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Grosjean XPB
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Aug 2013   |  9:16 am GMT  |  264 comments

The drive-through penalty handed to Romain Grosjean for been judged to have left the track in completing his overtake of Felipe Massa has become quite a talking point among JA on F1 readers following the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Lotus driver Grosjean, who was also given a 20-second post-race penalty for clashing with McLaren’s Jenson Button, went on to finish sixth having looked like he was in contention for at least a podium earlier in the race.

The vast majority of those commenting on the incident have been sympathetic to Grosjean, suggesting he didn’t deserve the penalty.

Phil said: “Super impressed by Grosjean’s mature aggression. He was unlucky with the penalties I felt.” ShaBooPi added: “I feel Grosjean was hard done by this weekend, I don’t think he deserved a penalty with Button and for Massa he should have just returned the place.”

Another reader Max said: “Grosjean was very aggressive and that was fun to watch. Yes, made clumsy move on Button, but everything else was top class. Passing Massa was just superb and penalty was just so wrong.”

Neil Jenney said: “Romain Grosjean. That penalty? Brutal. That pass? Best moment of the race,” while Spinodontosaurus added: “Unnecessary penalty for Grosjean, took him completely out of the equation which spoilt the race a bit in my opinion.”

Rishi said: “By the letter of the law Grosjean should have been penalised but at the same time it did feel a bit harsh. I think my objection was more in context with the circuit: because it is dusty and twisty we were seeing cars understeer onto the run-off with all four wheels off the track on repeated occasions and yet nothing being done about it. So in that context I felt Grosjean should have been given the benefit of the doubt.”

While Grosjean apologised for the incident with Button, he said he felt the drive-through was unfair. “On Massa I thought I had at least two wheels on the white line of the track,” he said. “I tried the outside and I pushed hard. But I haven’t seen the footage so far so I need to look a bit more into it.”

Lotus team boss Eric Boullier added: “He had nowhere to go so he was a little bit four wheels off the track, but just a couple of centimetres. Obviously it’s very harsh when you get such a penalty to recover when you’re fighting for the podium.”

Ferrari’s Massa also defended Grosjean, saying that he felt the penalty was harsh. “If he took the penalty because of what he did with me, that’s completely wrong,” said the Brazilian. “He didn’t go four wheels outside, he went with two wheels. Two wheels is possible.”

It’s a tough one: rules are rules, but this was the kind of move that used to be celebrated when performed by Ayrton Senna or Nigel Mansell and it seems to be sending out all the wrong signals to the F1 loving public to punish a breathtaking move like this.

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  1. AuraF1 says:

    The move on Button was clumsy, he knew it and so did everyone watching.

    But the move on Massa deserved some leeway with the stewards. Massa accepted it, the Stewards have shown ‘interpretation’ of the rules before, drivers have pushed and been given the benefit of the doubt. The reason we have human stewards is so that they can make decisions based on very subjective calls on a way that objective machinery cannot.

    The issue is that other drivers got away with breaking the rules because the stewards weren’t paying attention or it wasn’t raised. Grosjean should surely just have been ordered to give the place back. A penalty was against the spirit of the rules and clearly inconsistent.

    1. blackmamba says:

      What I find bizarre is how Grosjean’s touch with Button was penalised, but not Massa on Rosberg or Vettel on Button?

      1. Dan Hoyes says:

        The other two incidents were on corners where the line for each car would be highly contentious. Grosjean and Button were on a straight, and Grosjean simply had to leave a car’s width at the edge of the track.

        But having said that, the move on Massa was superb! It’s unfair, but this sympathy might stop him being seen as the villain in F1 quite so much…

      2. Matt H says:

        Agree again inconsistent decisions. seems if your face fits your ok. Hamilton bore the brunt of some shoddy penalties for a while now it seems grosjean is the FIA/ Stewards new plaything. Personally each move should be judged on merit and as above his was not more severe in my opinion than all the other contacts. Do we penalise any contact a la vettel on button or do we let the guys race and accept contact can happy. Yes if u deliberately plank someone off then its deserved but innocuous contacts are a tad unnecessary

      3. Marcin says:

        Regarding the penalty for the contact with Button…Maybe I’m not recollecting things right, but I recall that just a couple of races back, Perez barged his way into corners (into the swimming pool I think) in Monaco with no hope of making the turn unless the other driver jumped out of the way. And he was a lot further back than Grosjean was against Button. No penalty against Perez, though.

      4. Wayne says:

        Absolutely, it seems, as in your example above, that you can force drivers to yield with wild, dangerous lunges but as long as they do not actually touch it’s fine.

        PERs overtaking style seems to rely on the defending driver choosing between moving or having an accident.

        I have seen Maldonaldo act disgracefully, even deliberately trying to cause an incident (I cant recall if that was at the end of qualy or in FP in Spa) with HAM.

        GRO has rough edges, but he is far from the only driver on the grid – he is just the favourite guy to ‘bash’ at the moment.

        HAM was rash and ultra aggressive when he first started out (although he did not have the incident rate of GRO) and used to effectively frighten his way past drivers. But he calmed and matured.

      5. Musa says:

        It’s because anything Grosjean does, it’s mega-hyped by the media, commentators etc. He is F1′s bad boy at the moment and unfortunately that means he is always more likely to get punished with penalties or reprimands. The inconsistency in penalties in F1 is very unfair. But as they say, this is F1.

      6. Wayne says:

        There is also an element of GRO becomming the popular whipping boy among drivers. BUT was quick to complain about GRO but did not complain about VET for example.

        On the one hand F1 is keen to encourage ‘overtaking’ with cheap gimmicks like tissue paper tyres. On the other hand drivers are penalised for genuine overtaking moves which actually take skill and committment to pull off.

