Should Raikkonen get penalty for Silverstone crash?

Debates and polls

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2014It was a relief to see Kimi Raikkonen climb from his battered Ferrari with no serious injuries after his high-speed crash on the first lap at Silverstone.

The same goes for the other drivers who were involved in the crash and emerged unscathed. They included Felipe Massa, who pitched has car into a spin which potentially spared Raikkonen from suffering a second direct blow to already destroyed nose of his Ferrari, the consequences of which might have been dire.

That contact forced Massa into retirement. Kamui Kobayashi also took avoiding action but was able to continue in the race, albeit with a damaged car.

Ahead of them Max Chilton and Romain Grosjean were showered with debris from Raikkonen’s smashed Ferrari. While Grosjean suffered a damaged visor, Chilton was extraordinarily lucky not to have been badly hurt after part of Raikkonen’s wheel smashed into his car. This photograph taken by a fan shows how close it came to hitting his head:

The race was stopped for over an hour so the barrier Raikkonen struck could be repaired. But should the Ferrari driver have faced a penalty for single-handedly triggering such destruction?


Raikkonen crashed because he was trying to rejoin the track at unabated speed without sufficient consideration for other drivers.

His initial mistake in running wide at the Aintree corner was innocent. But facing the choice of following the intended route from the run-off to the circuit along the smoother surface, or taking a straighter but potentially quicker line, Raikkonen opted for the latter.

Raikkonen’s path took him across the grass and a rain gully, where the Ferrari got away from him. That caused a crash which ended or spoiled the races of other drivers. Raikkonen shouldn’t be punished for losing control of his car, but for taking an unnecessary risk while rejoining the circuit.


Raikkonen had chosen a gap in the traffic to merge in with and it was just his misfortune that his preferred point had a bump in it which caused him to lose control.

First-lap crashes are not uncommon and are rarely penalised except in extreme cases, such as Grosjean’s at Spa in 2012 which – in the words of the stewards – eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.

The stewards have been asked to show greater leniency when ruling on incidents. Some incidents during the weekend, such as another first-lap collision between Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez, were ruled not to have been wholly the fault of one driver and so no penalty was given. Accordingly, they should not be penalising drivers for crashes.

I say

The generous extent of the run-off at Silverstone was a talking point during the race weekend – as it had been in Austria. There was more than enough of it at the exit of Aintree for Raikkonen to rejoin the track safely. Any F1 driver – let alone one of his experience – should have been able to do so.

Nonetheless this was a rare error from a driver who is ordinarily a safe pair of hands. Giving him a race ban – as some have suggested – would be excessive.

Former GP2 driver and F1 tester Andy Soucek pointed out after the crash that he had made a similar mistake during a GP2 race at Monza in 2007 and been given a five-place grid penalty. Something similar for Raikkonen, perhaps in addition to a few points on his licence, would seem to me a fair penalty for an act of carelessness which nearly had very serious consequences.

You say

Should Raikkonen have been penalised for causing yesterday’s first-lap crash at Silverstone? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should Raikkonen have received a penalty for causing the Silverstone crash?

  • Strongly agree (17%)
  • Slightly agree (29%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (6%)
  • Slightly disagree (16%)
  • Strongly disagree (30%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 572

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Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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225 comments on Should Raikkonen get penalty for Silverstone crash?

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  1. Michael C said on 7th July 2014, 15:50

    No opinion.

    • Schmorbraten said on 7th July 2014, 21:30

      Without the bump, we wouldn’t be talking about anything here.

      Of course Raikkonen should make sure that he re-enters the track safely, but the FIA and the track owners should also make sure there are no bumps like these on the edge of the track because it would still have unsettled his car a lot at reduced speed.

      • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 7th July 2014, 22:22

        I found a good overhead view of that track section. That should help people understand exactly what is where.

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see next year, that tarmac extending a further 50m or so down the Wellington straight.

        • Michael Brown (@) said on 7th July 2014, 23:34

          I believe that AstroTurf following the outside kerb is where cars can safely rejoin. There is AstroTurf on the outside of turn 3 so drivers can rejoin the track after going wide at turn 1. It’s clear Raikkonen did not rejoin using the AstroTurf and thus lost control of his car.

