Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2012

Domenicali calls for tougher driving standards

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2012In the round-up: Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali calls for action on driving standards after Romain Grosjean is banned for one race for causing a crash.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Belgian GP – Domenicali: ??The important thing is that Fernando is fine” (Ferrari)

“As for the accident, I can only say that the judgement falls to the FIA: what is certain is that, it would be better if, starting with the junior formulae, rules relating to on-track behaviour were enforced in an inflexible manner, so as to have drivers as well prepared as possible when they reach this, the highest level of motor sport.”

Schumacher plays down Ecclestone’s comments (BBC)

“‘Ecclestone told BBC Sport: “I’m sorry that he’s leaving us not being a winner, because he is a winner.’ But asked if he knew Schumacher, whose deal ends at the end of the year, would quit Ecclestone said: ‘I don’t know.'”

Hamilton calm after crash (The Telegraph)

“Who cares what I think, what you think and what he thinks. It will probably come up at the drivers? briefing [at Monza] but I won?t say anything about it. I am just going to refocus on the next race.”

Alonso crashes out, but still feels lucky (Reuters)

“It looked scary, didn’t it? It just reminds us… we become slightly nonchalant. We see so many big enormous shunts and we are just used to the driver hopping out. Fortunately on this occasion he did. You realise that they come inches away from not hopping out of the car on those incidents so…fortunate for him and the sport that we got away with a big accident today.”

Q&A with Red Bull?s Sebastian Vettel (F1)

On his battle with Michael Schumacher: “He, we were both pretty much on the limit and he is a wily fox and doesn?t give you a lot of space. But that is the fun in fighting with him. I don?t have any problem with that. I believe that the whole situation stemmed from a misunderstanding. He wanted to pit and I didn?t. So the message is that nobody is to blame. And thank god we both got away with it.”

Loose wheel caused Karthikeyan crash (Autosport)

Narain Karthikeyan: “Something went wrong with the pit stop. The bolt was cross-threaded and then it came off. I was lucky it didn’t come off at Eau Rouge or something like that.”


Comment of the day

Romain Grosjean’s one-race ban provoked a lot of comments. Here are two I found most interesting:

While it may seem inconsistent, I think the stewards are getting fed up with the cumulative effect of some of the younger drivers? aggressive errors taking out other people, and want to make a statement to put everyone on notice for the rest of the season.

Yes, judicially speaking, the result may be viewed by some (or many) as “inconsistent”, but there is value in setting an example when you?ve had enough, if you feel you may be losing control of the situation. Even at the expense of an idealistic idea of fairness, no matter how warranted.

These “errors” are being caused by over-optimism, lack of caution, over-aggressiveness, lack of respect for fellow drivers, all of which have emotional bases. To reset emotional baselines you sometimes need the nuclear option, even if one driver gets dealt with a bit differently than a previous one.

The steward?s statement says ??It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.??

So, basically you can crash as much as you want in the back of the field? Just take out Alonso/other ??championship contender?? and you?re banned? Should be equal rules for everyone??

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Giuseppe Farina became the first ever winner of the world championship on this day in 1950.

Team mate and title rival Juan Manuel Fangio led from pole position but his car failed and so did that of Piero Taruffi, whose car he took over:

That left Farina to win ahead of Alberto Ascari, who took over Dorino Serafini’s car, and Luigi Fagioli.

126 comments on “Domenicali calls for tougher driving standards”

  1. Many times we’ve seen these kinds of incidents like the Hamilton-Grosjean one where one driver is definately at fault, it’s just very unfortunate the chain reaction of incidents, and some potentially dangerous collisions – with cars leaving the ground -happened afterwards.

    Are Lotus allowed to race 2 cars in Monza?

        1. Would Alguersuari actually be eligible?
          On the BBC footage he was testing Pirelli tyres with a Lotus. I’d have to assume it was last years model of Lotus, but then what would be the point in that?
          Lotus get no data back from Pirelli, but if the car was this years then that gives Alguersuari test time.
          At least Alguersuari would be familiar with the Lotus on the latest Pirelli tyres. So if he is allowed it makes sense.

          1. I think they run a Lotus from 2010, same kind of rules than for demo runs. But not sure Alguersuari is their first choice.
            It has to be D’Ambrosio, after all it’s part of his role at Lotus, too bad for him he couldn’t run the car at Spa as initially planned. But they were speaking of letting him run the car, that’s the occasion.
            Hoping for Lotus he won’t be the one bringing their first victory (very unlikely but would be quite a shocker)

          2. He’s being bashed by F1 fans at as.com (a Spanish sports newspaper) after saying that Grojean is not to blame… I don’t think that’s unintended diplomacy, he’s rather selling himself to Lotus.

      1. That’s because if every race is n laps long, the drivers spend the last n-1 laps in one kind of tyre saving mode or another. You can no longer push as hard to make up for a poor start with the Pirellis so a great start is imperative. We’re used to seeing Red Bulls and McLaren’s scything through the field but with equal mid-field cars, the start is literally make or break. With such concentration of pressure at the start of the race, these incidents are becoming more and more frequent.

