Should Vettel have had a penalty? (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel has already admitted fault for his error during the Belgian Grand Prix that took Jenson Button out of the race.

The stewards took a surprising decision to penalise him for the move – even though in the past drivers have rarely been punished for similar collisions with other drivers.

Vettel clearly made a bad mistake – but should he have been punished for it?


The stewards said Vettel’s penalty was for “causing an avoidable accident”.

His error took another driver out of the race while he continued, so surely it makes sense for him to be punished?


Other drivers have taken rivals out of races in the past and gone unpunished – such as Kimi R?â?ńikk?â?Ânen with Adrian Sutil at Monaco two years ago.

There’s no doubt Vettel caused an avoidable accident – but so did other drivers during the race without being punished. Vitantonio Liuzzi, for example, who hit Vettel while in complete control of his own car. Nor was Rubens Barrichello punished for crashing into Fernando Alonso.

I Say

Vettel made a bad misjudgement and it’s not the first time he’s done it. We all remember his collisions with Webber at Istanbul and Kubica last year at Melbourne.

Therefore I could understand why the stewards might want to censure him for his dubious track record. But that isn’t what they’ve said they’ve done, so I’m taking the penalty at face value – and I don’t like it.

I hope we’re not going to start seeing penalties every time a driver loses control and happens to hit another car while trying to overtake them. It would discourage exactly the sort of wheel-to-wheel racing F1 should be promoting.

Mistakes happen, and if some blameless driver gets taken out by a rival who’s lost control of his car, that’s just part of racing.

You Say

Should Vettel have had a penalty? Cast your vote and leave a comment below.

Should Vettel have had a penalty? (Poll)

  • Yes (57%)
  • No (40%)
  • No opinion (3%)

Total Voters: 2,409

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258 comments on “Should Vettel have had a penalty? (Poll)”

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  1. I think that example of Raikkonen and Sutil in Monaco is a great example of this.
    Raikkonen did the exact same thing, lost the car, and the results were the same, it ruined one drivers race.

    I was absolutely gutted for Sutil, the poor guy was in tears!
    But that’s F1, it happens.

    1. That’s exactly what I was thinking of. I’m no Vettel fan but he does not deserve a penalty. He did cause an avoidable accident, but it was intentional, wasn’t dangerous! So nobody can compare it to what Schumacher did to Rubens in Hungary..

      1. sorry mean to say was NOT intentional :D

        1. I completely agree with Keith here. Where were stewards in the days of Senna and Prost?

          Stewarding (hope there is a gerund like that in the English language) in F1 is totally inconsistent (though they’ve done a good job in some races). It’s ironic that a sport that prides itself in 60 years of existence has failed to come up with something to rectify this issue that seems to be playing a major role in deciding championship standings.

          Here’s another example: Alonso took Heidfeld out in the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix through a silly optimistic move down the inside of the Leow’s Hairpin. Where were stewards then?

    2. the difference with kimi’s incident was that kimi wasn’t trying to do anything. he just braked and lost it on a wet patch. Vettel was clearly moving around far too much and lost it. i have absolutely no idea what he was doing. i really don’t think there are too many drivers out there who would have made that error of judgement, not a mistake.

      1. I’m totally with TommyC on this one.

        Weaving like that towards a gap that wasn’t there (the inside) in the braking zone was what Vettel did wrong, and was dangerous driving in my opinion. I agree with Jenson in the Forum that he probably thought Jenson would move back to the left, gambled (recklessly), and lost.

        To say it will discourage others having a go is a little over the top. They are all racing drivers, they will always have a go if there is a chance. It’s just that Vettel doesn’t know how to do it (can you imagine Alonso or Hamilton doing that).

        1. I believe there’s a lot more to this incident and the punishment meted out by the stewards than meets the eye. Brundle touched on it during the race commentary.

          Vettel is a brilliant young driver who, by good fortune/timing found himself transferred into the hottest F1 car of the present formula. The problem is, he is not the complete driver that he needs to be in such a projectile.

          Think of Alonso, or Hamilton or Raikonnen
          ( and several others ) at the same stage of development. They had the comprehensive skills to cope with just about any situation. Brilliant though he is in many ways, Vettel is not there yet. He will get there, but he certainly ain’t there yet.

          Which set the race stewards a bit of a problem.

          The stewards may have used acceptable language to describe their reasoning as a safe bet, in that they would not be censured for using the wrong criteria. But I honestly believe that because Vettel has form when it comes to making critical overtaking judgements ( as other here have listed ) the stewards decided enough was enough, ‘this time sunshine, you get your backside kicked’ as it were.

          Because there is no doubt that every one of Vettel’s overtaking mistakes so far were potential disasters for some other driver and he’s got to get that part of his skill set sorted. And pretty damn quick too.

          1. Ron in Michigan
            31st August 2010, 2:41

            Well put Leon. I vote your explanation as the best description of this predicament.

          2. Another good reason to bring back testing. Give the drivers a chance to use their cars?

      2. agreed. VET moved out way to late in the braking zone. after doing 200mph+ it’s a bit silly.

    3. He was stupid but shouldn’t get a penalty. Mainly because it was a racing incident.

      If he gets one Rubens should get a grid drop for the next race.

      1. P.S. This post is brilliant.

      2. @TommyB89 I kind of agree with you – and this is why: (I am just copying and pasting my own comment from the article “Vettel apologises for Button crash” because I think it is just as relevant)

        It looked like a crash you’d have in a video game at first, but if you watch the onboard from Vettel’s car you’ll see he didn’t actually swerve all that abruptly when he lost control. Watch his hand movements carefully and observe that at the point at which the car snapped into a wild slide, he didn’t actually move the steering wheel quickly or sharply at all.