        GROs overtake thrilled us all and was a great moment in this race yet a penalty is issued. Drivers breeze past each other because of the tyres and that is exactly what the sport actually wanted to see?

        F1 seems to have an identity crises. It lurches from race to race, from one hasty rule change to another seemingly without a clear direction and definiteloy with little or no consistency.

        All else aside, two things that F1 simply MUST do if it expects to have any soprt of credibility are:

        1) Make decisions during the race and not defer anything to after the race. Deffering decisions shows weakness and leaves the entire sport open to accusations of manipulation.

        2) Stop making decision and issuing penalties based on who is or is not involved in the WDC! Drivers who are involved in the WDC battle routinely avoid penalties simply because the stewards do not want to affect the title race. This is sheer cowardice on the part of the stewards and inherrantly unfair.

      7. Formula Zero says:

        I don’t agree with either penalties against Grosjean. Button’s McLaren was half way behind Grosjean’s when they touched. Even though it looked a bit clumsy initially, the replay showed that it was just like any other touch we see in every race, particularly in the first corner. Button complains about everything anyway, plus you are spot on that the drivers & stewards have an extra eye on Grosjean because of past history. In the other dual between Grosjean & Massa was spectacular & fair for sure. Passing any driver around the outside is very special & I thought that move was one best of the season so far. Plus it looked like his front wheel was still touching the white line. I have nothing against the rules. But the decision by the stewards was unjust in my view. Vettel made a huge move last year on Button in German Grand Prix. The video replay shows that they touched & Vettel took all four wheels out of the circuit while passing Button. in that race Vettel got no penalty. Alonso would’ve won the championship last year if Vettel finished behind Button in that race. So, from fan’s point of view I find Stewards decisions sometimes a bit too inconsistent & detrimental to the championship. Not good enough.

      8. Bartholomew says:

        Formula Zero – How did Vettel get no penalty? He was demoted from 2nd to 5th.

      9. Anon says:

        Every driver knows Button is a soft touch, Button clearly gave Grosjean space to make the move but that didn’t seem to be enough for Grosjean and he cut the corner to make the pass stick.

      10. Wayne says:

        I’m indifferent about BUT, but he is not a soft touch, ask HAM or PER as his recent team mates.

        What he is, is more realistic than most about the tyre situation, sometimes choosing to sacrafice track position to play the long game on his tyres and strategy.

      11. Clear View says:

        +1
        the ROS/MASSA incident was definately “avoidable contact” and the VET/BUTTON contact was of a questionable nature also, mainly down to a very frustrated Vettle

      12. Rudy says:

        Indeed!! When VET isn’t capable of overtaking he throws the toys off the table. The radio comm near the end about Kimi “blocking” him… come on. It is also notable BUT’s wussiness recently complaining from his team mate and now the GRO incident. Ok it was a clumsy move, but really BUT has to stop whinning.
        Keep trying Sussie Wolff, there are at least a pair of ladies in there…

      13. AuraF1 says:

        Could the stewards be biased given grosjeans past crashing exploits? Lewis Hamilton had a few years where he was hauled in front of the stewards and others didn’t seem to be for similar transgressions. It’s hard to say for certain but it does start to seem some drivers are watched more closely and the consistency of decisions does come into question.

      14. Glennb says:

        I believe you are right regarding bias, owing to past events. GRO has upset ALO, WEB, FIA previously, to name but a few. HAM went thru the same, others have too.
        It’s very hard to shake a bad reputation especially in a sport like F1 where there’s a fine line between ‘measured’ aggression and carelessness. Each time GRO looks like regaining his confidence something happens to drag him back down, self inflicted or not.
        I think GRO is overlooked when we talk about drivers with 1 lap ‘raw’ speed.

      15. Bart says:

        Grosjean moved across Button to hit him, by going away from the apex of the corner. He then cut the corner completely, and used that to pull away. Rosberg and Massa had a misunderstanding, so neither driver did much “wrong”, while Vettel tapped Button slightly (not sure if Button ran wide before the touch) causing no difference to either driver’s race.

      16. Irish con says:

        Massa didn’t so anything wrong. Rosberg pinched him on the apex. Massa couldn’t vanish. And Jenson never lost out against vettel so no penalty needed. We don’t want penaltys for everything or else they will be scared to race each other.

      17. fuelcell says:

        Agreed.

      18. Tyler says:

        Exactly

      19. Wayne says:

        Yes, it is easy to work out why VET was not penalised:

        A) It can be argued that it was really just a racing incident, if we penalise drivers every time they touch we’ll never see any action on track. Instead we might congratulate VET for having a go and BUT for defending so well – and enjoy the battle.

        However, even if you think VET’s touch on BUT deserved a penalty, this is why it did not happen:

        A) BUT did not complain about VET that we know of.

        B) VET is the title leader and the stewards are more worried about affecting the WDC title race than they are about being fair.

    2. Quade says:

      I didn’t see anything wrong with either of Grosjeans moves.

      I’m not saying Grosjean has not been questionable in past seasons (he’s since cleaned up), but F1 has a history of picking on drivers to create a storyline – that’s not just plain wrong, its immoral and dangerous.
      If they do it a couple more times, we could see Grosjean melt down as did Lewis in 2011. An F1 driver in meltdown is a danger to others.

      We’ve enough unfortunate attempts to create a show out of F1 (see where the rotten tyre variant got the us). A word is enough for the wise.

    3. Quercus says:

      The problem is, if you have a rule that leaving the track — ie., all wheels across the white line — to achieve an overtake is illegal, then you have to stick to it. And because it’s black and white, and a simple observation, it’s straightforward to police. If the stewards start to apply the rule selectively then they open up a right old can of worms.