          1. I don’t think it happens as much as the overtakes would suggest. There is quite a bit of yo-yoing of positions, but most of the time people scythe through the field is due to a superior car or superior tyre management. It is very rare to see one driver go on a ‘rampage’ and overtake many cars of equal speed. See Hamilton at Barcelona (although his low grid was because of a dubious penalty), he overtook all the cars he was faster than easily, and then hit a brick wall trying to overtake Massa, the first of the elite cars.

          1. @dvc is correct. The first thing I thought when I watched the crash was that you hardly ever see starts like that any more.

            I’m pretty sure it used to be a much more common occurrence. I can’t back that statement up with specific stats, but it’s how I remember it and I can certainly recall more starts with carnage from the 90s and early part of the last decade than I can in the last few years.

    1. You know, I think people are being really harsh on Grosjean, no I’m not saying Hamilton is at fault at all, he’s not, but Grosjean made a mistake, an honest if not stupid one. He hasn’t made that many so I think, we need to remember that yes, the result was a big one, and could have been very bad. But his action, wasn’t something that we haven’t seen before. (i.e. Vettel)

  2. What Grosjean did was not dissimilar to what Vettel has done on three different occasions (Turkey 2010, Japan 2011, Germany 2012), but he never got so much as a drive through. It’s unfortunate the way the crash turned out, Hamilton could have just skidded through La Source without hitting anyone and Grosjean might have got away with it, or he might have taken out the HRTs and Marussias and that would have been fine for the stewards.

    1. exactly the FIA said few yrs agothey couldnt investigate weaving at start. so its being on the cards for about 3yrs.

      always amazed me that strong defensive driving would be penalised when quite safe between 2 drivers on their own. yet when done with 20 charging cars inches behind it was deemed ok and you could do what u wanted….well its amazing it took this long to see what could happen.

    2. What Grosjean did was not dissimilar to what Vettel has done on three different occasions (Turkey 2010, Japan 2011, Germany 2012), but he never got so much as a drive through.

      I can’t remember Vettel doing what Grosjean did yesterday in Germany, but even so, that’s 3 in 3 years. That’s surely no worse than many other drivers on the grid. Grosjean had yesterday’s catastrophe, which as the above picture shows, was inches away from tragedy, plus Monaco where he hit almost everyone at the start, Australia where he turned in on Maldonado on lap 1 and Malaysia where he rammed Schumacher early on, in the space of 12 races. Not close to comparable.

      1. Grosjean only made one small mistake, what happened after Lewis lost control was not his fault. My point is that everyone sometimes squeezes too much but how the accident ended was very unfortunate and was no one’s fault.

        1. It was just a dumb move that was always going to end in misery.

          I cant recall Vettel making any crashes that impacted 10 cars. The consequence of his fault were enormous, hence the penalty should be in proportion. He ruined the entire race for a lot of people…

          1. He shouldn’t be penalised for how the incident ended up, that wasn’t his fault. All he did was squeeze Hamilton off the road and after that, anything could have happened.
            Modern society, someone always has to be at fault.

          2. “All he did was squeeze Hamilton off the road”


            Grosjean had shed loads of space to his left/front/rear, there was no reason for him to be up and tangling wheels with Hamilton, who himself had literally no road to move into.

          3. Yes, Vettel has moved over many times, too much at the starts IMO, but he has never caused an accident or inter-locked wheels….., big difference, irrespective of the final outcome of this weekends collision caused by Grojean

        2. The incidents of Vettel and Grosjean cant be compared simply because Vettels were in the race and Grosjeans at the start. A standing start is always difficult and dangerous and drivers have to apply extra caution to not cause havoc like today. Grosjeans unwillingness, like shown today in an after race interview, to learn from these dangerous start accidents had to lead to a hard penalty.
          The risk you take with your actions HAS to play a role in the decision.

        3. Grosjean only made one small mistake…

          Trying to occupy the same space as another car is now a “small mistake”?

          …what happened after Lewis lost control was not his fault.

          If he hadn’t have performed an overrun attack on the McLaren, Lewis wouldn’t have lost control. The entire incident is Grosjean’s fault, caused by Grosjean’s actions, and admitted entirely by Grosjean.

        4. @duncanmonza “All he did was squeeze Hamilton off the road”
          (a) that isn’t allowed anywhere and
          (b) he did it at the first corner in Spa, which is a very tight corner with two Formula One cars driving through it, let alone 24. Grosjean was entirely at fault for making contact with Hamilton and therefore at fault for anything that happened after which was a direct result of his actions.

      2. @David-A I think he meant the action of moving across on another driver was comparable. And Monaco was completely a racing incident as far as I see it. Fernando (I think it was) tried to barge through a non-existent gap & Romain had to swerve left to avoid him, which unfortunately meant he hit Schumacher. I cannot see anything he possibly could have done to avoid hitting anyone. Basically, not his fault.

