Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2014

Should Raikkonen get penalty for Silverstone crash?

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

225 comments on “Should Raikkonen get penalty for Silverstone crash?”

  1. I think no penalty is warranted here but as Perez got a penalty for not turning at a corner and Massa slammed into him then by that logic Raikkonen should get a race ban and points for reckless driving. Chilton, Grosjean & Kobayashi where very lucky to not have suffered more damage but had their races affected & Massa was lucky to escape even worse contact than he got. Chilton got a penalty as a direct consequence to this incident too.

    1. Dave (@raceprouk)
      7th July 2014, 16:44

      Perez was penalised for changing his line in a braking zone.

  2. I say “slightly agree”. I don’t want to see a penalty largely because I am sick to death of seeing grid penalties at every single race. But there definitely should be some sort of action, perhaps a couple of points on his license or a reprimand, just to show that driving is unacceptable.

    Still, I have a feeling the F1 community is being a bit soft, just because it is Kimi Raikkonen. If it was Maldonado who came barreling back onto the track in that manner, everyone would be calling for him to be banned.

    1. Dave (@raceprouk)
      7th July 2014, 16:45

      As I posted above, Maldonado has a history of recklessness, Raikkonen doesn’t.

    2. @jackysteeg I definitely agree with your last point. Because it is Kimi, everybody sees it as ‘one of those things’, and don’t really bother with blaming somebody.

      1. And of course, having a history does change things (as @raceprouk said), but rules are still rules, as is dangerous driving.

    3. @jackysteeg – Put it a different way, if Chilton was struck on the helmet by that tyre, people would be treating this very differently. Because he missed by an inch or two, it’s fine……

      In terms of penalties, I do think that Kimi is generally a safe driver. He doesn’t have a history of this sort of thing so I believe the crash alone will stop him doing this again! Having said that, they need to give a penalty to set a precedent. If you allow Kimi to get away with nothing, does that mean every driver gets to do this once as well?

      1. If Chilton would’ve been hit by tyre, people would talk about how is it possible there was so big bump and searching for the responsible Silverstone contractor to answer. @petebaldwin

  3. Nonsense. Stop this babysitting and trying to penalize everyone. You’re just proving Niki Lauda right in everything he says regarding the modern F1

    Haven’t seen a single ounce of carelessness there. KR came back to the track not running into any car. He was plain unlucky to run into that grassy bump. He couldn’t have predicted its existence in any way

    This is the first time I hear that there’s such a suggestion at all(that KR should’ve been penalized), and hopefully the last

    I suggest to enjoy the great racing we had yesterday and stop crying for penalties for KR, SV, FA etc. etc, like its a kindergarten

    1. Dave (@raceprouk)
      7th July 2014, 17:24

      He chose to cross the grass instead of using the perfectly serviceable piece of flat green tarmac just before it.

      1. @raceprouk He was too far with the momentum of his off that he couldn’t return via tarmac. If they had the Monaco steering rack maybe he could’ve returned via tarmac

        1. Dave (@raceprouk)
          7th July 2014, 18:17

          He had a brake. He had a steering wheel. He had everything he needed to avoid running across the grass at race speed.

          1. @raceprouk Check my reply to @petebaldwin below. That explains my position on the subject clearly. If you disagree, well then we have a fundamental disagreement over the way F1 supposed to be run in general. If you want to have kindergarten F1 well it’s your right. I’m only happy that the stewards agreed with me on this occasion. Hopefully this is the new policy of more lenient penalties at work here and we’ll see more of the same from now on, instead of the babysitting

          2. Dave (@raceprouk)
            7th July 2014, 21:40

            So that means you disagree that drivers should show due caution and common sense.

          3. Dave (@raceprouk)
            7th July 2014, 22:13

            Not to mention the regulations already cover this exact scenario, and have done for a very long time:

            20.2 Should a car leave the track the driver may re-join, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so

          4. Dave (@raceprouk)
            7th July 2014, 22:19

            And here’s an overhead view of that section of the circuit. See that green strip of tarmac? See how long it is, and how far from the corner it is? Raikkonen could have easily used that instead of cutting the grass.

