Karthikeyan penalised for Vettel collision

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Sepang, 2012Narain Karthikeyan has been penalised 20 seconds in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The HRT driver was handed the penalty following contact between him and Sebastian Vettel during the race.

Karthikeyan’s penalty relegates him to last behind team mate Pedro de la Rosa.

Vettel, who suffered a puncture and brake damage in the collision, said: “[To] lose the race how I did is very frustrating. Some people need to look more where they are going.”

See the updated race classification.

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161 comments on Karthikeyan penalised for Vettel collision

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  1. Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 25th March 2012, 17:56

    I could have sworn Vettel moved back into the path of Karthikeyan… must find a replay.

    • Teddy said on 25th March 2012, 18:00

      Yea , he deserved a talking to but least of all for this incident! New owners of F1 showing their clout? ;)

    • Bumfez (@bumfez) said on 25th March 2012, 18:04

      My thoughts exactly. I’ve watched the replay a few times and IMO Vettel seemed to assume that Karthikeyan would have dropped back further than he did. Narain has made stupid moves and mistakes in the past but I don’t think this was one of them, Vettel’s own fault all the way to me.

    • gavmaclean (@gavmaclean) said on 25th March 2012, 18:15

      Agreed. Don’t think it’s a fair, and the BBC Forum – which was excellent today – just made you feel so much for him. Such a nice guy and his opening 10 laps should have made his day, instead he’s busy defending himself from some grief from Red Bull. A real shame.

    • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 25th March 2012, 19:37

      Dito, Both Vettel and Button at fault for hitting Narain. Thats how I see it anyway.

      • Vettel is the idiot here. This is twice now. Last time it was against Webber in 2010 in Turkey. The same too early move as if he has no spatial awareness of his car dimensions.

        • smudgersmith1 (@smudgersmith1) said on 26th March 2012, 11:49

          haha, a double world champion who has over the last few years made 1000’s of overtakes including backmarkers at 150 MPH in all kinds of conditions without incident and people claim he doesnt have spacial awareness…please see it for what it was, an isolated incident, how long ago was Turkey ?? (. By the way I am a JB and Lewis fan) An idiot or an exceptional race driver who made a mistake at 150 MPH by about 15 centimetres??

      • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 25th March 2012, 22:24

        In both case, the drivers were assuming they have all the place and the HRT will just move away (in Button’s case the HRT was “defending” even if it shouldn’t happen as Narain know they are not playing in the same league) … In Vettel’s case it was under blue flag but still Vettel is pretty quick to go back to his racing line and Narain still leave plenty of place by F1 standard …

        Anyway that’s a bit annoying to see that HRT involve with two top drivers like this …

        • Myrvold said on 26th March 2012, 0:45

          “(in Button’s case the HRT was “defending” even if it shouldn’t happen as Narain know they are not playing in the same league)”

          Defendig is defending. Doesn’t matter if the car is 0.1 sec a lap slower, or 10 sec a lap. TV-time is important. Fighting is important.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 26th March 2012, 3:26

          “defending” even if it shouldn’t happen

          That is the single most offensive thing you can say to me about this sport.

      • smokinjoe (@smokinjoe) said on 26th March 2012, 5:07

        yes but button was gentleman and he admits his fault ..even though it cost him his race .Vettel is bit arrogant

        • Willfly said on 26th March 2012, 12:04

          Vettel is the new Schumi, they must all be trained at the same school of smugness and arrogance. Button will always own up to his mistakes which is what makes him so likeable. The age of ‘Gentlemen’ drivers isn’t quite dead yet.

          • KevinC said on 26th March 2012, 18:16

            And narain is the new cucumber, why would Vettel or Schumi arrogant?? Vettel probably in the hit of the moment but he speak his mind that character just like Montoya or Kimi Raikkonen F1 need that rather than drivers hiding behind i think most drivers probably speak this kind of thing behind the camera and pretending to be “gentleman” on camera.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 26th March 2012, 1:02

      NK has been dangerously unaware of passing cars all season but in this case he gave Vettel room and it was Vettel who moved across before his car was completely past NK, maybe the penalty was a kind of reverse “lifetime achievement” award similar to those meted out to Hami a couple of years ago.

    • UKFan (@) said on 26th March 2012, 2:57

      yes me too! both reacted stangely

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th March 2012, 6:54

      Indeed. Karthikeyan really did not have anywhere to go, he was right at the side of the track, inches from the slippery kerbing. Vettel ran over his front wing and should be looking at himself there, not blame Narain.