        Australia’s mistake was as much Pastor’s doing as it was Romain’s, but it was probably down to a lack of spacial awareness in a new car. I can only really think of Malaysia as a start incident caused by Romain. Somehow people are coming up with stats like “Romain Grosjean has been involved in 9 start crashes in 12 races” and the like. No idea where it’s all coming from, but it’s interesting all the same.

        1. Collision with Schumacher in Malaysia.
          Punctured Perez’s tire in Spain while passing.
          Monaco first corner incident.
          Punctured Di Resta’s tire in Silverstone on first lap.
          Spa first corner.

          9 in 12 is exaggeration, it is the fifth time so far this season though and if it was Maldonado 99% would have been agreeing with it.\

          Grosjean then said he hadn’t seen a replay when he was shown watching a replay of the incident shortly afterwards.

          Would have given a 10 place grid drop personally, but if this reduces Grosjean and Maldonado’s recklessness it would be a positive result for all.

          1. Finally someone is saying it. This guy, Grosjean, was way overdue for a penalty. I remember when he took MSC out in Malaysia, after the race he said something like: “aah, Webber passed me and then Michael, ahh, got in there, but there was no space and we just touched”. Well, there was space, because MSC was on track in that said space, before Grosjean forgot to check his left and decided to close a space that was already occupied. Now at Spa, he knows he drives the entire track just to bump into Hamilton and he has the audacity to say he does not know what happened ?!? Does he think we are idiots or is he a complete nut job? And he says after he was shown watching a replay of the incident, on the pit boards tv. I for one do not understand how he was able to get away with all these incidents until now. I think another high profile driver would have been smacked much sooner. And after his actions and comments yesterday, along with the ones of Maldonado’s, I for one do not care much to hear what they have to say in the near future.

      3. May not really fit in here perfectly, but I feel like bringing up what I said in a different topic 1,5 months ago. It is funny how all 4 drivers I mentioned as bad examples ended up in this crash even though only one is really to blame (still I think Hamilton could have braked after being hit by Grosjean but thats just me):

        Or maybe lack of respect. I know I am the only one, but I sometimes feel like Maldonado, Kobayashi, Perez and Grosjean lack some respect for the other guy driving at 300km/h beside them (and by respect I mean giving the other guy enough room to drive his race, if not for real respect then at least because another time it might be himself needing some space). Grosjean has improved on that since his gravel trap heyday, Maldonado has become worse (and Raikkonen had quite a few moments with him, in which he lost quite a bit because he tried not to be stupid and ruin his race the way Maldonado does).
        To me, this years Hamilton shows how one can be able to tame oneself (most of the time) and some moves against/by him this year were very entertaining rather than borderline scary. […]
        And yes, I know its not a new phenomenon, guys like Mansell, Senna, Schumacher and others were just as bad when it came to driving against others, but I feel that had a different ‘quality’, they did it knowing whatever stupidity they do could be their last, today that doesn’t seem to concern any drivers anymore in a time of extreme crash tests and parking lot circuits and I certainly hope that isn’t a mistake.

        1. You think Hamilton could have braked? Well initially Hamilton was trying to avoid braking because their wheels where locked, then suddenly Grosjean shoved him even further off the road, pitched his car up and sideways, how can you brake with your wheels in the air.
          Don’t also forget that the cars immediately ahead of them had already applied their brakes hence the relative high speed of the impact.
          Had Grosjean carried out his stupid actions before they reached the braking zone, then the relative speeds would have resulted in a less serious impact.
          In my opinion Hamilton was doing the right thing by maintaining a straight line, avoiding both the grass and the barriers.

  3. Two very good Cotd’s there. The reality is, however, that a lot of the blame for this level of dangerous driving is down to bad stewardship.

    If the rules had been enforced strictly, fairly, quickly and competently in the past then drivers like Grosjean and Maldonado wouldn’t throw their cars around like dodgems. If scumbags who caused deliberate crashes were given meaningful lifetime bans then people would think twice.

    And primarily to blame for this lapse in basic respect for other people ‘s lives is the hero Senna, whose reputation nowadays is apparently unsulliable, despite his many avoidable and unnecessary shunts.

    1. If the rules had been enforced strictly, fairly, quickly and competently in the past…

      I agree it should be far, far more consistent, but I think it’s easy for us to sit here and be armchair referees. The sport and incidents are so complex and exclusive of one another that it becomes almost impossible to have impartial and consistent penalties.

      … then drivers like Grosjean and Maldonado wouldn’t throw their cars around like dodgems. If scumbags who caused deliberate crashes were given meaningful lifetime bans then people would think twice.

      It’s wrong to call Grosjean a scumbag who delibrately crashes, as it was obviously not his intent. Although Maldonado may deserve some similar criticism, that’s still too harsh.

    2. @hairs

      Yep, i’d say very good COTDs, and I agree with you post.

