Why was Grosjean penalised?

Romain Grosjean’s move on Felipe Massa on lap 29 was seen by many at the Hungaroring as being a brilliant overtaking manoeuvre at a track where such things are very difficult. The Stewards reacted by giving the Lotus driver a drive-through penalty that effectively ended his challenge for victory in the race. The Stewards ruled that the move had been a breach of Article 20.2 of the Sporting Regulations that states that “drivers must use the track at all times”. This is defined as being between the white lines at the track edge. A driver is ruled to have left the track if no part of his car is in contact with the track area. The driver may rejoin if he goes off, but only when it is safe to do so and without gaining any advantage. There is no doubt that Grosjean’s car was fully off the track and that the move did gain him a place, but the argument that Romain was left with nowhere to go by Massa was rejected because it was deemed that the Frenchman made the move only because he knew that there was run-off available and would not have attempted such an overtake if that had not been the case.

There were still some who felt that it was a harsh decision, but the Stewards tend to stick to the rules as written, to avoid making decisions that can later be used as precedent in other incidents in the future.

107 thoughts on “Why was Grosjean penalised?

  1. I looked at the replay many times and Grosjean’s two left side tyres were on the outside kerbs during the pass. He used the same amount of runoff as many other drivers had been using throughout the race. Is the red and white kerbing considered part of the racetrack?

    1. If you think you have better TV access to the incident than the Stewards, I am sorry but you sadly mistaken.

      1. And the stewards never make mistakes?

        Today’s decision proves that in the heat of the moment, they most certainly can.

        1. I disagree. This was the correct decision by the book, but not emotionally. Stewards have to work by the book but a little leeway might have been more popular in this case.

          1. Absolutely agree. It seemed to me that Lotus (oops – almost wrote Renault) could have argued that the pass was effectively completed and Grosjean gave Massa extra space to avoid a collision.

            Makes you wonder what penalty the stewards would have given if he’d kept a wheel on the line but caused the collision. Trying to avoid setting precedents ( = “sending messages”) always makes ropey law.

            1. but you must agree that doing that the sport is shooting itself in the foot. It was exciting, they didn’t touch and even massa said i was fine. I think like many decision before, is not a good business decision.
              Moto gp on the other hand, where riders get actually hurt every other week end, encourage this exciting overtakes. There is something wrong with the sport, more even when the fans and the press agree with this calls.
              They made many believe that is a dangerous sport, when the statistics say otherwise.

              1. How do you police rules if you keep changing the meaning of them to suit different events? Grosjean’s move was great but it broke the rules. You cannot allow it because next time the teams will all argue that Grosjean was allowed to do it…

      1. The rules say

        20.2 Drivers must use the track at all times. 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.
        Should a car leave the track the driver may rejoin, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any advantage.
        A driver may not deliberately leave the track without justifiable reason.

  2. Why do the stewards sometimes investigate incidents during the race and sometimes afterwards. There weren’t many incidents in total during the race and if both grosjeans penalties been applied in the race the last couple of laps between him and button would have been enthralling.

    1. They investigate after the race when they don’t have all the information needed to make a decision, for example when testimony from the driver is required.

  3. Hi Joe. The Dutch commentators of the race were also informed by Grosjean being penalized for the move on Massa. Robert Doornbos, the ex F1 driver and Dutch commentator, reacted just as you did up here. But later on they were informed it was because of the move on Button. Still, also the move on Button was clean in my opinion and also in the opinion of the Stewards as Grosjean was penalized for going off track and not for the wheelbanging move on Jenson. Grosjean passed Button on the inside and would have kept position even if he would have dived into the corner. He just went off because it seemed his car was unbalanced by the wheelbanging that just occurred. Also if I recall correctly, Grosjean did not leave the track during the move on Massa. He kept two wheels on the kerbs. The kerbs are a part of the active track surface in my opinion. So if Grosjean was penalized for the move on Massa, what’s your thought on the aforementioned by me?

    1. The Kerbs are not part of the track. That is a fact, and not an opinion. However, Drivers do use the kerbs on a regular basis. The loophole is that usually two wheels are still on the track and within the white line boundaries.

      The problem is Grosjean was completely outside of the white lines… therefore it did not matter that some of his car was touching the kerb. There is a difference between on the track and on the kerb vs. off the track and on the kerb.

