Hamilton to take five-place grid penalty in China

2012 Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2012Lewis Hamilton’s run of pole positions is almost certain to end as he is set to be penalised five places on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton revealed on Thursday the team have had to change his gearbox for this weekend’s race.

Drivers are required to use the same gearbox for five consecutive races.

The McLaren driver started the first two races of the year from pole position.

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179 comments on Hamilton to take five-place grid penalty in China

  1. Andy said on 12th April 2012, 9:41

    The rule is not fair. I completely understand the argument of cost reduction, but instead of making a gearbox last 5 races simply do the same like with the engines: have the teams use a maximum of 4 gearboxes a year and when they have to use a 5th at the end of the year, then give them a penalty. Same costs, much more honest towards the drivers.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th April 2012, 9:49

      The rule is not fair.

      Tell that to Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen.

      • Andy said on 12th April 2012, 9:55

        My opinion that it isn’t fair, is not biased. It was also unfair for those 2, or for everybody else who had to give up places b/c the gearbox broke down or was set to break down. Did you even try to read my complete post and listen to my argument instead of just focussing on that first sentence?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th April 2012, 14:00

          It was also unfair for those 2, or for everybody else who had to give up places b/c the gearbox broke down or was set to break down.

          Then why weren’t you calling for change when Perez and Raikkonen were hit with penalties? Why has it only become a big issue when it affects Lewis Hamilton?

          • Andy said on 12th April 2012, 16:09

            What are you accusing me from? Fanboyism? That I didn’t complained when Perez or Raikkonen had the same problem does not mean I found it fair for them.
            It’s like going to a groassary store and buying some oranges with you saying “why haven’t I see you buy oranges before?”.

          • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 12th April 2012, 16:30

            Didn’t Perez and Raikkonen change theirs during a race weekend? I knew that rule existed but not that the gearboxes had to last 5 races and if they were changed between race weekends that you’d still get a penalty. Stop jumping down people’s throats.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th April 2012, 17:59

            No @mclarenfanjamm, at least Kimi had it from the last race, they knew about it in the run-up to the race, just like its now for Hamilton.
            Perez did have a gearbox issue during qualifying that led them to have to use a new one.

  2. Eddie Irvine (@eddie-irvine) said on 12th April 2012, 9:47

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned it, but a one-free-change rule could be imposed as it happened with the engines back in 2008 !

  3. necrodethmortem (@necrodethmortem) said on 12th April 2012, 10:00

    @prisoner-monkeys How can you be so sure? Maybe there’s some mechanic that didn’t get a Christmas card from Ham or something.

  4. MW (@) said on 12th April 2012, 10:06

    Given RedBulls current quali pace this may set up a tangle with Vettel and Hamilton… Interesting!
    Also, Schumi has to be thinking that this is his big chance for the first victory of his return.. That’s if Merc can sort out their tyre wear issues..
    I for one am very excited :)

  5. GeorgeDaviesF1 (@georgedaviesf1) said on 12th April 2012, 10:26

    Got me thinking about podium finishes after a penalty, been a few,
    2006 Australia-Ralf Schumacher 3rd drive through
    2006 Hungary-Jenson Button 1st 10 place penalty
    2008 Malaysia-Heikki Kovalainen 3rd 5 place penalty
    2008 Belgium-Lewis Hamilton “3rd” That ridiculous penalty
    2008 Singapore-Rosberg 2nd 10 second Stop/go
    2009 Australia-Trulli 3rd Excluded from Quali
    2009 Germany-Webber 1st Drive through penalty (harsh)
    2010 Europe-Hamilton & Button 2nd & 3rd Drive through 5 sec time panalty
    2010 Hungary-Vettel 3rd Drive through
    2011 Canada-Button 1st Drive through

  6. Shimks (@shimks) said on 12th April 2012, 10:30

    The gearbox penalty was introduced in 2008. I did I search and found this page on the official F1 site:

    Mindful of the massive cost of these ultra high-tech powertrains, the FIA introduced new regulations in 2005 limiting each car to one engine per two Grand Prix weekends, with 10-place grid penalties for those breaking the rule. From 2008, a similar policy was applied to gearboxes, each having to last four race weekends. 2009 saw the introduction of even more stringent engine rules, with drivers limited to eight engines per season. On top of these measures, a freeze on engine development imposed at the end of the 2006 season means teams are unable to alter the fundamentals of their engines’ design.


  7. Rick said on 12th April 2012, 10:40

    As I understand it the damage to the gearbox was identified 48 hours ago, it doesn’t mean the damage was done 48 hours ago. The damage could have been done in during the last race and only noticed recently – might even explain the mysterious drop off in Hamilton’s pace during the last race ?
    I for one would rather see Lewis start from the 3rd or 4th row with a new gearbox than pole and watch it go bang whilst leading the race.

    • GeorgeDaviesF1 (@georgedaviesf1) said on 12th April 2012, 11:01

      Could of overtorqued in one of the long pitstops in Malaysia?