      Unfortunately past is the past. What needs to be done is prompt action taken for the future. I quite like Domenicali’s point. “it would be better if, starting with the junior formulae, rules relating to on-track behaviour were enforced in an inflexible manner, so as to have drivers as well prepared as possible when they reach this”.

      In addition, FIA should impellent rules relating to recruitment of rookies who are below a certain level of experience (regardless of how good they are).

    3. the hero Senna

      How very true… One of the best drivers ever, but certainly the worst ever in sportmanship. Should have got his superlicense revoked for good very early on. Eventually the laws of physics took care of that, but it was already too late for the sport.

  4. I completely agree with domenicali for once, It seems that this year the championship will not be decided by how good you are but how many hot head GP2 graduates you can avoid crashing into you!

    On that note, watching GP2 this year, its like watching an american style derby

  5. You certainly knew you were a number 2 driver in 1950.

    In most Justice systems if you continue to offend you get harsher penalties, I see no inconsistency in Grosjeans penalty.

    Once again Mark Webber got the “safe” 2 stop strategy that has cost him so dearly before and Vettel (who drove superbly) got the winning 1 stop strategy. There was nothing wrong with Webbers pace, only his strategy, RBR should have had 2 drivers on the podium.

    1. Yeah, it was hard work for Kimi to hold on to 3rd. That first set of tyres just did not work and that gearing they opted for seventh gear was a killer :) (for a few people)

    2. If Red Bull gave Webber’s car another 5kph top speed he would have finished on the podium, and the two stop would have been ok. Or, he would have passed Senna earlier and had the chance to look at a one stop.

      1. @ivz, once you stop early you are locked into another stop but if you go long on your 1st. stop you still have the choice to 1 or 2 stop . More top speed would have been handy but would have compromised downforce which probably would not have suited Vettel at all.

        1. @HoHum not saying that they should have given the Red Bull boys less downforce, but the better gearing in 7th just to have maybe even 2 or 3kph more would have helped in Webber’s case. At times he was not even closing under DRS, Vettel’s car seemed to get a much better tow. Would be interesting to see if the cars were set up with slightly different ratios.

          1. @ivz
            It could seem like it, and wouldn’t be the first time. They at least did it in Monza last year. But its probably not unusual.
            But I don’t think Vettel had a better (longer…) gearing this time. His DRS didn’t work at all either. The way he got them was because he took a lot more speed through Blanchimont then the others (including Webber), and from there and to the run into the Bus-Stop they aren’t hitting the limiter, so he can therefore gain some reletive straight line speed, even if the other cars are actually faster in a stright line, and then he was just very good at braking exstremely late.

    3. Once again Mark Webber got the “safe” 2 stop strategy that has cost him so dearly before and Vettel (who drove superbly) got the winning 1 stop strategy. There was nothing wrong with Webbers pace, only his strategy, RBR should have had 2 drivers on the podium.

      I think that is still something about the way both driver manage their tyres, in the post race PR Horner say that the 0ne stop was not planned, but it was made work by Vettel.
      I bet it was hard to made it work, starting behind, at it was the difference between Vettel that stopped at lat 22 and Webber stopping at lap 12, when both started on soft.

      1. @celeste, the “soft” option was in fact the medium tyre which is normally good for a half race distance so it is hard to believe that after only a total of 12 laps including several behind the safety car they were worn out. I am beginning to think Vettels plea for the team to bring him in is in fact coded mis-information.

    4. RBR had to go for another strategy for Mark Webber, because he was not able to pass the cars in front of him which held him up. Vettel did pass them and was able to use his good pace to get on the podium.

      1. @renm, their is some truth in what you say and Seb made some pretty gung-ho passes but when we went to commercial-break Mark was right behind him, after the break Mark had pitted and was setting fastest laps to catch-up. With the Medium & Hard tyres to choose from a 1 stop looked obvious to me and the team should have left him out long enough to keep that option available, especially when straight-line passing was virtually impossible for the RBR’s.

        1. its obvious why RB put Mark on a different strategy, unless people don wanna admiit that Seb outclassed Webber.
          Webber was stuck behind Senna. Seb passed Massa and a few others, then passed Webber and then Senna too. If Webber wanted to make the one stopper work, he would have to overtake which he did not. RB pitted him so he gets the benefit of the undercut, which he did by way of the undercut and fastest lasp in clear air.
          Its funny how people make bold statements about gearing ratios like they were the engineers setting up these cars. common.
          Seb picked the bus stop as his spot instead of the Kemmel straight, knowing that they lacked straight line speed. Webber could have learnt from that.
          The only controversial thing for me was how easily Torro Rosso lets RB cars through and that too when not being lapped.

          1. @AJ Webber did have a look a few times at the bus stop, but you could see that he was never quite close enough to pull it off. And when it came to the main straight, you could see that he was no where near close enough in the tow, where as Vettel was getting closer looks. This might also explain it:
            Horner – “With Mark, we were hoping for more but I think our selection of top gear was probably a bit short today and it penalised him a bit when he was overtaking at the top of the hill.”