      IMHO the rule is right and they had no choice but to apply a penalty to Grosjean.

      1. deancassady says:

        then let’s see all of them handled exactly the same way!
        I’d bet we’ll see this in the next two races, and it will not be penalized as Grosjean was.

      2. Doobs says:

        If his pit crew had been awake they should have told him to give the place back.

      3. v0idwalker says:

        But you see, when he left the track he was already ahead of Massa. So when is an overtake considered complete?

    4. Youngslinger says:

      Sorry. Rules are black and white. No shades of grey otherwise everyone could claim such. Brilliant move but off the track. Simples!

      1. AuraF1 says:

        However Vettel has passed with all 4 wheels totally off the track in previous years and had no penalty. The rule may be black and white (and I agree the rules should be strict) but the application is subject to human bias.

        For some reason Grosjean draws more stewards attention. Perhaps his clumsy cut across button drew their ire?

      2. Youngslinger says:

        ..or perhaps his abysmal record when ON track?

      3. Vic says:

        If you are talking about last year’s german grand prix, VET was given a time penalty of 20 seconds after the race. But I agree that stewards are definitely biased.

      4. AuraF1 says:

        No I agree he got the rules clearly applied there (give the place back seems fair or a post race penalty) I think I’m recalling Vettels move on button the year before which caused some controversy as he clearly left the track entirely to make the pass. But yes clearly grosjean was treated within the rules but the rules aren’t applied equally seems to be the main complaint.

        The stewards keep telling everyone they have far better access to CCTV but they do seem to miss a lot of drivers who aren’t on the ‘naughty’ list.

  2. Witan says:

    I would have thought the ‘driver’s’ steward would have stuck up for him. He was forced to go off. And last year I thought it was established that in those circumstances no penalty would apply.

    1. Antti says:

      I do not recall (though my memory may fail me, of course) a single instance in which the “he forced me out” defense has worked, when the car that went out of track was the one doing the passing. Each time there has been a penalty unless the position was given back. Grosjean should’ve done the same, but I guess he didn’t realize he was out of the track. That’s part of the problem with him, he doesn’t always seem to know just how wide his car is, or where exactly it is with respect to the track and other drivers.

    2. GWD says:

      The race selected ‘driver’s steward’ appears to be nothing more than ‘Celebrity Penaliser’ at the moment.

      And it certainly seems the racing room/”leave-a-the-space” is being judged, er… non-uniformly lately…

  3. C Lin says:

    Its harsh but fair.

    1. Wayne says:

      Yes it’s fair as the rules stand but the rules are wrong.

      Pathetic overtakes against defenceless drivers becuase of the ridiculous tyres in DRS zones aided by extra horsepower are encouraged by the rules, but dareing overtakes which actually demmand skill are legislated against!

      Does F1 really not see a problem with this?

    2. Esteban says:

      OF course it’s not fair, are you blind? Everybody else was doing the same thing almost every odd lap.

      1. C Lin says:

        No need to be rude. I am not blind.
        Read Leo’s post below.

      2. Esteban says:

        Sorry, didn’t mean to sound rude, poor choice of words on my part!

  4. Leo says:

    RB’s overtake on Massa was a daring move, but the video footage showed he was undoubtedly off-track while overtaking. The white lines are there for the sole purpose of defining the racing track. Sometimes drivers exceed that limit but are not punished if it gains them no advantage. If they had been racing at Monaco RB would have been in the wall and out of the race altogether. He should be praised for his have-a-go attitude but he needs to accept that there are limits. The stewards had no choice in this instance.

    1. F29092007 says:

      Who is rb? Red bull? I’m confused :s

      1. Leo says:

        So sorry — I’m totally brain dead. I wrote that in a great rush this morning before a meeting. I did of course mean RG for Romain Grosjean. Many apologies.

      2. Mike says:

        Probably a typo for “RG” (Romain Grosjean) as “g” is just above “b” on the key board.

      3. Leo says:

        Well deduced, Holmes. I went off-track, so to speak, and clearly gained no advantage!

      4. growers says:

        Rubens Barrichello obviously.

    2. blackmamba says:

      The regret most people have is that this will discourage drivers from taking chances and going for daring moves, which is what we want to see. DRS is ridiculous and we do not want drivers to end up only overtaking in the DRS zone and nowhere else. Those sorts of overtakes are what brought most of us fans into the sport, and if they are being penalised then I think the FIA has it’s priorities wrong.

      1. roberto marquez says:

        100 % agree, and what worries me most is that some people get away with it,like SV.

    3. Yak says:

      Sometimes the drivers exceed the limit? The drivers frequently exceed the limit without penalty.

      Look at last year’s farce of a German GP. Everyone spends all weekend making an absolute mockery of the track limits. No one says anything, so they keep doing it. Then in the race, Vettel runs wide at the hairpin while overtaking Button, gets a penalty. Apparently this one particular situation, he ran off track and gained an advantage. All of the other times people were off track… nah, no advantage was gained.

      Utter rubbish. From FP1 when the first driver decided to redefine the track limits, they should have been warned, “You’ll not get away with that in quali and the race, so you might as well stop practising those lines right now.” And then if they did give it a crack in quali, time deleted. In the race? Maybe a warning or two, then black flagged.

      Grosjean wasn’t the only one to run off in Hungary, and yet he was the only one penalised. The rules say nothing about whether or not the driver happens to be overtaking at the time. The rules are simply don’t leave the track (keep part of the car within the white lines). If you do leave the track, you’re allowed to rejoin when it’s safe and without gaining an advantage. Don’t leave the track deliberately unless you can justify it.

