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

  1. timtoo (@timtoo) said on 9th May 2013, 13:32

    I think it would be much better for the penalty system keep the same points as totaled above, but removal all the 1’s as I don’t think they are that serious (financial fine and a ticking off yes, points no). What they should actually do is deduct the points them from the individual Drivers+ Constructors championship points total instead of adding them up on individual licences.

    This would therefore mean that’s its only relevant for that particular championship year. I highly doubt GRO would have improved as he has this year knowing he had a lot of points on his license from his poor mistakes last year, as he probably would have backed off. Racing drivers are here to race, and a certain level of aggression has to be there otherwise who the hell would watch it?

    • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 9th May 2013, 14:06

      The FIA have increased the cost of the superlicence, in return they agreed to bring in a penalty points system and do away with financial penalties for drivers.

      MotoGP have brought in a points system this year and for them the points are reset to zero at the end of a season, don’t know if that’s going to happen in F1 but I’d guess (and hope) that it will.

  2. Candice said on 9th May 2013, 13:32

    could see kimi gaining points on skipping or arriving late on driver’s briefing.

    • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 9th May 2013, 17:17

      He’ll be where he’s required to be just as everybody else. Just because he doesn’t like interviews or chatting with random people on paddock or doesn’t go to track walks, doesn’t make him an irresponsible jerk who misses all important briefings.

  3. Zantkiller (@zantkiller) said on 9th May 2013, 13:36

    So if I understand this correctly Romain would have got 10 points for his antics at Belgium?

    -Dangerously forced another driver off the track
    -Caused a dangerous collision
    -Got a Race ban

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 15:49

      If you are suggesting he did all 3 of these things in one incident, I’m guessing they wouldn’t add these all up. He did enough to warrant a race ban, therefore he gets 5 points. But you raise something interesting. Did he not get a race ban because they looked at his previous infractions of whacking drivers in previous races, driving as though he had no mirrors or no clue where anyone else was on the track? They finally said enough is enough. Let’s ban the guy for a race and see if that straightens him out. He’s been causing too many adverse consequences for the key players for the Championship.

      If the points penalty system had been in place, presumably RG would have already accumulated enough points by Belgium that he would have excercised much more caution with his driving at that race, for fear of getting a race ban if he hadn’t already earned one. The thinking likely is that RG would perhaps have driven much more cleanly leading up to Belgium if there was a tangible threat of a race ban in play as opposed to the intangible concept that by the time he ‘did it again’ in Belgium they decided they’d seem enough through the season up to that point and should penalize him with a ban.

  4. JCost (@jcost) said on 9th May 2013, 13:40

    Please, would someone do the math ad let us know inf it was in place already, how would be 2013 “points rank”?

  5. Starbuck (@starbuck) said on 9th May 2013, 13:50

    This is just wrong. We need Stewards to make the right decisions, even if they are unpopular.

    A driver losing control over his car in the breaking zone and therefore taking out the car in front of him might be punished with 3 penalty points according to this system, even though he didn’t do anything on purpose and would’ve done everything to avoid this if possible.

    Someone pulling a Schumi-Barrichello wouldn’t get any penalty at all while this is still something that requires (imho) a 3-race ban at the very least.

    • 3 race ban? grid places lost probably, IMHO. But of course the “context” makes it also interesting to be considered as you say. (Crashing laterally the barrier in the straight line can prove fatal)

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 14:59

      A driver losing control over his car in the breaking zone and therefore taking out the car in front of him might be punished with 3 penalty points according to this system, even though he didn’t do anything on purpose and would’ve done everything to avoid this if possible.

      He may have not done it on purpose, but that doesn’t erase the fact that he lost control of his car. And it’s his responsibility to keep control of his car. In hindsight he would have done anything to avoid this if possible, but he didn’t. He took out the car in front of him in your scenario, so should there be no penalty for that as long as the driver doing the hitting says, ‘but I didn’t mean to?’ Where’s the justice for the one whose been taken out?