          2. again that does not mean it was severely compromised.
            Vettel was not able to DRS drive past cars on Kemmel. so the gear ratios had little effect or advantage for him. He figured that out and chose to do it at the bus stop. When Seb was chasing the Mark-Senna train the difference I observed was Seb getting a much quicker exit out of Stavelot. That allowed him to close in through Balnchimont and ultimately pass through the Bus Stop.
            Mark had a good run a few times at the bus stop but could not make the move stick.
            the purpose of my comment is to clear that RB did not compromise Webber’s strategy to benefit Vettel. Seb already passed Webber before Mark’s first stop. if anything they did so to help him push hard in clean air.

            Most importantly, Car setup is chosen by the Driver and his crew. its not like RB says to Mark “ok this is your setup and we have compromised it to benefit Vettel. go figure”

            Webber would have finished much lower than he did had he opted to one stop.

            For once lets not criticize a great drive from Seb. I know its ******* off for the Vettel haters that he did what they claimed he couldn’t. Drive through the field. but he did it on his own. so due credit.

          3. Sebastian drove extremely well at Spa, keep in mind that when he outpaced and passed Mark in the first stint Mark was on the tyres he had qualified on in Q3 with 3 laps on them, which IMO was what stopped him taking Blanchimont the same way Sebastian did to pass Senna in the Bus Stop. RB then tried to undercut other drivers for Mark which didn’t quite work out. Best result for Mark would have been around 4th anyway on the two stop strategy, so not to many points lost. Hopefully there will be no more mechanical issues for the rest of the season for either RB driver.

    5. In most Justice systems if you continue to offend you get harsher penalties, I see no inconsistency in Grosjeans penalty.

      I have to agree with this. In addition, in most justice systems the consequences of your actions are taken into account as well as the intent. Many have said that what GRO did was comparable to many other incidents this year. This may be true, but the consequences were much greater.

      If you get caught drink driving (in the UK), you face a ban, points and a fine. If you are caught a second time, you may receive a small jail term. If you cause an accident and kill someone, you will receive a longer jail term.

      Similarly, if you assault someone, you may recieve a fine, or you may even get away with a caution. If you have a history of beating people up, you will get a harsher sentence, possibly even a jail term. If you kill someone, even by accident, when you hit them, you will go to jail for a significant period of time.

      In these examples, the escalation of punishment is waranted even though the actual incident is comparable. In this case, GRO’s error is very similar to many we have seen this year, but he is a repeat offender AND his error caused the very serious consequences we saw. He deserves a significant punshment because of this.

  6. Happens, when it happens to your driver it’s always escalated.

    I think he just went tunnel vision, due to Maldonado’s get away and due to how much space he was left. Said that, he is not the driver that can afford take risks at the start compare to taking it easy, as he only got couple of good performances this season and plenty of talk about being great.

    Hope he can rebounce stronger after Monza, cause it would be a shame.

    1. Now justify Monaco, be honest, the images are out there for the world to see (surely not on utube), Grosjean moves with faith that the other unsighted drivers chicken out, no one changes their approach line like him, he did the same at Monaco and i can’t remind the last season with this many significant crashes at the start. At Monaco he was incredibly lucky at that track not killing 3 or 4 people that’s true luck and at SPA lucky not to kill 2, and at Monza now i’m sure that no one will die.

      1. Well look at the steering wheel at Monaco, he actually never turn right, but does turn left just before they make contact with Alonso, who got good start and frankly, as you say “chickening out” the other driver. As from there it’s a chain reaction, there was not enough space for Schumi to start with and after Alonso forced Grosjean further left, everything pretty obvious.

        Whats up with killing? I know it’s not softball we watching here, but seriously.

      2. At Monaco he was incredibly lucky at that track not killing 3 or 4 people that’s true luck and at SPA lucky not to kill 2, and at Monza now i’m sure that no one will die.

        I don’t think anybody came close to dying in Monaco or at Spa. At the very worst, Fernando Alonso was a little stunned by the impact last night.

  7. inconsistent?? hasn’t Grosjean consistently caused enough accidents by changing his approach line to the first corner? what would would have been said if Grosjean’s Lotus had knocked Alonso’s block off? photo above says it wasnt far off it

    1. hasn’t Grosjean consistently caused enough accidents by changing his approach line to the first corner?

      I can think of one: Spa 2012. Where was the other one? If you mean Monaco, I suggest you watch a replay to see why he moved into Schumacher.

  8. Grosjean has accepted fault, and his 1 race ban. There really wasn’t much he or his team could say in defense. That said, I think the penalty is a bit out of line. The mistake was his alone, and he’s still got a lot to learn. But if the FIA were consistent with their penalties, he should have only received a demotion on the grid at Monza for avoidable contact. The fact that the resulting mess had potentially dire consequences, and took out a couple of high profile championship contenders, shouldn’t come into play.

