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?

Pro

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?

Con

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.

[poll id=”165″]

2010 Belgian Grand Prix

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

  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” http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2010/08/29/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…
        But…

        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.
      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2008/10/12/hamilton-and-raikkonens-fuji-clash-the-penalty-they-got-wron-video/
      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, http://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.nsf/3C9E78D2AAE9B15DC1257617002CF08F/$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
        wow…

  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 !!
        THIS IS A RACING

  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.

  21. I voted no opinion. Yesterday i was fuming that he ruined Buttons race, but he’s my countryman, so any Ill that affects him will anger me. BUt ive calmed down now and see it clearer. If Vettel wasnt forced to pit (again) by Liuzzi which completely ruined his race (a case of Karma?) then i think the stewards might have taken a 2nd look, but Vettel wasnt ever going to get anything out of the race once the Drive through was done (putting him behind Liuzzi again) which led to their clash, like i said, Karma.

    Part of me thinks that maybe someone needs to teach him the best way to overtake to avoid these incidents. 2 of these in less then half a season seems too much for someone in a top team. Reform is often the best course of action taken.

  22. Vettel needs a good slap from someone either the stewards or Horner to break him out of his tantrum-throwing and petulence. He has talent to burn but if he keeps making stupid mistakes and running into people he will go nowhere. Horner should have the balls to take him aside and read him the riot act.

    1. Indeed. Horner just keeps on harping on about how talented Vettel is.

      It’s really about time that Horner sets the kid straight. Having talent is nice and all, but if he keeps driving like a rookie he will never amount to anything.

      He threw away a sure WDC last year (took himself out of the points in 4 races in 2009) and he’s doing it again this season (3 pointless races caused by dumb mistakes so far).

      Even if you are the quickest qualifier and driving the fastest car, you cannot afford a bad record like that.

      1. This time I agree… He needs to Buttonise his race craft, calm down and be careful, even if that means going slower…

  23. Vettel is a menace. Time after time he pulls boneheaded things like this. He even hit someone else towards the end of the race. He needs to clean up his act. He took out a championship contender with his blunder and deserves the penalty.

  24. The number of silly people here is incredible. It was a wet track, it was a racing incident. Vettel lost control and then happened to slam into Button. Not like he had set out to hunt him down and harpoon him.

    It’s happened too often for a driver of Vettel’s stature, but surely the stewards could see that it was nothing more than racing.

    I hate to play this card, but it must be the British/McLaren supporters who frequent this place who agree with the stewards.

    1. exactly my thoughts.
      9/10 people who voted yes have to be McL fans.
      I am a McLaren fan myself but i dont see any reason why Vettel should be punished (without considering his history).

    2. Jensen said the track was DRY and nobody else had trouble in that corner at about that time.

      Therefore a lack of racecraft by Vettel, penalty deserved.

      1. Therefore a lack of racecraft by Vettel, penalty not deserved?

        Just because he shouldn’t have made the mistake doesn’t justify the penalty…

  25. I’m a Button fan, and I voted “no.” It’s a slippery slope to start penalizing drivers for racing–especially when people having been complaining about a lack of overtaking.

    1. AGREED, YOU HIT THE POINT HERE

    2. Why do we even have stewards? Let’s just let the drivers do whatever they want.

      1. … It almost sounds like you think Vettel lost control on purpose…

        1. No, I think people are losing their minds on purpose so they can validate their own imaginary set of rules.

          A textbook example of “avoidable accident” and people start whining about how rules should only applied for cheating. or that enofrcing the rules will kill racing. As if dumbasses taking out other cars doesn’t kill racing (possibly literally even).

  26. 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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp8tTb-_Y-E

    1. You´re right, something got wrong with Vettel´s front wing.

      NOW MUST BE RED BULL WHOSE THE ONE TO BE BLAMED AND PUNISHED FOR NOT GIVING GOOD EQUIPEMENT TO VETTEL AND MESSED WITH BUTTON`S CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES RIGHT !!!!!!!!!

    2. heavens above, i would even go to say that front wing partly caused Vettels accident.

      weight going from one wheel to the other like that wouldn’t help the balance of the car at all.

      1. it was obvious while coming out of the slip stream which caused it to lift like that, but how the hell can that wing move so much and yet still be passed by the regulations?
        i can see some serous problems for Red Bull if the FIA get to see this footage.
        because they haven’t been stringent enough and have let this go on for to long, it may have now been the cause of this accident and if proved right then it is on there heads.

        1. Though I think Vettel totally lost it in terms of driving technique and deserved a mild penalty, I think there’s something in this. The accident did remind me of both Webber going airborne, and Vettel losing control at Turkey. The aerodynamics of the Red Bull seem to favour a sudden loss of control.

        2. Someone at FOM did see the footage at least on Youtube, so I couldn’t watch it anymore – it is deleted :-/

    3. I wonder if anyone other than RBR managed to get their hands on the debris and get a look at it!!!

    4. Yeah, a while ago I saw a couple of super slow motion clips (sorry forgot where) of cars going over the kerbs. The Red Bull wings and the flimsy “tusks” that their wing hangs on make the wing move around (sideways) a huge amount.