        I am beginning to think he locked the rears or lost control simply due to the bump in the racetrack. Of course, it was compounded by the damp patch on the track that caught the entire field out on lap one.

        It is a very tough decision as the accident ended Button’s race, which is enough to spark a knee-jerk reaction from the stewards alone – but I ultimately voted “No” because it didn’t look as straight-forward as it first seemed. Still, he needs to calm down a bit if he wants to beat Lewis and Mark.

        1. I do not agree. Button got o points in this race, so therefore Vettel should get 0 too, because Button got punished for something that wasn’t his fault. It would be wrong if Vettel would’ve scored while Button wouldn’t so Vettel had an advantage because of the incident. As for Raikkonen, He didn’t score because he hit Sutil and so didn’t Sutil. Barrichello hit Alonso and retired, so he too was sort of self-punished. To be honest, I think that if you crash into someone who retires because of it, you should be disqualified so you can’t score in the same round as your sacrifice can’t score. It can’t be like if you’re out of the race you get a grid penalty in the next race, because you get 2 penalties in that case. At least, thats my opinion.

          1. On the one hand, I agree with your point that Vettel should not be allowed points after taking Button out so decisively in the accident. But on the other I also agree with Keith that this was a racing accident and it’s a dangerous precedent that could stifle racing (not to mention inconsistent with previous decisions such as Barrichello’s accident).

          2. These decisions won’t stifle racing at all. It’s the old decisions under Alan Dolleny that threatened to (Bourdais vs Massa for example). But it didn’t happen then, and it won’t do now.

      3. Wait, so Barichello should get a penalty for braking to late into a corner where at least 5 other cars also braked to late on the same lap!?

    4. The difference between what happened yesterday and Raikkonen at Monaco was that (TommyC said) Raikkonen wasn’t trying to do anything to Sutil. Kimi simply lost it trying to drive the corner as normal. Vettel on the other hand, was clearly trying to organise a pass on Button, and did so by swerving all over a slippery road. Not to mention that Seb has got a reputation for screwing up passing moves, and causing damage to himself and others (like his teammate).

      1. That’s very true, and I agree Vettel does have a reputation, and rightly so…

        Whether or not they were trying to pass doesn’t come into it, The focus is what Vettel did, and whether it constituted as an “avoidable accident”. To which the answer absolutely must be no.

        Will the difference between an “avoidable accident” and a driver mistake be how close they are to another car when that mistake is made? It most definitely should not, The penalty must be given out due to the cause, not the effect. If Vettel drove into Button in a very 1997 Schumacher style, Then yes, that is an avoidable accident, because it was on purpose, he had intent to cause a collision. But in Vettel’s case, he had no intention to drive into Button, there for it was a mistake, just like Barrichello’s slide, and was not “avoidable”.

        Clearly Vettel was trying to pass, and clearly trying to swerve across the wet or not wet track (depending on who you listen to) was obviously the wrong decision.

        But I see no reason, why Vettel losing the car was any different than when Alonso binned it, except, the fact that Button got hit in Vettel’s case. Now if this means that the difference between an avoidable mistake and a run of the mill driver error (face it, they aren’t uncommon) is who gets in the way of it, the stewards need revisit the motives behind the rules to make sure it is bad sportsmanship they are punishing.

        Now, I think, as some others have suggested, that the motive behind the penalty, was the stewards fearing foul play, and a potential backlash if they are seen to do nothing, should he have done it on purpose.
        But to the stewards I would say, drivers must be given the benefit of the doubt, I think this, is one of the only times, when they should be looking at changing results after a race has finished. Otherwise, you may penalise driver in error, and it impossible to take a penalty back.

        I think the core problem with what we saw, is that the stewards need to revisit the reasons they have sporting regulations, it is to appropriately punish bad sportsmanship, And you can say many things about Vettel, you can say he was an idiot, which he was, you can say he can’t overtake for beans, which he can’t. But unless you believe he did it on purpose, and I sincerely hope you don’t, You can not say, he was a bad sportsman or a cheat.

        1. he will from now on be know as the “Crash Kid”.

          “Crash Kid”

          Vettel the “Crash Kid”

          McLaren have named him this so its not my idea.

        2. I would say that it was avoidable. If you watch the incident you will see that he was going much too fast to be able to break before the corner. Why he went to go down the inside when there was barely enough room for a bike only to swerve out is beyond me! Which ever way that went it was going to end up in a crash. It seems a bit harsh in some respects but not harsh enough in others as he has practically ruined buttons chances of winning the championship. I think part of it may well be due to something someone said above. Vettel needs to be punished to make him calm down as he has been doing this all season and worse things too.

          The other issue is whether a drive through is a consistent penalty. One driver may be given a drive through and be put to the back of the field and another may only drop one place (or conceivably no places at all) so I do not think it is a fair penalty to hand out at all to any driver for anything.

    5. Exactly!

      “If you don’t go for a gap that exist, you’re not longer a racing driver! We race to win. Not for 3rd, 4th or 5th, but to win.” “Sure, sometimes you get it wrong, it’s impossible to get it right all the time” – Ayrton Senna

      1. Yeh, but Senna was mad.

      2. What if a driver goes for a gap that doesn’t exist? Or when he realizes this and then decides to dive for the other side and just bothced the whole thing up like a rookie.

        1. Are you serious? How many times have we not seen this type of fast move from for example Kimi or Michael oor Vettel? maany times! This time he lost it over a bump unfortunatly. These things happen

          1. Are you serious? A bump, that’s what caused it? A bump on the head maybe …

            Fast move is fine, but to dive left and then right in such a quick succession obviously wasn’t ok.

