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. Dizzy said on 9th May 2013, 16:02

    I think this is a really good idea.

    If a driver repeatedly breaks the rules/regulations then they should suffer a penalty & if they keep doing it as well as other things then clearly they are not learning from there mistakes or simply don’t care about the regulations so should receive further penalty.

    If you have a driver that is constantly breaking the pit speed limit then action needs to be taken & if a penalty points system would eventually result in a severe penalty (Race ban for example) then it will make the driver think about learning how to not break the pit speed limit.
    Same with accidents, If a driver is repeatedly causing accidents then something is wrong & he is clearly not learning for his mistakes, This points system will make him think about things a bit more.

    We have this sort of system on the public road & I see no issue with something similar occurring on the race track.

  2. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 9th May 2013, 16:10

    I’m definitely in favour of this system, it will help to tally up who really deserves to be banned, and keep drivers in line and stop multiple re-offenders.

    We only need to take a look at 2012 and see that Grosjean would have had 8-10 points tallied up before Belgium. With that said, he may well have been far less aggressive and the incident may never have happened. Had it happened anyway, that would have resulted in at least another 5 points, and then another 5 more for the race ban he would have incurred for gaining more than 12 points.

  3. David not Coulthard (@) said on 9th May 2013, 16:11

    Missed the drivers’ briefing or arrived late : a point.

    Err……….Wouln’t fines be better fot that infridgement?

  4. bosyber (@bosyber) said on 9th May 2013, 16:19

    I like the principle, but worry a bit about the balance, and also see an issue that inconsistency by stewards now becomes an even bigger problem as it will haunt drivers for 12 months.

  5. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th May 2013, 16:41

    “Missed the drivers’ briefing or arrived late: 1 point”

    Kimi may be getting a few of those!

  6. javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 9th May 2013, 17:41

    I see another opportunity for strategy here, and a chance to use this to advantage.

    Lets assume in the last 2 races a driver has kept his nose clean all year and has zero points, but his rival has collected 10.

    This system would encourage the “clean” driver to make lots of adventageous infractions as long as he stays below the 12 pt mark. Similar, he can try to bait the other driver and try to get him some extra points; perhaps nosing in on situation whereby the “dirty” driver is “encouraged” to push him off, or make to create a scenario where the dirty driver gets advantage in an off-track excursion.

    Seems like another weapon that can/will be used to win races rather than increase saftey or the purity of racing.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 9th May 2013, 17:54

      @javlinsharp Drivers will get the points in addition to the other penalties (like drive troughs and place demotions), but you make a valid point in that a driver with a lot of points will be driving very carefully and others can take advantage of that.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 18:12

      Hmmm…unless I’m mistaken it sounds like you think that the clean driver has 11 points worth of infractions that he can commit to his advantage without further consequence as long as he’s below 12 points…which is not the case. Drivers still get the usual consequences for misbehaviour, PLUS points for their infractions. So I’m having trouble wrapping my head around what would be an ‘adventageous infraction.’ And also I’d like to think that the stewards would be able to see though some sort of ‘baiting’ tactics, even if those made sense to do.

      So you force your rival off the track and take the one point because you’ve kept it clean and you’ve got lots of points to give with only two races to go. Presumably in your scenario the driver gains an advantage by gaining a spot even if he’s been forced off the track (and presumably doesn’t give the spot back), so is given a penalty point and it puts him in the race ban category for the last race. I somehow think that the stewards would not allow a dirty tactic like this to be categorized the same way. If you are forced off the track and you somehow gain an advantage from it anyway, is that the same as gaining an advantage by going off the track because you overcooked a corner? Are you still obliged to give the spot back if someone underhandedly forces you off the the track but it doesn’t work and the one you forced still gains an advantage? I would like to think that the ‘clean’ rival that decided to resort to dirty tactics such as this would first of all be castigated for trying to win this way, and secondly would risk himself being given a harsh penalty for the last race, such as a ten-spot grid penalty for forcing someone off the track. Sure the one point penalty is inconsequential for him at that stage, but I’m sure risking a ten-spot penalty or worse, and his own integrity, might not be worth the slim odds of somehow getting a dirty trick past the stewards.