  27. No – but he should get a right swift punch in the nose from Button.

  28. As stupid as the move was, and as much as I’ve lost tonnes of respect for Vettel since he joined RBR, it was a racing incident and should not have been penalized. Vettel is a great test driver and qualifier, but he can’t race or pass.

    1. Completely agree.

  29. well u can say he shldnt be penalised, but again the way he pulled his car out to overtake, that move shld be done on really long straights, not at the end of the straight where u have to brake while pulling the car out of the slipstream. without traction control in that rain itz very obvious the rear end wud twitch. and besides it’s not that he wudve never gotten the opportunity again. Button was really struggling.

    Kimi Raikkonen could’ve been penalised for that if he was trying sumthing out. He was almost the same as rubens and alonso where brakes werent working.

  30. i voted Yes.

    if Vettel had managed to make it back up into 4th or 5th i am betting most of you would have been screaming for a penalty, but due to the penalty that was definitely in doubt.

  31. Did Vettel screw up? Yes. Did he deserve a penalty? No.

    I think, as many have said, his rear brakes locked up a little bit as he hit a wet patch and that caused his car to pitch into the side of Button’s McLaren.

    From watching it I didn’t really see where he was trying a manuever that just didn’t work – seemed much more like a racing incident.

  32. Nah… if that’s normal racing, IMO your standard is too low. How many successful overtaking moves had Vettel pulled out from his attempts? It’s not like that other drivers who crashed much less do not dare to overtake? But if all of the other drivers start to “race” like Vettel, yes, Nascar may find a rival.

    1. Vettel has a pretty poor record with passing. I was a BMW Sauber fan and furious when his actions took Kubica out of a podium finish at Australia last year – despite Vettel’s car clearly damaged so badly he couldn’t possibly finish the race. Let’s not even mention his actions taking out his own team mate this year…

      However, from watching it, I didn’t get the impression he was going for a pass on Button. Hence, it was a racing incident due to conditions – not necessarily his lack of ability to pass.

      1. My point was not only the lack of ability to pass. I just can’t remember an other F1 driver crash that often. In your example Vettel wasn’t overtaking either, instead Kubica was charging.

        In a hindsight, his rivals would be better off just leaving him alone or letting him through, not only in difficult conditions but also most of the time. IMO it shouldn’t be like that.

        1. Don’t forget Piquet! But it was difference because his lack of speed just made it comedic

    2. The way you´re thinking then it´s better put Vettel out of F1.
      Then, what about the the others drivers.
      Oh, i see your point, F1 with out drivers should be must better to watch.

  33. The kid is good, but he needs to settle down!

  34. Vettel seems to make a number of rookie mistakes, without actually being a rookie.

    He lacks consistently competent race craft at a level where he should clearly have it. Some of his racing this year has been straight out of a playstation ( consider driving across the track to squeeze another driver and loosing positions because of it, taking Webber, Button out )..

    However, I think on the weekend, he was unlucky, I don’t think he should have got a drive through on balance.

  35. Haven’t had time to read every comment but Keith, I think you are missing one important distinction to make in giving the penaly. Vettel had lost control, but only because his under-control racing was negligent and led to him being out of control. When Kimi hit Sutil he was attempting to brake in a straight line, and I think other such incidents can be distinguished in this way. I also suggest that this is a benefit of having a driver-stewared. He can distinguish between a racing accident and gross negligence, because he knows what it means and what it takes to control the car in different situations.

  36. The problem with Vettel is that this was not a one-off incident. All drivers make mistakes racing hard in the wet but Vettel keeps running into other cars (wet or dry)and making stupid mistakes.

    A penalty might bring him to his senses

    1. I suspect RBR management secretly thinks the same.

  37. Vettel does not seem to be learning from his mistakes or from anything his team bosses should be saying to him. Therefore it is left to the race official’s to teach him a lesson and I don’t think the drive through was sufficient.

    Hopefully I am proved wrong but nothing so far convinces me that it will. Therefore when the next Vettel avoidable accident occurs I think a one race ban would be in order.

  38. I’m sorry 99 times out of a 100 I would have said “no”, but this boy needs a penalty or a talking to just to calm him down!

    He’s losing control, he’s aggressive and he’s shoddy. He’s ruining peoples race and sooner or later he’s going to get someone hurt.

  39. On a weekend where so many other drivers were having off-track adventures and other out-of-control moments due to the changeable conditions, it seems excessive to have penalised Vettel for such a mistake.

    Yes, it was his fault, and yes, it may have been a risky move to attempt, but in any racing series there are frequent incidents exactly like this. I think that penalizing Vettel was a knee-jerk reaction, and I dont like the precedent that it sets (or seems to set).

  40. Pretty disgusted at Martin Whitmarsh again trying to stir things up off track, he seems to be the new Jean Todt. I don’t think Vettel should have been punished for trying to race it’s a very poor precedent, but ok, he was punished, matter over. And there Whitmarsh is whining again that it’s not fair, Vettel should get a bigger penalty, blah blah blah. McLaren need to shut up and get on with winning on track – which Lewis did brilliantly – rather than constantly trying to influence the rules.