      But I think there is forgiveness in this scenario often enough. eg. a car has to slow unexpectedly, which then causes the next driver to have to nail his brakes, which then causes a third driver to hit the second one, but he really can’t be blamed for the accordian affect that started two cars ahead. In this case the hitting driver would not likely get 3 penalty points, imho, but then that’s different than the hitting driver losing control of his car.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 9th May 2013, 17:06

      Just because it’s an accident doesn’t mean it should go unpunished. That is why false starts are penalised. It’s why accidental fouls in football aren’t ignored, or in any sport for that matter- if you commit illegal behaviour according to the rules for whatever reason (in this case taking out another driver) it gets punished. A lot of people started to think the same as you and argued that Hulkenberg didn’t deserve a penalty in Brazil last year, because they felt sorry for him after he became the great underdog- nonsense, he ruined another driver’s race. It’s unfortunate but the way it is and the way it should be.

    • Starbuck (@starbuck) said on 9th May 2013, 18:22

      I’m not saying that those making an error should go unpunished. But there has to be a different penalty between a driver clearly making an error and another one taking out another driver on purpose.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 19:04

        Yeah you are right and I think they do differentiate the two already. And for all we know, an innocent mistake may not even result in a one point penalty in this proposed system. They’re consulting over it and it is not even a given right now that they are going to instigate it, and I’m sure that amongst the many discussions they will have on this topic in the near future, many scenarios are going to be presented to ‘test’ the validity of this system. 4 out of 11 teams did not vote for this, and perhaps it is because they see shades of grey that need to be clarified with further discussions.

        Forgetting the points system they are proposing, as it is, a driver taking out another on purpose can easily be given a race ban or at least grid-spot penalties for the next race. And let’s not forget that often when there is a questionable incident, the stewards talk to the drivers afterwards before making a judgement and they have a chance to, between what they have seen on the replays, and what the drivers say about it, come to a conclusion that way as to who intended what. I think in many cases along with the evidence of the video replays, they can tell by a driver’s tone and body language and what he says and how he says it as to how much error and how much purpose there was to an incident. And a driver can claim innocent, but the video clearly shows his hands cranking the wheel and steering his car right into his rival.

  6. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 9th May 2013, 13:51

    Not sure if I fully understand this very well. Is the idea that these penalties should replace drive-throughs and time penalties during the race?
    What would happen if a driver who has been ‘a good boy’ all season came into the final race of the year with no points at all . . . He could be seriously naughty all weekend, safe in the knowledge that there would be no carrying foreward of his penalty points.
    Also, why does ‘Race Ban’ get 5 points? If someone is banned from a race, it’s becasue they have done something bad, and they are being punished (by the Stewards?). So by giving him points, you’re punishing him for being punished. Seems a little odd.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 9th May 2013, 14:08

      No it would not replace the usual penalties. So don’t worry about that.
      And regarding the 5 points for getting a race ban, I see it like this, a driver behaves like a MASSIVE moron, gets him self a race ban, but just to make sure that he gets even less slack next time he is given 5 points on top of that to make sure that he has to change his attitude right there on the spot or else he would get another race ban very quickly.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 14:32

      Not sure if I fully understand this very well. Is the idea that these penalties should replace drive-throughs and time penalties during the race?

      Looking at the last line of the article, I think the idea is that the drivers would still get, for example, drive-throughs during the race, or grid drops for the race if an infraction occurs during practice or quali, for whatever the usual offences are that cause a driver/team to be given a driver-through or a grid drop, PLUS they would get penalty points that would then get accumulated and if exceeding 12 then they get a race ban.

      In other words I don’t think a driver can go into the final race with no penalty points, or only a few, and therefore start commiting ‘crimes’ without fear of retribution. Block a driver in quali and he will still have penalized himself for the race by earning a grid drop for the start of the race, even if the penalty points aren’t the concern as it is the last race, assuming they don’t get carried over to the next season, which to me would be ridiculous. Earn himself a driver-through and he will still have penalized himself for the race even if the points that go with it are not going to affect a ban, in the scenario you present.

      A race ban getting 5 points simply means a driver gets banned PLUS 5 points…I think the intention here is to discourage behaviour that accumulates points. The points are only a further penalty if they accumulate 12 or more, so the point is (pardon the pun) keep your nose clean, don’t accumulate more than 12 points, and if you do that means that your behaviour in general needs some attention and getting banned for a race for continued infractions is the eye-opening consequence for the driver that needs to start driving cleaner.

      My concern with anything like this is that it is still up to the discretion of the stewards, and I think there is still an undercurrent of belief that an infraction may or may not be instigated depending on who did it and how they want to shape the Championship run for the season. ie. some think that if a team if running away with the Championship and viewership is falling off, said runaway team might receive a penalty that would normally be no big deal, to try to rein them in and make more of a season out of it. When has a driver blocked, or blocked too much, or not left enough room, etc etc.