      Firstly, I’d say Grosjean was pretty well justified in leaving the circuit there. He ran it a little wide on exit, being side by side with Massa through a fairly high speed corner. If Grosjean had kept two wheels on, it would only have taken Massa playing hardball or making a tiny mistake (defending on the inside, turn in, bit of understeer… bang) for it to end in tears. And according to everyone and their dog, particularly those who like to post comments on the internet, it would have been Grosjean’s fault; further evidence of him being the worst racing driver in the world, and further reason he should die in some kind of horrible way.

      I’d also argue that he didn’t gain an advantage. He gained a position, yes, but he already had the advantage over Massa before they even turned in. Without running wide (assuming there was then no incident from it), he still had the better line through the corner, and from memory the slight track position advantage to be able to set himself up better for the next corner.

      Speaking of Massa, how about Singapore last year? He cut a corner (four off), got him into a ridiculous overtaking attempt which ended in an incident, and then from memory Senna was penalised for it. Penalised for something that never would have happened had Massa not cut the corner just a moment earlier. Massa then went on to spend the rest of the race cutting corners with all four wheels, I guess coz he figured he could get away with it. And he did get away with it.

      The rules are quite clear. The enforcing of those rules however is far from being consistent. At times it’s pretty much a joke.

      Bing Bang Bong.

      1. Andrew says:

        Ditto what Yak said. Surely leaving the track while not overtaking can still result in an advantage, yet noone is ever penalised for it?

      2. Leo says:

        I think there are some good points here, and it seems to me that the drivers need to be reminded of the white line rules and told any infringements will not go unpunished. Equally there must be times when a driver might have to resort to leaving the track for example, for safety reasons. The judgment of the stewards must then come into play. Good luck to them!
        Having said that, I don’t think going off-track is necessarily advantageous. First, because the driver is by definition not on the optimum racing line and second because he will probably return to the track with dirty or scuffed tyres. We are arriving at opinions while sitting comfortably at home. It feels very different when sitting in a racing car at 150 mph.

    4. Richard says:

      What do you mean “are not punished if it gains them no advantage” ??

      What you actually mean is: “if they don’t gain a position” because there is normally still a time gain from going beyond the lines…

      1. Leo says:

        Please see my second comment to Yak, above. Yes, I suppose I do mean “if they don’t gain a position”. I do accept that there is a difference between, say, cutting a chicane and running wide.

    5. C Lin says:

      Agree with you Leo.

  5. Kanman1 says:

    FIA need fixed steward committee to ensure consistent penalty handout.

    1. Mike J says:

      Agree with you. Surely F1 is big enough to have enough finances to pay for the same stewards at each meeting. It’s ‘nice’ to have various past drivers at different events however its more than a club event. Then you may get consistency in enforcing the rules and interpretations.

    2. Musa says:

      Totally agree. It’s so frustrating as a fan of F1 to constantly see drivers or teams get treated unfairly! I mean look at Alonso who used the DRS several times in non-DRS zones in Hungary, and what was the penalty?! It was a few measly Euros. I bet if Grosjean had done that, he would have got a 10spot grid penalty or something!

      1. Doobs says:

        Like when his floor didn’t meet the rules after qualy due to damage? He got to keep his third place on the grid. No conspiracy at work here mate, just a few overworked stewards trying to make sense of what’s going on during a hectic race.

      2. Musa says:

        Er… it was passed by the FIA as RENAULT gave them enough reason to believe that it was ‘accidental damage’.

        You’re telling me that you think Alonso’s penalty was fair?!?

    3. Endres says:

      Agreed!

    4. cc says:

      Amen. Former F1 folk on both BBC and Sky questioned the penalty and/or the inconsistency of the stewards. For Massa of all people to say the same underlines it. My peeve with Whiting and the stewards…. Drivers and managers submit at length to public questioning. They make split-second decisions, Whiting and crew can take as much time as they want and STILL will not meet the press. OK, if you’re confident in your decision process why the fear of coming out from behind the curtain?
      Heads were right, tails you’re wrong, what a gig.

      1. Doobs says:

        Massa couldn’t have seen where RG wheels were positioned from his Ferrari, so even though he was right on the spot, don’t worry too much about what he said.

  6. Horno says:

    Who did complain about his Massa pass? Red Bull..?

  7. aveli says:

    i think the rules are sometime unfair because there were a few incidents where cars went off the track in order to keep positions and were not penalised but grosjean was penalised simply because the teams who lost position to him complained. button made sure grosjean got penalised by letting alonso through as soon as possible and pitted to ensure grosjean couldn’t give back the position after cutting the chicane.
    as for the massa incident, he did exceed the track boundaries but so did others. the stewards should be fair with their application of the rules and penalise everyone who exceeds the track boundariea to gain an advantage or keep position. the stewards weren’t wrong in penalising grosjean but were wrong not to penalise others who broke the same rules.

    1. Quade says:

      Button pitted because it was PLANNED. You don’t just drive into the pits on a whim; computer readouts have to be taken and decided on, tyres have to be warmed, the crew needs to be at station etc.

      Button also didn’t let Alonso by, his tyres were done.

      I agree that Grosjean was unfairly penalised, though. If anything, the man should be getting praise for an attacking drive in a low top speed car. Vettel with a similar top speed to Grosjean, sat impotent behind the same Jenson for 12-13 laps. F1 should be encouraging drivers that make races exciting.

      1. Bartholomew says:

        The nature of the track made it very hard to pass. Vettel got by before Grosjean, with no contact when Button’s tyres gave up, so obviously Grosjean wasn’t going to spend multiple laps behind Button.

    2. Nigel says:

      “there were a few incidents where cars went off the track in order to keep positions”

      Vettel on lap 19, twice, for example.
      Ironically when defending against Grosjean.

  8. Mazirian says:

    I think the runoff areas are to blame. The track should be constructed so you lose time if you leave it. Problem solved.