          5. @raceprouk First of all, if you want a timely response do please quote my user name in your replies. I did when I replied to you and it shouldn’t be that hard to return the courtesy

            But I’m glad in a way you hadn’t done that, since it now allows me to put the FIA response here:

            Do read it carefully. All your claims are rejected as false there as indeed I claimed them to be beforehand

            Specifically the FIA retors regarding the rule 20.2 and what it means that your interpretation of the rule is completely wrong.
            “When it is safe to do so”-it was safe to do so for KR he wasn’t rejoining into the path of any car. No rule states that you must return via tarmac only

            Also, as I suspected and indeed wrote, telemetry proves that KR did lift somewhat in the process. Yes, he wasn’t at crawling speed but no rule requires him to do so. The FIA agrees with me completely that KR was as cautious and commonsensical as racing drivers can be expected to, contrary to your claims

            To sum it up: KR did almost everything right, was unlucky and paid for it heavily by crashing losing chance of good points and missing the test as well which cannot be underestimated given his season so far. Your interpretation of the rules, on the other hand is not prudent and sensible but over-cautious and babysitting. I’m very glad you’re not an FIA steward mate, given our fundamental difference of opinion

          6. And none of that excuses Raikkonen cutting across the grass the way he did. If he hadn’t done that, he wouldn’t have lost control, and wouldn’t have crashed.

          7. @raceprouk Excuse isn’t necessary for something that doesn’t need excusing. He didn’t brake any rules, he made a mistake of judgement regarding the return via grass, and was unlucky to be punished for it the way he was. Nothing further to add. The poll question is: was KR acting dangerously enough to be given some kind of penalty . Multiple evidence points out that the answer is a resounding no. Should you close your eyes to it and still wish to think the opposite, well that’s your choice. It’s an internet blog, everyone’s entitled to an opinion. The last sentence of my previous post is the last one in this post as well

          8. I’m glad you think reckless driving is acceptable.

    2. “He couldn’t have predicted its existence in any way”

      @montreal95 – Exactly that. Because he was off the circuit on a section not designed to be driven on, he should have taken precautions. He didn’t know if there was a bump or not but as he was going over grass, it would be reasonable to assume that there might be one there. There is certainly previous examples of similar things happening (ie Petrov).

      1. @petebaldwin And do you have his telemetry to know he was full throttle there? Or you’re assuming that in order to spin on that bump he must have been?
        Regardless, there’s such a thing as reasonable precaution, and another thing entirely are expectations of un-reasonable precaution especially for racing drivers in a race. Kimi spotted a free gap so he wouldn’t run into any drivers and went for it. He was unlucky and Felipe Massa was unlucky too. That happens. You can either accept that, or let’s make a rule that you can return to the track only via tarmac or at some designated low speed. There are so many pointless over-complicated rules, that only serve to turn casual fans off(or any fans who came to see real men race and not kindergarten “look mommy that bad boy did this” boys). So adding one more such wouldn’t make a difference

  4. I think he deserves a penalty. Maybe a big one.

    Keep in mind the reason why they have these tarmac runoff areas in the first place – because it’s extremely dangerous for cars to be barreling across bumpy grass at over 150mph. Silverstone isn’t Wimbledon. It’s not a putting green. It’s an old airfield and it’s well known that the ground there is extremely bumpy. You can see it from the grandstands, clear as day. But despite this knowledge, Raikkonen decided to accelerate at massive speed across the grass in order to minimise the amount of time he was going to lose. He deliberately did something he should be aware is extremely dangerous, and the result was a massive smash which only extreme good fortune prevented from having very serious consequences. He chose to do this because he didn’t want to have to slow down after running off the track.

    Basically he deliberately did something very obviously dangerous, and as a result caused a massive accident. I can’t see any real reason he should not get a penalty.

  5. What I do know is if Maldonado was in the car it would be penalty or race ban. Kimi should have waited his race was over anyway..