      I still agree that he had nowhere else to go, and so the Stewards should have shown a little leniency in that situation despite being completely off track.

  4. As I see it he deserved that Penalty for the Button incident but not for the Massa overtake. As he didn’t in reality get a penalty for the Button incident the end result is fine.

  5. That was too bad, Grosjean is so different than last year, aggressive but smart. He did a great race today. The rules are the rules I guess, but in my humble opinion when Maldonado and Perez get away with things and grosjean gets slapped and blamed for everything it gets to be silly. Last year he had a bad rap, I watched the Monaco incident with Schumi a few times and where they figured it was RG’s fault was beyond me.
    I am not a fan of Romain but he deserves a fairer treatment.

  6. It was a truly awful response to a fantastic overtaking move.

    However, the move on Button was stupid, and that did deserve a penalty in my view.

    I say that because of the history of Grosjean consistently having issues recognising what is going on around him. For any other driver, it would just be a racing incident if I were a steward.

    The fact that they gave him a meaningless penalty (6th place to 6th place) for that one helps to even things up for me.

  7. Apparently Massa doesn’t think Romain should have been given a penalty.

    Difficult to see where else Romain could have gone though. I doubt if he deliberately decided to go wide in order to pass – too obvious. If Romain had tried to put two wheels back onto the track (TV footage does seem to show all four wheels just off the white line) he’d have hit Felipe.

    David Coulthard cited the example of Vettel being penalised for the same type of move – Germany 2012? I’m no expert but it seems the Stewards have decided rules is rules (four wheels off the track) and that’s that. Precedent, consistency and the rules?

    Conversely, a racing incident that was not a premeditated move? I’m biased because I feel Grosjean has great potential.

  8. But I thought that last year there was also a rule change that puts the onus of the driver of the car being overtaken to leave sufficient space. Massa did not do this and it was a cause of many of the comings together between him and LH in 2011.
    Massa also thinks it was a harsh decision.

  9. Hi Joe, You say there is no doubt that Grosjean was fully off the track. Is there video footage that unequivocally shows this? The race reply during the telecast seemed to show Grosjean keeping the car’s left side tires on the white line delimiting the track and he said he did as much in a post race interview. That is why I think folks are perceiving the stewards call as a mistake.

  10. They just made T4 look epic, and they go blunt the nose of who did the best work around another car, where fans who recall the Hungaroring opening are still in shock at any action thereabouts?

    Shame thrice:

    first was fair move in my book

    second honestly who cares we got spectacle, and isn’t someone selling this sport?

    third, Grosjean, not formed much opinion yet, but French, fast, and we’re missing a French GP.

    third is several sins combined, very least

    (Know what would be a premium digital feature? Higher framerate to download,so you can slo-mo. )

    But until I am convinced Romain deserved that, I take my hat off to the guy.

    Thank you, as always TPTB, for no matter whatever the true fairness, mucking with a good old bit of racing.

    Or is the PR run secretly by someone who loathes F1 is a ecoterrorist and has someone i middle management suckered into thinking the controversy will pull up numbers?

    Karen? Calling Karen?

    Least we know Karen likes F1 …

  11. The likes of Coulthard, Davidson, Gary Anderson, and Brundle questioned the stewards decision and inconsistency. Whiting et al have enormous power, a shame he/they will not appear for questioning like the drivers and managers.

  12. That was the most ridiculous;y undeserved penalty I have seen in F1. That was about the closest I have come to throwing the remote at the TV, and I am not even a Grosean fan. I expect better from McNish, but after this I have lost a lot of respect for him. McNish has gone beyond the outside of the track for passes before. Even Massa now says that the penalty was undeserved.

    1. McNish is one of four stewards and the decision is not transparent. For all we know, he could have stood up for RG but the others just wanted to play by the rulebook.

      1. The problem is that the decision is TOO transparent. The rule book allows no wriggle space in such circumstances.

        1. I would agree, Joe, and certainly Romain was outside the race track.

          However, the question that I (and others) may have is that many (many) drivers frequently drive outside the confines of the track (as defined in the rules – thanks for providing the exact wording) during the race and/or qualifying and yet this is almost always overlooked.

