Domenicali calls for tougher driving standards

F1 Fanatic round-up

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!

Happy birthday to Tim C!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

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.

Advert | Go Ad-free


126 comments on Domenicali calls for tougher driving standards

  1. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 3rd September 2012, 2:46

    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.

    • Jono (@me262) said on 3rd September 2012, 3:06

      not common in the 90’s? Senna-Prost? Schumacher-Hill? Schumacher-Villeneuve? this was a beauty

      • Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 3rd September 2012, 9:16


        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.

    • 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.

  2. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 3rd September 2012, 3:12

    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.

  3. david d.m. said on 3rd September 2012, 3:22

    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.

    • Kimi4WDC said on 3rd September 2012, 5:03

      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.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd September 2012, 5:57

        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.

      • Mads (@mads) said on 3rd September 2012, 7:26

        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.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 3rd September 2012, 8:43

      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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    • “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

  6. Eggry (@eggry) said on 3rd September 2012, 6:59

    Domenicali’s call is absolutely right. Just look who’s the most trigger-likes in F1 now. That’s Maldonado and Grosjean and they’re GP2 champions. I understand young guns make many mistakes but they’re rarely punished compared to F1.

    I think this is why Maldo and Gro make so many crashes. Even with such crashes, they were able to be champion because 1) they’re not punished enough 2) others made much more mistake. They won titles in such manner and I believe they think it would work in F1 too.

    Don’t get me wrong. They’re fast. No argue with it. But they should have learned safety prior to going fast. Unfortunately, it might not be the case now.

  7. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 3rd September 2012, 8:53

    You can’t help but agree with Domenicali here. Grosjean and Maldonado are both drivers with great potential but have both shown how easy it is to throw away that. Grosjean is the first driver to be banned since 1994 which I find astonishing and this is not going to do anything to boost his profile. It is really frustrating to see such a talented driver ruin his and other peoples races. 7 out of 12 races he has had a first corner collision this year which quite simply isn’t good enough.

    As for Maldonado, no points since his win and more collisions and a jump start is not doing anything to hamper his profile either.

    These two drivers are extremely exciting drivers to watch but if they continue like this the word ‘exciting’ will change to ‘scary’.

  8. leotef (@leotef) said on 3rd September 2012, 9:12

    Maybe still money talks, but I think Sir Williams got to seriously think about ditching MAL for next season. All though this season, I tended to accommodate certain amount of crashes made by him as a learning process but here at SPA following Hungary and Silverstone wire in wire, that goes way beyond my even reasonably higher set tolerance threshold.
    And same applies to GRO in a lesser extent though. I hope LOTUS give serious thoughts on GRO’s seat over there. Ban on one race might sound harsh if it was only for this race but can be seen as not enough with what’s been accumulated thru the season.

    BTW, I wondered why the race was not aborted when MAL jump started. In which case restarting might have sort of prevented the catastrophic accident based on a lot of ‘ifs’.

  9. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 3rd September 2012, 10:48

    After Grosjean’s stupidity on Sunday, is it time for F1 to consider rolling starts?
    They tend to avoid jumpstarts and immediate colisions as long as they are conducted properly.

  10. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 3rd September 2012, 11:27

    I’ve noticed a few people over the summer break have commented on the lack of news surrounding the 2013 calendar and rule changes. I’ve just found out that the next meeting of the World Motorsports Council is on 28 September – the week after Singapore – so we should find out plenty then.

  11. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 3rd September 2012, 12:31

    On this basis the FIA should precautionarily ban Pastor Maldonado for “ruining the spectacle” for Singapore and replace him with Valtteri Bottas (just to make sure Pastor doesn’t take out any title contenders again).

  12. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 5th September 2012, 17:41

    Totally agree with @kaiie on their COTD. That’s something I picked up on when I commented on the leading article. It’s not a viable excuse from the FIA and if that’s their reason for punishing Grosjean more than anyone previous then it is a sorry state of affairs. Arguably the midfield and backmarkers have more to fight for, their in more sensitive financial positions so every point can be crucial for survival, let alone a championship.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.