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 (0%)

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

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

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

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Ben said on 6th April 2014, 22:32

    I think this penalty is far too soft.

    In my opinion that was a serious incident and totally avoidable, and given Maldonado’s history of incidents he should have been dealt with a much harder punishment. This guy is too hot headed, and he just doesn’t seem to learn from his incidents… Grosjean when he was given his ban in 2012, at least he has learnt his lesson, Pastor just doesn’t learn, doesn’t use his head.

    Yes he’s a good driver to a point, not a great one, if he only learnt from his past mistakes and calm down a little, he may get some decent results when the car is good. I often see a lot of similarities between him and Jean Alesi, both very good on their day, but often too hot headed at times, and Pastor it’s 9 times out of 10 he doesn’t use his head properly.

    The way this guy is, he is a danger to himself and to the other drivers on the grid, those penalties in my view are too soft.
    In my opinion he should have been shown the black flag in the race. 3 points on his licence and a grid drop is a joke, as it was totally stupid and avoidable, he won’t even learn fro it. he should have been handed a 1 race ban for it, and stuck on a warning under probation for a few races with a view to revoking his super licence if he causes any more incidents.

    This guy is a waste of a Grand Prix seat…plenty of other drivers out there are more deserving of a chance than this crash prone nutter in his 4th rookie season.
    “Mirror signal Maldonado”

  12. Hemz Shaw (@hemzshaw) said on 6th April 2014, 22:53

    I think everyone who is saying it was too far should see what and why people are after him. Romain did it and got a 1 race ban. He has improved much, and so everyone generally assumed that it would work for Pastor too. On this very site, there are so many calling him different names even before this race like Stupidaldo. In his 4 years, he has been famous for accidents. This was not a racing accident. He should have been careful and that is his fault.

    God-forbid, but if something had happened to Esteban, I am sure the voices would be different.

  13. Shimks (@shimks) said on 6th April 2014, 22:54

    I voted for “far too harsh”.

    Three penalties for one infraction? The stewards had a knee-jerk reaction to the result of the insident, not the cause.

    A 10 second stop-go penalty was enough: causing a collision.

    Maldonado may have been involved in many incidents before, but they were all punished or not, as was seen fit at the time. His penalty for this Sunday’s infringement should not be multiplied because of past infringements nor because of the fact Gutierrez’s car flipped dangerously. He wasn’t going at high speed, and although his mistake was stupid, it wasn’t recklessly dangerous.

  14. AmbroseRPM (@ambroserpm) said on 6th April 2014, 23:06

    Where’s the ban? I’d prefer to see Pic in the car. What a tool. He could have killed GUT!

  15. Calum (@mazzaf1) said on 6th April 2014, 23:08

    As an isolated incident the penalty fits, although I’d probably recommend more penalty points instead of the ineffective stop-go penalty, but as we all know – it isn’t the first car Pastor has crashed into – even today he apparently collided with Vergne although I haven’t seen any footage of that so can’t comment. To think that Yuji Ide had his super license revoked after causing a similar incident with Albers in Imola and some other infringements over the space of four races – Maldonado’s record of continuous infringements over several seasons and now this… does make you wonder how he remains on the grid at times

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