Did the stewards get Maldonado’s penalty right?

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014Pastor Maldonado landed in hot water after colliding with Esteban Gutierrez during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Maldonado flipped the Sauber upside down when the pair made contact at turn one on lap 41. The Lotus driver had just emerged from the pits when he hit Gutierrez’s right-rear wheel.

Gutierrez rolled and landed on his wheels. Although he was able to get out of the car he was later taken to hospital for checks.

The stewards held Maldonado responsible for “causing a collision” and gave him three separate penalties: a ten second stop-go penalty during the race, a five-place grid penalty for the next event in China, and a three point endorsement on his licence.

Did the punishment fit the infraction? How do you think the stewards should have responded to the incident?

Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Maldonado's punishment for the Gutierrez incident was...

  • Far too harsh (4%)
  • Slightly too harsh (9%)
  • Fair (25%)
  • Too soft (36%)
  • Far too soft (26%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 735

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Image © Lotus/LAT

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142 comments on Did the stewards get Maldonado’s penalty right?

  1. minnis (@minnis) said on 6th April 2014, 19:33

    3 penalty points!? Is that it!?

    So, he can do this three more times before he gets a one race ban. Unbelievable!

  2. Mcquiz (@mcquiz) said on 6th April 2014, 19:37

    No, 3 points for this while Bottas got 2 for getting a little bit in Ricciardo’s way the week before doesn’t quite cut it.

    • JohnH (@johnh) said on 6th April 2014, 19:43

      +1

      I thought penalty points were there to discourage dangerous driving, but he can keep doing this with so few points accrued for each incident.

  3. Fixy (@fixy) said on 6th April 2014, 19:37

    When Ricciardo gets a ten-place grid penalty for an accident which was not his fault, led to no consequences and already punished him during the race, Maldonado’s grid-drop and penalty points are way too lenient.

  4. f1freek (@f1freek) said on 6th April 2014, 19:38

    This guy is unbelievable. Ide got his super license taken away because of a similar crash, it’s about time they do the same

  5. Bradley Downton (@bradley13) said on 6th April 2014, 19:38

    I think it was too soft, but not far too soft.
    I don’t think the 10 second stop/go should have been issued and instead it should be a 10-place penalty and 4/5 points on his license.
    However given where the team are, a 10-place penalty is a little pointless, so it should have been:
    – No stop/go
    – 5-place grid penalty for China
    – 6 Points on his license

  6. Hapon (@haponat) said on 6th April 2014, 19:38

    All Pastor Maldonado does in the sport is to drive in to other cars and act like nothing happened. Bahrain stewards, please act right and revise your penality(ies) to that amateur driver. He wasn’t fighting for the championship anyway to act so aggressively. AMATEUR!!!

  7. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 6th April 2014, 19:41

    He hasn’t been punished hard enough in my opinion.

    However why on earth are the stewards handing out double penalties, I can’t find anything in the sporting regulations that allow this. Why not just hand out one big penalty when the race is over and give him penalty points on his license.

    He should have been given a ten place grid penalty and at least 7 or 8 points on his liscense for this. This is his fourth season in F1, he should know better.

  8. yihwarang (@yihwarang1) said on 6th April 2014, 19:42

    Hmm………Double point & Triple penalty………………..???

  9. jhr9988 (@rhj8899) said on 6th April 2014, 19:45

    Well, too bad yuji ide didn’t have big sponsor backing as maldonado

  10. Royal-Spark (@royal-spark) said on 6th April 2014, 19:45

    This man’s shaping up to be a bad influence for any young Venezuelan aspiring to be a racing driver in the future.

  11. jhr9988 (@rhj8899) said on 6th April 2014, 19:46

    Does maldonado’s pdvsa also sponsors FIA? Or just lotus… Hmmmm

  12. Andrei (@crandreico) said on 6th April 2014, 20:02

    I would like to know the people’s, who voted soft, or too soft, opinion if this incident would’ve happen with another driver, instead of Maldonado, causing the collision. I bet that we’ll discover a lot of hypocrites around here.
    I think this is slightly harsh, and I would give him 1 penalty point less. Nothing more than an accident than can always happen if a driver is eager to not lose his position while exiting the pits. And I think this happened before (a driver exiting pits, colliding with another on his first corner).
    Still, I would like to know Maldonado’s comments regarding this incident. See if he’s still blaming everyone but him about anything he’s involved on.

