Penalty points system for drivers moves a step closer

2013 F1 season

Start, Spa-Francorchamps, 2012The introduction of a penalty points system which could see drivers being excluded from races has moved a step closer.

Team principals have agreed on a structure for the points system according to Auto Motor und Sport. The plan received the support of seven of the eleven team principals and will now be considered for implementation by the FIA.

Under the plan drivers would receive penalty points for a range of misdemeanours. They continue to accrue them until they reach at least 12, at which time they receive a race ban.

The following misdemeanours would incur the following points penalties:

Infraction Points
Race ban 5
Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by more than 20kph 3
Caused a dangerous collision 3
Ignored the black flag 3
Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by 10-20kph 2
Caused a collision 2
Dangerously impeded another driver 2
Dangerously forced another driver off the track 2
Drove too quickly in a yellow or red flag situation 2
Ignored the blue flag 2
False start 2
Overtook the Safety Car 2
Exceeded the Safety Car delta time 2
Dangerous exit from a pit stop 2
Ignored the weigh station during qualifying 2
Missed the drivers’ briefing or arrived late 1
Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by up to 10kph 1
Impeded another driver 1
Forced another driver off the track 1
Gained an advantage by leaving the track 1
Crossed the white line at the pit lane exit 1
Ignored the red light at the pit lane exit 1
Overtook another car under the Safety Car 1
Failed to maintain correct distance to the Safety Car 1

Existing penalties will remain in place so a driver who was given a grid drop for impeding a driver would also receive the corresponding penalty points.

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146 comments on Penalty points system for drivers moves a step closer

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  1. Traverse (@) said on 9th May 2013, 12:52

    The Infraction ‘Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by more than 20kph’ genuinely made me LOL, although speeding in the pit lane is of course no laughing matter.

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th May 2013, 12:54

    In principle I am in favor of such a system.
    But this seems to penalize drivers double for some things (how will it work with a race ban giving you 5 extra points?) Ignoring red / yellow seems ridiculously little points, but I guess its because that comes on top of a drive through/stop and go. And if the penalties for speeding are the harshest things, I really think the focus the wrong way around!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th May 2013, 13:18

      @bascb

      how will it work with a race ban giving you 5 extra points?

      I imagine that the offending driver would get five extra points on their record when they return, as a knd of probation – they’ve already been banned once, so it’s going to take less to get them banned a second time.

      • bag0 (@bag0) said on 9th May 2013, 13:57

        @prisoner-monkeys
        Hah, I have not thought of that, but it is clearly a good candidate.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th May 2013, 14:20

        But how does that work with the ultimate penalty for achieving 12 points?

        I mean, the idea is, that when you get 12 points you get a race ban (and you start from 0 again), only with the race ban you get an extra 5? Wouldn’t it then make more sense to have a race ban make only 7 points go away?

        • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 9th May 2013, 16:36

          @bascb I think a ban based on the 12 points won’t give any more point but it is for someone receiving a race ban for something else …

          • Hopefully getting to 12 means you start again with 5. If you’ve been banned once in a season, you should have a shorter time to get back to the penalty box. Makes perfect sense to me.

    • bag0 (@bag0) said on 9th May 2013, 13:54

      @bascb I think you get a ban for 5 points, not the other way around :)

      But I think with these values for each ‘mistake’ 5 is a very low value, you can get a ban really easy. Consider a driver is in a hurry to the pits to change the used inters to put on new slicks. The pitlane could get really busy, say the driver couldnt slow down enough due to the wet track, he gets 1,2 or 3 points, if the lolypop is lifted in wrong time, he gets 2 points, and just for the sake of the example he crosses the white line. In this extreme example a driver got a ban with one pitstop, causing no harm to others.

      Im really in favour of the penatly system, but there should be clear definitions of all of the stated penal cases (most of them is clearly balck & white, but not all of them). If the infractions will be judged subjectively by the stewards, the whole pp system can backfire.

      IMO there are two possibilities:
      a) The stewards will not use the full power of the system and will give pps at only the extreme situations, like 2012 Spa, but that way the system has no meaning as they already have the power to give different penatlies.

      b)The stewarts will hand out pps in some cases, and wont in others, and by this subjectivity they can ‘rig’ the game involuntarily. Will they hand out a pp if the impending driver is a championship contender and one plus point would mean a ban for him in the final race?

    • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 9th May 2013, 13:55

      @bascb

      But this seems to penalize drivers double for some things

      That’s no different to the system for driving on the roads in the UK; break the speed limit and you get a fine and points on your licence, causing injury or death by dangerous driving and you could end up in prison and get points on your licence etc, once you get 12 points you lose your licence, get banned for a period of time and then have to re-take your driving test to be able to drive on the roads again regardless of what other penalties you have incurred along the way.