          • Irejag (@irejag) said on 8th July 2014, 0:20

            The only thing beyond the track should be gravel. If a driver is stupid enough to the leave that track at those speeds then he deserves to beach his car on gravel. It is far safer than giving them miles of smooth runoff to maintain speed and try to merge back onto the track.
            I don’t believe that Kimi should be penalized for the accident, but I also believe his car should have been beached on gravel.
            Gravel, gravel, gravel, and the good shall be free from the rabble.

          • Michael Brown (@) said on 8th July 2014, 1:25

            If Raikkonen were to rejoin the Wellington straight after going off in gravel, he would rejoin at a much slower speed compared to oncoming cars. At least with the paved runoff he tried to rejoin at a similar speed to the other cars.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 8th July 2014, 4:58

            If a driver is stupid enough to the leave that track at those speeds then he deserves

            To be sent catapulting over the barriers when his car digs in? No thank you…

      • Oussama (@autovel) said on 8th July 2014, 9:20

        totally agree.

      • William Stuart (@williamstuart) said on 8th July 2014, 22:13

        Peter Windsor made a good comment on this, during Thursday’s track walk, Raikönnen and Ferrari should look at the outside of the track for little features such as the drain. It would have prevented this whole mess and Raikönnen could have scored a couple of points like Alonso. Of course it seems unreasonable for the drivers to have to know these details on top of all the other information they need to know, but when it can have such a huge effect as it did to Raikönnen’s race then they should take the time to learn it. Why else do they do the Thursday track walks if not to look out for new little details such as that.

        • Kris said on 14th July 2014, 10:01

          When I do a track walk, I don’t look off circuit for potential things to hit. Someone saying “If you happen to go off…” Is going to make it much more likely.

          Also, The bump there is (I believe) a rain gully.

      • lee1 said on 10th July 2014, 7:41

        If you go on to grass then you should expect a bump as that is the nature of grass areas. He should have rejoined via the astronomy turf or if he could not make it then slow down until it was safe to rejoin. He made a big mistake so should be given a grid penalty.

    • Huge argument justifying the time spent fixing the barrier. Some intimating that another car could hit in the same place etc. but no time spent fixing the bump before the barrier!

      • William Stuart (@williamstuart) said on 8th July 2014, 22:19

        Sorry to be a broken record player, but Peter Windsor made another good comment on this on his YouTube channel (it really is very good, with in depth commentary and analysis with Rob Wilson and Craig Scarborough). He was talking about how in other formulas, they would have placed a temporary barrier (can’t remember the name for it) in front of the damaged section and let the race carry on 5 minutes later. Seems like an area the FIA should address soon.

    • jhg103 (@joshgeake) said on 8th July 2014, 9:37

      of course if it was a gravel trap like the good old days, there may have been no crash at all and he would have almost certainly been slowed in rejoining the circuit.


  2. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 7th July 2014, 15:51

    I agree with you Keith. I think he should receive a penalty as he re-entered the track in an unsafe manner but it shouldn’t be too severe.

    This isn’t the first incident where something similar has happened but it’s another example of abusing the track limits IMO.

    If you go off, you should slow down and re-enter in a safe manner – not with your foot hard down on the accelerator.

    • Marussi (@marussi) said on 7th July 2014, 16:23

      but rosberg floored it at canada, sure it was not like this but..

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th July 2014, 16:30

      Yeah, I agree with that as well. Should have docked him some points on his license and given a grid penalty to show its not OK to speed up there and rejoin like that @petebaldwin

      As for the comparison with Rosberg – the difference was that Rosberg was not joining right in the middle of a field of cars (well, and not losing control as a result of having the car get unstable but that is not the part that should be penalized).

    • Carmelite said on 7th July 2014, 16:32

      How could he deliberately insert his left rear tyre into a 2 ft ditch hidden under a hastily spread piece of lawn [can you get real grass this thin?] just at the exit of a run-off area. Naughty Kimi.
      Really hope is OK as that 47G is pretty serious.

      Incidentally, is silverstone up to spec with the track condition? just wondering

      • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 7th July 2014, 18:11

        I’m not suggesting he deliberately inserted his tyre into a ditch. Frankly, with the speed he was going at the time, I’d say the issue was more that he couldn’t deliberately position his car where he needed to in order to re-enter the track safely.

