Why is the number of penalties climbing? Has the new penalty points system had an effect? This breakdown of the penalties issued in 2014 provides some answers and looks at how things may change in 2015.
An incident is under investigation…
A driver who found themselves under investigation during 2014 was very likely to end up getting a penalty. Over three-quarters of stewards’ investigation resulted in a penalty of some sort.
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Getting away with it
The following drivers were investigated but escaped a penalty.
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||Q||Yellow flag speeding|
|1||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren||Q||Yellow flag speeding|
|1||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||Q||Impeding (Esteban Gutierrez)|
|1||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham||R||Collision (Felipe Massa)|
|2||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||Q||Collision (Fernando Alonso)|
|2||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||Q||Collision (Daniil Kvyat)|
|3||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber||P2||Impeding (Felipe Massa)|
|5||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham||R||Ignored blue flags (Kimi Raikkonen)|
|6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||Q||Caused an incident|
|6||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber||Q||Impeding (Sergio Perez)|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India||R||Collision (Jenson Button)|
|8||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham||P1||Did not stay to the right of the pit lane entry line|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||P2||Did not stay to the right of the pit lane entry line|
|8||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren||P2||Did not stay to the right of the pit lane entry line|
|8||Adrian Sutil||Sauber||P3||Did not stay to the right of the pit lane entry line|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||R||Collision (Esteban Gutierrez)|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||P1||Overtook under red flags (Fernando Alonso)|
|9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||P1||Overtook under red flags (Daniil Kvyat)|
|9||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus||Q||Impeding (Sergio Perez)|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||R||Collision (Sergio Perez)|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India||R||Collision (Jean-Eric Vergne)|
|10||Felipe Massa||Williams||R||Collision (Kevin Magnussen)|
|14||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||R||Left the track|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren||R||Left the track|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren||R||Unsafe release|
|18||Felipe Massa||Williams||P2||Unsafe release|
|19||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren||P1||Incident with another car (Sebastian Vettel)|
The new five-second time penalty proved a very useful addition to the stewards’ range of powers last year. This, potentially the most lenient of their available sanctions, was used more often than any other.
However in some cases observers considered the five-second penalty not tough enough for the reason it was applied. Obe such occasion has already led to a revision of the rules for 2015.
In Belgium Ferrari team personnel remained by Fernando Alonso’s car after the 15-second warning before the start of the Safety Car. He was given a five-second penalty, but new rules for 2015 mean any drivers in Alonso’s situation this year will have to start the race from the pits.
The usefulness of the five-second penalty has seen the addition of a ten-second penalty to the stewards’ range of censures for 2015.
The most common cause of drivers being given penalties in 2014 was for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. This followed a rules clarification ahead of the season which warned drivers they must not gain a “lasting advantage” by going off the track.
There were 22 penalties handed out for drivers leaving the track. Most of these were lap time deletions during qualifying, with many coming at the Austrian Grand Prix. Half the field had lap times deleted at the Red Bull Ring for running wide at turn eight.
Other major causes of penalties were causing collisions (15 penalties) and gearbox changes (14 penalties).
There were five instances of drivers receiving multiple penalties for one incident. These were:
- Daniel Ricciardo, Malaysia: Ten-second stop-go penalty and ten-place grid drop for unsafe release from the pits
- Pastor Maldonado, Bahrain: Ten-second stop-go penalty and five-place grid drop for collision with Esteban Gutierrez
- Esteban Gutierrez, Austria: Ten-second stop-go penalty and ten-place grid drop for unsafe release from the pits
- Marcus Ericsson, Germany: Ten-second stop-go penalty and ten-place grid drop for car not being covered while in parc ferme
- Romain Grosjean, Abu Dhabi: Twenty-place grid drop and drive-through penalty for using his sixth power unit elements
Penalty points and reprimands
The threat of a one-race ban hung over them had they accrued as many as 12, but none of them made it even halfway towards that outcome. The points remain on their licences for 12 months, however, so points earned last year could contribute to a ban this year.
The introduction of the penalty points system seemed to turn the practice of giving drivers reprimands into an irrelevance. Only five reprimands were issued all season, less than a quarter as many as the year before.
It remains the case that any driver who picks up three reprimands gets a ten-place grid penalty. But if they continue to be used as infrequently as last year the FIA may consider dropping them.
Only one reprimand was applied to a team during 2014. That was Red Bull, after one of their pit crew failed to wear head protection during the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Drivers’ penalty points and reprimands
|Driver||Driver penalty points||Reprimands|
When drivers deduct penalty points in 2015
29/3/2015 – Valtteri Bottas loses 2 points
30/3/2015 – Jules Bianchi loses 2 points
30/3/2015 – Kevin Magnussen loses 2 points
5/4/2015 – Adrian Sutil loses 2 points
6/4/2015 – Jules Bianchi loses 2 points
6/4/2015 – Pastor Maldonado loses 3 points
11/5/2015 – Pastor Maldonado loses 1 point
24/5/2015 – Marcus Ericsson loses 2 points
20/7/2015 – Jean-Eric Vergne loses 1 point
24/8/2015 – Kevin Magnussen loses 2 points
6/9/2015 – Marcus Ericsson loses 3 points
12/10/2015 – Romain Grosjean loses 2 points
2/11/2015 – Jean-Eric Vergne loses 1 point
2/11/2015 – Esteban Gutierrez loses 1 point
2/11/2015 – Pastor Maldonado loses 1 point
2/11/2015 – Sergio Perez loses 2 points
2/11/2015 – Jean-Eric Vergne loses 1 point
Almost half of all penalties given to drivers last year were due to factors largely outside of their control. A gearbox or power unit failure often means an immediate grid penalty.
Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez collected the most penalties during 2014. Each had a total of ten, of which six could be attributed to errors on their part and four were largely the responsibility of the team (e.g. grid penalties for component changes).
The only drivers to participate in every race without receiving a penalty of any type were Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen. The latter was given one of the year’s few reprimands for his collision with Kevin Magnussen during the Monaco Grand Prix.
Penalties in full
See the new Penalty Index for a summary of all the major incidents which were investigated last year and details on how they were decided:
Over to you
Are F1 stewards now handing down too many penalties? Are the penalties they apply consistent from race to race and driver to driver?
Have your say in the comments.
2014 F1 season
- Bianchi’s fight for life ends nine months after Japanese Grand Prix crash
- Mercedes’ Bahrain battle “too dangerous” – Warwick
- Streiff’s comments on Bianchi crash investigation prompts legal action from FIA
- Is stewarding improving? Analysing 2014’s penalties
- The Complete F1 Fanatic 2014 season review