    1. You’re too young to understand that people shouldn’t murder each other, it sounds dramatic but if you are unaware of the consequences perhaps you shouldn’t race, dying on your own is a tragedy, killing other people is unimaginable, so anyone could get a race ban for that, the stewards are bad at explaining and giving excuses but i agree with every penalty this season, and this one could have been even harsher, Monaco and now SPA, good work, let’s hope no one reminds to make that again, no one of these drivers is really innocent.

      1. I’ll respect your differing opinion, but labeling me as too young to state my own is a bit odd. I can’t recall ever meeting you, but if we had, you would know that I’m not, by any stretch, a young guy. Me and a couple friends drove out to our 1st F1 race up in Watkins Glen in 1972! :)

        1. the resulting incident was bigger than the crime.

          it was clamped down on when MS used to do it in late 90s and early 00’s. but when lewis turned up and started doing in 07 everyone forgot about it. Watch lewis first few starts he moves from one side totally to another, no different to what romain did, just luck there was no one in his path. To compound this when the defensive rules were brought in FIA stated they wouldnt investigate start moves(the most dangerous of the lot!) which basically meant you could do what you liked..as vettel has on occasions.

          I think ‘life time bans’ etc are getting a bit silly. yes it could of been tragic, but so could lewis move on the sauber 12 months ago and no wanted him banned. it was a error, one he needs to learn from. but one many others are doing every week.

    2. The dire consequences should always come into play. It’s why Maldonado only gets 5 place grid drops compared to Grosjean’s race ban, even though his crashes into Perez and Hamilton were deliberate.

      While Maldonado deliberately swiped Hamilton and Perez, it was at relatively low speed while there were hardly any cars around. The worst that could happen is what you’ve seen – front wing damage only.

      Grosjean didn’t deliberately crash, however weaving like that at the start is far, far more dangerous than any of Maldonado’s premeditated moves: it’s at speed, there are 22 other cars in close proximity, and it’s going into one of the slowest corners of the calendar. All of this adds up to a 99% chance of seeing what we saw today, and Alonso (and Kobayashi IMO) are lucky to have escaped injury.

      I know this is an exaggerated, perhaps misplaced analogy but what’s worse – punching someone in the face deliberately or shooting someone by accident because you forgot to turn the safety off? Granted this isn’t so black and white, but it demonstrates that consequences should always be taken into account.

      P.S. for the record I think Maldonado should’ve been given worse for his swipes, but the 1 race ban for Grosjean is completely justified.

  9. Our very own @ned-flanders summed it up perfectly for me on Twitter when he said it was the right penalty for the wrong reasons, or words to that effect. I think Grosjean deserved the race ban in light of his several careless and avoidable shunts this year, but the “taking out a championship contender” reasoning is, in my view, complete nonsense. It’s like in football, where a player is formally booked for one tackle, when it’s actually for a string of similar tackles and the one just committed.

    Two very good comments highlighted today. Saying different things, but they agree the penalty was the correct one, which I think is the general consensus just now.

  10. I’m generally satisfied with the fall-out of this race. The penalties seem fair for all concerned, even if they’re not entirely consistent with the stewards’ record this season (or in previous seasons, for that matter).

    I really hope this is the start of stricter and better stewarding, where mindlessness is not tolerated and the stewards are consistent from race to race in applying penalties. Still, it’ll be a brave person who predicts that particular future with any certainty.

  11. Over the last year there have been tests and discussions with canopies, or visors on F1 cars. Yesterday’s crash at la Source saw an F1 car (Grosjean) leave the ground and pass over the top of another car (Alonso).

    The Lotus car passed right over Fernando’s legs! A couple of feet to the left and the car would have collided with Alonso’s crash helmet. They are built strong, and the driver is strapped in tight. but a 640kg F1 car fully laden with fuel would have done serious damage had it made contact with a crash helmet. We got lucky this weekend, just like we did in Abu Dhabi 2010 when the Force India stopped short of Schumacher’s head in the Mercedes. It can’t be long before the FIA mandate canopies or windscreens of some sort.

    I could certainly live with a visor or canopy on cars if it gave the assurance that, a car will be deflected away from another car’s cockpit. It was impressive to see, in amongst bits of carbon fibre flying everywhere, that the FIA regulated safety cell structures on all the cars involved stayed strong, as we have seen on many crashes in the past. We have also seen FIA regulated helmets save a life with Felipe Massa (2009 Hungarian GP), so if after their testing, the FIA want to introduce the canopies or windscreens on safety grounds, I would trust it was the right decision.

    Even though they aren’t popular with the majority of fans, who might feel it takes away from ‘pure F1,’ I’m sure the FIA could live with the outcry from viewers that belive they have been robbed of part of what makes F1, F1 – rather than have to put up with everybody asking ‘why wasn’t something done sooner’ when our luck eventually runs out.