    1. @ McLaren need to shut up and get on with winning on track

      Well, I think Button and McLaren are entitled to be a little annoyed with Vettel. As for stirring, I thought it was fairly nicely aimed: he said if Vettel was going to be that stupid (paraphrasing), he’d rather he took out his team mate.

    2. I think he is being restrained; and these are the same comments that were being made against Hamilton in his first two years, with similar justification. When Hamilton made his bone-headed start at Fuji and ran half the field off the road in an “avoidable accident” and was punished, and still tsked-tsked by the field, he deserved it like Vettel does now.

      If we were back in Dennis’s day, we would be hearing rounds of double-barreled snark coming out of the McLaren garage. This is mild.

      1. Now you’re just being ridiculous.

        Hamilton didn’t touch anyone and just about the whole field braked late. It’s not like Hamilton took the whole field out. Alonso and Kubica DID brake on time and managed to get past the lot of them on the inside.

        1. One of my favourite starts, insane yes, Hamilton screaming to a near halt and the whole field having to move several yards to the left in synchronized formation, brilliant! Since nobody got damaged and less people went off track than half the other first corners in F1, still don’t understand the penalty.

          1. Nonsense. If the other drivers had been able to brake they would have and made the corner.

            Just like in the busstop yesterday, most drivers simply braked too late and they all went off.

            Alonso and Kubica didn’t (in Fuji and Alonso in Spa too), so it wasn’t impossible.

        2. Pat is it about what happened? or what could have happened?

          I think it’s really very important the the cause is the issue the stewards look at, not the effect.

          I like Hamilton’s Fuji start as well…

  41. I won’t blame him for that incident but that penalty was harsh. What the FIA could have done is to hand him 5 place grid penalty for the next race as Button’s race & championship battle was over back then.

    1. … and you call the drive-through harsh? Since he already was out of the points after the incident, I think he far prefers having the drive-through during the race. But it might have been a just penalty seen from the perspective of the Championship. I don’t think it would have been very defensible for the stewards though.

  42. Button said this to Martin Brundle on the grid before the race:

    “It’s still very very tricky, you know, if theres any wet patches its a big slap of oversteer, and its an uncontrolable slap”

    Case closed.

    1. Well Spa is known for having two different seasons at different ends of the track.

    2. Yet it was drie at the time Vettel spun.

      1. “Dry” is a relative term, there were streams of water on the camera lense.

  43. Should Vettel be penalised for what he did? I don’t think so. Can’t blame somebody for an accident.

    Should he be penalised for the way his front wing flexed seconds before crashing in Button? Hell yes.

  44. Here is a quote from Ayrton Senna:

    “By being a racing driver you are under risk all the time. By being a racing driver means you are racing with other people. And if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing, competing to win. And the main motivation is to compete for victory, it’s not to come 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th. I race to win as long as I feel it’s possible. Sometimes you get it wrong? Sure, it’s impossible to get it right all the time. But I race designed to win, as long as I feel I’m doing it right.”

    I couldn’t agree more with these words. Yes Vettle made a mistake, but that is to be expected when you drive cars that can reach 200mph+. I don’t want drivers to be afraid to overtake because they might get a penalty if things go wrong.

    1. Need I point out that Ayrton Senna is dead, as a consequence of that attitude?

      1. That’s pretty tasteless. Senna probably died because of a tragic car failure. Not much to do with his will to fight.

        Still i think Manu’s quote does not fit here, look at this bit

        And if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing, competing to win.

        Here Vettel looked, so now gap that existed and crashed it into Button (compare him going for a gap that didn’t exist in Turkey and at other occasions as well). If there would have been a gap, he could have made the move, now he should just have waited and given it a try later on.

        1. Thanks, that is exactly my opinion too, and great for using Senna’s quoted words to say it – that is exactly the problem Vettel is showing.

    2. Except those words aren’t true when applied to the actual incident that they refer to. Senna deliberately took out Prost in 1990 when no gap existed – he tore off his own front wing before even making contact with Prost.

  45. I dislike Vettel but I don’t think he should’ve been punished. It was merely a racing incident.

  46. Vettel should of been punished. My reasoning for that is because it was crazy decision to try and go down the inside, hence he lost control avoiding Button. It was clear he should have gone to the outside.

  47. Plain and simple, if the stewards start penalising drivers for botched passing moves, it will more-or-less discourage wheel-to-wheel racing. He clearly didnt intend to hit Button, and an opportunity to pass was there for the taking, as Button was clearly slower. Penalise a driver for poor judgement or for breaking the rules, but not for poor execution. That’s like penalising a footballer for missing on a penalty kick.

  48. I’m no fan of Vettel and I really hope either one of the McLaren drivers or Mark Webber wins the title this season, BUT…

    To me the penalty was ridiculous. F1 is about racing, all drivers are driving at their limits or pretty close to their limits, when you overtake you stretch those limits even a bit further, so a mistake is quite possible. Even if it was very unfortunate what happened to Jenson, penalizing people who try to overtake and mess up while attempting a move will discourage overtaking and on-track action.