    1. blackmamba says:

      +1

    2. NotGood says:

      Agree, but not easy. Kerbs can’t be too high to avoid dangerous accidents (eg high kerb at that corner would have seen Massa take off in his accident a few years ago) and also are dangerous for motorbike racing. Used to have gravel traps but removed in favour of Tarmac for safety

    3. Paul says:

      Could not agree more. Race tracks now are just lines painted on vast areas of tarmac. There is no penalty for failing to keep within the lines in most circumstances. And they look terrible.

      If you’re off the track you should be out the race or at least a long way back.

      Grass and Gravel please (maybe land-mines in the gravel…..)

      1. DK says:

        Or no through road and locked gates ….. A la Kimi @ Brazil 2012

    4. CJD says:

      come to Austria to the redbull ring next year

      i really hope they let the graveltaps as they are atm

      greetings

    5. Vlad says:

      Or even better, just say the track includes the kerbs and green strips and put the line on the edge of this, not inside it. Problem solved to keep enjoyable racing.

  9. Chris Ervin says:

    Look at the passing move Marquez did on Rossi at Laguna Sega last month, with no penalty.

    1. Cookoomashu says:

      I completely agree – I saw that move and thought it was amazing. I then looked again and thought, hang on a minute he basically rode it over the dirt to get the job done. In F1 this would never have been allowed.

      1. Quade says:

        It was allowed for Lewis on Rosberg last season (look in the background) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC05YfPIBVc

        The stewards are inconsistent.
        In my opinion though, such moves shouldn’t be penalised, especially where the defending driver leaves no room.

      2. iceman says:

        In F1, there wouldn’t have been any dirt.

      3. CJD says:

        he defenitly was off track LOL!!

        he even had to move further to the right to avoid the sewer that was there

        amazing move – he did a “rossi” on Rossi!

        greetings

  10. knoxploration says:

    Uh, no. The rules are the rules. He should’ve given the place back straight away; he didn’t; the team should’ve instructed him to do so; they didn’t; he was penalized. Pretty simple.

    It’s arguable that he wouldn’t have been able to pull the pass off there without going outside the bounds of the track. Doing so allowed him to shallow the previous corner, giving him more speed on exit.

    But really, that doesn’t matter either way. The rules are what they are, and the penalty was therefore deserved. You don’t argue the rules because “Boo hoo”.

    1. blackmamba says:

      He had the apex, so the move was pretty much done.

    2. Matt says:

      I think its BS how advantage is defined. Every single lap the cars use run-off areas generously.

      Somehow it’s not an advantage; why? Because no one is being overtaken. The advantage is, however, in lap time. There’s a massive advantage in qualifying and in the race.

      I think they need to look beyond “was a car overtaken” to “was the driver punished for exiting the track”. This rule should be enforced throughout the race, not purely in overtaking manoeuvres.

    3. peruvian says:

      “It’s arguable that he wouldn’t have been able to pull the pass”
      wait, it was a left turn and RG made the corner clean, but Massa stuck his nose very close to RG front tire, in a classic intimidating move, he RG steered to the right to avoid an accident, but clearly RG was ahead of Massa, and Massa should off yield since he was behind, in other words if RG kept his 4 tires inside the circuit then Massa would of cause an accident.
      Very unfair panishment for avoiding a collision.

    4. Nigel says:

      No, you argue against the rules because they are not consistently applied.

  11. Blade Runner says:

    I think it is very harsh but nowadays with the big tarmac run offs you have to apply the rule.

    In the past it would have been gravel or grass there and he would have crashed or not attempted it.

    With tarmac there now you have to stick to the track or you could end up with all sorts of weird off track lines.

    1. Richard D says:

      I’m with you there; get rid of tarmac run offs so that it is disadvantageous to leave the track.

  12. Vince says:

    Need to change the rules for off track penalties. If a driver takes a short-cut (crosses a chicane for example) then penalise. If it’s a longer route (as in Grojean/Massa) then no penalty.

    1. Quercus says:

      In racing ‘short cuts’ are measured in time saving, not distance. It might be a longer route to leave the track on exit from a corner, but if it allows a driver to straighten the corner and therefore negotiate it at a higher speed, then it’s a time advantage and unfair if it means an overtake becomes possible or it knocks time off a qualifying lap. That’s why the rule is there.

    2. Roberto says:

      No, it’s the time that is important, not the length of the route. Drivers almost always take a longer, but faster racing line when qualifying or racing. When a driver takes a longer but faster line to pass another driver and it involves leaving the racing surface immediately before, during, or immediately after the pass, then he should be penalized. The rule is especially important these days when gravel, grass, and (long ago) trees have been replaced with smooth asphalt. I agree that a one-time excursion when not passing should be ignored, but when executing a pass it must be done on the track regardless of the length of the route.

      1. Vince says:

        Of course it’s quicker, otherwise the driver would not do it. But we want to promote real racing. People say “that’s the rule”, and it is, but the rule stifles adventurous racing, so change it…

  13. Andy says:

    It seems harsh in the context of the overtake, but if you don’t apply the rules, what’s the point in having them?
    Replacing gravel traps with tarmac run off areas hasn’t helped from a racing point of view.
    The inconsistency by the Stewards in applying some of these rules doesn’t help, neither does the time they take to make the decision.
    What’s the point in giving Grosjean a 20 second penalty, after the race has finished, that doesn’t affect the race result! Similar collisions have resulted in a drive through.

    1. iceman says:

      It looks like the stewards “evening the score” doesn’t it. They gave him a somewhat harsh penalty for the pass on Massa, and balanced it with a non-penalty for the worse incident, the collision with Button.

