Formula 1 drivers recently raised concerns over being handed penalty points for incidents that didn’t deserve one. The drivers urged Race Director, Michael Masi, to take such extreme steps only in response to dangerous incidents. The drivers went forward with a demand for clarification in the wake of the Lewis Hamilton incident at the Russian Grand Prix.
Lewis was awarded a 10 second(5+5) time penalty for doing practice starts outside the designated area by the pit lane exit. To make it even worse, he received 2 penalty points as well.
For a brief period of time, the 6-time World Champion was just a couple of points away from a race ban. However, hours after the race, the FIA felt it was too harsh a punishment and rescinded the penalty points that were earlier slapped on the Briton.
Daniil Kvyat revealed that he was surprised to see Lewis at the exit of the pit lane. “You go very fast there, first of all, already like 250kph, so it wasn’t a good place for sure,” he said. “I was surprised. I knew you couldn’t really do that.”
Kvyat also weighed in on the FIA’s concept of issuing penalty points for simple incidents. “I think this thing needs to be a bit reviewed,” he was quoted as saying by RaceFans.
“If you get the penalty points [because] you cause a dangerous collision with someone. Or a very dangerous maneuver and it’s clearly someone’s fault, then OK, it’s justified.
“But blue flag infringements, like all this sort of bullsh*t, I don’t think you really need any license points. It’s not a taxi park. We need to be able to always push to the limit,” Kvyat said.
Romain Grosjean was just 2 points away from getting banned from a race during the dawn of his career. He felt that the Stewards needed to be more lenient in giving penalties for incidents that didn’t justify one.
“I got points for blocking. I don’t know who, in qualifying in Bahrain early in the season in 2018,” he said. “It’s not like I did it on purpose and you get a point for that.
Since Grosjean already reached 10 penalty points at that time, he mentioned that he had to be way too cautious on the track to avoid getting another penalty and consequently getting banned from a race. Hence he reckoned that with such a defensive mindset, his performance on-track took a hit.
Lando Norris felt that some rules in the FIA rulebook were too cruel to the drivers. “There are some rules where a driver gets penalty points when they shouldn’t,” he said.
“It should only be for things that really are dangerous for people or cause serious crashes or things really to do with safety. Not so much for some things every now and then that you can get done for,” Norris said.
But, in the end, he also mentioned that Masi clarified it for the drivers during the debrief. He said that the drivers had a better understanding of the rules on the penalty points after Masi cleared it out.
While changing the rules in favor of the drivers might not sound so possible, it is likely that the Stewards will be more lenient on the drivers from here on in the case of awarding penalty points.