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Penalty points to replace fines for indiscretions?

6 May 2013

The current crop of F1 drivers are pushing for a change in the way they are punished for indiscretions on track, favouring a points system in place of the current financial hit they are forced to take.

This weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona could see the grid meet with race director Charlie Whiting in a bid to hammer out the details of a points system, where a totting up of penalties would eventually lead to suspension for one or more races.

According to Britain's Times newspaper, the recent hike in the cost of being a part of the F1 fraternity – including rises in both entry fees and the mandatory superlicence – has made the existing system of fines unpalatable, with everything from speeding in pit-lane to on-track incidents measured financially and/or by grid penalties.

Under current proposals, drivers would accrue points up to a specified level before being banned for a race, and Whiting has revealed that a system is being trialled behind the scenes to ensure that it is workable. While the financial penalties are not popular, teams are apparently concerned that a number of small infringements would eventually add up to a suspension at the wrong time of the season, and Whiting is keen to allay those fears before any change is made.

"We need to make sure a driver deserves any ban,” he was quoted as saying, “We will be monitoring offences and running a system in the background to see how it would all work if put into practice.”

Of course, a similar process was introduced two seasons ago to cover reprimands received by drivers, after it was noticed that some were getting away with several slapped wrists and others went straight to receiving grid penalties.

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was banned from last season's Italian Grand Prix after being found guilty of causing a first corner pile-up in Belgium, but had previously been involved in several other opening lap incidents. Williams' Pastor Maldonado, meanwhile, racked up a similar number of penalties, but was only ever subjected to the loss of grid positions.


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