      3. on another note, there’s been way to much punnishments for racing recently. Soon there will be no action at all.. Everything will be done in qualifying.. Although that would be great for Vettel, since his speed is insane.

    6. What you should compare it with is 2008 Fuji.
      If Hamilton could get a penalty for that then the stewards are right to give Vettel a penalty.
      That is not saying I am in support of needless penalties.

      1. Again, that was the dark Alan Dolleny days. Things have thankfully moved on from then.

        1. And the dark days of Mansel has begun

    7. Exactly. It was not a Schumacher Ram tactic that we have seen so many times.

      It was not a Hamilton rear end Raikkonen in the pit lane.

      I think it was careless and Vettel should be warned to sharpen up his act or face a penalty.

      It was not a rear ending ram from

  2. if webber(australia), Button(australia-despite what brundle said he locked up and hit the car infront at turn 1. his error). Rubens yesterday. and there has been plenty others that i cant quite remember right now. if none of them have been penalised then vettel shouldnt of.

    im not a vettel fan, quite the reverse but him and alonso are getting the raw end of deal from the FIA at the mo. its becoming quite clear. there was a close pit release yesterday by ferrari(alonso) there was about 20 other unsafe pit releases and none of them got ‘investigated’. mclaren didnt get investigated for the same thing at canada.

    they sometimes take nearly half n hour to make a decision(such as valencia). almost leaving it late so it has no effect on the overall result.

    the warnings lewis got at start of year were right. what he did was wrong but no need for pens to mess a race. yet no other driver has had a warning since and that is the only reason lewis is ahead of alonso & vettel as they got pens when others havent.

    So the whole thing is a bit of a mess at the mo. You can almost guess what ones will be investigated and what ones wont. the old driver influence has had no effect.

    1. what i mean with button in melbourne was. he was clearly behind alonso and michael, michael squeezed fernando fairly. button was no where near a passing position, he was almost on the white line so had no chance to make a real move. esp as it was wet.

      Alonso took his normal line despite michael being tight on his left.

      buttons front wheel hits fernandos rear. proving how far button was behind. spinning alonso round and button goes off scot free to win.

      my verdict is racing incident but another example of how one driver doesnt get looked at. infact commentators blamed alonso which was madness. he was clearly ahead into that corner.

    2. Australia was the start of the season. We’re now at a crucial point and mistakes like Vettel’s could decide the championship, so I think the stewards are right to evolve from warnings to (relatively light) penalties. If that’s what they’re doing.

      1. “Australia was the start of the season. We’re now at a crucial point and mistakes like Vettel’s could decide the championship, so I think the stewards are right to evolve from warnings to (relatively light) penalties. If that’s what they’re doing”

        Couldn’t disagree more. You can’t change a penalties system because ‘its more important now’ or ‘the consequences are bigger’. The rules and judgements should be the same in the first race as the very last.

        Vettel’s punishment was a joke. Shame on him for trying to race, I guess…

        1. A warning implies a harsher penalty later.

          Button was trying to race and we probably would have seen a more interesting tussle with him and Hamilton, Webber and/or Kubica if Vettel hadn’t taken him out with a maneouvre that was *never* going to work. If Vettel could actually pass a rival, I’d be a more bit more sympathetic to the argument that penalty could stop overtaking/racing. But he can’t. Does that mean other drivers have to pay while he learns?

          1. On the nail mate !

          2. maestrointhesky
            30th August 2010, 22:44

            Remember Canada where he enquires about ‘passing the cars in front’ in a lost schoolboy tone? He might be quick with a clear track but passing certainly does’t come naturally to him!

          3. yeah a warning does imply a harsher penalty later. but the point is simple, lewis has had warnings but done the same thing again not go no pen.

            alonso makes one mistake and gets one instantly. vettel does something under the sc which is done pretty often gets a penalty.

            just no consistency at all.

          4. Bren @ “that is the only reason lewis is ahead of alonso & vettel”

            I missed that in your original post. Alonso and Vettel have made a ton of mistakes this season, which is why they’re behind in the WDC. Hamilton has been easily the most consistent and the DNFs etc. he’s had have been mechanical. Really bizarre and unfair to suggest Alonso and Vettel getting a drive-through or two explains the difference in their standing.

        2. I disagree on the punishment, but however you look at it, the move was stupid. Outbraking yourself slightly is an easy mistake, flicking the car in wet conditions is a stupid one

          1. He indeed seems to have missed the breaking point, but I believe that, had he not tried to swerve to the left, he would have climbed on the back of Button’s car (pretty much like Webber on Kovi’s in Valencia). People are accusing him of trying a banzai move to overtake, but he may very well have been trying on avoid a full collision… it didn’t work, but that is beside the point.

          2. I voted yes to this, simply because the steward’s wording actually implies that the grey area around this sort of thing is known and accepted:

            “an avoidable accident”.

            As pointed out, there were a lot of “racing incidents” in the same race, and during the season where driver A got taken out by driver B.

            That’s not the question – the question is, “Did driver B cause the accident, and what could driver B have done to avoid it?”

            On both counts Vettel is guilty – he caused an accident by his own poor driving – not due to a wet track,
            – not due to a massive speed/braking distance difference like Webber/Kov,
            – not due to one car getting squeezed into a reducing gap (like Liuzzi/Vettel later in the same race.

            The track was bone dry, he had been following Button for several laps and knew the braking distances (or at least he should have), he was not under any pressure from another driver behind, there was plenty of space for him to make his overtaking manoevre, and he wasn’t stuck in the middle of a chaotic pack of drivers at the start of the race.