        I hope he is ok too. I’m just glad Massa and Chilton didn’t get hurt as well.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th July 2014, 22:53

        Maybe if he had done a track walk, like most drivers do, he would have been wiser than to choose that spot, Camelite.

        But he shouldn’t have been going at speed there, and had he been slower, he would have most likely not lost control of his car. Yes, I do hope he is fine and able to drive again next race

    • Strontium (@strontium) said on 7th July 2014, 16:33

      Yes, I agree with you.

      I would really hate for him to get one, as a big Kimi and Ferrari fan, but rules are rules and they must be fair for everybody.

      Other drivers were actually having to get out of his way as he rejoined the track flat out, even before he lost the rear in a fishtail.

      • timi (@timi) said on 7th July 2014, 20:52

        I think he should get the strongest penalty possible. While his action of re-entering the track in an unsafe manner is a bit ‘meh’, the fact is he totalled a Williams, and damaged 4 other cars. If he gets off with a slap on the wrists it’ll be an absolute disgrace. Taking an incident at face value, without taking into account it’s total knock-on effect is naive at best.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 8th July 2014, 5:02


          I kinda disagree entirely. I think the punishment needs to be related directly to what they did wrong. I think if you start including the effects then you start being unfair.

          As for the incident, he re-entered the track unsafely. So yes, he should get a penalty.

          • timi (@timi) said on 8th July 2014, 18:08

            @mike Unfair is Raikonnen ruining at least one other person’s race. I look at this from the same point of view the legal system works, hence my opinion on knock-on-effects being included. Fact is, this all came about in the 10secs following Raikonnen’s carelessness so it’s all his fault and since it’s part of the same incident he should be punished as such, in my opinion.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 8th July 2014, 23:45

            But then you could end up punishing someone heavily for a light error and seriously for a significant error.

            I see what you mean though, it’s just difficult for me to find a solution which works all the time.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 8th July 2014, 23:49

            ight error and lightly for a significant error.


  3. hunocsi (@hunocsi) said on 7th July 2014, 15:54

    He was at a bit of a fault, but I don’t think anyone would have given a thought of a penalty if the bump weren’t there in the grass, because he came back at a point where there was a gap in the bunch. And it’s surely a no-penalty with the revised light-hearted thinking introduced in Austria, but I don’t think it should have been one anyway.

  4. Diceman (@diceman) said on 7th July 2014, 15:55

    I’d say 10 spot grid penalty would be fine. Race ban sounds a bit too harsh.

    • FormulaLes (@formulales) said on 7th July 2014, 20:57

      I think he should have to buy every spectator who was there and also watching on TV an ice cream and a can of coke.

      • Skett (@skett) said on 7th July 2014, 22:29

        And 2 for Felipe

        • Strontium (@strontium) said on 7th July 2014, 22:46

          And some new underpants for Kobayashi.

          • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 8th July 2014, 4:38

            Don’t forget Chilton.. What if the tyre had been 1ft lower and killed him like Henry Surtees?

            I imagine it would be a very different debate if that had happened. John Surtees was in attendance to hand out a trophy, and would have had to relive that horrible circumstance again.

            Now I know this, I’m not surprised that he came into the pits after that near miss. Considering Grosjean’s race ban for rolling on Alonso, what would Kimi have faced for that?

          • Breno (@austus) said on 8th July 2014, 13:01


            During the red flag the camera showed Chilton talking to someone inside the Medical (or Safety?) car. He had some stuff there, I assume he was there for a bit of time.

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 7th July 2014, 15:55

    It’s true that he’s a safe pair of hands most of the times, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen drivers going veeeeeeeeery off track on the tarmac run offs and hammering it to get back on the circuit as fast as possible.

    Talking about Kimi, we got to remember that at Interlagos in 2012 he was going at blistering speed on the auxiliar roads, that happened to be closed so he had to come back and he was still going incredibly fast. That’s not safe… nor was the manner in which he attempted to get back on the road yesterday.

    Specially at the starts, stewards should be a bit more strict in the way people get back on the circuit after a mistake or a crash, because the whole pack is close together and there’s very little room for error. Maybe if the same had happened in the middle of the race, at least only Kimi would have crashed, and no one else would’ve been involved.

    Grid penalty and points in his licence.