    Think back to old races from the past that where great because of people going wheel to wheel and sometimes perhaps going a bit too far, think of Hill and Schumacher at Spa 1995 or Schumacher and Coulthard in Argentina 1998 or Senna and Mansell at Barcelona 1991, these drivers shared extremely close moments and came close to taking eachother off, but they didnt and so they were not penalized and we remember great duels from these races. So what if they had messed up and taken eachother out, should they have been penalized? No for sure they should not be penalized if you ask me, there was no intention of harming the other driver, no matter how stupid the move might have been.

    1. Going wheel to wheel is completely different from spinning your car in such a ridiculous manner.

      The first is racing and the latter is an avoidable accident.

  49. I wonder what happened with the “transparency” the FIA promised. Didn’t the FIA promise that steward’s decisions would be better explained to the public? Now all they do is that they inform us the decisions and on which rule they based it.

    I guess that is some improvement, but there is no added video footage or verbal explanation of the verdict at all.

    They really need to explain why they feel that Vettel was at fault in his incident and why Barrichello wasn’t.

    Personally I think this was a textbook case of “avoidable accident”. If this one wasn’t avoidable then when is it avoidable? Obviously though, a lot of people (the minority, but still a lot) have trouble understanding the stewards’ verdict.

    Now we get fans complaining about stewards not being impartial or that they are punishing at random. That’s just bad for the sport.

    Same with Schumacher’s move on Barrichello. Another textbook case, albeit “crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track”. Many people didn’t realize that the track ends at the line and not when a driver crashes into a wall. Or that a driver CAN stick to his racing line and push a driver off, but not move to the opposite side of the track and push a driver off.

    If the FIA/setwards would explain themselves a bit better people would learn to understand how penalties are handed out and why.

    1. I suppose releasing the footage is something that FOM controls, not the FIA, sadly.

  50. HounslowBusGarage
    30th August 2010, 19:59

    “I think Jenson took him by surprise with how early he braked for the bus-stop and trying to avoid him Sebastian got into a bit of a moment and collected Jenson. ”
    I read this quote from Horner this morning and really just considered it to be a load of Red Bullocks, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe Button did brake a tiny bit early, but he was also tucked well over to the right hand side of the track that Vettel should have been able to move left and brake. Problem was of course, that he braked, turned left violently, oversteer slid, tried to correct and harpooned Button.
    But despite his obvious stupidity there, I’m still not convinnced a drive through was necessary.

    1. From what Button (or Witmarsh) said after the race, now way was he braking early. Even Vettel himself said nothing like that, only Horner dipped up this Bull****t.

      But maybe what F1 Novice points out above (Vettels wing wildly moving around when switching directions close behind Button) might be also the reason why Horner does want to take attention away from the car. It looks like exactly what happens with too flexible bodywork.

      On the penalty i am completely with you. Not convinced Vettel needed a penalty handed to him

  51. He should have been disqualified (or have a grid penalty for Monza) for cutting the track twice!

    1) Cutting the pitlane entry, crossing the white line

    2) Cutting the Les Combes chicane

  52. It looked to me like the wing movement occurred as the wing moved outside the slipstream of Button’s car. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens quite often. If you think about half the wing is still slip streaming in Button’s wake, while the other half suddenly starts generating more down force when it clear’s Button’s wake.

    1. Thats true. If you think about it that could partially explain the accident. It wouldn’t be a problem if he did it in a straight line, but since he swerved in a braking zone it may well have been the straw that broke the camels back

  53. Kovalainen made webber spin at the bus stop in 08 and got a drive through… Vettel’s penalty was a bit light IMO

  54. I think guys are mistaken about the front wing flexing. Maybe it is flexing a little bit, but what shown here in the video is the suspension getting compressed upon lifting the throttle. And this caused the weight to transfer to the front thereby taking out the traction on back wheels.
    Also no point in blaming Vettel too much. Had Button stuck on to the racing line, it would have been a fantastic overtaking. Button blocked the last moment, by a quick yet small change in direction to inside and vettel could not be blamed. Just a racing incident.

  55. If a championship contender damages a rival’s title hopes then they’ve got to suffer commensurately. First a punishment for bad driving and then additional punishment depending on the effect on the victim (I’ll admit I haven’t worked out a fair formula yet). If it leads to less overtaking then so be it. Vettel’s move wasn’t as bad as his move on Webber in Turkey or Webber’s move on Hamilton in Australia but for the damage to Button’s championship campaign he should get a grid drop for the next race.

  56. I disagree with Keith’s prediction that close wheel racing would be discouraged because of potential penalties.

    I do not see how this is any different from the effect of harsher penalties for crime, including the death penalty. People will feel more satisfied in justice being served, but it deters very little. Why? People who commit crime do not count on being caught. And so I believe people who take risks in close wheel racing do not count on crashing.