  6. This incident is not Raikkonen’s fault, it is the FIA’s and their over-exaggeration on safety. Turn 5 and its tarmac runoff is ridiculous. The amount of tarmac out there means drivers can go off the track without losing too much time. Had there been a gravel trap 15 meters from the edge of the road with all tarmac in between, this accident would never of happened as Raikkonen would backoff before safely rejoining the circuit.
    This type of incident was always going to happen one race or another. A driver takes to the run-off (Kimi), and with so-much space to play with, he’ll take the straightest line possible. Too straight however, and you’ll hit something at high speed, as Kimi showed us as he went on the grass for a tenth of a second, enough to send him out of control into a barrier with 47g of force.

    1. Are the FIA responsible for him choosing to drive straight over the grass at full throttle to rejoin the circuit? Surely that’s his decision. He could have chosen to rejoin the track within the confines of what you already admit is a very generous amount of tarmac runoff area.

    2. Dave (@raceprouk)
      7th July 2014, 17:27

      The FIM has just as much say in track design as the FIA.

    3. The tarmac runoffs aren’t designed to allow drivers to go off track and not lose time. They are designed to stop cars flipping over and are deemed safer than gravel or grass.

      If drivers choose to exploit this safety feature, that’s a whole different problem but you can’t blame the FIA for Kimi’s actions.

  7. For the most part, I think Kimi deserved a penalty. You can understand why any driver would be keen to rejoin the circuit in a hurry, but the angle of re-entry was neither parallel enough nor oblique enough for proper traction. I’ve heard him criticized for not slowing down before rejoining the track, but I’m not sure that would have necessarily been safer considering 6-7 cars behind him were flying down the straight at 150+

  8. don’t think he should be penalised. he had to rejoin the track at some point, possibly didn’t know there was a bit of a bump where the grass starts and got caught up in it. maybe he should start doing trackwalks.

  9. NO! It was just a racing accident. Kimi quite honestly does not have record of causing accidents. He would have had it saved if it weren’t for that dang bump he hit which broke his suspension. Those of you who are saying he never left off the gas obviously have never slid on an icy & snowy road. You drive into your spin & keep you foot on the gas; let off & you are done. I feel badly for Massa.
    I don’t recall Maldanado receiving a race ban & how many accidents has he caused THIS SEASON?
    If you have to blame someone blame ferrari for building a awful car.

    1. Dave (@raceprouk)
      7th July 2014, 17:26

      It must be so convenient to ignore the flat and level tarmac he could have used instead.

      1. Shut up, you cleary don’t know anything about driving. He was at a way too big of an angle to get through there at that speed, he tried to go through that bit but half of his car hit the grass and the drainage ditch. Of course you’d know this already if you would pay some attention.

  10. BJ (@beejis60)
    7th July 2014, 17:26

    I think more info is needed about throttle position, gear selection, etc to paint an accurate picture of what happened inside the cockpit leading up to the incident.

    On another note, reading the comments at Buxton’s blog was pretty amusing, no matter what the users responded.

  11. I have noticed that Raikkonen is the only driver who – after he goes off track – instead of looking to join the track immediately, he looks to continue in the runoff area and join the track only when it suits the direction in which he is going.
    He did that at Spa 2008 and Spa 2009 by running wide just after the turn 1 hairpin, flooring the throttle in the run off area which helped him maintain the positions that he had gained and joining the track only just before Eau rouge. He tried doing that in Brazil 2012 where after he went off the track, he went towards the escape road looking to join the race track only on the start finish straight. Unluckily for him, that escape road was closed and we got the most hilarious moment of the race.

    I think Kimi does need some coaching on what to do after you are off-track. But a race ban is excessive. A 3 or 5 grid place penalty may do justice.

    1. “He did that at Spa 2008 and Spa 2009 by running wide just after the turn 1 hairpin, flooring the throttle in the run off area which helped him maintain the positions that he had gained and joining the track only just before Eau rouge”.

      bhabhaahahaaaaa, thats funny, please , find any on board video of Spa and see how short the runoff is,

  12. What about the ditch? Is there going to be any repairs done on that, now we know that it is unsafe?

    I think there should be no penalty for Kimi BTW.

