Did Rosberg deserve a penalty for chicane cutting?

2014 Canadian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2014Nico Rosberg did everything he could to keep his team mate and championship rival behind him during the Canadian Grand Prix. But did he overstep the mark?

Rosberg was feeling the heat from Lewis Hamilton when he locked his front-left wheel at the final chicane on lap 25.

Realising he wouldn’t be able to make the corner, Rosberg drove over the tarmac run-off area and rejoined the track through the gap after the speed bump.

By keeping his foot down Rosberg lost so little time he set the fastest lap of the race when he crossed the finishing line. He also pulled a few tenths of a second clear of Hamilton – a vital advantage as he team mate strived to get within a second of him at the DRS detection point.

The stewards quickly announced Rosberg was under invetigation for failing to observe track limits. But within a few laps Hamilton was notified his team mate had been let off the hook: “No penalty for Nico. He’s on his final warning for cutting the last chicane.”

The incident soon became academic as both Mercedes drivers ran into trouble and Hamilton retired from the race. But it could have decided the outcome of another closely-fought battle between the Mercedes pair.

The rules on leaving the track and gaining an advantage were revised before the start of the season. They now state a driver must not gain any “lasting” advantage by leaving the track.

Is this another case of a run-off area making it too easy for a driver to leave the track and gain a benefit? And if so, should the stewards have taken a firmer line on Rosberg?

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

Should Nico Rosberg have been given a penalty for cutting the chicane?

  • Strongly agree (31%)
  • Slightly agree (23%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (5%)
  • Slightly disagree (15%)
  • Strongly disagree (25%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 616

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2014 Canadian Grand Prix

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246 comments on Did Rosberg deserve a penalty for chicane cutting?

  1. trublu (@trublu) said on 8th June 2014, 22:32

    If you can cut a chicane and get a time advantage, you should also be able to cut the chicane even if it leads to a position gained. It shouldn’t be allowed in one circumstance but not in another. Wrong is wrong.

  2. Simon999 (@simon999) said on 8th June 2014, 22:34

    I think a drive through or anything like that would have been too harsh.

    But looking at the situation, I think it’s fair to say Rosberg only kept the lead (and in fact extended it) by choosing to miss the chicane. I’d therefore have ordered him to give up the place. It’s difficult to argue that he did not gain a clear advantage (by not losing the lead), so it seems like the most reasonable resolution.

    If I was Hamilton in that situation, knowing that DRS alone was unlikely to be enough, forcing my rival into a big mistake and seeing him beneft from it must have been slightly galling.

    • trublu (@trublu) said on 8th June 2014, 22:35

      Stewards should have given one sec time penalty at end of race.

      • Simon999 (@simon999) said on 8th June 2014, 22:45

        Don’t think that would make sense either. The issue is less that he gained 1s in time and more that he kept the lead of the race. We saw that even though Hamilton was able to close up quickly to Rosberg during the race on more than one occasion, even DRS didn’t enable him to overtake an identical car infront.

        Track position was key and if Rosberg maintained his through that incident, then it is worth a lot more than 1s in time.

    • trublu (@trublu) said on 8th June 2014, 22:36

      Drivethrough would have been too harsh.

      • D (@f190) said on 8th June 2014, 22:44

        This is the exact situation the new 5 sec penalty is made for ! A 5 second add on at gis next stop would have been the perfect penalty. If he gave yhe the place to lewis or even just made some effort to put things right then id have no problem. He should penalised for goimg flat out through a run off area meant for safety. If that was grass he would have lost a few seconds so I think a 5 second penalty would be right here.

        • Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 8th June 2014, 23:27

          A 5 second penalty would likely have ended his race – Hamiltons brakes cooked during his normal length stop. Still, that kind of effect shouldn’t feature into the stewards decision.

      • lee1 said on 8th June 2014, 23:20

        It would if he had made any effort to not gain an advantage. He however accelerated across the run off area and gained over 1 second! This then broke the DRS of Hamilton and also possibly led to Hamiltons break failure.

