Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012

Vettel demoted to fifth with 20-second penalty

2012 German Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012Sebastian Vettel has been given a 20-second penalty for passing Jenson Button off the track during the German Grand Prix.

The penalty, for breach of article 20.2 of the sporting regulations, drops Vettel to fifth in the race.

The stewards determined Vettel had “left the track and gained an advantage when he rejoined”. He was given a drive-through penalty which, because it was awarded after the race, became a 20-second penalty.

Button moves up to second with Kimi Raikkonen promoted to third ahead of Kamui Kobayashi.

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269 comments on “Vettel demoted to fifth with 20-second penalty”

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  1. Should Button and Vettel be punished for not giving enough room to Alonso in the parc ferme after the race? :)
    Sincerely, I don’t know what to make of this incident. Vettel used the outside of the track which generally does not favor the one taking it. It is completely different from when a driver cuts short the track. In this case the driver is taking the longer line to overtake, so he must be really fast to make it stick. There have been other similar cases, between the two again where Vettel was not punished, so I don’t know.

    1. Perfect point of view!

      1. No it’s not. Increasing the radius of a corner, i.e. taking to the outside of the track, allows you to maintain more speed through the corner.

        It’s simple physics.

        An advantage is made by increasing the available cornering speed by not keeping inside the confines of the track.

        Velocity = sqrt(coefficient of friction*gravity*radius)

        As gravity is the same, and the coefficient of friction will be almost identical you can see that increasing the radius increases the velocity that you can take a corner. Vettel increased the radius of the corner and in turn was able to increase the velocity in which he took said corner.

        1. Remember Mansell “discovered” the run-off area at Spa when he was driving for Ferrari? It was such a favourable overtaking move at the low speed first corner and also helped to avoid a collision and he was also smart enough to realise that by taking a wider turn, you can ‘slingshot’ past the driver ahead, as the Americans would say. Staying within the white lines might be a shorter route but in a tight turn, it’s not the quickest, ergo Seb got an advantage by using an aera which was not part of the track.

          There were no penalties for that as such then, so they made it part of the track. There are run-offs like this in all tracks, and even at club level, a driver will be warned if he makes excessive use of a run-off, let alone gain an immediate advanatge over a competitor and will be disqualified from the results if he ignores the warnings (which Seb did from the Drivers Meeting)

          1. Yhen why don’t the drivers use that line in qualy?

          2. They did, which was why Charlie warned them not to

        2. @Chris_H That was my point exactly when explaining to the Mrs why I deemed the penalty just.

    2. @caci99

      First of all, I recall reading on this site that Charlie Whiting said that going off track would not be tolerated… that being said, they where warned.
      Secondly, although generally going to the outside does make it a longer distance to cover… SV wouldn´t of had gone there if there wouldn´t of had been a tarmac runoff area. Plain and simple… Do you actually think he would of have tried making that move there if there had been grass instead of tarmac? I highly doubt it… He rightfully got what he deserved… he should of have just given the place back as soon as possible and try it on the next lap.

      1. @catracho504 I do understand your point and some of the others above, but still I don’t feel that it is wrong. Sure if there was a wall, Vettel would have not took that line. But then you have the case of Hamilton and Rosberg and I don’t think that was wrong too. While some would argue that Hamilton did not complete the overtake on the outside of the track, no one can deny he gained momentum by doing so.

        1. @caci99

          While some would argue that Hamilton did not complete the overtake on the outside of the track, no one can deny he gained momentum by doing so.

          Well you have your answer in your own words dude… SV did complete the pass outside the track and by going straight to the runoff he did gain a whole lot more momentum that JB. You can try and justify him but at the end of the day, the move was ilegal, plain and simple.

          1. @catracho504 it is not about justifying, it is about understanding. Anyway if the rules say so.

  2. It was right to award the penalty, but dropping him to 5th just seems a bit harsh. Incorporating a 5 or 10-second penalty into the sporting regulations might help for this sort of incident.

  3. Kimi’s got to be crossing fingers for more penalties like this. He gets a podium, but gets away from the crap of press conferences and all that ****

  4. This is just one stupid penalty in my oppinion.
    There is no reason for hitting Vettel that hard, they could’ve just swapped places between Button and Vettel.
    Also it’s quite bad for the WDC

  5. The sad thing it reinforces the “cheater” badge Redbull somehow keeps getting involved with.

    Mclaren did play it on Vettel, but they help Alonso only !