            He cocked it up, lost control and caused an accident that didn’t need to happen. So yes, he deserves a penalty, and no it doesn’t mean drivers are going to be put off overtaking.

          3. If getting it wrong is the requirement for “avoidable” then why didn’t Rubens get a penalty?

            And surely speed difference should not be a decider whether someone did something wrong or not, so Webber should have been penalised for hitting Kov. It was avoidable by your logic because driver B, in this case Webber, could have parked he car and gone home 4 laps ago. That would have avoided it.

            Your logic just isn’t right.
            You need to keep in perspective that this is racing, There is a risk of driver error, and the “Avoidable accident” rule shouldn’t be applied to driver error, because otherwise, you are penalising a driver for pushing the limit, which is funnily enough, what we want to see is it not?

          4. have any of you folks thought it might be something else that is causing RB problems when overtaking?

            just maybe the wing is so unsafe in dirty air that they loose the power to brake properly, it maybe also the cause for their poor performance during the race unless leading the field.

            i don’t like hearing some of the stuff that is flying around at the moment but the FIA has a responsibility to keep cars safe and they have not seriously been doing this, by letting RB get away with this Flxi wing thing, i just hope it doesn’t bite them in the butt.

        3. But he doesn’t know how to ‘race,’ that’s why he gets penalised.

          Perhaps he should learn how to race, before ‘trying’ in F1.

    3. as far as i can remember, despite the close pit release with hamilton on both vettel and alonso, there was never any contact. also it wasn’t alonso being investigated yesterday, he just happened to be the driver there when the release happened.

  3. I’m in two minds about this. Part of me thinks it was a bit harsh, considering past precedents. The other half…well. I’m no fan of the boy, so you can see where I might lean…

    I think, perhaps, the stewards should start looking at the effect the collisions have. Barrichello buggered it up and knocked himself out of the race, while his victim (somehow, miraculously) continued. Vettel ballsed it up, knocked the other driver out of the race, but kept going. Aside from losing time from the subsequent pitstop, he wouldn’t have suffered any more for it without the penalty.

    In my opinion, whether someone is penalised and the severity of said penalty should reflect on both the relative ‘stupidity’ of the action (in both cases above, just a mistake, by the looks of things) and the effect the accident has on each driver.

    For example, Kimi in Monaco 08 would have been penalised for destroying Sutil’s race under this idea because he was able to carry on regardless. Had he nocked himself out opf the race, too, nothing more than a reprimand would have been necessary.

    From another angle, at Istanbul, while Vettel knocked himself out of the race, the move clearly had an impetuous feel to it so he should have been reprimanded at the very least if not handed a penalty for the following race – perhaps only a grid penalty of 1 or 2 places, but something.

    Does this make sense to any of you?

    1. yeah i agree. perhaps the pens should be less. 2 places sounds good. still has a big effect without ruining someone seasons for a racing error.

    2. I don’t think the effect should come into it at all,
      If it does, an innocent mistake could be punished harshly yet blatant breaking of the rules could go unpunished.

      The line with penalties has to be drawn further back, In my mind there should be two reason you get a penalty.
      1) You cheated
      2) You did something blatantly dangerous, (Like Schumacher’s defensive manoeuvres…)

      I don’t think Vettel’s error is in either of those categories.

      1. So you make up your own set of rules and then from that conclude that the stewards were wrong? How convenient …

        1. No, I came to my conclusion that the stewards were wrong by analysing my understand of the “avoidable accident” rule, which is what they accused him of.

          I then explained from my mind, what the sporting regulations were set out to achieve.

          If you would like to add any other aims of the regulations I missed, be my guest.

          1. The regulations are just that. If you cause an accident that could easily have been avoided then you get a penalty.

  4. It wasn’t so much losing control, though that was plain wild driving, since he tried right, then swerved far too abruptly left – it was the way he swerved back towards the middle of the track, plunging into Button, rather than correcting his error more carefully, losing pace and probably ceding a position to Kubica.

    Not saying he should have been penalized more heavily, but really a small penalty to pay given he probably took Button (a rival) out of the championship.

    What this highlights for me is just how difficult it is to learn to overtake when it doesn’t come naturally. Some skills – going faster – are trainable, but Vettel seems a long, long way off acquiring the ability to pass rivals. And his solution, based on this season, seems to be ramming into them instead. Intentional or not, it’s definitely a sign of frustration. I don’t see why the FIA stewards shouldn’t take this track record into account since he doesn’t seem to be learning any other way.

    1. it was the way he swerved back towards the middle of the track, plunging into Button, rather than correcting his error more carefully

      It was just an over-correction – we must have seen dozens of them during the course of the weekend. It’s ludicrous to punish a driver for not “correcting more carefully” in that situation.

      1. Well the stewards including Mansell don’t seem to have thought the penalty was ludicrous. As Patrick puts it below, the issue is ‘avoidable’ – he could have avoided the collison had he been less aggressive in correcting his swerve. He made a mistake and rather than accepting the consquence, losing one position, he hurled the car into Button. As I recall, he mentioned in the interview afterwards he was worried about Kubica behind. So the swerve back on track was motivated by an attempt to hold positon (block), not just an attempt to get back on track which was botched.

        1. Mansel is a declared Button fan thogh… perhaps he was the one seeing red after the accident

          1. I hope so! Let us Brits stick together against those nasty foreigners….lol

      2. Keith, the problem is not with the correction. He tried a move to the right when there was no space, and he should have been cautious because it was wet and button may brake early (as he did) taking both drivers out. He should have tought of that

      3. @ Keith: It’s Vettel’s fault that Button didn’t score, so Vettel shouldn’t score either!

