FIA to introduce ‘three strikes’ grid penalties

The FIA is set to introduce a ‘three strikes’ rule by the British GP to ensure that reprimands for drivers are no longer meaningless, this blog can reveal.

Last weekend in Spain Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Mark Webber all escaped with reprimands for going too quickly under yellows at the scene of Heikki Kovalainen’s accident.

When such penalties are handed out rivals often complain that they have no value, and thus are of little deterrent to those involved.

Now if a driver gets three reprimands in a season he will be handed a five-place grid penalty.

At least two of the offences must involve driving, as in theory reprimands can also be handed out for being late for the official drivers’ briefing or FIA press conference. Unusually, Paul di Resta received one for missing a weight check in Turkey.

The new system has been discussed by the FIA’s Sporting Working Group and now has to be passed by the F1 Commission and then signed off by the World Motor Sport Council, which is expected to be a formality.

If it is approved, it will be in operation from Silverstone onwards. In the interests of fairness previous reprimands earned this season will be forgotten, and everyone will start from zero.


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18 responses to “FIA to introduce ‘three strikes’ grid penalties

  1. **Paul**

    3 a season is too many, that means they break rules twice and get away with it. This is what really bugs me about most sport, be it football or F1. If you break a regulation you should pay a penalty, if the regulations which is broken gives you a sporting advantage (such as Lewis taking a second out of Vettels lead on the very lap on which the yellows were waving) then the resulting penalty should put him at a sporting disadvantage to make up for said advantage gained. Allowing people to get away with things a couple of times is like allowing football teams to commit a couple of red card offences before getting a player sent off.

    I want to see fair and equitable rules in F1, the last thing I want to see is someone winning a race/championship with a reprimand knowing that they’ve only had one earlier reprimand and can ‘get away with it’.

    • Stone the crows

      That was my thought too, 3 strikes in a sport means ‘two freebies, and one to dispute.’

    • I know what you’re saying but it’s better than nothing. Until now a guy could get one every race and it would literally mean nothing. At least now even they have one, they will have to think first…

    • Owen.C

      “is like allowing football teams to commit a couple of red card offences before getting a player sent off. ”

      Not really, it’s like yellow cards, except in football you are allowed 5 before a penalty I believe, not 3. (Over the season I mean of course)

    • Kamran

      Paul, In football, you commit 1 offence you will get verbal warning, on second time you will get yellow card and on third time you will get red card, I think FIA is trying to do the same. As you mentioned Hamilton got away on spainish GP. In Australia, Button received drive through for overtaking other car in car park section while vettle did the same and he got away with that. How is that FAIR then?

  2. D

    Really silly idea.

    Without seeing data that the general public dont have access to theres no way I can judge their guilt in this case, but ignoring yellow flags is not something that is ever acceptable. They are there to prevent a driver and/or marshall being killed.

    In recent years, thanks to rule changes and a fair dose of luck, it hasnt happened. To have a rule effectively saying that each driver can ignore yellow flags twice per season is surely gambling with peoples lives? Much as I hated some of the moronic suggestions Mad Max came up with I cant help thinking this would never have happened during his era.

    • It’s not a question of being allowed to ignore flags twice a season. You can get a reprimand for causing an avoidable collision, for a dangerous move out of a pit stop, and so on. And you can be caught for speeding under yellows on Friday morning just as easily as in a race. They add up pretty quickly so drivers will be very, very aware of the consequences even if they are on zero…

      • D

        And those are all major safety issues that shouldnt be taken lightly.

        This is F1. The teams and drivers push every rule to its limits. This will be viewed as 2 free passes to exploit at the most advantageous times over the season, and as such makes it more dangerous for everyone.

        It all goes back to the need for knowledgeable, consistent stewards which still seems like it is never likely to happen. They almost seem scared to make the big decisions during an F1 race, if you compare the speed of their decision making in GP2 and GP3 races where similar yellow flag safety related penalties and thrown around like candy.

        Its been 10 (?) years since a marshall was killed at an F1 race, this proposal makes it less likely that we’ll make it to 20 years.

      • Stone the crows

        As was mentioned, sometimes a driver can incurr a time penalty and it has no effect on his finishing position, and once the penalty is served they’re free to go. With a three strike reprimand system the warning stays with the driver.

  3. Mav

    It’s worth noting that under this system, a reprimand would have been a tougher penalty for Hamilton, Button and Webber than a 20 second time penalty which would not have changed the order.
    As it was, a reprimand was no different from the time penalty.

  4. Mick

    The principle seems to be a good one, but I expect it will lead to more appeals by teams where previously the reprimand would have been accepted. Reprimands seem to often be used where there is an element of doubt about the offence e.g. Di Resta said he missed the weight check because he was following the car in front closely & missed the call in, or last weekends waved yellow incidents where the data was inconclusive because drivers were not in an acceleration zone & couldn’t show if they lifted off the throttle or not.

  5. Mav

    What happens with team reprimands? I’m thinking of the reprimand Force India got for having Liuzzi and Sutil’s tyres mixed up last year.

    What about last year’s Canadian qualifying? Was McLaren reprimanded or Hamilton? If it was Hamilton, then that was the second of three reprimands for him last year. The only one to reach the mark. But then surely it was McLaren’s problem?

  6. tom baker

    They should make it retro-active. Hamilton would be starting a couple of laps down lol

  7. TheBrav3

    That’s compeltely unfair and ridiculose they can’t decide to bring in this rule and make it retrospective two days after mclaren and webber were given a reprimand for no good reason at all!!!

    Eddie jordan said it right. They either didn’t do anything wrong and were unjustly given a reprimand which is basicly the long and short of what seems to have happened. Or they did do something wrong and were punished with a reprimand which I remind you mark blundell, the residing driver steward categorically stated. Was not the case when asked by eddie jordan if the precedent had been set for speeding under yellows.

    Why don’t they just introduce a retrospective rule that says anyone with a silver car is not allowed to race over safety concerns about reflected light bothering the drivers at the end of the season. Then they can just exclude mclaren from the championship alltogether.

    Sorry for getting my angry all over your blog adam but things like this do nothing but remind us all what a large practical joke the fia really are.

  8. Neil

    This is ridiculous, the amount of warnings you get will depend on how often Ferrari lawyers go to the stewards with complaints against you, it is too easy to find that one lap where X happened. Too many occasions where what drivers do in Australia is unacceptable in China, just because it benefits Alonso/Ferrari to have the driver in front penalised. Now it would be stupid not to run to the stewards at every fractional rule break, which all the drivers do, as it would not take long to get your opposition a 5 place grid penalty.

    • Just a general note, when you first do a post I have to approve it which is logical given the amount of spam you can get here. I don’t patrol this site 24 hours a day so I don’t always see ‘pending’ comments. Some guy just did a first post, saw it wasn’t online, assumed I had deleted it for whatever reason, and followed up straight away with a personal rant against me… Anyway, so now you know.

  9. noahracer

    More BS from the FIA.

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