          Does it require a complaint by a team for this to be looked at or is it only looked at during overtaking attempts rather than regular driving during the race or qualifying? Or are there “yes, we know it always happens there” corners, or what do you think?

          I don’t want to be argumentative, but this seems to be a rule where the absolute letter is applied sometimes and not others. Of course, I don’t have any direct evidence of other transgressions to hand, but could probably find some if pushed…

  13. Thank you for the explanation Joe, i must admit i was among the doubters…
    So the penalty was logical after all, but i still consider it to be a regrettable decision.

    That may be a bit of a cliché, but when i think of the legendary Arnoux – Villeneuve duel at Dijon, would such brilliant racing be possible nowadays? I doubt it.

    For the sake of the sport, they should hire some latin stewards. There would be less problems from excessive rule enforcement 😉

  14. The point has been made on forums elsewhere, but I wonder what today’s stewards would have made of the duel between Arnoux and Villenueve at Dijon in 1979? Very harsh decision on Romain in my opinion, and one that I feel must have been tainted by his clumsy pass on Button earlier on in the race (something that he probably did deserve punishment for).

  15. This was a classic case where discretion should have been applied. Ridiculous decision. F1 should take a good look at it’s reasons for being.

  16. I don’t have a complaint about the penalty and ordinarily we could probably expect a clarification/reminder in Charlie’s drivers briefing at the next race…. only the next race is Spa & off-track, corner one overtaking seems to be accepted there.

    1. After Kimi was seen using the run off in Turn 1 at the start to gain positions in 2009, Whiting did subsequently send a directive to all of the teams, which has been in force from 2010 onwards, that using the run off to gain places at the start will earn an automatic drive through penalty.
      The races from 2010 onwards have seen drivers therefore tending to lift off the throttle when using that run off area to avoid getting penalised, and I can’t think of any instances of passing off track in that corner since the directive came in.

  17. Are you sure it was for that particular move? When he did Button he left the track entirely and I personally thought that that was the move he was penalized for.

  18. Finaly someone else thinks in the Same way. I feel that Grosjean was targeted and this off should not have resulted in a penalty.

  19. Would Massa have run Grosjean off the road if he’d known the Lotus had nowhere to go, and an accident was certain? I thought it was a good move and the penalty harsh. Especially after Alonso escaped with the illegal use of DRS. There was loads of contact in the race (Massa on Rosberg, Vettel on Button, Grosgean on Button which did warrant a ‘causing a collision’ penalty) but that overtake was the only incident worth penalising? May have been correct, but it does seem odd and not consistent. Incidentally, watching a replay Massa had all 4 wheels off at Turn 4 on lap 1, kept his place (advantage?) and then hit Rosberg. I’m not convinced Vettel had any wheels on the track when he passed Button at Turn 4; it looks close.

  20. Bring back the kitty litter… I appreciate the safety reasons behind all the tarmac run-offs but it does seem to be getting a bit ridiculous

  21. From the replay I watched he didn’t have all 4 wheels off the track. When the penalty was announced I was surprised it was for that pass, as I thought it was for the Button pass.

      1. Then insist the Stewards produce the view of the pass that showed all four tires on the kerbs. End of controversy.

        Why wasn’t Vettel penalized for his double block at the start of the race? He swung left attempting to cut off Grosjean then swung right to block Alonso on the inside.

        1. The Uk Sky coverage showed a replay that clearly shows all 4 of Romain’s tyres over the white line that denotes the track boundary. Slam dunk penalty, no question. The stewards have no choice at all to give a drive through for such a clear violation af the rule. They can’t just say “well it was a really good move, so we’re going to let him off this time” as then at the next race, when everyone is going off the track to overtake each other, the stewards would have to give all the overtaking moves marks out of 10 before they could decide who gets a penalty and who doesn’t!
          It’s a shame that a brave move resulted in a penalty, but the fault is with Romain for not managing to keep it legal, and Lotus for not telling him to give the place back and try again.

  22. Interesting concept. Have watched quite a bit of GP3 and GP2 recently, the GP3 boys in particular seem to have scant regard to the track confines when racing. Even in F1 qualy these days the commentators don’t rate it a mention if all for Pirellis are outside the white lines. Oh well.