        1. Logic and justice aren’t the same thing.

      4. Wow take a look at this…..
        Take a look at this video of the incident between Vettel and Button. At 0.50 we see an on board of Vettel’s car and take a look at the front wing movement

        1. Wow that is a lot – like it was flapping side to side. Wonder if that affected his control of the car?

          1. Would certainly have caused a massive & erratic loss in down force which could have affected his control…… anybody got any footage of Webber’s Valencia crash for comparison ? could have been a factor there….. maybe Mr Newey’s clever concepts are getting a little too clever and putting the drivers at risk.

          2. Time to put your reporters cap on Keith and go ask some questions.

            or point this clip or the BBC one at people who know the technicalities about these things.

          3. And put into the mix that Jenson would have been taking his knee off his F-duct hole as they were approaching that braking zone – de-stalling his rear wing & further messing up the turbulent air to Vettel’s front wing. In fact…. am I right in thinking that on the run into that corner Jenson would have had his rear wing stalled by blocking his F-Duct hole with his knee meaning airflow to Vettel’s front wing would be relatively high compared to when Jenson got close the the breaking zone when he would have moved his knee thus uncovering his F-Duct hole and in effect reducing the air the Vettel’s front wing ?

          4. @f1 novice. I don’t think it would make that much difference if I’m honest. The F-duct works by making the air turbulent before it reaches the rear wing (effectively like a slipstream).

        2. wow theres a lot of movement in the wing

        3. Great spot F1 Novice. Wow!

          1. I’ll be honest I can’t take the credit for this I saw this on another site and dragged it over here :)

        4. Having watched it a few more times, the change from side to side appears to happen as he moves around in the turbulence behind Button – the side in the turbulent air stays up, the side in clean air goes down. Which makes sense.

          1. It really does make scaring sense when watched repeatedly.

            As F1 Novice hints above, the wing doing this kind of thing might have something to do with Webbers accident in Valencia (although i don’t remember wing movement like that on his car).

            This is exactly the reason why “movable aero devices” are prohibited!

          2. I wonder at which point approaching that braking zone Button took his knee off the F-duct ?

        5. Brilliant spot. You ought to change your name though.

          I think, this piece of evidence makes this situation even more similar to Kimi’s case in 2008. Both drivers lost control of their car in tricky wet conditions and the driver ahead of them retired.

          Anyone see a pattern here? Ferrari went scot-free for almost anything they did in 2008. And Now Mclarena re going scot-free for anything they have done this year. First the spate of ‘warnings’ Lewis got, then the Valencia “penalty” and now Vettel gets penalised for every little thing. First the 10-car rule (No ‘warning’ whatsoever) and now this!!

          1. Vettel got that 10 car length wrong before already (China).

            Horner was pretty clear about it that Vettel had been told before about this rule and about Vettel braking it.

            Vettel lost control because he was moving around like an idiot. Not when he was simply trying to slow his car down.

            The fact that people have trouble understanding the rules does not mean that the rules are applied haphazardly.

          2. “trouble understanding the rules”

            Here is what you want,$FILE/Stable%20Sporting%20Regulations%20-%2024%20July%20-%20CLEAN.pdf

            Now the rules clearly state that the stewards can impose a penalty at their discretion (16.2), I’m not debating that.
            What I’m debating was whether they made the correct choice, For discussing this, the sporting regulations are typically less than helpful.

          3. It was an accident and it was avoidable. What was your question again?

        6. Woah, what a front wing movement there. No wonder he lost control with that wing moving like it did.

          Looks like Red Bull really should have a look at making their front wing more sturdy.

      5. But it wasn’t just the said ‘over-correction.’ It was what led up to it that was reckless and dangerous, that is, getting too close in the braking zone expecting Jenson to move to the left.

        I really think you have to ask, would Alonso, Hamilton, Button, Webber, etc, be so reckless when conducting such an overtaking move into the bus stop?

        Vettel needs to calm down. Hopefully these penalties can make him do so, because if the stewards do not act there will be very dire consequences next time he drives so recklessly.

        Ok, I’ll stop commenting now! Ranting over.

        1. Webber’s in Valencia was worse if you ask me

        2. Hmm, seing this I take back 50% of my criticism of Vettel, Boris Johnson’s rear end on a bicycle probably wobbles less than that.

        3. yeh, it’s more like there shouldn’t have been any need for correction. his movement seems to have destabilised the car cause he had to given he got the braking wrong. just a downright clumsy move.

  5. I agree with the penalty because it’s not the first time Vettel did something stupid like this this season. I think the problem with Vettel is because he has such a great car this season, he is overconfident when it comes to overtaking. It seems to me he can’t overtake without hitting anyone.

    Other drivers didn’t get a penalty simply because they didn’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. People tend to forget this is Vettel’s third full season in F1 already, and Hamilton has only started ten more races than Vettel but Hamilton’s racecraft is already one of the best in F1. I am not saying Vettel isn’t as fast as Hamilton, but you can’t be a champion driving like this.

    1. Nine more races if you count Vettel’s first race for BMW.

    2. the difference between hamilton and vettel/schumacher/alonso/webber/massa is that he started in the best team straight away. he didn’t have to prove he could be in a top team, he already was number one in mclaren when he arrived. good for him, but to me it makes the “alonso/schumacher/vettel” a bit more respectable for what they achieved.
      alonso had few seasons of practice before succeeding. same for schumacher, hakkinen etc…and it made strong champions.
      so vettel is doing quite well considering it is his third season. he needs to calm down, but overall it is quite good. and it works for hamilton as well. he is more mature, after a difficult 2009 season. his title was quite pathetic considering the way he won it, almost failing to secure a 5th place.