      I would imagine that the idea is that you get penalised for the actual infraction with traditional penalties (drive through, stop-go, grid drop etc) but then get penalty points as well so that repeated infractions lead to a more serious punishment (race ban) which seems perfectly logical to me.

      And if the penalties for speeding are the harshest things, I really think the focus the wrong way around!

      Doing over 80 kph in a pitlane with a speed limit of 60 kph during practice (or at one of the temporary circuits) means you’re going at least 33% faster than you should be, given that pit lane speed limits were introduced to protect team members, marshals and journalists who are working in the pitlane I think that’s an appropriate punishment.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th May 2013, 14:23

        Doing over 80 kph in a pitlane with a speed limit of 60 kph during practice (or at one of the temporary circuits) means you’re going at least 33% faster than you should be, given that pit lane speed limits were introduced to protect team members, marshals and journalists who are working in the pitlane I think that’s an appropriate punishment.

        – but not when you then see that ignoring Yellow or even red flags is only 2 points @beneboy

        • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 9th May 2013, 15:22

          @bascb
          Which is the same penalty you’d get for exceeding the speed limit by 10-20 kph, which seems appropriate to me.

          Up until the late 90s we’d regularly see marshals recovering cars and debris from the track under double waved yellows but these days we’re far more likely to see the safety car coming out for such a situation so the risk to the marshals is already managed quite well.

          Going 20 kph over the speed limit in a very cramped and crowded pit lane is, in my opinion, far riskier than ignoring a yellow flag, although I’d probably put ignoring a red flag up to 3 points too.

          I think we have to accept that no system is perfect but, personally, I’d rather see a system with slight flaws than no system at all.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th May 2013, 16:35

      I’ve interpreted it that if you are banned from a race (by committing a major offence such as Grosjean did last year or by reaching the >12 points) then you will serve that penalty and then when you return you will start from 5 points, as @prisoner-monkeys has said.

      I think that’s fair enough, as then major offenders will be banned more often and so will not pose as much of a danger to other drivers, although so far even Maldonado has been behaving himself this year (although I think that’s more due to the fact he’s been too busy crashing into gravel traps to hit other cars)!

  3. Armchair Expert (@armchairexpert) said on 9th May 2013, 12:54

    Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by more than 20kph
    Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by 10-20kph
    False start
    Exceeded the Safety Car delta time
    Dangerous exit from a pit stop
    Ignored the weigh station during qualifying
    Missed the drivers’ briefing or arrived late
    Exceeded the speed limit (at any time) by up to 10kph
    Crossed the white line at the pit lane exit

    Points towards race ban for doing things like above? Really, I mean, REALLY? Race ban for few speedings in the pitlane, false start and dangerous exit from a pit stop, which is sole responsibility of a team? Is it late April Fools or what?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th May 2013, 13:11

      Race ban for few speedings in the pitlane, false start

      If a driver manages to speed in the pit lane or jump the start several times, something is seriously wrong.

      dangerous exit from a pit stop, which is sole responsibility of a team

      Drives are already given drive-through penalties for dangerous releases, even though they are, as you say, the “sole responsibility of the team”. And giving the driver penalty points does penalise the team. Say Marussia have an unsafe release for Jules Bianchi, who has previously exceeded the pit lane speed limit by twenty kilometres per hour. He gets a race ban for it, which means the team are forced to put Rodolfo Gonzalez in the car for the next race. If that’s not a penalty, then I don’t know what is.

  4. Cristian (@cristian) said on 9th May 2013, 12:57

    What it means to read only the title. I thought of something entirely different(points being substracted)

  5. Gerdoner (@gerdoner) said on 9th May 2013, 12:58

    Those wouldn’t replace in-race sanctions though, would they? Otherwise a driver might think “Well, I got only 3 points thus far, let’s gain an advantage by leaving the track” or do a false start etc.
    Also, after a quick read I think the seriousness of some incidents don’t merit the points gained for them (some are too harsh, some are way too weak).

  6. Nick.UK (@) said on 9th May 2013, 12:58

    While a point docking for gaining an advantage by leaving the track might finally force drivers to not abuse run off, all the varying levels of offence like ‘impeed another driver’ and ‘dangerously impeed a driver’ etc will cause a lot of debate. If an argument over whether it was dangerous or not ends up being the difference between winning or loosing a title, I think we could see a scheme like this hastely removed. It’s far to uncertain.

  7. Slr (@slr) said on 9th May 2013, 12:59

    I hope this doesn’t mean that race bans become more common. Imagine if someone on eleven points got a race ban for being late to the driver’s briefing.

  8. ArtAnonim (@artanonim) said on 9th May 2013, 12:59

    I’m afraid we’re going to see much more race bans, if this system will be implemented.