      Really a case of the stewards bowing to the powerfull in my view.

  2. ironman said on 25th March 2012, 18:01

    replay… i think it’s narain’s fault.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r–n3OyW7ds

    • F1fanNL (@) said on 25th March 2012, 18:23

      Me too, from the rear shot view you can clearly see the distance between Karthikeyan’s left rear wheel and the curbs increase before they come together.

      I thought it was Vettel’s own fault at first but now I see why Vettel was ‘unhappy’ with Karthikeyan.

      Nevertheless, the penalty is pointless. But then, any other penalty would be pointless too…

      • F1fanNL (@) said on 25th March 2012, 18:25


        I think Karthikeyan was trying to get a slip stream and tried to get behind Vettel as soon as possible.

        A little too soon unfortunately.

        Ooh well, that’s racing.

    • Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 25th March 2012, 18:35

      NK admitted that he moved back towards right because he got on the curbs and white line which were quite slippery and while getting back, he misjudged and stabbed Vettel’s tire and pride.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 26th March 2012, 3:28

        Mistakes happen, and the conditions were difficult.

        I’m quite happy to say it was at least mostly Narian’s fault, but he shouldn’t have gotten a penalty.

        • Viva España said on 26th March 2012, 12:01

          NK had lots of trouble with slick tyres on wet surface. So under these tricky conditions, this can happen. Vettel is upset (reminds me a bit of Hamilton 2011). But Vettel could prevend this..

          And what about Fuji 2008??? Webber can say a word about that!

    • RagingInferno (@raginginferno) said on 25th March 2012, 21:08

      After seeing that replay I’ve completely changed my mind! Entirely Karthikeyan’s fault in my opinion.

      • To me it just looks like Vettel didn’t take account of where NK was going at all. NK was already on that line when Vettel swept past, and it’s the line for the next corner. There is plenty of space on the track he didn’t have to squeeze him as much as he did. It’s pretty clumsy from both of them really, but for me definitely Vette’s fault. I can only assume that NK’s statement has counted against him here.

        • Racingalore said on 26th March 2012, 8:37

          Sorry but what line are you referring to?
          If you’re talking about the racing line it is anywhere but on the extreme left of the track since the upcoming corner is the left-handed T9 hairpin.
          Vettel could’ve easily stayed in the middle and slowly edged over to the right to line up the entry for that. He was so ragged at the entry of the preceding double-right that he didn’t need to use the full road there (like he proved by moving to the right to avoid the HRT in the first place, as the speed was low enough to add more steering lock)
          After all that. there was no point squeezing past immediately and assuming that Karthikeyan would hit the brakes and run off the circuit.

          • RenM said on 26th March 2012, 11:55

            Initially NK moved to the far left to let SV pass. As SV went by NK moved to the right because he had hit the curbs. There is no way SV could have assumed that NK would make that move. Yes SV COULD have avoided that accident, but its just like saying you could have avoided an accident, where someone runs into your car because he ignored a red traffic light and you didnt brake at your green one.

          • DVC said on 28th March 2012, 6:13

            I was referring to the slightly rightward line NK was on when they made contact.

    • Alfred (@afya) said on 25th March 2012, 23:13

      From this replay, especially from front, it’s karthikeyan that moved away from the curb and pierced vettel’s tire.
      Yes, Vettel could have left him even more room and maybe this won’t happen but I don’t think he had to do so, from what I see, that’s certainly enough.
      But yea, the penalty is just too harsh.

    • rianata said on 26th March 2012, 6:22

      da ***?! This replay clearly shows it’s Narain that moves over in to Vettel’s car! what an idiot!

    • KevinC said on 26th March 2012, 18:06

      Agree, it’s Narain the cucumber fault

  3. Slr (@slr) said on 25th March 2012, 18:04

    I have two problems here:
    1) Why give a time penalty to someone who finished well out of the points. I doubt Karthikeyan was complaining when he heard the news. It won’t affect HRT in the constructors, so I can’t see how this penalty hurt Karthikeyan or the team.

    2) The collision I believe was Vettel’s fault. From what I saw, he cut across into Karthikeyan as if he wasn’t there. I really don’t know what Karthikeyan could have done to avoid the collision, it was all on Vettel for me.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th March 2012, 18:26

      Why give a time penalty to someone who finished well out of the points.

      Non-points places count – that’s why Massa’s behind the Marussias in the drivers’ standings.