      1. You have LESS respectable because he was good enough to compete in a top team, and challenge a world champion in his rookie year?

        Wow, you have seriously gotten something completely wrong here.

        1. Errr, that come out… strange.

          I meant something to the effect of “You think his achievement are LESS respectable” .

  6. I voted “Yes” but I suspect I would have voted differently had it not have been Button he harpooned :)

    If you follow this sanction through Webber should have got a penalty for losing it in Valencia and taking Kovalainen out.

    1. I think it didn’t need to be punished, simple driver’s mistake & that’s racing. Tough luck on Button, but things like that happen.
      Where was the punishment for DC when he lifted in the rain on the racing line in 98 on this very same track ? Should Maclaren hand Hakkinen’s crown back to Schumi ?
      At the time, I thought that was entirely stupid and alltogether avoidable as well…
      I agree with you that the Valencia collision merited a sanction as well then, as Webber was caught in the same situation as Vettel, but actually more silly: on a straight line, no bumps, no dampness and hence completely unexcusable.

  7. Comparing Vettel’s incident to Raikkonen’s is not justified. Monaco 2008, the track was damp and moreover Raikkonen didn’t attempt an overtaking maneuver on Sutil. However yesterday, at the time of incident, the track was bone DRY (as Jenson told in BBC Forum -post race) and Vettel trying to do something, God knows what.

    You can compare this one (Vettel Spa 2010) to Vettel’s Turkey 2010 and I don’t know why he wasn’t penalized there, screwed Webber’s race!

    1. Indeed, Vettel should have been punished for Turkey too. For that matter I do think Webber should have been punished for running into Kovalainen too.

      Although in those cases I do agree that the defending party was making life difficult and perhaps not all the blame should fall on the attacking driver.

      This ridiculous move of Vettel was just insane. If that doesn’t deserve a penalty for “causing an avoidable accident” then what does?

      1. In Turkey he crashed out of the race, which is punishment enough.

        1. Yet after Australia 2009 they gave Vettel a 10 place grid penalty for his “avoidable collision” with Kubica.

          I don’t think not being able to finish your own race is a consideration for this penalty.

          Personally I thought that 2009 Australia was a racing incident though, but still, it does show that they will penalize drivers even after they had a DNF.

      2. So you’re saying the defending party is at fault because they defended? Don’t tell me you’re actually agree with that indycar rule?

        1. No, but if you almost squeeze a driver off track (as Webber did to Vettel in Turkey) then you create a high risk for an accident too.

    2. moreover Raikkonen didn’t attempt an overtaking maneuver on Sutil

      Why should that make a difference? It’s not as if Vettel was doing anything wrong by trying to pass Button.

      1. Vettel when interviewed said he wasn’t trying to pass, take that for what you will

      2. It makes a difference because it shows that Raikkonen didn’t take any unnessecary risk. He simply lost control braking while going over a bump. He skidded into Sutil who was well ahead of him.

        What Vettel did wrong was to steer like a madman.

        1. Tell me someone, what did Vettel do that was so wrong?

          He lost control, and crashed.

          If Berger was surprised that people were upset at Schumacher I think he’d fall of his chair reading this.

          1. He made a rookie driver error. Not sure if it’s “so wrong”, but the stewards and most people here agree that it was an avoidable accident.

            To be honest I’m amazed that a few people can actualy claim that it wasn’t.

      3. The way in which Vettel tried to make the maneuver was wrong and dangerous in my opinion.

        By you logic we can also compare Webber-Kovalainen incident as something similar to Vettel-Button, but I don’t think Webber and Kovalainen had anything wrong it.

      4. The responsibility should always be with the person attempting the overtake. As it was avoidable the penalty is justified.

        Also, as others have mentioned, Raikkonen was not attempting an overtake, he lost control – as did Barrichello and Liuzzi was on the racing line when Vettel came up the inside and hit his (Liuzzi’s) front wing…

        1. I quite agree.
          I don’t know much about his penalty, but I do believe Vettel misjudged the braking zone since his focus was maximizing the tow. So in a way he is guilty of rear ending the car ahead.

          1. Which makes him an idiot…

            When did we start penalising idiots instead of cheats or bad sportsmen?

            Bernard, how is losing control when following a car closely and losing control when further back any different???

          2. OK, the list again: Hamilton Canada 2008, Massa Fuji 2008, Vettel Australia 2009 and Sutil Canada 2009. All punished for being an “idiot”.

            It was an “accident” (ie no cheating or bad sportsmanship involved) yet they could have “avoided” it.

        2. maestrointhesky
          30th August 2010, 22:58

          With that reasoning, Schumacher was completely justified in putting Barrichello into the Hungarian pit wall then? That could have been very nasty and Schumacher (the defending driver) was rightly punished to stamp out that sort of behaviour.

          Every situation is different and although I was sad for Button (and have over the short time Vettel has been with us – developed a distinct dislike for his driving excursions) I voted no as replaying the footage suggests there were a lot of factors that caused Vettel to lose control of the car. Not least the designed in flex on their front wing. This might sway the verdict against RB and their borderline wing design incidentally – drivers unable to control in wheel to wheel action?

          1. Not at all maestrointhesky, Barichello did nothing wrong. Schumacher was punished for ‘illegitimately preventing a legitimate overtaking manoeuvre’.

            Mike, Vettel was clearly attempting to get past Button. I agree he lost control but it was after he attempted a passing move, that should rightly put the responsibily on his shoulders.

  8. I can’t say he should have as I think it sets a very flimsy precedent, but at the same time it just seemed so unjust for him to knock Button out and the extra pitstop time didn’t seem long enough to make up for it.