    Imagine a driver with 11 points. He might be too aggressive on track. But getting a race ban thanks to poor work of the lollipop man (“Dangerous exit from a pit stop”)?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th May 2013, 13:20

      I’m afraid we’re going to see much more race bans, if this system will be implemented.

      Doesn’t that address the complaints of some people? Every time Pastor Maldonado gets himself into another scrape, there is a chorus of people demanding to know why he hasn’t been banned yet.

      • Mads (@mads) said on 9th May 2013, 13:57

        @prisoner-monkeys
        Absolutely. I hope that this gets implemented.
        I thought that while Grosjean was pretty bad last year, but he wasn’t half as bad as Maldonardo. But who got the race ban? Grosjean.
        With this system both of them would have got one sooner or later for their stupidities.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th May 2013, 22:50

          @mads – Who nearly decapitated another driver when he caused an accident? Grosjean.

          Although Maldonado had a few questionable moments, I don’t think he was half as bad as most people made out. His clash with Perez at Silverstone was a silly error, and nothing more – but people started demanding a race ban for it, which was in no way justified. If it weren’t for other altercations, nobody would have given the Silverstone clash a second thought.

          • Mads (@mads) said on 10th May 2013, 13:45

            @prisoner-monkeys
            No sure the incident in Silverstone was on its own, not very bad.
            Just like Grosjean pushing another driver in Belgium wasn’t very bad. Vettel has done that several times.
            But if we put them into context of the result and the previous incidents leading up to those two events, I think that it would be very fair to let the hammer of justice fall on both of them instead of just Grosjean.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th May 2013, 14:26

        Point well made @prisoner-monkeys – the points system does exactly that – punish a driver who keeps making mistakes, cock-ups and bangs wheels with others only too often. Much like it does in real live with these kind of systems.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 9th May 2013, 14:26

      In that situation, maybe the driver needs to look inwards first to work out why he ended up with eleven points that allowed him to get banned for someone else’s mistake.

      Now, if the team has 12 straight unsafe releases that are out of the drivers control, then yes, you have an argument.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 9th May 2013, 16:09

        LOL @optimaximal, An argument that the team needed looking into quite some time before; hard to imagine the FIA, or drivers themselves, to let a team get there, more than every two races a season an unsafe release!

  9. markyfun (@markyfun) said on 9th May 2013, 13:03

    ‘Impeded another driver’ isn’t this defensive driving and part of racing?!!

  10. Traverse (@) said on 9th May 2013, 13:09

    This is just ridiculous. How can exceeding the Safety Car delta time and causing a collision warrant the same punishment?

    • f1alex (@f1alex) said on 9th May 2013, 13:19

      They will still get a “proper” punishment (i.e. Drive through, stop go, 20 secs added at the end of the race), it’s just they will get these penalty points as well, to deter people from re-offending. I don’t see why it’s that ridiculous, as both of these misdemeanours would (correct me if I’m wrong) get the same penalty during the race, therefore they should both arguably also get the same penalty points too.

  11. Zantkiller (@zantkiller) said on 9th May 2013, 13:12

    Some of them seem too low.

    Dangerously impeded another driver
    Dangerously forced another driver off the track
    Drove too quickly in a yellow or red flag situation

    These are all highly dangerous and could seriously hurt people but only 2 points?

    • W-K (@w-k) said on 9th May 2013, 13:46

      And ignoring Blue flag – 2 points seems harsh.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 17:33

        True both of you, but some of these may get tweeked if in fact they do go ahead with this penalty point system…and…I think there are degrees of seriousness. eg. driving too quickly in a yellow situation can be by 1kph or by 20kph so if it’s only by 1kph then the 2 points is in fact harsh because the infraction didn’t add that much danger to the situation.

        And ignoring a blue flag for a 2 points penalty might be harsh if it’s within the first number of laps and the offender didn’t really affect the outcome by not getting out of the way quite quickly enough, but what if it is within a few laps to go in the race and the ignoring of the flags for long enough caused one WDC contender to not be able to catch and pass the other, or get within the one second required to use DRS on him for a race win? Then perhaps to some the 2 points would not be harsh enough for the blue flag ignorer.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 17:38

          Check that…as I think about it, usually the blue flags don’t come out early in the race, so I think that by the time blue flags are being waved it is to ensure the ones fighting for serious points don’t get unfairly impeded, so again, the two penalty points could be well justified and not harsh at all, as they could adversely affect the outcome for a serious race win or WDC contender.

      • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 9th May 2013, 22:22

        Actually, I think blue flags is one where it makes sense. If you give a back-marker a drive-through, this does not hurt much. Points towards a race ban might be a much more effective deterrent.

  12. macaque (@macaque) said on 9th May 2013, 13:15

    One upside to this system is that more young drivers could get the chance to drive in Formula One (and not only in back-of-the-grid cars).