      A bit like in football when a referee gives a dubious decision in favour of one team, and then shortly afterwards favours the other team (either consciously or subconsciously) when the next contentious decision comes up.

    2. Jonathan says:

      If Grosjean hadn’t served a drive through then it is very likely that the post race 20 second penalty would have made a significant difference.

      The real issue is that going off track on the inside shortens the distance travelled whilst on the outside lengthens the distance travelled and so, unless it gives an advantage at the next bend (when still not clear ahead), should go unpunished or, more appropriately, declared as not against the rules.

    3. Vince says:

      >but if you don’t apply the rules,
      >what’s the point in having them?

      Exactly, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Rules that just limit activities without adding anything should not be there at all

  14. Richardd says:

    Could be Grosjean’s history catching up with him…

    1. deancassady says:

      That is exactly the problem here; a driver’s reputation, either earned or not, determining his liability for on-track manouvres.
      In this instance, Grosjean could have stayed with the white line, but doing so would have resulted in a massive crash.
      Kudos to Massa for publicly (though ineffectually) supporting the move, for he is the biggest beneficiary.

  15. cassius42 says:

    Totally agree that the pass on Massa was brilliant. The rules are being applied rigidly which ensures consistency. The real problem is the design of the circuits which allow drivers to go off track with no penalty. If the kerbs were real kerbs and gave a penalty for running over them then this would not happen.

    1. deancassady says:

      Missing one of the most significant points, the rules are applied completely inconsistently; aren’t you watching the races?

  16. Chris M says:

    Whilst it’s a tough one, it’s consistency the fans really need. We had Hamilton’s penalty in Spa in 2008 and this one for Grosjean as being examples where great racing was penalised in the name of this rule, and yet how many Vettel pole laps have we seen (for example) where he has all four wheels off the track in order to gain an advantage.

    I wouldn’t mind too much one way or the other how this rule was policed as long as it was policed consistently. How can a great overtake like this be penalised and yet it’s fair game on a pole lap?

    1. W Johnson says:

      The big difference with 2008 is that FIA made up new rules after the event for Hamilton in 2008 and applied them retrospectively….that you must wait until the next corner before attempting to overtake again.

      1. **Paul** says:

        Yeah, you still don’t get the Spa penalty, because new rules weren’t made up at all.

        He was penalised because he gained an advantage by cutting the corner. The advantage he gained was such that he could overtake into the hairpin. If Lewis had braked, made the apex of the corner he missed (which he could have done with reasonable ease) he’d have lost so much time that an overtake into the hairpin wouldn’t be possible. That bit about the move not been possible is why he was punished, and that’s the advantage he gained and why he was punished. Nothing to do with new rules.

        Technically the judgement on this one was correct, but everyone knows Lewis would have got him a corner or two later. Shame he was so impatient.

      2. Chris says:

        The 2008 Spa move by Hamilton was completely justified as he quite clearly gained an advantage by leaving the track – had he not cut the chicane and instead slowed enough to make the corner he would have been no-where near Kimi going into La Source – cutting the chicane put Lewis in the position to make the move at the next corner. With Grosjean, I think the difference is in seeing where Massa put his Ferrari – Grosjean had no choice but to leave the track to avoid a collision as Massa pretty much adopted normal racing line mid-corner.

        Comment regarding whether leaving track is a short-cut or is longer is also irrelavent – by going wide through a corner a driver is able to take more speed through the corner. For example, turn 4 at Melbourne or Hungaroring, going wide repeating times (regardless of whether overtaking or not) should warrant a penalty.

        Agree that Grosjean penalty on Massa discourages overtaking. No penalty should have been given on overtake with Button as touching each other didn’t cause any damage to Button and was simply not worthy of a 20-sec penalty. David Coulthard’s comments on his BBC Sport column also demonstrate why having Driver Stewards is a backwards step, they don’t understand what these penalties mean from a spectator POV.

      3. J McKinven says:

        That is erroneous, Alonso was told to give a place back to Klien in Suzuka ’05, because he cut the final chicane and then overtook Klien into turn one, by the time the instruction he had overtook another car, or Kimi had overtaken Klien, I don’t quite remember which, so he ended up having to give back two places.

        The rules in the Hamilton case had precedent, but had not been applied consistently much like the case of Grosjean, who appears to have become a bit of a scapegoat for the stewards

      4. Ross Dixon says:

        Also Vettel overtook button on the outside of turn4 in Melbourne a few years back and went off track. Nothing happened. The FIA consistently make inconsistent rulings. Always have do always will do

      5. **Paul** says:

        True and Lewis overtook Rosberg completely off track in Bahrain last year didn’t he? There’s quite a few examples of it.

    2. Chris says:

      What Vettel pole laps are you talking about? Sly dig there I expect, he was not involved in this incident so why bring him up? I’m sure anything Vettel does for an advantage, everyone does for an advantage! There are probably lots of incidents where drivers have pulled off questionable moves and gained by either not loosing a position or graining one!

    3. SteveS says:

      ” how many Vettel pole laps have we seen (for example) where he has all four wheels off the track in order to gain an advantage.”

      None?

      I’m always impressed by the complete freedom people feel to manufacture patently nonsensical stories about Vettel. Equally scurrilous claims made about other drivers get deleted.

      1. Chris M says:

        Abu Dhabi is a consistent example where last years Q3 laps saw Hamilton inside the white lines and Vettel with all four wheels off the track. Monza is another example with many drivers leaving the track through the exit of Ascari but again some, like Hamilton, tending to stay on the track.

        Take this video of Abu Dhabi as an example – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl8dyYQnHiI

        At 8:50 you see Webber leave the track completely in the penultimate and final corners. No penalty given. Vettel has done this consistently at this track as well and is notorious for pushing the boundaries of the circuit during qualifying. Notice how Raikkonen, in the same video, left a much larger margin in the final turn.

