is prohibited.
        e) Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the
        Stewards of the Meeting), any line painted on the track at the
        pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pits from
        those on the track must not be crossed by any part of a car
        leaving the pits.

        • jbstans said on 22nd April 2010, 8:13

          Way to own goal.

          As I read it there it seems that section d) is stating that you may not cross the line between normal track and pitlane except under extraordinary circumstances. As in if you’re not pitting you cannot cross in to the pit lane.

          Both drivers were pitting, thus there was no issue.

        • kowalsky said on 22nd April 2010, 19:23

          don’t say it too loud. We are having fun for a change. Let the steward look the other way. Let the guys race.

  15. was kimi penalised for banging into sutil in monaco?
    was hamilton penalised for banging into kimi in the pit lane?
    who should webber be penalised? i think it was purely a racing incident!

    • sorry, it sould be “why should webber be penalised?”

    • Patrickl said on 22nd April 2010, 9:46

      Hamilton did get a penalty yes. He was put 10 places back for the next race.

      Was Vettel punished when he collided with Kubica in Australia 2009? Yep he was.

      So yes when drivers are overly aggressive in defending or taking positions they got punished.

      Kimi crashing into Sutil is completely different. He lost the car miles before he hit Sutil.

      A comparable accident would be Liuzzi losing his car at the start of the last race. No penalty.

      If we were still under the same regime of punishing everything that’s out of the ordinary, then yes Webber would have received a 10 place penalty.

      Luckily we are nog longer under the tiranny of Alan Donnely so Webber crashing into Hamilton goes without penalty (apart from eternal shame).

    • Which incident are you referring to for Hamilton banging into Kimi in the pit lane? I can only remember Canada 2008 and Hamilton was punished for that, rightly in my opinion.

      I agree with you that Webber shouldn’t have been punished for Australia this year.

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