    Thinking logically, the real penalty of crashing into another car is typically a retirement or no points. A drive through or getting a time penalty does not seem like much.

    On to the topic of if one should have penalties for avoidable accidents or not. One may ask why have the penalties if the drivers are not much deterred in close racing.

    Qualifying has penalties for blocking another when it was avoidable. There, the rule accomplishes one thing: it discourages those who have true malicious intent, who could otherwise say “I didn’t notice you in my mirrors. Sucka.”

    Surely it must be apparent that ‘incidents’ do not always treat all the involved equally. Sometimes the offender gets away without a scratch while the other must retire.

    Like the effect of the qualifying block rule, punishing avoidable crashes into others will discourage those who would maliciously enter into a high risk move where the risk to the other is higher than the risk to themselves. They could not just claim ignorance. And it would be difficult for them to gain from it.

  57. Comparing the Vettel/Button accident to Rubens/Alonso is absolutely apples and oranges. Everybody went wide in the corner where Rubens hit Alonso and he had nowhere to go as he was boxed in by other cars. Vettel by comparison, was out in the open pulling yet another erratic passing move (memories of Vettel/Webber) when he clearly had enough momentum to pass. He should be penalized for next race and I am growing tired of his (S.Vettel) antics as the season draws closer to an end, the stewards are right to punish him. Although I agree with the judgement this time, I find that the stewards are not ruling with fair, even judgement.

  58. Completely avoidable, he was driving like an idiot. He should have steered off the track rather than his Gran Turismo-style tank slapper. I don’t buy that he went left to avoid the crash because he turned far too hard to really have his heart in a proper avoidance attempt. He was trying to pull off the pass because he doesn’t know how to get one done properly when he’s under pressure.

    Webber ran into Hamilton in Melbourne and if he had continued on as Vettel did, he should have got a penalty. I don’t think the excuse ‘well, Raikonnen got away with it in Monaco’ is valid because he shouldn’t have gotten away with it. Remember who was in charge of the FIA at the time and whose stooge was in the steward’s box?

  59. theRoswellite
    31st August 2010, 3:57

    No penalty should be enacted primarily because the accident was brought about not by a grossly negligent or purposeful move, but by a miscalculation in grip resulting from the rain.

    This is what happens when you are driving on the limit, especially in a less than ideal situation.

    Many mistakes of this kind were made during the race, some were recoverable, as with Hamilton, some were not…Vettel. They were however, in all probability, the result of honest attempts to maintain a competitive speed.

    To punish Vettel is really only saying, “you were unlucky in that your spin happened to take out the car you were passing…and it was very spectacular, and of course you had that other crash with your teammate…so, hey…be more careful”.

    I want the drivers to operate in that 10/10’s zone as much as possible, that’s racing, that’s F1. Don’t punish a driver for trying too hard.

    And, by the way, Vettel was punished, he was eliminated from the race.

  60. I flat out disagree with the Vettel penalty. I agree that his move on Button was reckless, and that it is not the first time the young German has put himself in that position. However, as Keith pointed out, the inconsistent decisions made by the race stewards are indeed at best baffling.
    Vettel’s car suffered considerable damage in the collision with the McLaren, he had to pit to change tyres and have the nose of his car replaced. His race was pretty much ruined by his own error, so why compound it by giving the young man yet another drive through penalty?
    In an age where Formula One has an ‘overtaking committee’ to aid modern racing cars from passing each other on track, when we do see drivers take risks the sport moves heaven and earth to punish them. Then we ask ourselves why drivers do not overtake more, and all we here about is the complexity of the cars aero and the lack of overtaking opportunities on modern Tilke designed circuits.
    It makes me laugh when some claim that Vettel drives in a ‘dangerous’ fashion, but can anyone here tell me what is safe about going wheel to wheel at 200mph? Motor racing is, within reason, about taking risks to pass some of the world’s most talented drivers. It is why 99% of most racing fans watch Formula One on a regular basis. The technical aspect is an attraction, but double difusers and blown exhausts are not what gets bums on seats and raises the odd pulse or too.
    If F1 gives out penalties like this too often the only passing we will see will be the fans desperate to head for the exits demanding refunds on their tickets. It is as simple as that!

  61. I’m at a complete loss when reading some of the comments here. There seems to be a significant level of ignorance of basic vehicle dynamics that flat out astounds me. It simply was a matter of lack of grip once Vettel moved from the right side to the left side of Button.

    You’ll see all of this if you watch the incident frame by frame. When Vettel moved from the right to the left he lost the back end of the car under braking, and you can tell by the angle of his car on the on board camera. To correct the slip, Vettel turned his wheel to the right, but he over-corrected and now he was sliding toward Button. Realizing this, all in tenths of a second mind you, Vettel quickly, and correctly turned his wheel to the left into the new slip angle, but it was just too late.

    Vettel properly did what he could with the level of adhesion the tires had available in the existing conditions.

    Racing incident.