    1. Simple answer really: Grosjean and Maldonado are targeted. Take Massa/Rosberg incident, if it was Pastor in Massa’s position would he get away? If it was Grosjean double weaving in the start would he get away? And yes you are completely right, cars routinely go off limits in Spa, Monza, Silverstone, Hockenheim in almost every category and nothing ever happens.

  23. I personally agree with the Steward’s Ratio Decidendi, from the freeze frame footage shown on Sky it was quite clear there was enough room at the speeds they were travelling for Romain Grosjean to have 2 wheels on the track. What Felipe Massa was thinking by backing up Romain Grosjean is beyond me. Romain may be fast but he really needs to improve the consistency and the standard of his on track passing manoeuvres. However, Boullier feels his approach to race weekends is coming together so perhaps there is hope.

    1. Said Steward can perhaps try the same move himself and avoid contact if he has the talent. Grosjean’s pass was the move of the race simply because it is next to impossible to pull off. Even in smaller categories where things go slower. I doubt there is anyone with the love of sport that didn’t hold their breath. And here comes this gentleman, he freezes the video and says look you still had 10 cms so you should be punished… What a joke. If I was McNish I would just punched him in the face.

  24. Sorry Joe a little off topic but wondered if you had any insight to the red bull “fail 22” sent to both drivers. Seems too cryptic for a pure sensor failure and rather more along the same lines as “multi 21”. I can see 2 and 1 relating to driver numbers but surly a driver can’t be expected to remember 22+ error codes?

      1. There is actually a “Fail” button on the RBR steering wheel. There are systems that can be reset by the driver in race. KERS, for example, went out on Vettel when he was behind Button and then at some point came back. Similar to what happened in Germany, actually. The driver can essentially reset the system and bring it back.

        Who knows what exactly… but I would guess that “Fail 22” was more in relation to vehicle systems than track position between two drivers.

    1. Andrew – I believe those words or coded words had a different meaning to “multi 21”. I think they were probably relating it to their KERS system or possibly trying to do something with the engine control so as to cool it down as much as possible. Nico Rosberg retired from engine failure as it ran hot in the final stages. Similarly, RBR were also told on several occasion to let their engine cool down, lift off earlier, and possibly back off for a few laps before retrying to go offensive and overtake somebody. If you recall, Vettel was told to back off from Button’s slipstream a couple of times, and he did so before mounting challenge on him again. The ambient temperature were around 35 C degrees and with track temperatures reaching around 51 C degrees, so keep that in mind. So, it is possible to say that RBR’s coded message were probably implying to cool their engine down.

    2. They have to remember a lot more than that – I believe Paul DiResta mentioning at least 56 codes in one pre race which was hindered by the fact they sometimes changed the code names to avoid being overheard.

      However fail 22 would be the fail menu press button 2 twice – I’d guess for many of the drivers they just follow the instruction as a menu pathway diagram even if they can’t remember what it’s for specifically…

      Other than Lewis who seemed to argue with his engineer that he was too busy for menus 😉

  25. I thought, from the TV pictures, that it was a harsh penalty and it removed a potential podium finish.

  26. This is why I get turned off by F1. My first sport is motorcycle racing as an ex racer myself . But if anyone saw the over take of Rossi buy Marquez at Laguna which was special and was a repeat of what Rossi did to Stoner in 2008 . If that was in F1 they would have been banned , and F1 more dangerous than moto gp I think not . To many precious egos and to much money , which is sad

  27. Plus another 20 second penalty for his collision with Button.
    Starting to feel a bit sorry for him. If he lasts he is going to be one of the names. He has the speed, needs the finesse.

    Alonso using DRS illegally! Ferrari fine 15000 Euros

  28. All he had to do was give the position back and try again next corner. The team should have remembered previous stewards rulings and have told him so on the radio.

    1. Sorry, no. Lewis proved at Spa in 2008 that, if you get pushed off the track by a Ferrari you are overtaking, even if you give the place back before the next corner you’ll still get done.

  29. I really want to scream and shout and tell you about how wrong the decision was… but your last paragraph just sums it up. Let it go, and what happens? The rule just doesn’t work. Sigh.

  30. I find it funny that this particular overtake can be seemed as somehow legitimate by some commentators whereas other drivers who overstep the rules in exactly the same manner are considered out of order.