  13. LotsOfControl (@for-unlawful-carnal-knowledge)
    7th July 2014, 17:39

    This is silly question. No wonder F1 is in a state like this.
    When Kimi announced his retirement, everybody was talking about kitchen,and now this!
    Making something out of nothing.
    You can do better Keith.

    1. When Kimi announced his retirement, everybody was talking about kitchen

      Er, what?

      Making something out of nothing.

      I don’t agree – as pointed out in the article this was potentially a very serious crash, for Chilton and other drivers, and it was arguably caused by one driver’s carelessness.

      1. “was arguably caused by one driver’s carelessness.” and a poor job by Silverstone (or whoever handles the grass).

      2. LotsOfControl (@for-unlawful-carnal-knowledge)
        7th July 2014, 22:28

        It was all about Perez and Suzie.

        Every race is a disaster waiting to happen. Any driver would do the same as Kimi.

    2. Dave (@raceprouk)
      7th July 2014, 18:20

      Making something out of nothing

      Say that to Chilton, who could have been killed by that loose wheel.

      1. it looks like a rubber carcus to me

        1. Yeah, the wheel itself was still on the car, it was merely the carcass of the tyre that had nearly hit Chilton, which would have done very little even if it had hit his helmet.

          1. Dave (@raceprouk)
            7th July 2014, 19:45

            Considering how a 1lb spring nearly killed Massa five years ago, I’d hate to think what damage a 20lb tyre could do. Even taking into account the flex of the rubber, that’s still enough to cause very real and serious injuries.
            Even at road speeds, flying chunks of tyre can be lethal, as demonstrated by Mythbusters:

          2. its not as if a race tyre is like a rubber band, its a couple of KG of rubber with Kevlar @dryyoshi, and on top of that both it was travelling at a speed of likely over 200 kmh, as was Chilton.

            Had it hit Max, that would have been a very serious accident indeed.

  14. The BDRC should be penalised for letting an open drain near the track

    1. This if Kimi would be penalised, since it was both of them that caused this crash.

    2. Dave (@raceprouk)
      7th July 2014, 21:49

      The FIA homologated the track with that ditch there. The buck stops with them.

    3. Better than a flooded track.

      1. Whats wrong with a grate ? a ditch is stooopid

  15. I think all the drivers should receive a race ban just for driving at such high speeds.

  16. Punishing him is ridiculous, it was a race incident out of his control. If his wheel had killed Chilton, would Räikkönen be a murderer then? Is Jacques Villeneuve a murderer for “killing” that marshal?

    1. Dave (@raceprouk)
      7th July 2014, 18:21

      Murder requires intent, of which it is obvious there was none in either scenario.

  17. It was a very clear breach of the rules about re-joining the circuit, it was horribly dangerous, he’s done this exact trick of abusing the run off to gain an advantage before,and if another driver had done it, there wouldn’t even be a debate.

    Points on the license and a severe penalty.

  18. Slightly disagree – I thought the tarmac run-off had ended when Raikkonen re-joined the track, and that only grass and barriers were ahead of him. It also looked like the bump was in the surface itself, and while we are putting tarmac everywhere what there shouldn’t be are holes in the ground. Petrov did the same in Malaysia but wasn’t punished, so I don’t think Kimi should be.

  19. Kimi might be careless about others thoughts, but not about their safety. I have never seen him doing anything stupid against others. Labeling that incident as careless driving it’s not appropriate. Accidents do happen, this motorsport, cars running at high speed, everything could happen.
    A reprimand or a talk is more than enough.

  20. Don’t agree at all. If he’s have come straight back on the track he would have merged straight into the following pack and caused an accident. Taking the straighter line back onto the track allowed others to see him merging in front and to the right of them.

    The real question is why is there a rain gully at the obvious gap between astro/kerb?

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