  7. I’m sure the 4 teams who didn’t support it are Sauber, Williams, Caterham and Marussia.

  8. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 9th May 2013, 18:38

    I do think this is a great idea, even the ones for petty infringements. It’d be a great way to get a bit of discipline into the sport where we have seen drivers in the past commit similar offenses multiple times in a short space of time. This is, however, only worth doing if a) the FIA will actually stick to it, b) it’s wiped after the end of the season let’s say, or the point(s) are dropped 12 months after committing that offense and c) Vettel gets a penalty point every time he raises ‘that’ finger ;)

    The only two (three) drivers who did not get any penalties last season were Fernando Alonso and Timo Glock (and Jerome D’Ambrosio). Does anybody know whether they would have gotten any penalty points for any of the above crimes if they committed them? And does anybody know whether any driver would have been awarded a race ban last season or not? (Maldonado surely got one)

  9. Shimks (@shimks) said on 9th May 2013, 19:20

    Hi Keith. You gave us the news but not your opinion on whether this is a good or bad thing. What d’ya think?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th May 2013, 21:07

      @shimks I haven’t entirely made my mind up yet. Though like some people I find the implied equivalence between some misdemeanours very odd. For example ignoring a blue flag is a far lesser crime than overtaking the safety car. And I think we need a specific and harsher punishment for drivers who intentionally cause contact, which we’ve seen too much of in the past few seasons (and in GP2 lately).

      • Shimks (@shimks) said on 9th May 2013, 22:54

        Yes, the proposed penalty points system does seem quite unbalanced. However, if they got it tweaked correctly, perhaps it would go some way to iron out the discrepancies between how different referees at different races tackle the same misdemeanours.
        I wonder also if “Dangerous exit from a pit stop” is something different to “Unsafe release”, which would be the pit crew’s fault, not the driver’s.
        Thanks for taking the time to answer, Keith!

  10. andae23 (@andae23) said on 9th May 2013, 19:28

    I’m not really against it, I just think it’s sad that we need these kind of rules. I would prefer some kind of drivers’ code, a set of unofficial agreements between drivers. If these new rules will be approved by the FIA, it would further stimulate my impression that F1 drivers are a class of toddlers: they get a sticker for every naughty thing they do, and when their naughty-book is filled with stickers they are sent to the naughty-step.

    I wonder why this ‘last resort’ penalty system has never been considered before – and I’m not asking that sarcastically. How did driver mentality in 50 years evolve from handing other drivers World Championships because they deserved it more (Collins 1956) and putting fairness above the World Championship (Moss 1958) to pushing drivers of the road (Vettel, Italy 2012) and drivers using their cars as weapons (Maldonado, Monaco 2011)?

    Well, I can tell you why: it’s the loss of respect between drivers. Drivers barely meet each other, even during race weekends. Add to that the relatively short careers drivers have today and the pressure to perform quickly or be replaced by one of those many many back-up drivers. How do we fix this? No idea, unfortunately.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 20:09

      Very valid comment here. Made me think of hockey here in North America and how it seems the goal nowadays it not just to take the man off the puck, but to take him out of his career.

      I think part of the reason things have evolved this way comes from the huge dollars involved that have taken something away from the ‘love of the sport’ aspect of it, which is still present to a degree of course, and added much more of the business aspect of it to the point of winning at all cost…even integrity.

      I think one of the glaring differences, and I’m not suggesting we can or should go back to this, is that back then, it was far more dangerous. And I can extend the hockey analogy here too. Back in the day they didn’t wear helmets, everyone had heavy wooden sticks with straight blades, wild slap shots above the waist were the exception, and many players had to have jobs to support themselves, so little was the pay for playing professional hockey. And there was a respect amongst the players and they weren’t out there to fire pucks at each other’s heads and try to concuss themselves out of their careers.

      We all know how so much more dangerous car racing used to be…how many drivers have died in racing. And nowadays and for a while now the cars and tracks are so safe that the drivers feel invincible, just as hockey players now feel, with all that high-tech equipment they wear.

      When money wasn’t the driving force, and when danger and risk of injury or death was much greater, there was much more respect amongst the players/racers.