    It matters not ‘how exciting’ the move is, just that it was within the rules or not.

    Do we now create a rule whereby overtaking outside the lines is OK so long as its an exciting one?

    1. The “problem” from my perspective is that there is so little bravado and overtaking that when there is an action such as this fans feel that they are the losers.
      This is a act of “randomness” that makes racing enjoyable to watch.
      Rules need to allow such randomness or we will forget what the purpose of a Sunday afternoon is all about.
      In every era, generation, there are drivers that do extraordinary things in a race car and make me come back for more, Rindt comes to mind, Peterson in another, so I hope the stewards could get a refresher course in why we go racing

  31. You give the drivers a track with very few overtaking opportunities and then penalise them when they pull off the most exciting (if perhaps not 100% legit) move of the race.

    I know they need to be consistent but today’s loser was F1.

  32. Joe,

    Many fans including myself think this was a great move. Should rules be changed to not be so strict? Of course a clear shortcut should be penalised (or prevented from happening through track configuration if feasible), but what would be the problem of making these moves legal? If everyone could do it there would be no problem…

    It would also avoid a lot of politics and whining from certain drivers and focus the attention on the racing instead of discussing penalties.

    Finally, if we need to give penalties, why don’t inform Grosjean within seconds of the move that he needs to give the place back to Massa? Surely the FIA can employ a few people to follow different cameras? Indycar is pretty good at this and it is frustrating to see decisions take so much time (or worse, be postponed to after the race)

    1. You should read a feature article about the technology in Race Control. There are some floating around out there.

  33. What about Vettel’s attempted pass around Raikonnen, i.e. when his car was entirely off the track? Was that worthy of a penalty?

    1. You have answered your own question with the word “attempted”. It did not work. So no position was gained. No penalty was necessary.

      1. But the rules says “at all times”, no mention of not in the first lap, in the act of overtaking or if the pass was successful or not. Therefore for consistency all excursions over the white lines should be treated the same (with a pitlane drive thru). Plainly the stewards don’t do that so they are choosing when to apply this rule or not. IMO this was churlish reaction to a great move.

  34. This ruling as well as the Hamilton-Webber overtake (or rather incident!) once again reaffirms my theory that in F1 you’re not allowed to fight for position side by side if you are on the outside. The car on the inside is effectively given the right to push whoever is on the outside off the track which then may even earn that car a penalty. This is NOT in line with FIA Sporting Code (the rules on overtaking are just below the cited article regarding track limits), but stewards’ rulings in F1 consistently support my theory. I think it’s a disgrace.

    It’s also funny how you can abuse track limits gaining advantage (often seen at tilkedromes) all day long whenever you like in every other situation. Just not when you’re pushed off the track.

    1. I suggest you read the rules again. Grosjean would not have made the move if there had been a wall at the corner, a la Monaco. He chanced it on the basis that it might work but he had some run-off if it did not. If he had given back the place he would not have been penalized. He did not do that and the team did not tell him to do it. I agree that emotionally it was the wrong decision but stewards must be aware too that emotional decisions lead to precedents and consistency can then be lost.

      1. Are you saying that Romain did wrong to avoid a collision and stay within the white lines letting Massa crash into him? This is exactly what happened with Romain and Button. In that case Button had nowhere to go, hence the contact. If that corner had asphalt run-off Jenson would instinctively swerve left, just like Webber did in turn 3, to avoid Hamilton crashing into him. The truth of the matter is that Grosjean didn’t need that extra space to complete the move, it’s clear from the onboard replay that he had to straighten the steering wheel in the last moment to avoid Massa who plainly didn’t give him the car’s width of track surface (i.e. within the lines!) he was entitled to. Massa pretty much had his right side wheels on the white line. So just like Webber in Singapore 2012 the car on the outside is penalized for being ‘crowded’ (search this word in that same section Sporting Code) off the track! http://i1108.photobucket.com/albums/h405/pndmsq/ffiambiciles_zps6e024a31.gif

  35. Dear God! Lack of consistency, regulations and rule books have killed the essence and daring in F1; they have their place but it’s all gone too far. Right or wrong, it’s pathetic. I’m with Tony, josh, and Diogo on this. Penalties are priority over racing now.

