F1 likely to reject grid penalty alternatives for 2020

The FIA, the F1 organisation and the teams have been discussing ways of streamlining the grid penalty system for 2020 and beyond, although it seems unlikely that there will be radical change.

F1 likely to reject grid penalty alternatives for 2020

Grid penalties for infringements such as power unit and gearbox changes have been called into doubt in recent years, not least by F1 sporting director Ross Brawn.

Recent meetings of the Sporting Working Group have looked a range of possible alternatives, including ballast, fuel usage restrictions and even – for 2021 onwards – a financial penalty in the form of a reduction in the cost cap for the team concerned.

Read Also:

However, all of the mooted alternatives have a downside. Extra weight is unpopular, while the financial suggestion has not gained traction because teams believe that they could potentially feel the hit months after the actual offence, in the form of a reduction in spending on R&D – one that could even impact development of the following year’s car.

The consensus is that grid penalties are still the best solution, at least for 2020, although they remain under study.

Ways of ensuring that they are distributed equitably, with the full hit taken each time rather than drivers climbing back up the grid due to others also having penalties, are being explored.

“It is something that we are certainly looking at,” said FIA race director Michael Masi. “And grid penalties [are an] ever-going evolution.

“It is not a process where we change in determining how we do that during the year. It is part of the sporting regulations, but we have discussed together with the sporting directors, looking at other proposals for 2020.”

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner acknowledged that it was hard to find a better alternative to the current system.

“I think it’s difficult to find another solution,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com. “If the penalty is too little the chance that you do something just by spending money and getting an advantage… It’s easy to do.

"It’s like when you get a fine for example for an unsafe release. You know what 5000 Euros is worth to the teams in F1 – nothing. If you can get a tenth of an advantage for 5000 Euros, you do it every day.”

Steiner explained why he felt solutions like handicapping drivers with more weight or less fuel would not work.

“I think that is even more confusing that grid penalties, because a grid penalty is explained at the beginning of the race, then you’re OK, but if you have ballast or less fuel, for commentators to explain why all of a sudden that car is slower than the other one [is difficult]. Therefore at the moment they haven’t found a better solution, so it’s a status quo.”

shares
comments
Vettel is facing the biggest challenge of his career

Previous article

Vettel is facing the biggest challenge of his career

Next article

Kvyat: Praise for Albon's Red Bull debut overblown

Kvyat: Praise for Albon's Red Bull debut overblown
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021