    1. he was moving from right to left, Button was not on the racing line, so was on the dirty side of the track making sure Vettel did not get the inside run on him, hence he may have braked a little earlier.
      with all the down force removed from Vettels front wing he lost control and over steered trying not to hit Button.
      i believe the flexing front had something to do with loosing control.
      the reason they have a ban on flexing body parts is due to exactly what happened here, it is uncontrollable when in dirty air.
      so who is to blame, the FIA for letting RB get away with this flexing wing in the first place,
      Whiting and gang are trying to make the racing more interesting and competitive but now it is getting more dangerous unsafe and putting other drivers at risk when ever close racing is involved.

  62. I say no.
    Yes i am a Vettel fan, and to me the penalty was ridiculous. A penalty should discourage drivers from doing something against the rules, but will it stop drivers making mistakes? If Vettel knew he would drive into Button then of cause he would not ruin Button’s and his own race.
    What i am on about is that, drivers of cause don’t want to have an accident because the chances that they actually gain anything is one in a million. I don’t see these penalties reducing the number of accidents. If anything it will just reduce the amount of wheel to wheel racing.
    When you do an overtake there is a risk, sometimes big, sometimes not as big but it is there and giving people penalties won’t remove that risk. So to me it is just pointless.
    It seems like it was more to justify it or something, to stop the Button fans from going crazy. I don’t know, but it seems odd that Vettel gets a penalty, but Liuzzi didn’t after he drove into Vettel later, and Barrichello didn’t get one either for ramming Alonso. They were all avoidable accidents, so they should all get an equivalent punishment. Maybe not Liuzzi because that was not dangerous, but surely Barrichello. I don’t really see the consistency in the execution of this punishment.

    1. I suspect this comes down to the racers helping out the judgements. Barichello and Liuzzi didn’t do anything stupid, they just cocked it up, these things happen. Vettel’s accident was a result of moving around in the braking zone, something he really needs to learn not to do because its dangerous

      1. It was stupid. Barrichello carried way too much speed into the corner. You can see how he just races by everyone and hits Alonso. And Vettel had passed Liuzzi and then Liuzzi just takes the corner like Vettel were not there. And i suspect that what Horner said it true that he was surprised by Button breaking point and then he took the outside of him and lost the back end. It looks like Button breaks earlier then Vettel expected, and that is why it was a messy overtake which made him loose the back end.
        And what about Webber in Valencia? He just rammed a Lotus because he thought that it would break as late as him self. That was a lot more dangerous because he came at full speed and it is obvious that a Lotus has to break earlier then a Red Bull, but he get no penalty even though that was just as much an avoidable accident.
        I hate to play this card, but i see it as racism in the stewarding. It seems like especially the German drivers gets punished for everything they do, where Hamilton has escaped a lot of things this year with just a warning. Racing Vettel in the pits, running out of fuel even though it is obvious that the minimum fuel fuel is there to stop cars running out of fuel on the track but he gets no penalty. He have got 4 warnings so far i think, but when Shumi overtook Alonso after the safety car in Monaco he got a huge penalty even though the flags on track said that they could race and the rules were unclear. Some drivers gets picked on all the time, where other drivers can escape a lot with just a warning or a fine.

        1. I hate when people start calling the racism card, simply because it disrespects when there really is racism. Besides, the two Nicos seem ok! You can’t seriously claim that Schumacher didn’t deserve his! Plus don’t they use the track stewards, which would make these ones Belgian, not British (which I’m guessing is your claim since apparently being British is to be inherantly evil, unless you support red bull, then you’ve been trusted by the grace of god). Besides, perhaps its just karma for the crap that happened to Hamilton during his first 2 years (and no I’m not a mclaren fan).
          As for Liuzzi turning in like nobody was there, clearly you wathced something else because he was virtually off the track trying to avoid him. Barichello made the same mistake that the entire front half of the grid did, the grip levels were far less than he expected (the exact same thing that the entire front half of the field did) and he was boxed in to the inside of the track. While I make no claim that it wasn’t Barichello’s fault, it was an understandable mistake. Besides, he took himself out of the race, so whats a drive through going to do anyway(same for Webber)! As I’ve said numerous times, I thought Vettel’s punishment was overly harsh but in that case he did move around in the braking area which is dangerous. Hell, Barichello got called in afterwards for investigation, I have no doubt that had he continued on in the race he would have got a drive through for that anyway! They don’t like to punish people in the next race unless its duly necessary after all.

          1. Okay maybe racism is too hard, but some drivers surely gets the wrong end of the stick every time. And speaking of Nico, i haven’t really seen him involved in anything this year. But if you do something wrong you should get a penalty no matter if you finish the race or not. Rules are there to improve safety, so why should you only get a penalty if you do not beat up your car. It does not make sense.
            Then give them a punishment for next race or a fine. I know that a penalty for next race is not ideal, but i don’t see the idea that if you crash so hard that you can’t continue then you don’t get a penalty but if you are lucky enough to be able to continue then you get a penalty. I don’t see what it should change in the way people drive.
            Yes many others made the mistake as Barrichello, but he was a lot more wrong then everyone else because he were a lot faster then all the others coming into that corner.
            And Liuzzi might have been on the edge of the track, but there was tarmac on the other so he could have used that to avoid contact.
            And Hamilton should not get an easy time just because they have been harsh on him in his first years. Rules are there for safety and they should punish the drivers based on their crime, not their name.
            And no i don’t think Shumi should have had the penalty in monaco because the fault were at the race control and the rulebook not him. The rules could be translated differently and if they can that it is the rules that needs to be rewritten.