      I have a question too in that I thought ALL teams would have to agree to this in order for them to delve into it further, and yet in this case 7 out of 11 have agreed. Is it the case that at all times, as long as the majority of teams agree, then they go ahead, or am I mistaken in thinking that for some things (ie. changes to the way F1 works) ALL teams have to agree.

      • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 9th May 2013, 16:10

        @robbie. Thanks for that. I understand what you are saying, and the question of who these penalties would be awarded by and when is a concern too. Are the Stewards good enough, or are these penalty points going to be an FIA task, after the event has finished?
        It would seem to be very much open to manipulation, as you say.

  7. soundscape (@soundscape) said on 9th May 2013, 14:13

    They should add a component whereby points accumulated over time begin to erode, rewarding good behavior. The AFL (Australian Football League) has something similar for players facing the match review panel and tribunal.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 14:41

      Yeah I can see that, although one could argue that the reward for good behaviour is that by behaving well you are not accumulating points that would lead to a race ban (12+), so if you ‘earn’ some points with bad behaviour, but that concern makes you clean up your act and stop accumulating points, then your points tally remains harmless and you have rewarded yourself and the team by driving cleaner.

  8. Gan said on 9th May 2013, 14:19

    ‘Gained an advantage by leaving the track’, only one point for this. If this gets implemented, I think any given day a driver will happily go off the track to gain position and collect 1 penalty point and he can do that atleast 11 times (assuming no other penatly points being collected) before getting a ban.

    Remember, Seb got penalised when he overtook JB off the track last year. If given an option Seb would have happily taken one penalty point.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 15:33

      Again though, there is still the usual penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. We will still see a driver giving the spot back in order to avoid a drive-through, and if he doesn’t give the spot back immediately he will be flagged and given a drive-through, PLUS he will have earned a point on his naughty list. The penalty points system is not being considered in order to give drivers the go-ahead to commit up to 11 points in infractions as a substitute for the usual consequences of said infractions. The usual consequences are still in place PLUS you now accumulate points that could lead to a race ban if you commit so many infractions that you’ve earned to be sat out to rethink the way you (mis)conduct yourself on the track.

  9. i guess these points are a different matter from the Championship points, aren’t they? I mean, they are not points discounted from the WDC, right?

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 14:47

      I’m guessing not. I think the teams would likely not agree to what you suggest, particularly because of the undercurrent of thinking that sometimes penalties issued or not issued fall in the ‘shades-of-grey’ category and are so highly debateable that if the penalty points also affected the Championship points, the potential consequences and the controversy would be huge. That said, Championship points will definitely be affected for a driver who has earned a race ban by achieving 12+ points. Race ban= 0 points for one race.

  10. venom (@venom) said on 9th May 2013, 14:22

    Image a race with 3 or more drivers the grid is only going to get smaller, this is not ideal for F1 with all the sponsors and fans who want a full grid specially with only a few cars.I suppose the reserve drivers can finally have a go but do you really want a race with your favourite driver out, I like the system, its gonna keep drivers in check, but will it force drivers to be too cautious, this might work in team sports with more participants, but for f1, guess we will only find out once its implemented, personally I am not in favour!!

  11. Stretch (@stretch) said on 9th May 2013, 14:39

    Maldonado had 10 penalties last year. He would’ve been close to 12.

    • JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 9th May 2013, 16:04

      One of them was at least a 3-pointer though, when he hit Perez on purpose in Monaco, so the likelihood is that with this system in place, Maldonado would have either got a race ban, or calmed down sooner.

  12. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 9th May 2013, 14:48

    Is it just a language barrier thing, because I don’t understand why people are struggling to understand that this is a penalty point system, *not* a deduction against their WDC points total.

  13. crr917 (@crr917) said on 9th May 2013, 14:48

    FIA building on top of an already crappy penalty system? Nothing surprising here. Drivers getting banned for speeding and coming late? I can imagine all the excitement when a title is decided because a championship contender won’t start a race. Awesome race indeed. And goodluck taking autograph of your favourite driver when he is banned. Or maybe he will have to be present because FOM demands shots of his sad face, contemplating what he has done and vowing never to steer away from the Holy Delta Time. Or something. Viewers should be kept entertained. Especially the ones who had came to see that driver. If he fails to comply again – another race ban of course. :)

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 16:10

      I can imagine all the excitement when a title is decided because a championship contender won’t start a race.