    • Akin Aslan said on 12th April 2012, 13:37

      No it has not been done in the race, Hamilton is quoted by autosport: ”Hamilton said the damage to the gearbox was only picked up in last 48 hours.”

      • Ilanin said on 12th April 2012, 14:33

        “Picked up” can equally mean “discovered” and “acquired” in English. Hamilton’s statement is ambiguous.

      • SimBri (@f1addict) said on 12th April 2012, 14:38

        There are several meanings of the phrasal verb ‘to pick up’ (like with all phrasal verbs – my favourite ways of torturing my ESL students!), and being in the passive here without an identified agent does add to the ambiguity. On its own this sentence could mean that the damage was picked up in the sense of ‘accrued’ by the gearbox, however I think it clearly means that the damage was picked up in the sense of ‘noticed’ by the team.

      • Rick said on 12th April 2012, 19:14

        As others have said already it’s a safe bet to suggest what Hamilton meant by ‘picked up’ was that it was discovered within 48 hours. Whether it was ‘picked up’ just after Malaysia or just before China makes no difference – the penalty still applies.

  8. nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 12th April 2012, 11:13

    Gutted about this but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry.. I’m hoping for 3rd!

  9. Euro Brun (@eurobrun) said on 12th April 2012, 11:42

    If Hamilton ends up with the fastest time in qualifying, but then gets relegated to 6th…
    if the the HRTs are not within 107% of Hamilton’s time, but are within 107% of the 2nd fastest driver, would they qualify?
    Hamilton’s time would be the fastest, but not technically the ‘pole time’.
    Probably a pointless question, but any opinions?

    • Georges10099 said on 12th April 2012, 11:45

      Its from the Q1 time, so as long as the teams are within 107% of the Q1 time it doesn’t matter what is set for pole :)

  10. Chalky (@chalky) said on 12th April 2012, 11:46

    Probably a good thing for Lewis. His recent record of converting pole position to win hasn’t been that great. But China has been a good track for Lewis, so in the end with a decent car / DRS passing you may see him on the podium. As long as he doesn’t get stuck behind a Mercedes on that long straight.

    • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 12th April 2012, 16:48

      Different situation to Monza last year. Merc had gone for high top speed (as is the norm around Monza) but Hamilton had been geared shorter to be able to fight Vettel for the lead (better acceleration at expense of top speed) so when he was trying to get past Schumacher, he was bouncing off the limiter with DRS but only matching Schumacher’s speed. In China, Merc will be running higher downforce so their top speed will be minimally higher than McLaren’s (see Malaysia and Australia speed traps for evidence) and unless the Merc is less than 1s behind the car in front of them, they won’t get their “Super DRS” benefit. I think last year Hamilton did manage to sail past Schumacher with DRS quite easily.

  11. evolutionut (@evolutionut) said on 12th April 2012, 11:48

    how its work with championship prediction on pole position over here on f1f?..when hamilton take pole it counts as a pole or its pole position holder after penalty?

    • Sam B (@sb360) said on 12th April 2012, 12:25

      As mentioned above it is pole position after all penalties are applied. Pole sitter is the driver who is on pole come Sunday afternoon, not necessarily who was the fastest in Q3.

  12. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 12th April 2012, 13:40


    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

  13. Im a big Mclaren fan, but the comment about somthing fishy in the Mclaren camp, makes you wonder. Closer to the weekend, no problems with the gearbox at last race, now knowing that it might rain, so why not let the Mclaren driver whos better in changeable conditions get the upper hand, and the fast one who might have some of his bad luck, fight a little bit further back for the rest of the points up for grabs. Hamilton just needs to work better with his tyres, and pray his badluck away, and he will be unstopable. Clearly the fastest guy, just not the whole package in terms of managing every aspect of the car in a race, but when he does……………..!

  14. BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th April 2012, 18:12

    So, it looks like its not clear enough that the FIA is not going to ban the Mercedes improved DRS functioning ducting. Not unexpected, but it seems there’s clarity now. Lets wait and see how long it will be before other teams test or even race their versions.
    As these things go, I would not even be really surprised to see this solution being written out of the rules for next year.

    Adam cooper has an interesting observation that is possibly more important for F1 in the long run though:

    Intriguingly the stewards added that the system had already been approved by the FIA whereas in the past approvals given by Charlie Whiting and/or technical delegate Jo Bauer have subsequently been overruled.

    As he writes that could well become very significant, as it would mean teams would then have a more reliable way of getting things cleared up front.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 12th April 2012, 21:58

      Yeah no surprise…should be very interesting to see how things evolve now. I still say that if I’m the competing teams I’m looking to influence other things besides the front wing, like the rear diffuser…something that helps the car for the majority of all laps on race day, not just on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday only on the minority of those laps when within a second of the car in front at the DRS zone.

  15. Shrieker (@shrieker) said on 12th April 2012, 18:40

    I think this will be the acid test or Lewis after his troubles last year. He just needs to keep his cool…

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