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. Jabosha (@jabosha) said on 8th June 2014, 23:45

    How it isn’t clear Rosberg didn’t gain a lasting advantage is beyond me. Rosberg should have at least be made to slow down, but it definitely gave him a lasting advantage. As people have stated, it cleared him of DRS and it also made Ham have to use up his tires regaining lost ground in which those laps could have been used to attempt a passing manoeuvre. Rosberg should have been penalized. If you make a mistake and gain like Rosberg did, that sucks but he’s at fault. Steve Machette was terrible on NBC sports, imo. He wanted no penalty for the sake of the racing.

    • me said on 9th June 2014, 3:52

      But it gave Hamilton clear air to cool his brakes down! Otherwise he clearly would have broken down earlier :)

  2. OOliver said on 9th June 2014, 0:10

    Based on precedence then he doesn’t.
    But the rules are inconsistent and the logic behind the rules are stupid.
    Had Rosberg overaken Hamilton by cutting the chicane, the stewards will place an imaginary barrier at the track limits and said the driver would never have made that move with a barrier there.
    So I ask, would Rosberg have powered through if there was a barrier at that point?
    Stewarding is rubbish lets forget about childish penalties and concentrate on the serious incidents.

  3. TdM (@tdm) said on 9th June 2014, 0:10

    My 2p, Rosberg made a mistake under pressure. The track limits are there to be limits. Hamilton may not have been making a move but he was right on Rosberg’s tail. On almost any other corner he would have taken the place due to the off that Rosberg was about to have. If a wall was there, Rosberg would have been out.

    He went hugely faster than he should have gone because of the cut, he broke drs which wasted overtaking opportunities for Hamilton. He gained a massive lasting advantage of not losing a place. Cutting corners because it’s a mistake isn’t OK, the track limits are effectively a wall.

    As I say, any other corner that place would have been lost.

    However, I voted slightly agree as a penalty was tricky to define and I preferred the race to be played out on track.

  4. spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 9th June 2014, 0:30

    There should be no way for a run-off area to allow a gain in any form. As others said, fill it with grass.

  5. Aced (@aced) said on 9th June 2014, 0:35

    I don’t think he should have been penalised. This happens quite often and no one has gotten penalised for it before(unless they gained a position), so why do it now? Also, just because it concerns the lead of the race it doesn’t make it any more relevant. It would have meant setting a very dangerous and unfair precedent all of a sudden. That would have been a lot worse than any advantage that Rosberg gained today.

    However, I think the FIA need to have a more detailed look into this. If anything, it did give Rosberg a bit of breathing space right when Hamilton was at his quickest so that’s not 100% correct either.

    A lot of people have also been pointing out that gravel traps would solve this. I honestly wouldn’t have wanted for Perez or Massa to have gone sideways towards a gravel trap instead of a run-off today. They tend to work at places like Suzuka but you don’t want to have those things around hard braking zones followed by walls of champions.

  6. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 9th June 2014, 1:50

    “They now state a driver must not gain any “lasting” advantage by leaving the track”
    Depends on how you translate what may have happened. I felt, that HAM would have potentially got past, however, it was not certain that would have happened, it may have come to pass that they would have crashed into each other and that ROS felt in that moment that he was ensuring both cars escaped safely. In any case, no one can say for sure if ROS gained a lasting advantage, hence why I cannot abide by the thought of giving ROS a penalty on such a margin call.

  7. Brian (@bforth) said on 9th June 2014, 2:16

    Rosberg’s off was an accident until he floored it through the run-off area. Then it became cheating. Leaving the track to gain an advantage is against the rules. Rosberg should have taken a penalty, as should anyone else who set a personal best S3 after cutting the turn and blasting through it. It’s that simple.

    I like Rosberg well enough, but I’m glad that he didn’t win. It would have been a soiled victory.

  8. Neil (@neilosjames) said on 9th June 2014, 2:17

    If the Stewards/Charlie had just got on the phone to Merc straight away and told him to drop the six tenths or however much he gained at a place of his choosing on the next lap… problem solved.

    In the absence of that, I’d say penalty. Gained an advantage, broke the DRS, took the pressure off himself and – most importantly, to me – made no effort to rectify the situation.

  9. hutch (@hutch) said on 9th June 2014, 2:59

    Does this mean that each car can now flatline a chicane once per race? Best to save it for when you are under attack.