      • Slr (@slr) said on 25th March 2012, 18:44

        But in the past, drivers have been given grid penalties for the following races in the past, seemingly because they finished out of the points. Schumacher was given a 10 place grid penalty for Spa in 2010. I always thought that because he was out of the points, they gave him the grid drop because a time penalty would have done little to penalise him. Either that, or I’ve missed something in the rule book.

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 25th March 2012, 20:15

          @slr you can also argue that giving a grid penalty to someone in a HRT is even more pointless the time penalty.

          • RagingInferno (@raginginferno) said on 25th March 2012, 21:10

            This. As long as there aren’t any problems for other drivers, I can’t see NK qualifying higher than 23rd.

          • DVC said on 26th March 2012, 0:49

            Anyone have any idea what happens to grid penalties if you don’t make 107%?

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th March 2012, 8:34

            DVC – Interesting question. The sporting regulations describe the penalty as:

            A drop of any number of grid positions at the driver’s next Event.

            That suggests to me that the penalty could only apply at the next event a driver enters, and if they fail to beat the 107% time it will not apply. I’m pretty sure it’s not been tested before!

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th March 2012, 8:38

          @slr I think it depends on the seriousness of the infringement – the Schumacher example you give was one of the worst pieces of driving we’ve seen recently.

          But it would be good to know why the stewards choose which of the various penalties available to them under article 16. As always, we don’t get as much information about this sort of thing as we should.

    • Definitely the stewards need to give a penalty. There was contact, one driver was at fault. As it pertains to NK, it’s really not much of penalty, though I think his pride is clearly hurt.

      Where making this decision is important is for the next race where we have a situation like Lewis and Massa in Singapore. Lewis got a penalty for the same type of infraction–turning into the other driver and having his front wing puncture the tire of the car in front. It’s about consistency, and the last way you get consistency is to say “Well, the penalty is too harsh” or “It has no practical effect on the driver so it’s not a penalty” etc.

      Either there is a penalty for that type of incident or not. Right now there is. It shouldn’t matter if you’re a back marker, a world champion, coming in dead last or about to win the race.

  4. hawkii (@hawkii) said on 25th March 2012, 18:04

    Don’t remember Kobayashi getting penalised for Hamilton moving back into him last year at Spa (nor do I think he should have been). This was the exact same situation, Vettel just decided to move back onto the racing line way too early. He was at fault, not Karthikeyan. Really stupid penalty.

    • GEZ (@gez) said on 25th March 2012, 18:21

      Totally agree with you there.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 25th March 2012, 18:25

      It doesn’t bode well for Red Bull’s image. They’re fast becoming one of my least favourite teams with all of the whinging — and I think Mr. Marko and Christian Horner may have been in the stewards’ office as soon as they saw the incident. I just hope this decision hasn’t been made to please RBR when Karthikeyan did nothing wrong. Vettel assumed Narain could make his car disappear…

      • F1fanNL (@) said on 25th March 2012, 18:30

        You mean Vettel assumed Karthikeyan wouldn’t steer into him.

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 25th March 2012, 18:36

          Karthikeyan admitted that he came back onto the track as he was on dry tyres and was getting wheel-spin on the white line. Backmarkers need to let leaders through — not spin off or crash. Vettel made the mistake of pulling across in front too early. He shouldn’t have moved until he was clear.

          • Mads (@mads) said on 25th March 2012, 19:25

            The problem is that it was Karthikeyan’s own fault that he forgot where the track where and left too much space.
            Had he been driving on the track Vettel would have known how much space he would have and nothing would happen.
            How should Vettel have known that Karthikeyan would suddenly cut across and destroy his rear tyre?
            As I see it Karthikeyan had two options; Hit another driver, or slow down and rejoin behind but loosing a little time.
            He made the mistake in the first place, I can’t see how Vettel should pay for that.

          • F1fanNL (@) said on 25th March 2012, 23:47

            Or, but I’m just spit balling here, Karthikeyan could have gone off the power…

    • Yoshisune (@yobo01) said on 25th March 2012, 18:27

      Well, first of all Kobayashi wasn’t lapped. He was fighting for position with Hamilton.
      Secondary, the replays show that Karthikeyan moved slightly to the right. Narain’s fault, I don’t understand why everyone keeps saying otherwise.

    • Carl Craven said on 25th March 2012, 19:10

      great spot there, while I don’t think Vettel was to blame for the incident it does seem harsh on Karthikeyan especially as Koba was not punished. More to the point, Hamilton was the one stigmatized for that incident. Amazing hypocrisy in the world of F1 in that sense.

    • Horacio said on 26th March 2012, 15:23


  5. Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 25th March 2012, 18:20

    Right well the replay says it all, how is this Karthikeyans fault?