      1. I should have been more specific but when I said inconsistency I’m generalising, not talking about Massa/Grosjean per se… that’s why I said “F1”, not “in today’s Grand Prix”.

  36. The issue is lack of consistency. Plenty of cars used the areas beyond the track limits to gain an advantage. Some of these were on TV, some not. If the stewards elect to apply the penalty once, they should apply it on all occasions where that occurs. Imagine the situation then…cars queuing up for drive-throughs!

    I don’t understand why they didn’t simply hang out the black and white with the usual warning that 3 strikes and you’re out (or in, as it were….)

  37. I agree with the penalty, although on the same basis is it not correct to say that he should have recived a similar penalty for the button pass?

    However – it was a fantastic manouver, but absolutely correct to say he would not have done it without a runoff in place – did it used to be gravel there?

  38. IMHO the argument that Grosjean would not have attempted the pass without the run-off area is kind of specious. It’s obvious that all the drivers are far more aggressive and willing to take chances where there are run-off areas than in those areas where there are none.

    I think the problem with this rule is that it is only applied if the driver gains a position AND doesn’t give it back. If the driver gives back the position there’s no penalty (is this option actually in the rules or just a tradition left over from the gentleman racer days?). Sometimes it’s obvious to everybody that the car left the track and so it’s easy for the driver/team to quickly decide whether they need to give up the position. But sometimes it’s not obvious. In this particular case it doesn’t appear to have been obvious to either Lotus or Massa. It’s one thing to punish somebody when they have access to the necessary information and make the wrong call. But unless the teams have access to the same information and video playback as the Stewards, it seems unfair to punish them for making the wrong call (or not making the call fast enough to matter).

    Given that the Stewards have access to all the video coverage and high tech info. from Race Control, I think the decision on whether a driver should give up a position should rest exclusively with the Stewards. And if the decision is too close to call in a timely manner, or something else renders the matter moot, then as they say in baseball “the tie goes to the runner”. Or in this case, if they can’t make the decision quick enough, the driver that pulled off the pass gets to keep it.

    If the position of the Stewards is that they want to enforce the rules consistently then they should give a penalty every time a car leaves the track and gains an advantage regardless of whether the driver subsequently surrenders that advantage. Lord knows that would put an end to drivers taking risks they wouldn’t take if there wasn’t a run-off area. It would also make the racing far less exciting, but hey, at least it would be consistent.

  39. Joe, whilst clear that Grosjean left the track during the pass I think a lot of the outcry over this is due to F1s previous lack of cautioning drivers over track limits – something you see a lot more of in other formulae.

    It also seems that this got undue attention because it was a pass, where there was never a mention of cautions for exceeding track limits for any other drivers pushing on their own during the race?

    As Spa is the next race with T1 and Eau Rouge we’re likely to see more boundaries exceeded.

    I know that rules are rules but it’s sometimes hard not ot look at sports like MotoGP and which F1 was a bit more relaxed like it.

    1. As with practically every year at Spa, I’m sure we’ll see quite a few drivers exceed the track limits at La Source, especially on the first lap, and still press the advantage of exit speed down to Eau Rouge. We very rarely, if ever, see penalties for this.

      I’ll be happy with consistency on this rule, but lap one, turn one seems to be the biggest inconsistency for enforcing it on most tracks where outside tarmac runoff is available.

      As for the Grosjean move, I guess the rule is the rule…just a shame the investigation/decision couldn’t have been a touch quicker so he could just give the spot back to Massa and proceed to overtake him again. And his worse (and slightly typical) offense (i.e. driving into Button) had a toothless penalty in the end. I’m surprised McLaren, knowing Grosjean was under investigation, didn’t (at least on the broadcast radio messages) urge Button to maintain a gap of less than 20 seconds, rather than just keeping out of Massa’s clutches. 20 seconds seems to be the magic number for many post race penalties, and as Grosjean was bottled up behind a defending Alonso, I think Button could have found the extra seconds he needed to poach the place.

