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Driver penalty points confirmed in new F1 2014 rules

Totting-up process to keep tabs on driver discretions, while pit-lane, engines and gearbox rules all receive a make-over in latest version of F1 sporting regulations.
The FIA has confirmed that a system of penalty points will be introduced into its flagship F1 series in a bid to control driving standards from 2014 onwards.

Amongst a raft of tweaks to the category's sporting regulations, many of which concern penalties and punishments, the governing body confirmed that drivers will be subject to a totting-up system that, at its extreme, could result in suspension from the cockpit.

“In accordance with Article 16.3, the stewards may impose penalty points on a driver's Super Licence,” article 4.2 of the 2014 regulations confirms, “If a driver accrues 12 penalty points, his licence will be suspended for the following event, following which 12 points will be removed from the licence.”

The regulations also reveal that the penalty point system will operate on a rolling twelve-month basis, with points remaining in force until the anniversary of their imposition or, as stated previously, a suspension removes them from the licence.

Elsewhere, there is further clarification of track limits, particularly when it comes to overtaking. The 2013 season was rife with discussion about drivers exceeding track limits, and appearing to gain an advantage from doing so, even though F1 safety delegate Charlie Whiting suggested that this was not the case. The definition appeared blurred, however, for drivers seemed to get away with putting all four wheels beyond the white lines marking the edge of the circuit on some occasions, while others – including Romain Grosjean's ballsy pass on Felipe Massa in Hungary – resulted in a penalty.

“Drivers must use the track at all times,” the rulebook insists, “For the avoidance of doubt, the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track, but the kerbs are not. A driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track.”

The most obvious tweak to the regulations in this area now gives the stewards discretion when it comes to penalising transgressions.

“Should a car leave the track the driver may re-join, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage,” the document confirmed, before adding, “At the absolute discretion of the race director, a driver may be given the opportunity to give back the whole of any advantage he gained by leaving the track.”

A five-second time penalty is also proposed in order to allow stewards more flexibility when it comes to minor issues,

Pit-stop safety also comes under scrutiny, with adjustment to the wording of clauses concerning 'unsafe release'. Transgressions in any practice session will now result in a grid penalty for that weekend's race, while similar errors of judgement on raceday will result in a similar punishment for the following round. Penalties picked up in practice remain at the discretion of the stewards, however, while raceday punishments will result in a mandatory ten-place drop, with the regulations also allowing for the imposition of a drive-thru' or time penalty should the offending car be able to continue in the race.

Tagged as: rules , penalty , engine , gearbox , punishment

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December 13, 2013 5:07 PM

So: 1- There will be more variation of random track-limit penalties. 2- Subjective unsafe release penalties will affect the next grand prix, because ruining one race was not enough. Well, it is not like I care about a championship in which one random race is worth twice as many points. NASCAR is starting to make more sense.


December 14, 2013 4:47 AM

I have got a problem with the rules applying to track limits. A car should not be able to take advantage of the huge runoff area beyond the white line to improve lap times - particularly during qualifying. In India 2013, RBR in particular had all 4 wheels beyond the white line in one of the corners during qualifying and got away with it. Equally, to pave wide strips along the edge of a track after the apex of a corner is encouraging drivers to go beyond the white line to improve their lap time. You might say that it is for safety reasons but this is not so in Monaco and Singapore where any indiscretion will wreck the car. Have firm verges for safety's sake by all means but no hard pavings of any kind. Most tracks are at least 3 cars wide these days with huge run off areas. Therefore drivers should not take advantage of such safety measures but made to drive within the white lines at all times as they have to do on street circuits. The penalties should be clearly stated and not lef

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