  6. Throughout the race both Alonso & Vettel were regularly running off the track at corners to gain an advantage. They can’t argue that it was wet or they were avoiding anyone it was purely to gain time on the guys behind. I don’t remember Button leaving the race track in a similar fashion.

    1. Judging by some messages that went to Schumacher, it seems this was being monitored:

    2. 2 x wheels over the line does not (Alonso in Germany) = off the track. 4 x wheels over the line does = off the track. 4 x wheels over the line + passing other car (Vettel) = gaining advantage. 4 x wheels over the line + reduce lap time = gaining advantage. 4 x wheels over the line + decreased lap time does not = gaining advantage. 4 x wheels over the line + not passing other car off tack (Lewis in Bahrain with Rosberg, was off track but passed on track + decreased lap time) does not = gaining advantage.

  7. It’s within the rules so I don’t see anything wrong with the 20 sec penalty. The “a bit harsh” comments are total ********. The rules needed to be implemented and I’m glad they did this time as the FIA has been lacking on it lately. Congrats to Fernando. What a brilliant race!

    1. I completely agree.

      Besides he wasn’t given a 20 seconds penalty, he was given a drive through, which equates to 20 seconds.

      If it happened with 20 laps to go, and the position wasn’t given back he would have received the same penalty, a drive through. As it happened late in the race he was given the drive though as a time penalty, with a length governed by the rules.

  8. It´s a just decision

  9. If this was 2011, i would be happy, but now, i think it is a bit too harsh. If i would have to give him a penalty, he would be demoted to 3rd

    1. As many said before. If a penalty simply takes away what you gained by breaking the rules, everyone would be trying to break them, since there is nothing to lose. Penalties should take away more than what you gain by breaking the rule.

  10. F1fanNL (@)
    22nd July 2012, 18:49

    Well, that’s this season well and truly over… Congratulations Alonso fans for another World Championship.

    1. hahaha did you just predicted the 10 remaining races in favor of Alonso??
      i hope you’re joking

    2. Because he’s one-and-a-half wins ahead with ten races to go? We’ve seen drivers catch up from further behind in less time.

      1. F1fanNL (@)
        22nd July 2012, 19:07

        With superior machinery perhaps. Ferrari may not have thé best car but allround they’re undoubtly the best. Red Bull might still win a few and McLaren might win a few as well but every time they do Ferrari will be there taking important points. Plus, Alonso is the last person whose gonna throw away more than a race victory in terms of points.
        Furthermore, Webber isn’t the biggest threat as he’s far too inconsistent. Vettel, Hamilton and, if Lotus can start winning, Raikkonen are his biggest threats. Vettel is down almost 2 race wins, Raikkonen and Hamilton even more than that.

        If I we’re a betting man I’d put all my money on Alonso now.

        1. I wouldn’t put all my money on Alonso, but with a dedicated #2 and the RB’s taking points off each other + their usual reliability issues for the rest of the season, he is definitely in the box seat for the championship at the moment.

        2. Lol, I put my money on Alonso last year. I didn’t want to jinx hime this year so I put it on Mark- sorry mate.

      2. @KiethCollantine… I see Ur point, however if both he and the car remain as consistent as they’ve been thus far then that seems far less likely

    3. Ferrari isn’t nearly dominating the season like RBR did last year half way through.
      Alonso would have to take pole positions regularly in the dry to call him a sure bet.

    4. @f1fannl
      I must agree with @keithcollantine It is waaaaaay to early to say that the WDC is in the bag for FA. Jenson´s McLaren really seemed to have the pace and if that would´ve been lewis, we would have seen a great battle but Jenson doesn´t quite have the talent that Alonso has unlike Hamilton that can definitely squeeze everything out of a car. Anyways a one race lead is not enough… a 3 race cushion would be a different story all together!!
      I think there is still a long way to go and it´s going to be hard for us Ferrari fans!

  11. SennaNmbr1 (@)
    22nd July 2012, 18:49

    The stewards finally grow a pair.

  12. Gav (@foxtrotoscar21)
    22nd July 2012, 19:26

    In my opinion it’s reasons like this they need to hold off the podium ceremony if there’s an enquiry into anyone in the top three… Poor Kimi deserved his opportunity to go on the podium and Vettel shouldn’t have had that opportunity (due to the final decision). To take it away AFTER the podium is daft. Stop rushing and stop for 5 minutes and get get the podium ceremony right.

