Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel says he does not like the plan to give drivers penalty points, which could see them being handed a one race ban.
Under the new proposed system, stewards would hand out penalty points – similar to road users getting points on their driving licence – in addition to existing punishments, such as drive-through penalties, for misdemeanours on track.
Stewards will be free to choose the number of points handed out, although they will be given an advisory level to work from. Should a driver accumulate 12 points over a 12-month period, they would received a one race ban. Points will be erased after 12 months.
When asked about his thoughts on the system, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel said: “I don’t like it. I don’t know, maybe I’m a little bit too old fashioned, I don’t want to make this too long but I think we had a lot of penalties in the past.
“I think from a drivers’ point of view we’ve been pushing for penalties and right now we are probably in a situation where we have more penalties than we would like so it’s a little bit of a vicious circle.”
Full details of system have yet to be fully released, but Vettel said that from what he has seen of the plans, he is concerned that drivers will be penalised for things that are not always in their control.
“I think the catalogue is not released entirely,” he added. “I’ve seen some sketch of it but I think you have the potential of scoring points for some things that are not entirely in our hands and small things and at the end of the day the consequence could be very big.
“I don’t know if that’s the idea. Surely, if you want to adapt a system that everybody uses on the road, which is the idea, there might be some logic behind it, but at the end of the day we are not driving on the road, we are racing.”
Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo was equally cautious about the new system. “We’ve obviously got to discuss this and make sure that it is not a bad thing,” he said.
“I think everyone’s looking for clarity so between an incident people want to know ‘Alright, this guy crashed in to me, is he going to get a drive-through? Is he going to get a five-place grid penalty? Is he going to get anything?’
“So I think just having maybe a points system like this could clarify what exactly the cost of an incident is. But saying that if they start bringing things in like unsafe pit release and you get a deducted point that’s not really your fault that’s the team’s fault. They have to be careful with how they do it, so we’ll see.”
But Ferrari’s Felipe Massa added: “From what I saw, I don’t think it will be so different to what we saw until now. Drivers who are creating problems will suffer more than the others. What I did all my career was not be involved in this, so it is OK.”