    • Pandaslap (@pandaslap) said on 10th May 2013, 2:00

      @macaque Yes! That was my thought exactly. This has the potential to increase the importance of the reserve driver and give them opportunities to prove themselves.

      For example – If this were implemented this year, it’s not hard to imagine that a series of rookie mistakes over the course of the season by Gutierrez might lead to a late-season appearance by Robin Frijns.

      • macaque (@macaque) said on 10th May 2013, 2:33

        @pandaslap Then again Sauber had the chance to put Gutierrez in the car in 2011 and instead they called Pedro de la Rosa (at the time a test driver for McLaren). It wouldn’t surprise me if they called him from Ferrari next time…

        But sure, there are many drivers who might deserve a chance sooner rather than later (Frijns, da Costa), and others who could get a second chance (Heikki, Koba, Alguersuari).

  13. jimscreechy (@) said on 9th May 2013, 13:19

    Ridiculous! So if you miss the weighbridge, (something no driver does purposely) and ignore a blue flag your 1 point from a race ban. Drivers will be on the track shaking in their boots afraid of being penalised for the slightest infraction. We’ll have them tip-toeing around on the track like they’re ‘Driving Miss Daisy’. I mean… miss a drivers briefing? come one, its almost like their just making stuff up to get a list which seems more substantial. there is no need for half of that rubbinnsh and most of the penalties are way to severe. Keep it simple and keep to the important stuff. We’ve seen drivers cause big problems get no or little penalties now it seems they want to dish out penalities like they are Smarties. All we want is some measure of consistency and some penalties for the serious or important stuff, not an Alcatraz worthy penal system… good grief!

    • Zantkiller (@zantkiller) said on 9th May 2013, 13:21

      They continue to accrue them until they reach at least 12, at which time they receive a race ban.

      If you get a race ban you get an extra 5 points.

    • f1alex (@f1alex) said on 9th May 2013, 13:25

      @jimscreechy I don’t know which article you read, but it clearly says:

      Under the plan drivers would receive penalty points for a range of misdemeanours. They continue to accrue them until they reach at least 12, at which time they receive a race ban.

      So they would have to do a hell of a lot of weighbridge missing and blue flag ignoring to get a race ban, if that’s what you’re worried about. :)
      And as for the missing the driver’s briefing one, I think that actually does need to be there, because the driver briefings are there for a reason after all (like y’know, for all the drivers’ safety), it’s not just a tea party.

      (Wow sorry that comment sounded ruder than I intended)

  14. caci99 (@caci99) said on 9th May 2013, 13:23

    Will drivers carry the point penalties the next season?

  15. snowman.john (@snowman-john) said on 9th May 2013, 13:30

    surely ignoring a pitlane red light is worse than just one point, in the past this has lead to a black flag for the driver

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th May 2013, 14:29

      I guess you get the black flag AND the point for ignoring the red light. But yeah, compared to the penalty for speeding it sure seems this needs a bit of balancing.

    • Arno Neemers said on 9th May 2013, 21:23

      Several of these are definitely too low, even if they are supplementary to a financial or time penalty in the race itself.

      * Ignoring a black flag is just 1/4 of a race ban? So you can ignore a black flag safely three races in a row without penalty? Ludicrous.

      * Overtaking the safety car is just two points? So you’re allowed to pass it five times before we care? Again, ludicrous.

      * Ignoring the pit lane red light, as you note, is just 1 point — so you can safely ignore it 11 times before you get a ban. (That’s more than half a year’s worth of races.)

      Yet others are clearly too harsh.

      * Two points for ignoring a blue flag, something which doesn’t endanger anybody — it just inconveniences them. So an inconvenience is twice as bad as genuine danger (exiting the pits under a red light). What kind of bizarre logic is that?

      Also, it isn’t made clear but I’m guessing these points reset at the end of the year. If so, that needs to be changed, or the end of the year becomes a free-for-all. (“Well, I have seven points left, so I can ignore a black flag, overtake the safety car, and exit the pits under a red light without fear of penalty. Cool!”)

      Not to mention that in the final race of the year, there is no bite at all, because your race ban never happens.

      So no, I would favor a system where points from one year roll over into the next, but points expire after a full season’s worth of races. (Ie. if the current race is in a 20-race season, any points from more than 20 races ago are ignored.) That way, at all times, you have to pay attention to your conduct.

      I favor the system, incidentally, I just believe it needs a lot of tuning. Dangerous and unsporting actions should be penalized a lot more harshly. Those like the blue flag thing which are neither dangerous nor really unsporting (because it has no impact on anybody you’re racing against yourself) should still be penalized, but significantly less harshly than dangerous and unsporting behavior.

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