    PD: I still maintain the problem is in the circuit, that allows this kind of thing, rather than the drivers. Afterall, these days tarmac run offs most of the times are used to speed up the way people re-enter the track, instead of slowing cars down in case of an accident as they were originally designed to do.

    It must be re-thinked. It brings more problems than solutions.

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 7th July 2014, 21:44

      Tarmac run-offs are present because it’s safer for bikes, and to minimise the chances of a car rolling.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 8th July 2014, 4:32

        @raceprouk safer for bikes? I thought it was safer for them to have much smaller tarmac run offs, hence why in Assen there’s very little, and none at Mugello, and so on…

        • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 8th July 2014, 8:02

          True I’m no expert, bit it seems to me to be favourable to slide gracefully over tarmac instead of tumbling violently through gravel. Less chance of twisting or dislocating something.

          • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 8th July 2014, 12:28

            @raceprouk as far as I know, it’s the opposite. They prefer to land on gravel than crash with their bodies on tarmac…

            But I suppose, as with F1, there’s its advantages and disadvantages…

  6. Jarmo (@jouhakainen) said on 7th July 2014, 15:56

    If he should, they would have given him penalty. They didnt.

  7. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 7th July 2014, 15:59

    Perhaps a penalty is a bit harsh. Give him a very stern talking to, definitely, but penalties, especially banning him as Will Buxton suggested, should be left for repeat offenders.

    The stewards are becoming more lenient, and Charlie Whiting usually turns a blind eye to first lap incidents (unless it is the same offender in every race). It was a stupid miscalculation from Raikkonen, but a penalty would be a bit much.

    • GeordiePorker (@geordieporker) said on 7th July 2014, 19:55

      @craig-o I know exactly what you mean. A race ban would be ridiculous because in some ways he was unlucky with the way the track threw him into a spin. But to take your logic a step further, this is exactly why penalty points were brought in for the drivers’ super-licences.

      So I think 3 penalty points and that’s it.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 8th July 2014, 5:06

      Re-entering the track safely is important. He almost got someone killed. It’s for him, not that huge a mistake, but the consequences of that type of thing could be dire, so they need to send a signal to the other drivers about re-entering the track safely.

  8. Matt (@hamiltonfan1705) said on 7th July 2014, 15:59

    I think it should’ve been a slam dunk penalty. He went wide out of Aintree and rejoined the track at full pelt over a bump. He’s driven this track for the past 2 years, he should know there is a rain gully there and that if he goes over it at full pelt, it’s always going to give him an uncontrollable tankslapper. Grosjean got a race ban for causing an incident that could’ve caused injury to other drivers in Belgium 2012, this incident really could’ve caused injury to other drivers, so in my opinion, he should get a race ban.

  9. Liam McShane (@motor_mad) said on 7th July 2014, 16:03

    I think the track needs work at that point. There shouldn’t have been a height difference between the grass and the track. If it wasn’t there Kimi could have just joined without issue. Not Kimi’s fault.

  10. Dave (@raceprouk) said on 7th July 2014, 16:06

    I understand why some say a penalty would be a little harsh, but the penalty isn’t just for the one driver. It sets an example and a precedent for the other drivers too.

    On balance, I think a suspended 5 place penalty is the right way to go.

  11. Breno (@austus) said on 7th July 2014, 16:17

    Either a warning or a small penalty, like a point and/or 3 place grid. Raikkonen is usually a safe driver, I’m sure what happened is enough of a lesson.

  12. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 7th July 2014, 16:17

    If Rosberg didn’t get one for Monaco, why Kimi should have one?

  13. andae23 (@andae23) said on 7th July 2014, 16:19

    In my opinion, Raikkonen should get a race ban. The way he kept his foot in on a run-off area and the way he tried to rejoin the track with a dozen cars coming past at full speed.. it is just staggering how careless he was. Especially for a World Champion in his twelfth season, he should have known better.

    • BlindU said on 7th July 2014, 17:15

      im sorry but no. it would have been more careless if he joined the track at 80 kph and everyone around him is doing 200 kph. he tried to join in seamlessly, which he would have succeeded, if that gully wasn’t there. id say the most is a warning/talking to. if he does that again, then time to consider a penalty.

      and he had 5 cars around him when he crashed, not 12.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 8th July 2014, 13:30

        it would have been more careless if he joined the track at 80 kph and everyone around him is doing 200 kph.