    1. The recklessness nowadays comes from this big increase in safety. You know you can be bold, cause it is almost impossible to injure yourself and somebody else. That’s why all of these hotheads take so many risks. Cause it is worth it, almost no downside. If there would be even more safety. I am sure there will be even more crashes. Ofcourse nobody would ever be injured, but people would just try to search for the limit more. Cause it has no consequences.

      1. That is true to some extent. Drivers used to be more cautious in the past because they knew that they might not walk away from whatever incident they might be involved in. But I don’t think we would see more incidents then we do now. They also have to worry about points loss and consistency if they want a chance in the championship, that will always be a factor. Therefore they need to hold back, even if noone can ever be killed.

  12. I have to say I think the penalties given out were a bit harsh. Maldonado shouldn’t have been given a penalty for the jump start as he didn’t finish. Just the 5 places for crashing into Glock on the restart would have been sufficient. I’m not sure a race ban for Grosjean was justified either. A ten place penalty and a massive fine would have done the job. Senna did something similar last year he just didn’t take out as many people. Glad everyone was ok. Looked pretty scary from both Hamilton’s and Alonso’s cameras. Hopefully all drivers, specifically the new comers will learn something from the penalties. Can’t wait to see d’Ambrosio in a competitive car though.

    1. that has no bearing on whether a penalty should be given; that’s taking external factors into consideration, which shouldn’t be allowed. The fact is he jumped the start, and couldn’t take the drive-through. The only other option is to give him a grid drop for Monza.

  13. Last Fall NASCAR driver Kyle Busch was racing in the Truck Series and took out Championship Contender Ron Hornaday and Kyle was suspended from the Cup race (the series he races for points in) the following day. So it’s not the first time in recent Motorsport history where a driver has been parked for a race because they took out a Championship Contender.

    1. Yeah, but the difference is that Busch deliberately hit Hornaday.

      As far as I can tell, Grosjean had no intention of taking Hamilton out. He probably wanted to squeeze the McLaren and force Hamilton into backing down, but got it wrong.

  14. As silly as this may sound, I think the reason we’re seeing more rookies come in and start driving like Maldonado and Grosjean is down to the fact that F1 has become too safe. Of course, as I fan, I am glad that the sport hasnt had a fatality in 18 years, and it has to remain that way. But, as I said, in a wayward sense of twisted logic, it can be construed that due to the high levels of safety, drivers now dont respect the sport, the cars nor their competitors as much as they did in the early days of racing?

    It is odd, but you have to admit that this phenomena of drivers taking each other out is something that has become quite a fixture in recent seasons as I dont quite remember this to be common in the 90’s. Will it continue? As much as I would champion for safety standards to remain at its current levels (or perhaps enhanced), it is a little bit of a double edged sword as I have mentioned. Young drivers today have absolutely no respect for their competitors nor do they fear for their lives. If Grosjean would have pulled this stunt during the 60’s or 70’s, to a certain extent the 80’s, Im sure somebody would have been very badly hurt or even worse.

    The FIA and FOTA need to enhance how driver conduct is governed. Harsher punishments need to be dished out, a culture of respect must be inculcated. Perhaps they should embark on a demerit points system, very much like the card system in football? In football, as we all know, 5 yellows over the course of season or a straight red would mean the player misses a game. Can a similar model be adopted for F1? I would think it is possible, but in order for that to happen, the FIA must have a consistent set of rules…not something thats according to the whim and fancy of Charlie Whitting and the Stewards.

      1. @me262

        Those were premeditated to a certain extent if you will. The point I was trying to make we probably saw less of these regular incidents caused by the same drivers over and over again. Last year we had Hamilton, Massa and Maldonado as repeat offenders. This year we’ve had Maldonado reprise his undisputed title of Crasher Numero Uno and Grosjean has decided to join the party as well. As Fernando mentioned after the crash, it appears the barging and plundering is prevalent in the junior formulae, and they will only carry this on to F1 if and when they eventually graduate. If this trend continues, against the very best interest of the sport, a fatality may not be far away….I dont want the sport that I love the most to be tarnished again.

        …as the likes of Jackie Stewart and Nikki Lauda have said in the recent past, drivers need to learn respect. You would listen to these guys because they raced in an era where making an erratic move would cost lives. You hardly see the likes of Alonso, Webber, Button etc get into skirmishes like this. They race hard, but the race fair, because they respect their fellow competitors.

    1. Yeah there was always crazy driving, but I agree basically. That 18 years is an important fact. It’s fundamentally generational. We are now officially in the time of Gen Z, the first to have grown up without ever witnessing death. No they aren’t all therefore magically irresponsible, Vettel was born in 87 and is younger than both Grosjean and Maldonado, as are others like Perez, and they’re all reasonably well behaved.

      Mind you even Seb had some silliness when younger. While I think all young kids will make mistakes, my point is, the early 2000s generation, whose teenage formative years in terms of following Motor Racing coincided with Imola 94 are Alonso, Raikkonen and co. Beyond the usual expected rookie errors, they had respect for their opponents, for the danger of the sport.