      The fix? Sadly I think it might just have to be more and harsher penalties, as ‘toddler’ like as that is. The money isn’t going away, and nobody would even think to suggest they go backwards and make sports dangerous again…unlearn what they have learned. Also sadly, I think some sports’ governing bodies want to create an atomosphere of controversy because it grabs headlines. If they can get their sport not just onto the Sportcasts, but onto the National News, all the better. It equates to money.

      • GT_Racer said on 9th May 2013, 20:37

        I would prefer some kind of drivers’ code, a set of unofficial agreements between drivers.

        We already have stuff like this.

        There’s a lot of agreements between drivers regarding various things relating to on-track behavior, Thats a part of the reason you have the GPDA meetings.
        However there have been many instances in the past where drivers have ignored these agreements while out on track, Hamilton’s weaving to break Petrov’s tow at Sepang in 2010 is one such instance & he got a lot of stick for it in the following GPDA meeting.
        Never stopped him doing the same thing the following year.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th May 2013, 20:51

          Yeah I think a drivers’ code, which @andae23 is correct would be preferable to them being a ‘class of toddlers’ is all well and good on paper but gets thrown out in the heat of the moment on the track due in large part, imho, to the money and the pressure, and the fact that from a safety standpoint they know the odds of physical harm are now minimal. And integrity also gets overshadowed by what seems to be the more important goal of money and ‘success’ at any cost with less regard to what people will and won’t do and still be able to sleep at night. Get those numbers into the record book and the millions in the bank and that will help you look yourself in the mirror because millions will look past the asterisks beside your name in the records because it’s all about the material gain, not how the game was played.

        • andae23 (@andae23) said on 9th May 2013, 21:08

          Now you’re saying it like that, I’m starting to doubt if my solution is any good, but I’ve always had the attitude of ‘if you have good personal values you don’t need rules’, and to be honest I don’t see why this couldn’t apply to Formula 1.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 9th May 2013, 20:52

        @robbie You’re comment is making a lot of sense to me: indeed the ‘danger’ aspect of the sport has been erased almost completely now – which is great, but there are drawbacks. And like most ‘hot topics’ in F1 (pay drivers, KERS/DRS, tyres) it all boils down to money. This is indeed not just confined to F1, but also to hockey, soccer and many more sports, so this more a consequence of society’s development than a typical F1 problem.

        In a way, I think F1 is just an outdated concept – the fundamental values of ‘speed’ and ‘respect’ have basically made way for ‘selling products’ and ‘TV ratings’. I don’t know if the sport can be fixed in a way that it can have the best of both worlds, because at the moment the balance between sport and spectacle is completely messed up.

  11. jpowell (@jpowell) said on 9th May 2013, 19:30

    The penalties that are a matter of opinion rather than fact,in other words those that involve collisions and impeding other drivers are matters for the race stewards ,including them in this points system could lead to unfair exclusions .At the start of many races a large part of the field may find itself looking down the barrel at the next race . Lets face it most accidents in F1 its only the car that goes to A&E thank goodness and in the end this may put a stop to drivers recklessly damaging others peoples property . In it’s next set of regs car following technology could be incorporated this would be a sure fire way of a driver hanging on to his super license.

  12. Girts (@girts) said on 9th May 2013, 20:16

    Pretended not to understand the difference between ‘Multi 21′ and ‘Multi 12′ – 13 points

  13. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 9th May 2013, 21:02

    It will be raining raceban’s if they keep it up!

  14. kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 9th May 2013, 21:47

    What is the point of all this really? It’s not like the current penalty system is not working, or there have ben complaints regarding the current system. The introduction of the Driver/Steward has been a work in progress and it’s been getting better year on year. Also, under the stewardship of Todt, the FIA has become a lot less political. With no axe to grind, and no egos to be humbled, we do not see penalties based on politics anymore.

    Formula 1 does far to much navel gazing my opinion. Always trying to fix things that are already working. Maybe these things need a few tweaks, but not an overhual and introduction of a whole new system. Is this part of the trend to attract more of the playstaion generation, I ask? For whom penalties, crashes and things other than racing is part of the “thrills”? This is a clear case of “can’t see the wood for the trees”.

    What we want more of is real racing, not more penalties. Anything that stands in the way of that cannot be a good thing for the sport IMO.

  15. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 9th May 2013, 21:57

    Expect grids of 20 or less cars.

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