        No, because then he would have rejoined right at the back of the pack.

        which he would have succeeded, if that gully wasn’t there.

        The facts is that there was a gully.

    • Gaz said on 7th July 2014, 17:22

      I disagree. The main reason he crashed was because of the bump/dip he hit when he rejoined the track; had that not been there the back end of the car wouldn’t have stepped out and wouldn’t have required correcting, sending him into the wall.

      Yes, using the run-off in such a manner wasn’t ideal but as with most drivers he was taking advantage of what was available. I reprimand would be fair in my opinion. The accident itself was ultimately down to bad luck (the bump) rather than poor judgement (using the run-off area).

    • tmekt (@tmekt) said on 7th July 2014, 19:16


      Sounds very harsh. All he basically did was re-enter the track carelessly and an unlucky bump made him lose control of the car (it was very much unintentional and him first asking if Massa was ok right after the incident shows healthy remorse IMO – try to imagine Maldonado doing the thing, for example). The only recent race ban would be the one after Grosjean’s stupidity which I think was in a totally different ballpark, considering he was in full control of the car and still deliberately steered into Hamilton causing a huge crash.

      I think a reprimand would be in order as he already has one of those (third one would lead into a 10-place grid penalty – or did the rule change from last season?). Adding that to the injury he got would be quite reasonable in my opinion.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 8th July 2014, 10:17

      I’m in agreement with you @andae23: of course, it would not necessarily have been foreseen that the bump was there bordering the track, but he didn’t exactly leave himself much opportunity to correct his mistake because of the speed he was going.

      Charging that fast into a field of 21 other cars – and on the racing line, don’t forget – is recklessness. Had he slowed by even 40km/h, he may have not experienced such a violent and non-correctable snap, and indeed may have avoided the bump altogether.

      That is not to overlook the track improvements which should be made for next year to prevent similar incidents occurring, however. Nor the fact that Räikkönen’s car nearly became a lethal weapon for Massa and Chilton.

    • greg-c (@greg-c) said on 8th July 2014, 12:52

      Oh Pleeeeease,

      “The way he kept his foot in on a run-off area and the way he tried to rejoin the track with a dozen cars coming past at full speed.. it is just staggering how careless he was”

      Name one F1 driver that doesn’t put the boot in when trying to get back on track, that’s what they do ” go fast” all the time, its a race damn it,

      Whats he going to do ?
      back off to first gear ?
      then what happens,

      Tiffosi go ballistic
      We call him soft for putt putting and losing a stack of time,
      pit wall goes crazy at driver for slowing down,

      What would Ken Tyrrell say?,

      remember what Ken shouted to his driver when he slowed to let the leaders through, ?

      “you lost a second doing that!!!! you know how much a second costs me!!!!!”

      He went off, hit a drain on the side of the track, car broke , spat him into the wall,
      nasty crash, racing incident,

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 8th July 2014, 13:26

        Name one F1 driver that doesn’t put the boot in when trying to get back on track

        @greg-c Alonso could have immediately done a 180, but the reason he didn’t was because the entire field was passing him. Instead, he waited until the very last car had passed him, just to make sure he wouldn’t make contact. Idem dito for Vettel. My point is that if you have gone off the track, you should take care when rejoining the track, just so that you don’t put other drivers at risk – Raikkonen ignored that.

        “you lost a second doing that!!!! you know how much a second costs me!!!!!”

        The difference between letting a leading car through and rejoining the track is that in the former case, the driver is completely in control of his car, while in the latter he may not be. Hence it is sensible that in the latter case, a driver would take more care.

  14. Marussi (@marussi) said on 7th July 2014, 16:23

    3 place grid drop sounds fair

  15. FullSpe3d (@dryyoshi) said on 7th July 2014, 16:23

    Personally I don’t think he should be penalised. As Keith pointed out it was merely bad luck which resulted in him hitting the bump which caused him to lose control, in most other cases the car would’ve rejoined safely with no further incidents.

    But of course all of this was caused by tarmac run off. Had there been gravel or grass at the exit of the corner no way would Raikkonen have been able to rejoin the track at such a speed, in fact he probably would’ve been reluctant to take to the escape road in the first place, as he probably would’ve backed off instead knowing that going off the track would result in more severe consequences.

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