  6. no it was not Seb’s fault. Karthikeyan looked like he moved to go directly behind Vettel and misjudged the Redbull not fully ahead. but yea very dumb penalty, it doesnt send a message becuz Karthikeyan was no where close to being in the points.

  7. Snafu (@snafu) said on 25th March 2012, 18:36

    finally !
    been waiting for this since Canada last year!

  8. maxthecat said on 25th March 2012, 18:53

    Red Bull as a team loved to gloat when they won so it’s hardly surprising they’d be sore losers. Webber and Vettel seem to take it their stride but the team in general don’t. They have the smell of Benetton about them, they won 2 titles with a German driver and soon left the sport once they couldn’t win anymore. I wouldn’t expect Red Bull to be a long term F1 team personally.

    • smokinjoe (@smokinjoe) said on 26th March 2012, 12:32

      Even if its kartekyan fault and no matter how slow he is but being called an “idiot” by vettel just shows the desperation of RBR .They lost the qualifying advantage and lacking in race pace and knew they could do nothing about it as other teams have caught up ,whether its merc super F duct of vettel accident,the RBR boys just keep whining about every thing

  9. LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 25th March 2012, 18:53

    Karthikeyan was awfully in the way today… yes he may have not always been at fault BUT he had been WAY TOO slow after the re-start. ..kinda reminds me of the Kovi / Webber situation… he came out extremely lucky at the beginning ending up at P10 but afterwards you could literally see Button pushing him out of the way,,, the speed dif. was remarkable… sure Button couldn´t turn in and crashed into him but still it makes me wonder…. would HRT have made the 107% cut in a wet Qualy, too? NEver in dear life….

  10. astonished (@astonished) said on 25th March 2012, 18:53

    Don’t know if the penalty is deserved or not, but Vettel

    “[To] lose the race how I did is very frustrating. Some people need to look more where they are going.”

    is a clear reflection of his own, internally built frustration. He was well off the points already.
    It’s easier to keep calm when you win…

  11. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 25th March 2012, 19:07

    I thought Vettel was at fault (I said so in the forum too), but after watching the replay on the telly I got to say, it was Karthikeyan’s fault too. Sure, Vettel didn’t have to keep left after overtaking him, but he didn’t move back to the racing line as I initially thought, Karthikeyan just turned right.

    As he was behind, he should’ve backed out a bit and let the man go. Not ideal situation, but he’s the one behind so…

  12. phildick (@phildick) said on 25th March 2012, 19:09

    Even if it’s Narain’s fault, which is not that obvious for me, the penalty is just stupid. At least it doesn’t change much in the result. Maybe the judges should just simply start penalizing every contact between drivers? That would be easier to comprehend.

  13. hey (@hey) said on 25th March 2012, 19:09

    Karthekeyan deserves SOMETHING for doing little but blocking other cars and generally getting in the way this season. Let’s hope he gets more meaningful penalties in future.

  14. Brownerboy (@brownerboy) said on 25th March 2012, 19:15

    Bit odd how he didn’t receive something for knocking Jenson off.

    • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 25th March 2012, 19:25

      Jenson ran into the back of him, which Jenson has admitted to… Karthikeyan wasn’t at fault for that.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 25th March 2012, 19:28

      They were fighting for track position at that time so Karthikeyan had no obligation to move out of the way, also Karthikeyan was in front of Button when it happened, in this case he was behind.
      The only similarities between the two incidents is the race it happened in and one of the drivers.

      • Zecks (@zecks) said on 25th March 2012, 21:44

        and if anyone remembers singapore, if button had given narain a puncture then he would have been given a penalty (Hamilton v Massa)

        i think we are all missing the real issue here (something mr brundle did mention) the tire sidewall is incredibly fragile. The slightest defect or bump from another driver and the tire fails, sometimes totally out of the blue. Remember Vettel at abu dhabi 2011. Just image if that had happened at 130R in japan.

        I think this is a serious safety issue that needs to be looked at by the FIA before something horrible happens.

      • Palle (@palle) said on 25th March 2012, 22:02

        Spot on, Mads.

      • Mads, they weren’t, Vettel was running ahead and lapping, there was a blue flag

  15. OOliver said on 25th March 2012, 19:19

    Two races in a row in 2012, no Redbull on pole, no Redbull win, no Horner shaking leg in anticipation.
    Best of all, no finger blocking my screen.
    If Karthikeyan has to get a penalty, it is a worthy sacrifice, guilty or not.

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