  10. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 9th June 2014, 3:01

    In these events, we need to consider prior instances as well. Two incidents come to mind…Kobayashi v Webber at Monaco 2011 (also to some extent Kobayashi v Raikkonen at Monaco this year) and Hulkenberg v Webber at Monza 2010.
    In the first instance, Kobayashi and Webber were alongside when the Sauber driver went across the chicane and stayed ahead. In the second event, Hulkenberg cut chicanes multiple times, all the time while he was ahead of Webber, but no penalty was issued.
    I guess you need to be fully alongside for there to be a substantial advantage being gained. Rosberg didn’t gain much of an advantage, because Hamilton wasn’t looking at a move, he was still a few car-lengths behind Rosberg.
    Where it gets tricky is that Rosberg, with that move, went green in the final sector and gained track time. Speculatively, we can say he gained some time, and also prevented any chance Lewis had for DRS-ing him into turn one.
    In that event, we’ve seen very harsh stewarding in junior formulae (apart from GP2) with regards to track limits. Since Rosberg clearly locked up and because of the nature of the chicane (with the huge kerb ending just a car-length before the pit lane barrier), I think I can say that a warning was enough. I expect there to be a clarification of the ‘advantage’ rule later.

    • Macademianut (@macademianut) said on 9th June 2014, 3:26

      ROS set the fastest lap by cutting that chicane. That fastest lap was nullified by the officials. So, the officials implicitly admitted that he gained advantage by cutting the chicane, isn’t it?

  11. PeterCie said on 9th June 2014, 3:33

    If I was Lewis i would have just followed rosberg through the chicane

  12. Stretch (@stretch) said on 9th June 2014, 5:19

    Too many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ of what might have been, the way I see it, he did gain an advantage unintentionally under pressure but how do you enforce it? You cannot simply let Lewis through as he was not in front. It was the not like he was short cutting the track on consecutive laps under pressure. How do you measure how fast he should retake the circuit? This isn’t practice, it’s for the race lead so of course ANY driver is going to rejoin the track in the fastest manner!

    Only way drivers can be penalised is to have a clear limits then and there, by ensuring that the only short cut is on the circuit. This includes gravel traps, obstacles, barriers or probably the best solution in this case is to insert another speed hump for drivers to slow down and negotiate.

  13. Evans said on 9th June 2014, 6:24

    They should just add gravel there for the next race.

  14. PorscheF1 (@xtwl) said on 9th June 2014, 7:04

    You’re a fool for asking so. It only shows you don’t know how those penalties work or track limits work.

  15. PorscheF1 (@xtwl) said on 9th June 2014, 7:06

    I am astonished by this poll and reactions by people. I

  16. PorscheF1 (@xtwl) said on 9th June 2014, 7:09

    So we are talking about Rosberg gaining a time advantage that basically meant nothing in the entire race but not about Kvyat who did it aswell and thereby managed to stay ahead of Kimi. Or Magnussen, or Ericcsson who did it aswell.

    • Keith Campbell (@keithedin) said on 9th June 2014, 8:14

      @xtwl The Kvyat incident was different because Kimi was attempting an overtake. But in my opinion Kimi was too far back and forced Kvyat off so i don’t agree that Daniil was at fault. Actually i think it was good awareness of him to go straight on and avoid an incident. If he had tried to make the corner they would have crashed, so if anything Kimi would have deserved a penalty but since the incident was avoided it was correct for the stewards to take no action.

      But don’t stress, it was an incident packed race so i’m sure there will be time to discuss all these other events ;)

      • PorscheF1 (@xtwl) said on 9th June 2014, 8:52

        @keithedin I agree it was very clever from Kvyat to do so. But Kimi WAS alongside him going into the chicane. He wasn’t, as you say, coming from a long back. When they arrived at the point where you turn in Kimi had just enough of his car next to Kvyat to have the advantage into the chicane.

  17. oweng (@oweng) said on 9th June 2014, 7:10

    Rosberg gained an advantage that lasted a couple of laps. Surely that’s lasting?

    If Kyvat had taken the racing line he would have had an accident and it surely would have been Kimi’s fault as he was so far back.

    Rosberg chose to use the run off, chose to floor it and chose not to back off to allow Hamilton to close. That was all deliberate which makes it worthy of a penalty for me.

  18. StevoG said on 9th June 2014, 7:15

    These are the rules, you judge for yourselves, in my opinion Nico got an unfair advantage with the runoff area and if that area wasn’t there he would have been out of the race. But the rules are as follows; Article 16.1 f) of the Sporting Regulations states that a driver may be penalised if he ‘illegitimately prevented a legitimate overtaking manoeuvre by a driver’, while the all-encompassing clause 20.2 declares: ‘Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of doubt the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not. Should a car leave the track the driver may rejoin, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any advantage.’

  19. KnottyBwoy said on 9th June 2014, 7:16

    I think everything happening to Hamilton now if quite unfair.that’s all i can say.

  20. Keith Campbell (@keithedin) said on 9th June 2014, 8:07

    Rosberg did not intentionally lock up his tyres and run straight on, it is just by chance that it happened to gain him an advantage…. Hmm, deja vu….

    At the time i thought a warning with no penalty was reasonable, but now that i think about it a 5 second stop and go penalty might have been fairer. It was borderline though. He did gain at least 6 tenths on Hamilton and broke out of DRS for a couple of laps but on the other hand Hamilton wasn’t attempting a pass at that point and usually drivers just get a warning the first time they cut track limits (Massa at Brazil 2013 was penalised for cutting 3 times i think).

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