          2. @mads:
            Ah sry, I agree with you about monaco, I was thinking about Hungary.

            Nico doesn’t get in trouble because he doesn’t do anything wrong, probably an example that other drivers should follow if I’m honest.

            I just meant that a penalty is fair if its in the same race, no sense hampering their next race over a racing incident. Liuzzi’s mistake was understandable since the front wings are so big with these rules (and you can’t see it from the drivers seat), . Barichello’s mistake was no worse than everyone elses, it was just compounded by the fact that he was boxed in off line and he had one of the few drivers who managed to get the car slowed down in front (Alonso).
            I never claimed that Hamilton should be let off easily because of his past penalties, it was mentioned against your racism point.

  63. wong chin kong
    31st August 2010, 10:38

    Vettel crash into Button was just a race accident. The reason I think there was so much discussion on this is because it involve Vettel the Red Bull Crash Kid and the 2009 WDC. Vettel is an ordinary driver with ordinary rookie skills, poor overtaking judgement. Giving time, I am sure he will learn. Even Webber made the mistake of crashing into a Lotus, misreading the pace of the Lotus braking very early into the corner a few races back.

  64. I can understand that Vettel made a mistake and would say that he got penalised as he also had to go into the pits for a front wing change.

    the drive through penalty if levied on the basis on this one race is wrong as pointed out by keith as other drivers have escaped this fate in similar situations.

    further i cannot understand how they can conclude on past incident s of the driver as the stewards in the previous races are not the same.

    i dont think the stewards look into the past two seasons crashes before handing out a penalty, hence it seems unfair, this is racing and sometime your lucky and sometimes not.

    people get taken out in each race in the openeing lap but a handful are only penalised over so many years.

    this is just another sign of inconsistent approach from FIA.

    why cant they employ permamanent stewards for all races like so many other staff to ensure consistency.

    1. At first I thought : Yeah, let’s employ the same steward for consistancy, it’s not as if it would be expensive. And I get the reasonning. However, my cynical mind came back very quickly. What if the permanent stewards appeared to be biased? or simply bad? And also, with all the money, media attention and pressure in F1, How can we be sure they are not influenced?

      It is probably best to stay with rotating stewards. Adding a guest former driver in the stewards line up is a good idea that seems the best solution.

  65. I totally agree with you, Keith. I find it bizarre that a driver should be penalised for what is clearly a “racing incedent”. I have no idea what Mansell and the other stewards were thinking.

    Vettel has a “dubious” track record because he races on the limit. One the one hand, taking out your team mate is inexcusable, on the other, how fantastic to see him refusing to accept 2nd position.

    Thank goodness for exciting racing like this as opposed to Massa moving over for Alonso. It’s criminal that a racer is penalised for racing on the limit.

    And another thing: it is not as if Vettel did anything dangerous. He did not risk himself or another driver. His attempted move could not be labelled “madness”.

    Totally daft decisions like this will damage the sport.

  66. It should not have been a penalty. As mentioned before Barrichello got away with it, thought perhaps this mistake was seen as more aggressive. I was half expecting to see an animated Vettel again down the pit lane. At least he took it maturely. Given the race he was having he was probably glad to have a brief break!

  67. Vettel’s poor judgment cost Button championship points, and possibly a chance at repeating as champion; would it have been “fair” to have Button parked while Vettel went on to possibly score points?

    I say no. Vettel made a bad decision (one of several in his career) in the wet, on a bumpy part of the track that cost another driver his race.

    Vettel has shown little skill when it comes to overtaking maneuvers, and if he consistently damages other cars he should be penalized until he learns how-where-when to make a clean pass.

    1. That is how it is in racing. Some driver loose out because of others mistakes but that is how it is. The punishment should be the same no matter if they are racing for points or not or a WDC or just to drive from 24th to 23th. It was bad luck for Button, but it is also bad luck if someone crashes in qualifying when you are on a hot-lap. Racing is not fair, it has never been fair and it will never become fair but that is how this sport is. Luck means a lot in motor racing, that is just how it is.

  68. HewisLamilton
    31st August 2010, 15:48

    Penalize Vettel, a driver attempting a passing maneuver in F1 should not be tolerated.

  69. I think Vettel was seen as being reckless and there was fault attached to his move. I think Barichello just couldn’t slow the car down – was not attempting to do anything on Alonso when that happened.
    If other drivers have got away with reckless driving that takes out another driver then it doesn’t make it right. Its time that F1 had some consistency and I support punishing reckless and dangerous moves.