    1. Sometimes the decisions can take some time, this probably took more than 5 minutes. It would only create a lot of confusion for all the fans to delay the ceremony, probably even more for fans at the track. It would also create pressure on the stewards to make a decision in a few minutes when perhaps in some cases a decision could take half an hour or more. So it’s better to take the time they need and reach the right decision than to make a hasty and wrong one. I support Kimi and it’d have been great to have seen him on the podium but these things just happen sometimes

  13. I don’t get it. I mean the stewards said Vettel had “left the track and gained an advantage when he rejoined”. The same thing happened with Kimi at Spa 2009 and no action was taken.
    What’s with all these inconsistent decisions? I watched Vettel’s overtake and really can’t see in what place did he gained that advantage, he didn’t shortcut the circuit or something, he simply had better traction than Jenson and that’s why he got in front.

    1. @klass
      There were so many others that have explained Vettels mistake, so I shouldnt.
      But the difference between the two case is, that RAI went outside of the track at the start of the race, into T1. Somehow Charlie Whiting doesnt give a damn about impendings at the start, only if it is a really big thing. You can see how Massa used the outside of T1 in 2010 at Hokkenheim, yet no action taken as it was at the start, so CW did not give a …, so the stewarts couldnt investigate it.

    2. They are always more lenient at the start of the race. Their argument is that with so many cars on track at the start a drive can’t always chose the line he can take. That is also why they are less likely to give penalties if one driver take out a other driver in the beginning of a race and see it as a race incidents. But they have said in some races where they see some drives leaving the track with out reason and gaining advantage off track that they will take action.

    3. @Klaas: Consistency only has meaning in black-and-white cases, or cases with at most a couple of shades of gray – F1 as a system is way too complex and there are way too many variables (many of them hidden to us as TV viewers) to make claims of similarity between moves by different drivers, in different cars, at different tracks, in different race situations and with more than a handful of races difference in time.

  14. All these penalties this weekend and none of them are for Hamilton, what’s going on?

    1. SennaNmbr1 (@)
      22nd July 2012, 19:47

      He retired.

  15. I think that it is the team/race engineer to blame this time… Vettel was too far behind Alonso to catch up with him, and then overtake, and was on such a better condition than Button that betting on the stewards judgement was pointless.
    They should have convinced Sebastian to give back position and try again later. (perhaps they tried and we simply don’t know…)
    Then they would be 8 points happier right now..

  16. Fair decision. I like Vettel a lot, but that time he definitely gained an advantage.And it’s not the 1st time.

    The real problem is the run-off. It is so much more comfy for them to run wide here, and there and there… There are so many places to run wide in fact, that the track is in fact much wider than we think !
    Why such a neat tarmac run-off at this place anyway ??? If it’d been grass, there would be no controversy.

    1. Yeah, the large amount of run-off is almost encouraging the drivers to use it.

      There’s got to be a better solution than straight grass or tarmac. There’s basically no penalty for running wide at a lot of places now, but grass has potential safety issues.

  17. For once, the stewards did something right…It must have been their first decision that benefited McLaren, since they were invented… If it has been Hamilton instead of Button, I bet their decision was to do nothing… But that problem was sent away with a puncture due to debris of a second rate driver that didn’t break in time and collided into the back of another, on the start… It’s sad… Bad luck comes in a roll… and both McLaren drivers have had it A LOT this season, so for… Hope it changes from now on…

  18. The 20 sec penalty for Vettel is right, but there probably should’ve been a few more penalties handed out for some of the other instances of drivers going outside the white lines. They may not have gained an overtake directly out of it but they did get the benefit of faster lap times

  19. Shocking! Red Bull get a penalty applied to them!

    1. Althoguh I expect Christian Horner has already found the rule which means Vettel has done nothing wrong in the “Grey Area” rule book.

  20. I guess it’s no news for anybody, but the decision puts Alonso even more firmly in the driving seat as far as the WDC is concerned.

    He is now 44 points ahead of Vettel.

    Call me arrogant, but I would be very very surprised if Webber would be able to deliver consistently enough to be a champion. It’s just a gut feeling that he will not be able to do so.

    1. @atticus-2
      I think you´re wrong…. It is waaaaay to early to say something like that and besides, Mark has been showing a lot of consistency… Keep in mind he would have started 3rd if it wouldn´t of gotten the penalty. And also, if SV gets too far behind, I doubt RBR wouldn´t support the better placed man in the team in ordr to fight for the WDC and not only the constructor´s.

      1. I could be. It’s just a feeling. I also did not want to hurt anybody.

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