    Obviously a feeling of what is just can’t be used to impose penalties…but I can’t help feeling that ensuring penalties are just is the most important thing for the fans.

    Overall based on how Vettel has been driving (overly aggressively) and his multiple collisions he needed to be brought in to line somehow. At least a warning to not pull any more silly antics was certainly warranted.

    Then again, Webber ran straight into the back of Trulli at Valencia. Perhaps the difference is that Vettel seemed to lose control of his car by being just being too aggressive, while Webber misjudged the situation, a more “honest” mistake? Plus Webber took himself out of the race, no points seemed like punishment enough in that case. (Again I’m back to the “just” outcome)

  9. I don’t think he should have been punished, in all motorsports these things happen.

    That said I remember Lewis Hamilton out braking himself into Turn 1 (can’t remember the race)on Lap 1. Not collecting ANYONE and receiving a penalty just because other drivers (Ferrari’s) had to run wide to avoid.

      1. Also from that race, Massa received a drive through for a failed attempt of overtaking Lewis (ie ramming straight into him).

      2. One of the more bizarre FIA penalties from 2008.

        1. 2008 did see many inexplicable penalties on Hamilton…

          1. This is why I’m reluctant to suggest Vettel should be penalised in this case. It set’s the wrong precedent. It was an error but not premeditated (like Schumi on Barichello).

          2. As well as many deserved ones. (just to make the picture complete)

          3. Premeditated has nothing to do with it.

            Did Vettel purposefully ram into Kubica in Australia in 2009? Did Sutil spin his car into Heidfeld’s on purpose during Canada 2009? Did Hamilton run into the back of Raikkonen on purpose. No, no and no.

            If it had been premeditated Vettel would have had a much harder penalty. Think for instance back when Schumacher took out Villeneuve in 97.

            It’s just a dumb driver error that he should not be making. That’s what “avoidable accident” means.

      3. They gave him a penalty for that?… :S

  10. there should be an option for “yes, but his punishment was too light”.

    that would have been my choice. generally, when drivers take out championship contenders towards the end of the season, they are harshly punished.

    vettel maybe didn’t deliberately crash in button, but he deliberately put himself into a position where it was very likely.

    it was a crazy move. crazy moves should be unacceptable and he deserved harsh punishment.

    1. It can not be ok for an incident to be punished based on those involved or if they are contenders or not…

      1. Wasn’t that exactly why Schumacher was punished for his move on Villeneuve at the end of ’97? And rightly so.

        Okay, rather clearly Vettel wasn’t intent on bashing Button out while Schumacher definitely intended just that, but the action had the effect of keeping Button from scoring points in the championship nevertheless.

  11. What I think people need to do is isolate the situation and don’t let your views on Vettel be a factor. I’d like to see the relation between those that voted “yes” and their views on Seb.

    1. I see a relation between the people who voted “no” and their views on Vettel …

      1. I disagree. I more a Webber fan but I chose “no”. I think choosing “no” is the common sense choice for a motor racing fan.

        If Vettels accident is the precident now for drive through penalties over time it is only going to get worse to the point of pedanticism.

        Accidents come with overtaking and I believe one of the main complaints from an F1 fan or observer is lack of overtaking. The last thing we want to do is to discourage overtaking.

        It will go wrong from time to time when two cars are duelling. Its just a pity that Vettel can’t overtake even if his life depended on it.

        1. I say this is a textbook case of an avoidable accident. The stewards agree with me, so I think you are wrong :)

          We don’t want to prevent overtaking, but people who make such an utter mess of it should get punished.

          Just like Massa was penalized for Fuji 2008, Hamilton for Canada 2008, Vettel for Australia 2009 and Sutil for Canada 2009 (that’s all recent events that I can recall, but there must be many more of these incidents).

          Sometimes drivers just do something so utterly stupid causing an accident, that they have a penalty coming to them.

          1. Vettel lost control of his car, if losing control and crashing is avoidable, do you also think Rubens should have gotten a penalty?

          2. “I say this is a textbook case of an avoidable accident. The stewards agree with me, so I think you are wrong”

            Quiet possibly the worst rebuttal one could have. If it was that clear cut, why on earth is there a poll in the first place?

            All accidents are avoidable. For me, I think this is a matter of determining a precident of what is punishable and what is not. Yuje Ide at San Marino – yes. Vettel at Spa – no.

            Clearly we sit on different sides of the fence but this is a stance that I will not be persuaded from.

    2. I am not sure about any such relation. I stopped liking Seb after seeing his stupid finger when winning and his grumpy face when not on the top step a bit too often. And those incidents where RBR clearly favoured him. And i have warmed a lot to Button after some of his driving last year and seeing his demeanor this year.

      But here i was very much in doubt about the need for a penalty. Sure, it was a stupid move by Vettel, it he can’t make a move that might work, don’t do it. And it damaged Button’s WDC hopes badly as well.

      On the other hand, falling back from 4th/3rd to 13th was already punishing as it was (although i would have liked him falling back a bit more there), especially with the damaged car and cracked self confidence, he could have given us a nice recovery fight, like he did in Silverstone.

      In the end i voted No opinion, as i really am not sure about it.

  12. The key word is “avoidable”.

    Kimi losing control in Monaco and even Barrichello losing control here were just accidents.

    Vettel could have avoided his maneuver. Just like Massa could have when he rammed into Hamilton during Fuji 2008.

    1. In a nutshell Patrick.

      Nicely recalled, Massa on Hamilton, another somewhat dubious collision against a championship rival.

      1. I agree. On the Massa example I don’t think he was deliberately out to Hamilton but just lost his head and was a complete plank. Right for a drive through then and right for Vet to get a drive through yesterday I think.

