FIA pushing for penalty points and automatic repeat-offender bans

The FIA is set to push for the introduction of a penalty points system that could lead to automatic one-race bans for drivers committing offences repeatedly

FIA pushing for penalty points and automatic repeat-offender bans

Romain Grosjean became the first driver this century to be given a one-race ban after triggering a first-corner crash at the Belgian Grand Prix this year, although AUTOSPORT understands that his past conduct was taken into account in the decision.

Except for a reprimand system, under which a 10-place grid penalty is triggered when a driver gets three over the course of a season, there is however no direct means to penalise drivers for repeat offences.

FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting plans to float the idea to Formula 1 teams next week.

"We would like to see a system, and indeed we could discuss it with the teams next Wednesday in Brazil, similar to the sort of thing you have with your road licence where you will accumulate points on your Super Licence," said Whiting when asked by AUTOSPORT about such a measure.

"If you get to 12 points, or whatever it is, you will have a race [ban]. That's the sort of thing we will discuss."

Whiting added that such a system would take into account all offences, not just those that take place on track.

Points would then be applied to the licence on a sliding scale, with one point for minor offences and larger penalties for causing accidents.

"You will accrue points for all sorts of penalties, whereas at the moment we have only got three reprimands and two of those have to be for driving infringements," he said.

"At the moment, if you had a reprimand for being late for a press conference and a reprimand for being late for a drivers parade, that wouldn't lead to a 10-place grid penalty.

"It has got to be for driving infringements. If we looked at the Super Licence approach where you get a point for this, two for that, it would all count."

Whiting admitted that he is keen for the system to be introduced but hinted there could be resistance from the teams.

"That's something that we would like to see but it's probably not simple, nothing in F1 is really.

"It's something we are going to try to discuss with the teams."

AUTOSPORT says
F1 editor Edd Straw

A points system that tallies offences cumulatively is long overdue in Formula 1 and its absence explains the FIA's failure to take repeat offenders to task early enough in the past.

While Whiting's comments mentioned points for off-track offences, the big points-inducting offences will be for causing collisions or forcing rivals off track, something that would have put the likes of Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado very much in the line of fire over the course of this season.

The only potential problem is that if, say, a driver is one point off a ban, they could earn fall foul of the limit simply by missing the drivers' parade. That would be difficult to rationalise to the world and is perhaps an argument for reprimands to be based purely on driving offences. After all, it's the on-track stuff that really matters.

The points system should be carefully calibrated, as nobody wants to see drivers missing races left, right and centre, but this mechanism would make it possible to give one-race bans to repeat offenders without having to go through the pretence of claiming its for a single crash.

Grosjean's ban wasn't really solely for causing the Spa shunt, it was given in the context of previous offences. There is nothing wrong with that, and the threat of an automatic ban will be the best deterrent for drivers. Chances are, if it were introduced next year, we might never even see a driver missing a race through this system.

This is categorically not about legislating against good racing or not allowing errors. The points system will allow drivers to make errors, even multiple ones within reason, without draconian punishment. Together with existing grid penalties, it's an effective way to ensure that the few repeat offenders don't wreck too many races.

shares
comments
Red Bull sure necessary steps taken to avoid fuelling issue repeat

Previous article

Red Bull sure necessary steps taken to avoid fuelling issue repeat

Next article

US GP: Nico Rosberg to run old Mercedes exhaust in practice

US GP: Nico Rosberg to run old Mercedes exhaust in practice
Load comments
How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season Plus

How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season

Formula 1's return to Austria this weekend comes under exceedingly different circumstances to its last Spielberg visit, when F1 took its first tentative steps out of the global COVID shutdown. But the tightrope F1 walked in 2020 has ultimately led to the most exciting season of the hybrid era

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold? Plus

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold?

OPINION: Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckoned Max Verstappen winning the French Grand Prix – an event where Mercedes had previously been dominant – would signal “we can beat them anywhere”. Here’s how that claim stacks up looking at the rest of the 2021 season

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2021
The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Plus

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

OPINION: The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2021
French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021