      Grosjean perhaps, Maldonado even moreso, seem to lack this. But not to a huge level. The fact is, it iwll only get worse as the years pass.

  15. From what I saw of the incident Grosjean had a lot of space at the start. He unnecessarily came across the track towards Hamilton in an effort to either squeeze him out of turn 1 or to attempt to claim the optimum line into la source. Either way the accident was entirely his fault.
    Furthermore drivers in F1 should understand their surroundings. Grosjean knew that turn one was very tight and should have accounted for that. Taking the line he did made no sense to me. From what I’ve seen it was a mix of over eagerness mixed with a failure to understand where Hamilton was on the track, and how far he could push him over.
    Either factor was an appalling lapse in judgement in the highest level of motorsport. Taken together it’s a recipe for absolute disaster, as we saw. I have no sympathy with Grosjean for his one race ban, as I think it’s about time the stewards meted out this penalty to drivers especially for other very poor behaviour, Maldonado being another regular culprit.

  16. Speaking of inconsistency, why Michael wasn’t penalised for the dangerous pit entry, I remember Perez doing exactly the same tying to Raikkonen in Monaco and he got a drive thru.

    1. It did look close from a certain camera angle, but from Vettels on board you can clearly see there was plenty of room and time for Vettel to react by either going to pits or continuing on.

      1. I haven’t seen that view but I am sure you are correct, the camera, with telephoto lenses tends to make things look much closer together than they really are. The fact that there was no crash proved it was safe as Vettel had no time to react.

      2. Exactly. Schumacher was clear in front and had some 0.5 – 1 meter or so of distance between the back of his car and the front of Vettel’s car by the time he turned to the pits. It looked very close from the side view, especially as Vettel was sliding out of the corner, but on board it wasn’t that close. It was still a little naughty, but not enough to deserve a penalty.

    2. Speaking of inconsistency, why Michael wasn’t penalised for the dangerous pit entry

      I was wondering about this. Red Bull have often stationed their crew in the pit lane, and then pull them back in, where they will stay in for several laps. They tend to do it when a car they know they are racing is on a similar strategy to their own, and I’ve that they do it to try and trick their rivals into pitting early, because they always seem to emerge at the last minute so as to force the rivals to react. I wonder if that’s what they did in yesterday’s race – if they came out late to give Mercedes no time to make a decision. Mercedes would have then told Schumacher to pit because they were expecting Vettel in, but Vettel had no intention of going in at all, only to get caught on the outside.

      It’s something that’s worth investigating. You’re not supposed to do it, but teams can generally get away with it if they can demonstrate that the driver made a radio call telling them that he could go further. Of course, they plan it all out in advance, telling the driver that he will be called on, say, lap 12, but he is not going to pit until lap 15, so he has to send a message on lap 12 to say he can go a bit further and the team is in the clear. If Red Bull did this last night, then the stewards need to investigate, because it means a plan to trick another team into pitting early nearly ended in an avoidable accident.

  17. Yeah I agree with a lot of people.

    To me the stewards can only rightly be called inconsistent because their previous penalties have been too soft. Actually getting it right and reverting to correct logic for once can hardly be criticized. Unfortunately it is far more criticizable if it is an inconsistent one-off, with no overall trend towards increased penalty severity in the future, and this is most likely gonna be the case.

    But the penalty is fair enough. You can’t deal in pure speculative hypothetical and say ‘well what if this or that small accident had killed someone in a freak way?”, but you can deal in basic contextual logic. A first corner, with the whole field there and the way he video game swept the entire front of the field out is justifiable to be used as a consequence-based reason for a harsher penalty. It is easy to sense when an action, if say it were to be made consistently, race after race, is clearly a particularly dangerous one and more likely than others to cause eventual injury.

    Obviously Grosjean didn’t ‘mean it’, but neither does anyone in any crash ever (well except Senna, Schumacher and young Piquet :P), it was a basic and clear infringement and resulted in a nasty and almost disastrous crash. Fair call.

  18. Also fair enough on Maldonado for this race, he did nothing stupid, just a pair of little mistakes. If it wasn’t for his pair of petulant swipes on Hamilton and Perez (which rather complicate the whole situation, coz they aren’t at all dangerous, but they are absurdly stupid and maybe should be treated as dangerous on principle), Maldonado would just have been involved in more than his fair share of little incidents through driver error. Same as Hamilton last year and any other no holds barred drivers like them. It’s ruined his own races far more than everyone else in net terms, as do the subsequent grid penalties. So I think more days like today or Valencia can be allowed, he’s just punishing himself and is making a case to be dropped by the team rather than banned.

    But considering his form, certainly if Pastor creates pretty much any substantial accident that ends the races of two or more other cars (even if not quite of this magnitude) then he’ll need to lose a race based on the Grosjean precedent.

    1. “Also fair enough on Maldonado for this race, he did nothing stupid”


      Jump starting and crashing into a backmarker and ending your own race is not stupid??? The only reason he isnt getting lethered by people is because there was a more significant inncodent at the start

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