17 November 2012
FIA to introduce penalty point system for F1 drivers
Motorsport's governing body is proposing a system of penalty points to clamp down on driving standards in F1.
Drivers who continue to break the rules, or drive beyond acceptable levels, could face being banned from F1 under new proposals being put forward by the FIA.
Race director Charlie Whiting revealed that a system of penalty points was being considered for offences committed throughout a grand prix weekend, with an upper limit that would go beyond the usual grid penalties and ultimately result in drivers being suspended for persistent misdemeanours. Romain Grosjean missed this year's Italian Grand Prix after he was adjudged to have gone too far in triggering the first corner shunt at Spa-Francorchamps, but the likes of Pastor Maldonado, who has racked up more grid penalties than the Frenchman has yet to be sidelined as the current system of punishments does not include a totting-up procedure.
"We would like to see a system - and indeed we will discuss it with the teams next Wednesday in Brazil - that will be similar to the sort of thing you have with your road licence," Whiting told journalists at the new Circuit of the Americas facility in Texas, "You'll accumulate points on your superlicence and if you get to twelve, or whatever the number is, you will have a race off. That's the sort of thing that we will discuss."
Whiting also confirmed that the penalties would not just apply to actions on track, but also to the drivers' other responsibilities over a grand prix weekend.
"You will accrue points for all sorts of penalties whereas, at the moment, if you have a reprimand for being late to a press conference or a drivers' parade that wouldn't lead to a grid penalty," he noted, "I think, if we looked at the superlicence approach, whether it be one point for one thing and two for another, they would all count. That's something we would like to see, but it's probably not that simple. Nothing in F1 is really."
When asked for their opinions on the proposal during Friday's press conference, the team principals appeared at a loss, having not yet been made aware of Whiting's plans.
"I think, at the moment, you're meant to receive three reprimands and then you get something, so I think it's just presumably a further elaboration on that point," McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh ventured, "Like all things, any penalty system, providing it's administered in a correct, consistent manner, then why should we have any problem with it? It's the same for all drivers and the same for all teams."
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