        My intention wasn’t to single Vettel out so, he is just one of the highest profile examples. All I want is consistency. Either it’s okay to do this or it is not. The stewards shouldn’t pick and choose which rules apply and when based on arbitrary whim or on who the driver is.

      2. SteveS says:

        So your example of Vettel leaving the track is a video clip of …. WEBBER leaving the track? I repeat, the freedom people feel to make up nonsense about this one driver never ceases to amaze me. Equally nonsensical claims about other drivers get deleted.

      3. Chris M says:

        This video contains several examples, particularly in turn 19: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y65vBFp2foM

        Lots of drivers run off track in that corner, but by the letter of the law he’s setting qualifying laps whilst all four wheels have left the circuit.

        If he didn’t gain advantage by doing so you wouldn’t see him do it on every single fast lap he did.

      4. SteveS says:

        The good news for you is that your clip does show Vettel going outside the lines.

        The bad news for you is that if you look at the same footage for Hamilton and Alonso in Q3 for the same race, they both went outside the lines at the same place. Hamilton went off track on his pole winning lap. Go to 1m 37 secs of this clip to see it.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDAIojKgPEY

      5. Chris M says:

        I didn’t say it was exclusively Vettel who does this. All your comment does is highlight my central point that the stewards are not consistent in applying this rule, which in and of itself is wrong.

  17. **Paul** says:

    It was wrong to give this penalty IMO.

    The rules around when you can and can’t force another driver off track need clarification, as they’re as clear as mud. It honestly feels like it depends on the “who” not the “what” is taken into consideration where Grosjean is considered.

    Grosjean on Button – RG is ahead and moves back onto the racing line, because JB doesn’t brake/go off track it’s Grosjeans fault.

    Hamilton on Webber (#2) – Hamilton is ahead, moves back onto the racing line, Webber is forced off (or an accident occurs), No fault.

    Grosjean on Massa – RG is ahead, Massa forces him wide (or an accident occurs). RGs fault.

    Grosjean on Alonso (opening lap). RG is ahead, FA tries to go round the outside, RG closes the door and forces Alonso to brake (or an accident occurs). No Fault.

    For me it should be as simple as if a car is at least 50% alongside they must be left one cars width of room in order that they’re not forced to leave the track.

    This list of these runs and runs when you look at different GPs. E.g. Alonso vs VET @ Monza (2011 & 2012), Schumi vs Ham @ Monza, Ham vs MAL @ Valencia, VET vs JB @ Germany 2012 – etc etc. All would resolved fairly easily with the one cars width when you’re 50% or more alongside.

    1. Marcin says:

      Fully agree. Romain was ahead, Button decided to ignore the fact the had lost the position.

    2. iceman says:

      There is a big difference between two cars being alongside one another on the way into a corner and on the way out.

      The collision between Grosjean and Button wasn’t because Button didn’t brake. They were going into the chicane. Button would have already been braking as hard as was physically possible. He didn’t have the option to brake a bit more to let Grosjean get further ahead. In that scenario, the car on the inside must leave room for the car on the outside, or there will be an accident. The driver being passed can do nothing to avoid it.

      It’s quite different if the driver on the outside then chooses to hang on around the outside of the corner, and finds themselves run out of road on the exit. In that scenario, the driver on the outside does have the option to delay opening the throttle and drop in behind.

      1. **Paul** says:

        I hear what you’re saying – and agree to some extent but…. this kinda sums up what I was getting at “the car on the inside must leave room for the car on the outside”

        Grosjean couldn’t just shut the throttle on his move round Massa, he was already infront of him. If he’d done that Massa would have wiped out the front corner of his car.

        So I’m firmly sticking by: “if a car is at least 50% alongside they must be left one cars width of room in order that they’re not forced to leave the track.”

        And by that I mean one cars width only, and if you’re on the inside that might mean the sharpest rout round the apex – but that’s enough room to back out of a move etc. Grosjean had no room to move with Massa (other than to exit the track) just like JB had no room to move when RG squeezed him. With said rule in place I think we’d have seen RG leave JB enough room, Massa leave RG enough room to drive round him within the boundaries and this blog post not existing!

  18. DMyers says:

    The move would never have happened if the gravel trap hadn’t been removed from the outside of the corner following Massa’s accident. So he’d have gone off (again) instead of completing a move off the track. It may have been brave and it may have been bold, but only because the context of the corner is different now.

  19. dimitris says:

    Just imagine, Brazil 2013, Vettel makes a superb and daring move and passes Hamilton by going ever so slightly off the track, goes on to win the race and the championship by one point.

    1. franed says:

      Lots of others went off track lots of times, bind eyes in the stewards room? Or are the like the UK police who now only take action on complaints.

      1. dimitris says:

        My point is that if F1 is a sport and not a circus providing entertainment, then the rules have to apply to all and at all times and circumstances regardless of whether a move was spectacular or not. Otherwise there is no point to have a championship.

  20. tim says:

    You’ve got to take some of the blame James, with your friends in the media, your call for a ban for Grosjean last year due to a few incidents (most were 50-50) has lead directly to this, the stewards have his card marked.

    1. James Allen says:

      Nonsense

      You take each situation on its own merits

      1. **Paul** says:

        I agree that the media around Grosjean has had a real impact upon the penalties he recieves. Romain is always portrayed as the bad guy.

        At no point have I seen anyone in the media suggest that Massa simply didn’t leave any room for a car that was already alongside him. If a car is that far alongside runing it off the road should be the offence. I feel confident, looking that the line Gorsjean took, that had he turned in sufficently to stay within the lines Massa would have hit him – and that would be Grosjeans fault too, even as the car ahead no doubt.