    • Mayank (@mjf1fan) said on 6th April 2014, 22:31

      @crandreico

      I voted for too soft penalty.
      Yes you are right in saying that if any other driver was involved I wouldn’t have voted for too soft. But that’s not me being a hypocrite , infact this decision is based on a fact that if someone (Maldonado) does same mistake repeatedly and doesnt learn anything from it then he should be given stricter punishment so that he could learn from it.

      Atleast one race ban should have been a fair punishment for Maldonado’s repeated reckless and dangerous driving. Grosjean toned down a lot after he got 1 race ban after the Spa 2012 incident. Maldonado shoukd have been given same penalty to tone down his arrogant attitude as he claims he was not at fault for this accident. Not too surprising statement from him.

      • Andrei (@crandreico) said on 12th April 2014, 2:39

        @mjf1fan
        Fair enough. But you think the stewards should be guided in their decisions by the drivers past history? Not trying at all backing up Maldonado here (I just can’t stand seeing him competing at a professional level on motorsports, nevermind F1), but I think the stewards should just judge a race incident, crash or whatever, without taking accout of the involved drivers and their list (in this case huge list) of past incidents. Should the stewards give Magnussen the next time a drive through, or stop & go the next time he makes contact with Räikkönen?

    • Jack Jeffreys (@jack1501) said on 7th April 2014, 21:14

      I voted too harsh. For the simple reason I meant to go for too soft but hit the wrong box. The guys a menace – get him out of F1!

  13. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 6th April 2014, 20:11

    I know I’m in a minority here, but I believe the punishment was too harsh. It was a relatively low-speed prang, the severity of which would have caused virtually no damage on 9 occasions out of 10.

    But he just so happened to catch Gutierrez at a bad angle which made the crash look much, much more dramatic than it would have been on any other occasion.

    To be honest, I think the stewarding is getting overly harsh in general. How many times during a race do we here drivers complaining about being forced off the track? I fear that Formula One is becoming like football, where exaggerating your plight in order to get an opponent punished is an important a skill as any.

  14. abhinavST (@abhist) said on 6th April 2014, 20:23

    For his fondness of collisions, Maldonado deserves a dashing car more than a F1 car!

  15. Derrick said on 6th April 2014, 20:37

    I think not enough people are taking into account how truly unsafe and utterly irresponsible it was of Maldonado to even try and take the inside line straight out of the pits when the tyres have not even had enough time to warm up. Even though people have mentioned fresher tyres the truth is fresh tyres don’t come into play at least until the tyres have been warmed enough and you can clearly see that it was because of cold tyre issues that caused this accident because there would have not been enough grip and honestly I’m sure this is like an F1 issue that every driver (well responsible drivers) should know and take into account at this very high and dangerous level.

  16. UTBowler0407 (@utbowler0407) said on 6th April 2014, 21:05

    A 10 second stop/go after his race was already somewhat ruined? No real effect. A 5 place grid penalty? Seems incredibly lenient. And the license points seem like a given, and doesn’t seem to reflect the seriousness of the incident. He’s incredibly lucky not to get a race ban.

  17. Schmorbraten (@schmorbraten) said on 6th April 2014, 21:15

    I expected at least a one-race ban plus some points on the licence. Maldonado’s line into the corner would have already been silly all on its own, dead straight along the inside of the track . But as an overtaking move, coming out of the pits and being way behind? It’s not right that he can buy a ride while there are lots of drivers much more worthy of an F1 drive.

  18. Rigi (@rigi) said on 6th April 2014, 21:39

    too soft, he’s caused accidents for one too many times. race ban.

  19. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 6th April 2014, 21:56

    It was clumsy more than anything, and in most circumstances it would have resulted in a broken front wing and Gutierrez pointing the wrong way. That said, I think the cumulative effect of these accidents makes us rightly hostile towards Maldonado at times, even though he has done much worse than this, and in the circumstances I’d probably have given a 10 place penalty but not much else.

  20. sato113 (@sato113) said on 6th April 2014, 22:07

    fair punishment. obviously the fact the sauber flipped over makes people want a harsher punishment. but it should never be based on that.

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