      2. Scrub that: having watched it again, totally dubious! Got his angle all wrong on the corner, trunded over the lawn and ploughed straight into Hamilton with no attempt to avoid the collision.

        1. Yeah, Massa might (should?) even have received more penalty than a drive through. It was almost like he did that on purpose.

          Vettel obviously didn’t intend to hit Button (otherwise he wouldn’t have tried to swerve past him)

  13. Apart from having seen the replay back a few times and being of the opinion that Vettel caused the crash by swerving too dangerously (much more than Hamilton’s “weaves” in Malaysia, and look how many people called for his head there), my opinion that he deserved a penalty rests on what I wrote yesterday:

    I think there’s a good justification for Vettel’s punishment: who it was he crashed into.

    As much as he put himself into the situation, the way he lost it meant Vettel deserved the benefit of a doubt over being penalised, because it might have been a freak incident (though from what Button said afterwards, it would be hard to blame it on the conditions; incidentally, this happened only a few races after Webber crashed into Kovalainen by weaving behind him, so there are grounds to call it dangerous driving). Plus, he wrecked his own race, which would normally be punishment enough.

    The problem is that he wrecked the race of a fellow championship rival. Vettel could easily have gone on to score points without the drive-through, and how would that have been fair on Button, who was entirely without fault?

    I don’t think that’s why the stewards gave him a penalty, but it’s why I would have.

    What’s the difference with Raikkonen and Barrichello? When Raikkonen started sliding in Monaco, he was much further behind and was a result of him making an error. Barrichello on the other hand took himself out and Alonso ruined his own race with his tyre strategy. What Vettel did was both dangerous and careless driving right behind an opponent. Again, even if the stewards didn’t think that way, penalty deserved. Anyway, unlike what some are implying, is there any possible reason for the stewards to single out Vettel? They clearly saw something we didn’t.

    1. Kimi and Barrichello’s mistakes were also when the tracks were wet. Button commented that part of the track was dry making the mistake even worse in my opinion.

  14. It really could have gone either way….but yes it was an avoidable incident. in all reality i find it hard to imagine him actually pulling off the maneuver if he made it around button without understeering into the run off area or cutting off button at the chicane

  15. That´s what i think:
    Should the drivers try to overtake, or go around and around the circuit till the end of the race ? OVERTAKE IS THE ANSWER
    Did Vettel tryed to put Button out of the race deliberatly? NO
    Does the overtake manouver brings possible accidents ? YES
    Was Vettel trying to overtake ? YES
    Isn´t racing the essence of F1 ?( IT USED TO BE ) YES
    So where´s the problem ? I DON´T SEE ANY HERE.

    1. the problem? it’s pretty simple.

      there was no chance to overtake here, and he ruined button’s championship.

      punishment earned.

      1. Alonzo and Vettel overtook there so it was possible, the difference was he miss jugded the manouver, it has happened before and hopefully it´ll happen again, this is racing we´re talking about.
        Forget about Button or the other contenders to the title ( there´s 24 drivers out there, they have the same rights) that was RACING and we should be glad that some of them at least try, it´s becoming rare in this days.

        Or should FIA apply the wink wink to the left rule like we have when we´re driving !!

  16. You probably wouldn’t see a penalty like this in the junior formulae. But F1 drivers have to measure up to a higher standard.

    It’s a safety issue. Obviously F1 is inherently risky, but drivers shouldn’t add to that risk by driving irresponsibly.

    It’s a moot point whether Vettel’s move was irresponsible. He moved around in the braking zone in wet conditions, and Mansell and the other stewards clearly took a dim view of it. I can see why.

  17. I thought it was fair enough. Would have been harsh to spoil Vettel’s Monza weekend as well, and at least the penalty was dished out quickly, which gave him a chance to recover. It was his decision to achieve this by smacking into Liuzzi and giving himself a puncture…
    You could argue what the consequences of Vettel did to Button was worse than what Schumacher did to Barrichello in Hungary, because it ended another driver’s race.

    But why should there be a different rule for championship contenders, as some people are suggesting? Maybe there should be a time, say after 14 races, when a new set of rules applies: extra penalties for interfering with the championship race…and team orders are allowed.

  18. Like I said during the live blog, to me this was a pure racing incident. However, in all matters of justice, people’s records must be taken into account. Vettel has established a pattern of ramming his rivals as a result of careless driving, which is something that cannot be ignored forever. I think that’s why the stewards penalized him, and I agree with their decision. Vettel may have the talent and the speed, but he behaves like a 6 year old on a go-kart track and that’s not acceptable in the top tier of motorsport.

    1. Accidental Mick
      30th August 2010, 17:14

      Totally agree with you. I’ve always hated bullying and attempted intimidation whatever the context.

  19. There’s no doubt Vettel caused an avoidable accident – but so did other drivers during the race without being punished. Vitantonio Liuzzi, for example, who hit Vettel while in complete control of his own car. Nor was Rubens Barrichello punished for crashing into Fernando Alonso.
    I voted yes because none of the above incidents saw the driver the receiving end dropping out of the race because of it. Also because you can’t forgive a driver for a mistake. Nobody crashes on purpose(with exceptions of course.. erm..)So it doesnt make sense to forgive a driver because he was not in control, to be in control is what being a driver is all about.

  20. I haven’t heard either of RBR or Vettel saying the penalty was even slightly unfair. Vettel seems to have accepted he messed up, and has no issues with the punishment.

    If the drivers and team bosses think it was a fair punishment, surely it wasn’t a harsh call at all

    1. True. And I’d guess most of them would think the penalty is actually probably doing Vettel a favour if it gets him to be a bit more cautious in the future.

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