  3. Stig (@stig) said on 8th June 2014, 22:34

    If Daniil wasn’t penalised then why should Rosberg?

  4. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th June 2014, 22:34

    There is a safety dimension here as well. The current arrangement at that corner means any driver who goes straight on has an incentive to take an alternative racing line flat-out through a narrow gap between a speed bump and a wall – as Rosberg did, and another driver (I think it was Kvyat). I think a better solution for the run-off is needed, though as we’ve seen before it’s a controversial subject.

    • trublu (@trublu) said on 8th June 2014, 22:39

      The run-off definitely has to be redesigned to slow down drivers after they make errors there.

    • Polystyrene bollards?

      They will damage your car if you hit them fast enough.

    • D (@f190) said on 8th June 2014, 23:03

      Its perfectly safe Keith, I use it all the time on the f1 2013 game ;)

    • Damon trolllolololololol said on 8th June 2014, 23:22

      Just put a speed bump in running the length of the run off

    • Well atleast we saw HAM go through the same and gave the position to ROS just before he retired….

    • lee1 said on 9th June 2014, 0:21

      I agree, it should not be possible to take the run off at full speed. However surely it should also be up to the driver to ensure that they made an effort to not gain an advantage by cutting a corner even if they do ultimately gain a tiny amount.

    • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 9th June 2014, 8:33

      Aren’t they rebuilding the pits somewhere else? That would provide an area big enough to design a safe run-off that you can’t use as a short cut, if they replace the pit building with some stands a bit further down the straight.

      No doubt Bernie wants them to pave over the river and build a massive modern concrete tumbleweed paddock.

  5. Rigi (@rigi) said on 8th June 2014, 22:37

    stewards reacted good to this. a warning was spot on.

    • No, a warning would have been spot on even if he slowed down to rejoin the track in a safe manner. The fact that he floor’d the throttle and set the fastest lap of the race, to me, is an instant penalty.

  6. Yobo01 (@yobo01) said on 8th June 2014, 22:38

    Slightly disagree. Rosberg was quite bold when he cut the chicane, he went on the throttle really soon. He gained a couple of tenths, sure, but I think that a penalty might have been too harsh. A warning is just fine.

    • lee1 said on 9th June 2014, 0:11

      He gained 6 tenths! That is a massive amount considering Hamilton was catching him before that. He also most likely prevented Hamilton taking him on the straight as if he had not taken the chicane he would have put himself in a terrible line through the corner. Also if he had lifted the accelerator through the run off he would also likely have been passed by hamilton. He however used the run off as an acceleration area and gained a lot of speed down the straight. If he has made any effort to negate the advantage then I would agree with no penalty but he actually set the fastest lap!

  7. TyreBlowout (@tyreblowout) said on 8th June 2014, 22:39

    Rosberg gained an advantage because he broke Hamilton’s DRS. However, it was an honest mistake made under pressure (unlike Monaco…).
    But, looking at similar cases, Hamilton was stripped of a win in 2008 for a lesser offense (he gave the advantage he gained back to Raikkonen). So if the stewards were consistent (big if), it has to be a drive through if he doesn’t yield the advantage. Which he didn’t, so it should have been.

    • lee1 said on 9th June 2014, 0:07

      Hamilton was not punished for gaining an advantage in 2008 (as he gave the place back). He was punished for his car leaving the track…. There was no mention of gaining an advantage in the report simply that his car was deemed to have left the track.

    • lee1 said on 9th June 2014, 0:12

      Incidentally that is the one and only time I can recall that a driver has been punished for simply leaving the track once.

  8. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 8th June 2014, 22:39

    Slightly agree. It’s a difficult one.

    He did gain an advantage, that’s for sure. And errors should be penalized. But we’ve seen many of these mistakes before, and no one got penalized with a stop and go or whatever. So good call.

  9. James said on 8th June 2014, 22:42

    Did Kvyat get a penalty when he cut the chicane when Kimi attempted an overtake? No, he didn’t, what makes Rosberg’s situation any different, other than the fact it would make no difference to Mercedes constructors points.

