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?

For

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.

Against

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 (2%)

Total Voters: 571

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Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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225 comments on Should Raikkonen get penalty for Silverstone crash?

  1. Sumedh said on 7th July 2014, 17:27

    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.

    • greg-c (@greg-c) said on 8th July 2014, 13:00

      “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,

  2. evered7 (@evered7) said on 7th July 2014, 17:36

    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.

  3. LotsOfControl (@for-unlawful-carnal-knowledge) said on 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th July 2014, 18:03

      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.

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 7th July 2014, 18:20

      Making something out of nothing

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

      • woogle said on 7th July 2014, 19:00

        it looks like a rubber carcus to me

        • FullSpe3d (@dryyoshi) said on 7th July 2014, 19:11

          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.

          • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 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: http://youtu.be/Vqw4ZooBzLw

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th July 2014, 23:00

            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.

  4. Sammy King said on 7th July 2014, 17:49

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

  5. davros said on 7th July 2014, 17:50

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

  6. Eugen (@eugenius) said on 7th July 2014, 17:50

    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?

  7. Hairs (@hairs) said on 7th July 2014, 17:54

    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.

  8. Fixy (@fixy) said on 7th July 2014, 18:13

    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.

  9. caci99 (@caci99) said on 7th July 2014, 18:28

    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.

  10. DASMAN (@dasman) said on 7th July 2014, 18:30

    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?

  11. trotter said on 7th July 2014, 18:36

    Even though it can’t be proved, Raikkonen is known for doing this kind of thing countless times in the past in order to gain advantage, or avoid loosing too much time by taking the correct line. My first reaction was actually being angry at Kimi because I knew he didn’t do all he could to firstly stay on the track, because he would have had to lift off, and then, to make his tactic work, he floored it and tried to come back to the track in a manner that lost him the least amount of time, while not caring about the safety.
    I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thinks this was completely self-inflicted and more importantly, cost other people a lot. I never thought about a race ban, since he wasn’t in many accidents, although he is known for doing this, but I definitely thought that he should receive a penalty. 10 place grid penalty seems perfectly fine for a repeating offender. As long as I remember him, he always had this split decisions brain fades where he is extremely careless. I remember him intentionally hitting Lewis from behind in La Source on the last lap of Belgian GP in 2008. He’s been going off in La Source on starts as long as I can remember, even when there’s absolutely no need to go off to avoid anything.

  12. woogle said on 7th July 2014, 18:54

    i say ban run off areas he would have stopped this the moment he went wide if it was good old gravel.

  13. Clement Roger (@keeprockon) said on 7th July 2014, 19:06

    This reminds me of Timo Glock crash in melbourne 2008.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGS-qVnF3E4
    I’m not against tarmac runoffs, but I think bonds with grass areas should be better.
    I’d really like to see an onboard video of the crash to have a better opinion.

  14. James Brickles (@brickles) said on 7th July 2014, 19:12

    Vitaly Petrov had a similar incident in Malaysia 2011 where he ran wide, kept his foot in it and then turned his car into an aeroplane. The point being, drivers don’t have time to spend driving off the track and researching hidden bumps in the grass verges, so any penalty for Raikkonen would just be ridiculous to be honest.

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 7th July 2014, 19:50

      If only they could walk the track on Thursday… oh wait, they do.

    • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 8th July 2014, 0:22

      Michael Schumacher did that, and remembered where all the usable escape roads were – but he was exceptional. Those track walks just look like going through the motions to me, for the benefit of PR and the team’s wacky social media department.

      There’s no penalty in the rulebook for what Kimi did, and no way should he get one just because Will Buxton and others are jumping up and down.

  15. Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 7th July 2014, 19:25

    If anything, they should give a penalty to whomever left a hole/bump at the most obvious point for the cars to reenter.

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