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 (32%)
  • Slightly agree (23%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (5%)
  • Slightly disagree (15%)
  • Strongly disagree (25%)
  • No opinion (0%)

Total Voters: 615

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2014 Canadian Grand Prix

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

  1. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 8th June 2014, 22:54

    I don’t think Rosberg deserved a penalty, and I think it was right that he didn’t receive one.
    As the BBC pointed out, Hamilton was not attempting a move at that point. The reason others have been penalised in ‘similar’ circumstances is because a driver was trying to overtake when the mistake was made. Rosberg therefore did not gain any positional advantage. The 6 tenths he ‘won’ by cutting the chicane were then handed back to Hamilton over the next 2 or 3 laps (I think it was 2 laps, but I’m really not sure..) and Hamilton then went to close up even further, getting to within 0.3 of Rosberg before the pitstop phase began and Hamilton took the position, only to lose it through the brake failure a few laps later.

    We’ve also seen drivers, I believe particularly in Melbourne, who have cut the chicane, only to pull into the pits shortly afterwards and concede the position that way without penalty. I would say this incident was similar.

    None of this ‘Hamilton was faster’ explaining. Hamilton wasn’t there on that lap. If he was, then it might have been decided a different way

    • Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 8th June 2014, 23:34

      The argument that Rosberg “lost” the time over next couple of laps is misleading. Without the advantage, Hamilton wouldn’t have have needed to regain that time and instead spent those laps attempting to pass. The advantage was gained and was lasting. Just a pity this is all moot anyway.

    • lee1 said on 9th June 2014, 13:47

      The rules do not specify how a driver cuts the corner so the fact that there was no attempted overtake has no bearing on the rules. The point is he gained 0.6 secs over hamilton by cutting the chicane and set the fastest lap. This surely constitutes a lasting advantage? He did not hand Hamilton back the time over the next 2 laps, hamilton was just faster as he had been up until the point nico went off. So there was no handing back the advantage and the fact that Lewis had to push again to get back behind Nico could easily have been the reason his breaks completely failed while Nicos remained manageable. The rules were written purposefully to handle this exact situation but were not put into action for some inexplicable reason. Nico made absolutely no effort to hand back the gained advantage, non at all.

  2. KeithR (@lockup) said on 8th June 2014, 22:58

    I think the fact he floored it and rocketed across the runoff with the clear AIM of gaining an advantage through going off track means a penalty was appropriate. He gained an unfair 5-6 10ths, deliberately.

    A 5-second stop-go was the one IMO. It has to be a deterrent after all.

  3. Penalty for sure, based on the fact that he set a purple sector/fastest lap of the race by nailing the throttle.

    No regard for safety when rejoining the circuit and knowing he would break out of Hamiltons DRS.

    • me said on 9th June 2014, 3:49

      How many others set their on personal best times in sector 3 doing the same thing? You don’t hear about it because their car isn’t fast enough to set a purple time.

      • We dont hear about it because it didn’t happen, you can’t just make stuff up and believe it to be true.

        Kvyat went off while battling raikkonen, but he [b]slowed down[/b] and [b]gave the place back[/b], just like Lewis did later on vs Rosberg.

        Some people are just born cheats. Some people are forced into cheating because they can’t win on pace. And some people will refuse to cheat even if they can get away with it.

  4. W-K (@w-k) said on 8th June 2014, 23:14

    Rosberg gained a massive advantage there, don’t forget there is the second DRS zone there, as Hamilton was so close, it is quite probable he would have overtaken Rosberg in the 2nd zone. As it was he was nearlt 2 seconds behind at the start/finish line. A penalty should have been given, or the place given up.

    Maybe they should put sleeping policemen there, like Les Combes at Spa.

  5. Damon trolllolololololol said on 8th June 2014, 23:21

    Lewis cut the chicane and slowed down and gave the place back . Nico cut the chicane planted his right foot and gained seven tenths of second.

  6. cjpdk (@cjpdk) said on 8th June 2014, 23:21

    There was an article a long time ago (2011 Italian GP i believe) that discussed unwritten rules, one of those concerning when a driver cuts a chicane. The stewards have a history of not punishing drivers who do this if it’s an accident which doesn’t give a big advantage.

    I agree that a warning was sufficient for this.

    • lee1 said on 9th June 2014, 13:51

      But he did gain a big advantage. He gained 0.6 secs over Lewis and put lewis out of the drs range. That is a big advantage giving the fact that Nico made no effort to give the advantage back. If he had lifted when going across the run off or slowed at the next corner to make some effort to put the situation right then I would absolutely agree that a no penalty should be given, but he did non of this and in fact used the run off as an acceleration area…

  7. Jake Moon (@andwhatisdeletrazdoing) said on 8th June 2014, 23:21

    Disagree, a warning was enough. Had he done it again and gained time like he did previously, a penalty would’ve been appropriate. One of the Toro Rossos (I think KVY) did the same thing with Alonso just a few laps before and not even an investigation.

    • lee1 said on 9th June 2014, 13:52

      Kvyats incident was with Kimi not alonso and he was not investigated as he gave the place straight back to Kimi so did not gain an advantage.

  8. Calum (@calum) said on 8th June 2014, 23:32

    I think that it merited a penalty: I would have recommended the minor stop-go one where you re still allowed to pit for tyres would have been sufficient.

  9. mantresx (@mantresx) said on 8th June 2014, 23:33

    Isn’t “Neither agree nor disagree” the same as having no opinion? lol

  10. Macademianut (@macademianut) said on 8th June 2014, 23:44

    I think it is worth comparing it to a slightly different situation. Let’s say that in the same place HAM locked up trying to overtake ROS and cut the chicane, got his gap reduced to 2 tenths and overtook in the DRS zone after the second corner, then should he have given the place back? He did not gain a position directly from cutting the chicane, but he go the advantage.

    Why isn’t that advantage apply to the driver in the front?

  11. 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 :)

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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