  70. After the race on Sunday I rewound my video to the Vettel-Button incident (as seen from Vettel’s on-board camera) and repeatedly played the whole sequence of both drivers’ manoeuvres down the long strait in slow motion … as I had suspected Vettel deliberately turned in on Jenson to effectively ‘take him out’ of the race?!?
    Jenson is clearly on the right-hand side of the track and moves over even further to close the gap as Vettel is buzzing around at the back of his car … Vettel then has a chance to get past him on the left but as Vettel veers over and we see his front-right-wheel aligning with Jenson’s left-rear-wheel … over … over … yep plenty of room now with a clear road ahead to go for it … but it’s at this precise moment that Vettel can plainly be seen to turn his steering wheel fully to the right (towards Button) and then fully back to the left … the repurcussions were inevitable?!?

    Therefore in my opinion it was most definitely not an accident on Vettel’s part or a ‘racing incident’ … it was a deliberate/calculated/premeditated and wilful act to destroy Jenson’s race … even at the risk of Vettel ruining his own chances … but don’t just take my word for it … look for yourselves?!?

    1. HewisLamilton
      31st August 2010, 17:40

      Vettel was attempting to correct the car, not take Button out.
      Trying to avoid a crash, the corrections he attempted were in line with the way the car had reacted.

      …..physics

    2. Yes he did, but to correct the car. When you are going that fast you need lightning fast reactions to safe the car and he tried that, to get the rear wheels back in place but he lost it and hit button. How would be ever think that he could take out button without destroying his own race. If you think of it it makes no sense at all. He is not racing Jenson for the WDC. It is either Mark or Hamilton. And at that point in the race he is ahead of Mark, so it would be pointless to risk gaining the lead over your rival when you are faster then the guy ahead. He was quite a lot faster then Button down the Kemmel-straight so he could overtake him. He were just unlucky and cocked it up. If he had executed that overtake perfectly he would be ahead of mark in the WDC as far as i remember. Some people say that Vettel is stupid, but thinking that you can drive into another driver at those speeds and get out with no damage is ridiculous, even the most stupid person on earth would not try a stunt like that unless they were ordered it by the team. He could just as well have shattered his front suspension and not being able to finish the race and then Webber would be a lot of points ahead of him. Which basically was what happened. He finished without points and gave mark the 2nd place.

    3. No it wasn’t. He was attempting to regain control of the car, not take Button out. I think even Button gave him the benefit of the doubt on that one.

  71. Keith, your view of the Vettle/Liuzzi clash is at odds with that of many others and with Vettel’s rapidly growing rep for misjudging what constitutes a clean pass!

    Vettle’s learning curve has been woefully shallow compared to others with the same time in F1. Apart from the speed that brought him to notice he has shown little sign of improvement in the other necessary aspects of racing.
    Those who defend him with the argument that he ‘needs more time to mature’, ‘more experience’ etc. merely highlight that he is not ready for a place in F1 or, at any rate, to contend the front of the grid. DC in his otherwise unconvincing defensive article in the Telegraph makes one telling admission, “F1 is no finishing school”. I agree, and the FIA should take note. DC tries to play down the damaging comparison between Vettel and Hamilton but I stand by a statement I have previously made:
    For Hamilton a fast car has been a ticket to rapid success. For Vettel it looks more and more like a loaded gun.

    So no, perhaps your argument that the FIA should not have awarded a penalty for that mistake has some merit in isolation but taking into consideration his performance as a whole perhaps they should consider whether he belongs in a F1 car at all.

  72. Clarification: By ‘that mistake’ in the final para of my previous post I mean of course the Vettle/Button collision.

    1. Did you also mean Vettel/Button in the first paragraph?

  73. I say lose the stewards and let the drivers race. All these penalties are getting pathetic.

  74. Its Vettel`s attempts at overtaking that are pathetic.

    1. at least he makes attempts at overtaking, unlike many who are happy to just follow the pack all the way to the end. The crash was a racing incident plain and simple – only pathetic anti-vettel morons would see it any other way.

      1. I just have to wonder how scewing you would be if lewis did that to vettle in the last race of the season and it cost vettal the title

        a ‘racing incident’ is where some one makes a mistake – not try’s to pull off an impossible menouver

  75. Vettel’s “punishment” was too light, it should have been a ‘Stop-Go’ not just a drive through.

  76. the move he was trying could not have been pulled off in those conditions with those tyres by anyone.

  77. spanky the wonder monkey
    1st September 2010, 8:40

    i voted NO as i saw it as a racing incident. it was unfortunate that he collected jenson in the process, but it wasn’t malicious. he simply dropped it. i think what compounded it was the fact that he managed to carry on, whereas for the innocent party it was game over. an exact opposite of what happened with rubens and alonso.

  78. I can’t remember exactly without seeing it again, but he was very close if not already on the brakes and the drivers all agree that movement in the braking zones is dangerous.

  79. the last time I checked this was a non contact sport, if you can’t pass someone without hitting him you should be penalised, PERIOD!

    stewards should be able to take mittigating circumstances into considoration and wave any penalty…which for this incident I fail to see any

    put simply vettal maybe a good driver but he doesn’t deserve the current red bull, he was just the wrong guy in the right place at the right time

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