  40. One should not neglect the good side of this judgment of Solomon: lots of comments rather favourable to Grosjean which I find quite refreshing. He ought to enjoy this much more than to eventually pity himself for the penalty which changed nothing in the end result. Without this penalty Grosjean’s cheeky move on Massa would not even have been shown on TV – I think.
    Good move, good judgement, good comments, what more could be asked for? 🙂

  41. I said at the time he was over the white line.

    Time and time again we have seen this kind of incident, yet the pit wall does nothing. Since Hamilton at Spa with Kimi a few years ago, its clear that the stewards will stick to the letter of the law. Lotus pitwall should be buying Roman drinks…

  42. The reason why the penalty is harsh is that he didn’t gain any advantage from leaving the track, therefore he could argue that the rule wasn’t broken. He left the track because Massa pushed him out, not to gain an advantage. If Massa had been 20cm to the left, so would Grosjean have been, and then Grosjean would not have left the track (even though 98% of his car would have been over the line) and he would still have overtaken Massa, just the same.

    Had he left the track because of excessive speed and not because he was forced off it, then it would have been the case that he gained an advantage from leaving the track, and the penalty would have been fair.

    As there are so few overtaking possibilities at Hungaroring, the organisers might hopefully take the hint and move the white line out by a metre at that point for next year.

  43. I wish there was consistency… for sure when the stewards decide to investigate an incident there is constancy, but there is too little consistency in when stewards decide to investigate. For me that is the key issue at stake here…

    1. The whole point is that this IS consistency. You are arguing against it to say that Grosjean should have been let off

      1. No, that is not what I am suggesting, Joe.

        My point is that there are often times when drivers go outside of the lines demarcating the track and gain an advantage (e.g., when they use run off areas where on other circuits they would be in the wall/gravel trap/armco). They might not gain track position by doing this, but they clearly gain an advantage.

        I just wish there was a clear cut way in which such transgressions were consistently penalized… for example, in tennis, technology now allows line judges to clearly identify when a ball is out, FIFA is determining whether to use similar technology to determine if balls cross lines.

        In F1, most penalized transgressions appear to occur when overtaking… but there are plenty of times cars ‘leave the circuit’ and are not penalized… that is the consistency I am looking for…

        I most certainly did not say Grosjean should have been let off… but I think perhaps his record of previous behaviour had some weight in determining the steward’s decision to investigate, not necessarily the outcome of their decision-making…

  44. There is also a rule that when two cars are overlapped they both must leave a car’s width of room on the track for each other.

    When Lewis over took Webber late in the race he clearly forced Webber completely off the track yet Lewis was not penalized.

    The stewards at the Hungarian GP did a terrible job of enforcing the rules equally.

    Grosjean was singled out and treated unfairly.

  45. Watched both Romains incidents many times. Can´t blame him neither for the Massa nor the Button incident. In first case he was avoiding an accident with Massa who was nothing but a mobile chicane in this Budapest edition imo, and who was escaping penalty when he wrecked Rosbergs race with gross negligence. And “causing a collision” is a matter of fact too. Please note that the stewards also in F1 have a “latitude of judgement” for their decisions. It may be compliant with the rulebook, but that case reminds me of Walter Röhrls remark about “cabbage heads” at the last DTM race. And also of a young driver in 1978, who was a pain in the neck for the established because he had some collisions….

  46. Hi Joe, I just wonder if this whole ‘disciplinary’ system, with stewards and penalties for this and that hasn’t gone too far. Drivers are not really racing anymore, they’re just playing strategic games. They don’t go for gaps, just wait for the next pit stop. OK, Grosjean gets a bit wild from time to time. Maybe because he´s trying to race the others. These rules are hurting the sport and even young drivers are becoming big cryboys. Our triple world champion whined about Raikkonen leaving him no room…? Some 20 years ago a driver who made a pathetic complaint like that would be forever mocked by their adversaries.

    A question that’s been bugging me for a long time: what would FIA stewards of today do to Arnoux and Villeneuve after their battle of Dijon, in 1979? If Grosjean got a drive through for leaving the track while overtaking, Arnoux and Villeneuve would certainly be shot at, knifed, gutted, beheaded and crucified upside down for giving us the best racing moments ever captured on camera!

  47. Why were the stewards able to make a decision on this incident during the race but had to wait until after the race to decide on his incident with Button? Not only did he collide with Button, he then cut the chicane to complete the overtake, and gave Alonso the chance to pass Button due to the collision.

    This was far more clear cut than the Massa overtake and once again exposes how inconsistent and amateurish the standards of stewarding are.

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