  10. Bernard (@bernard) said on 8th June 2014, 22:48

    In Spa 2008, after gaining on Raikkonen hand over first, making the pass, being FORCED wide cutting the chicane and subsequently giving the place back immediately Hamilton was still penalised and had his win stolen from him unjustly.

    Fast forward to 2014, whilst Hamilton is gaining again hand over fist, Rosberg locks up under pressure, straight lines the chicane, keeps his foot down, sets the fastest lap and increases his lead by over a second, no penalty.

    The FIA are the laughing stock of international “sport”.

    • lee1 said on 9th June 2014, 6:31

      The thing is that Hamilton was not punished for gaining an advantage in 2008 (as he clearly did not gain an advantage, especially under the rules at the time) he was punished just for leaving the track!

  11. Sven (@crammond) said on 8th June 2014, 22:48

    I thought there would be a penalty, probably one of those new 5-second-time-penalties.
    However, I´m quite sure Rosberg knew his time was purple, so the only reason I can imagine for him not to lift off was that he knew of some kind of agreement that allowed a warning. We know that especially the track-limit-rule is discussed with Charlie before pretty much every race.

  12. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 8th June 2014, 22:51

    Of course he didn’t deserve a penalty. Wasn’t it Hulkenberg who repeatedly cut the chicane in Monza due to the same thing a few years ago? If I remember correctly, he wasn’t penalised, so that just proves continuity in the steward’s decisions.

    • “so that just proves continuity in the steward’s decisions.”

      What are you talking about, Grosjean got a penalty of exceeding the track limits last year.

  13. Ben (@scuderia29) said on 8th June 2014, 22:51

    Hamilton wasnt even attempting a move, and it wasnt intentional by rosberg either. If that had happened further down the field it wouldnt even being spoke about. He gained maybe half a second, you think a drive through would have been a just penalty for a half second advantage? oh you think he should have gave up the position instead..even though hamilton was yet to even attempt an overtake on rosberg, the stewards dealt with it correctly

  14. Frasier (@frasier) said on 8th June 2014, 22:52

    By the rules no he didn’t deserve a penalty, but it’s time circuit designers put a severe chicane into the point where cars rejoin the track. This’s what they do that at Monza and nobody gains by going straight on, they lose the place, which is as it should be.

    Did the team sort it out themselves by delaying Rosberg a couple of seconds at his pit-stop such that the order was reversed?

    Were both drivers using higher power settings against the team instructions, seems such a co-incidence that both MGU-Ks failed at the same time?

    • lee1 said on 9th June 2014, 6:38

      A few teams were having issues with the breaks (linked directly to the MGU-K), Force India had issues during the race and Williams discovered issues during Practice.

      Plus under the rules he certainly did deserve a penalty. The rule states that he should not gain a lasting advantage, it says nothing about the circumstances under which he went off. As he set the fastest lap my some margin and was 1 second quicker than his previous lap and pulled away from 0.5 secs to 1.1 secs from hamilton, then I would say that constitutes a lasting advantage. If he had made an effort to not gain an advantage then I would think a penalty harsh but this is clearly not what he did.

  15. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 8th June 2014, 22:54

    Of course he should have been penalized. He accelerated! He gained an advantage.
    It’s ludicrous. I will say one more time, I would love to see if was the other way around. And again, Lewis lost a race and almost the championship for a thing like that in 2008.
    5 sec penalty was the way to go.

    • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 8th June 2014, 22:58

      @edmarques In Spa 2008 (Presumably the event you are referring to) there was a distinct chance of an overtake going into that corner. I don’t agree with the penalty that Hamilton was given after Spa, but the events are different enough to be able to arrive at a different conclusion. This is even without the 20-odd rule changes to the track limits rule we have had since 2008.

      • lee1 said on 9th June 2014, 6:39

        And the Fact that Lewis was punished for simply leaving the track, not gaining an advantage.

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