      I think that is a very valid point. However, I think in reality most drivers don’t speed that often throughout the season, nor show up late for meetings, such that those ‘lightweight’ infractions would be his undoing for the WDC. And they certainly wouldn’t speed as much or by tardy with a tangible penalty points system in place. Most WDC’s have to have had a pretty clean season in order to get to where they are by the final race. If they’ve been accumulating enough points such that they may get banned for the final race, I think it is likely they also aren’t a candidate to win the WDC. The usual penalties will have applied throughout the year too, and going hand in hand with the penalty points would be other costly consequences that would be just as key to preventing a driver from winning the WDC such as drive-throughs and gridspot downgrading if not starting from the back of the pack, that would have limited their WDC points tally in several races.

      • crr917 (@crr917) said on 9th May 2013, 19:51

        So it’s OK because it’s just unlikely to happen? LHC black hole; Chernobyl/Fukushima or Challenger unlikely? :D
        The point system doubles the penalties for no good reason. Grosjean was banned supposedly for repeated offences. This proposal does not take into account repeated offences, does not make difference between speeding and causing a crash.
        “racing driver gets banned for driving fast” will be a nice headline. Out of context, sure, but still hilarious.
        Finally, missing a race limit a driver WDC chances more than any grid penalty. A WDC contender does not need to start on pole in these times, he just needs to start. And the 12pts ban certainly has the power to decide championships.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 20:30

          @crr917 Hmmm….well it is certainly easier for a driver in F1 to control his pit lane speed or his attendance record at a driver meeting than it is for a nuclear power plant to react to a Tsunami, or for them to predict a space shuttle won’t blow up after I’m sure they thought they had all precautions accounted for.

          The points system they are proposing only doubles the penalties if a driver accumulates more than 11, and that’s within his own actions to control. Offend repeatedly and for sure you will not only suffer the normally applied penalties such as drive-throughs, and grid spot penalties, but you’ll get yourself into the 12 point ban zone even quicker.

          I remain convinced that most drivers who have such a sorted season that they have accumulated penalty points to the point of being banned, weren’t likely having a WDC season to begin with. You need to drive a pretty clean season, with historically the WCC winning car, with few reliability issues or accidents, and few infractions, to pull off a WDC.

          There might, on paper, be a chance that the 12pts ban can decide a championship, but I don’t think F1 will let that happen or would instigate this system if it could happen that we would have such an anti-climactic end to a season. And if in fact they do let this happen, and in fact it does happen, then so be it… all you drivers had all the knowledge ahead of time as to what would happen if you commit too many infractions…so you’ll have to live with the consequences even if it costs you the WDC in the end.

          You’re right…missing a race limits a driver’s WDC chances more than any grid penalty…so don’t miss a race.

          • crr917 (@crr917) said on 9th May 2013, 22:27

            Cause a crash, break the speed limit a couple of times, one unsafe release, leave the track limits, one fall start, impede someone and some late coming for driver briefing is not the same as causing 6 crashes. Or equal to breaking speed limit 6 times.
            Actually it sounds like the real laws but it does not make it any better :)

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 9th May 2013, 16:15

      How about a public spanking for anyone with 12 points at the race he’s banned from!

    • Mads (@mads) said on 10th May 2013, 13:56

      If a driver is late to the drivers briefing, 12 times then he needs to have someone take a look at his watch.
      The drivers briefing is something that is necessary for the safety of them selves, the marshals and to be able to make the weekend run smoothly.
      Its not a just tea party.
      Would your boss not consider doing something quite severe if you were noticeably late for more then 50% of all your important meetings doing a whole year? The vast majority would.
      If a driver is given a race ban for not taking things seriously, then its his own fault.
      They don’t do those things for fun.

  14. Kimi4WDC said on 9th May 2013, 15:16

    Good intentions, but this just further fuels conspiracy and favouritism disputes, considering lack of backbone and consistency stewards were showing in past two years.

  15. matt90 (@matt90) said on 9th May 2013, 15:51

    Dangerous exit from a pit stop

    I assume that this only applies if the driver ignores the lollipop man, and leaves before he is told it is safe to do so?

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 9th May 2013, 16:49

      I think it must be, otherwise it would be an ‘unsafe release from pit box’ which is a Team, rather than Driver problem, isn’t it? can’t remember what penalties have been applied in the past for that though.

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