        Should the media take some blame? Absolutely – because if that was an Alonso or Hamilton move we simply only have heard what a great champions move it was.

      2. tim says:

        Why do you think he was punished, when as mentioned, a lot of other drivers got away with similar things?

      3. tim says:

        Also you say:
        “this was the kind of move that used to be celebrated when performed by Ayrton Senna or Nigel Mansell and it seems to be sending out all the wrong signals to the F1 loving public to punish a breathtaking move like this.”

        Senna and Mansell also caused alot of incidents like Grosjean did last year; you cant have your cake and eat it. Sometimes these manoeuvres will go wrong, and you calling the FIA out on punishing him when you lead the calls for a ban last year is unfair and treating your readers like simpletons.

      4. Jamie norman says:

        I don’t think the media were that harsh, I even remember Martin B defending him. It was more the other teams and drivers taking the opportunity to destabilise Romain and Lotus. And it worked to a degree, he’s only just getting his mojo back.

      5. Matt says:

        I want to be clear I’m not blaming you or the media at all in this comment.

        I’m a little suspicious that each situation is NOT being addressed on its merits. Rather it depends who’s involved in the incident. In a lot of 50:50 cases involving Grosjean the finger is pointed squarely at him. I think knowing the drivers involved is biasing some of the decision making and causing inconsistent decision making.

        I’m also not entirely sure that these stewards are aware of how they ruled in similar situations in the past and hence the punishments are rarely consistent. The onus on the stewards is to treat each situation similar to how it was treated in the past, irrespective of drivers or WC situation etc.

      6. Yak says:

        Well you say that, but over and over his tally of incidents was gathered up on TV or websites or whatever to remind people why he was such a horrible lunatic. Don’t remember what you specifically were saying about it, but generally speaking, pretty much everything short of the financial crisis was made out to be Grosjean’s fault.

        And from memory, his Spa/Monza penalty was given partly because he’d been involved in several other incidents. Also partly because of the severity of the incident (a misguided way of judging), and the fact that it involved championship leaders (a very misguided way of judging it).

        Australia – Maldonado mysteriously seemed to close a gap following a yellow flag zone (as he does), and then proceeded to punt Grosjean off the track (as he does).

        Malaysia – Ridiculous conditions, Webber, Schumi, Grosjean close together. Webber gets a rubbish corner exit which slows down Schumi’s exit, which leaves him right where Grosjean is headed for with zero visibility. Really, just an unfortunate racing incident in utterly rubbish conditions. Could have happened to anyone… but it happened to Grosjean.

        Spain – Perez overtakes Grosjean around the outside of turn 2, and then suddenly cuts back across to get a better line into turn 3. Evidently he wasn’t entirely past Grosjean before cutting across and made contact. Perez drives like a gonad, somehow it’s Grosjean’s fault.

        Monaco – Alonso barges his way through at the start, leaving Grosjean with two options. 1) Hold the line and be caught in an incident with Alonso, or 2) try move out of the way, but cause an accident with another driver. No one said a word about what Alonso thought he was doing here, off the start at MONACO of all places, but it’s brought up over and over again as another example of “Grosjean’s fault”.

        Silverstone – From memory (don’t remember this one too well) it was much like Perez at Catalunya, Paul di Resta (I think) tried to cut across the front on exit and turned out to not actually be clear of Grosjean’s car. At this point, there was already talk of how he’d been involved in so many incidents, with nothing being said of, “To be fair, this one wasn’t his fault.” They were basically being brought up in a way that pointed to Grosjean being the problem.

        Germany – Vaguely recall he lost a front wing, but don’t remember why, so can’t really comment. I do recall Massa pointlessly driving straight up the back of a STR and losing his front wing, but no one made a big fuss about the utter stupidity of that move.

        Spa – Finally one that is clearly Grosjean’s fault. That said, he basically did the same thing Alonso did in Monaco, and Alonso did to Raikkonen at Suzuka. Yet Grosjean received a one race ban, and from memory Alonso wasn’t even investigated for either incident. It just happened to result in an enormous incident, but you can’t judge it based on how it turns out. Alonso’s Monaco shenanigans had the potential to be far worse, given the close confines of the circuit; it just happened to not turn out too bad (and everyone pointed the finger at Grosjean anyway). And the fact that the incident involved WDC contenders should have been just plain irrelevant.

        Suzuka – Yeah, another mistake for Grosjean. Webber was bizarrely slow out of that corner, which caused a bit of a weird bunch up, but the contact was still Grosjean’s doing.

        Korea – Everyone was on his case, so he drove like an absolute wuss. No incident that I can recall, just a disappointingly limp drive. Might as well have tied some coloured streamers to his rear wing and put a basket on the nose cone so he could stop off at the shops on his way. Maybe add a bicycle bell on to his steering wheel in case he wanted to make a courteous overtake. He wouldn’t have used it that race anyway though.

        Abu Dhabi – Perez goes off the track having just made an overly enthusiastic attempt at an overtake. Decides to just rejoin where ever he feels like it, at racing speed, and just heads straight for the apex of the corner… where Grosjean was right about to put his car. Perez driving like a gonad, not Grosjean’s fault. But of course it’s always talked about as another Grosjean incident, or Webber having being taken out by Grosjean.

      7. **Paul** says:

        “his Spa/Monza penalty was given partly because he’d been involved in several other incidents. Also partly because of the severity of the incident (a misguided way of judging), and the fact that it involved championship leaders (a very misguided way of judging it).”

        Here here !

        Also having looked at several of Grosjeans incidents it’s clear that some of them he’s just bloody unlucky.

        I’m quite sure they’ve marked Grosjeans card and he’s paying for that Spa move over and over again.

        I’m glad as well, that I’m not the only one who noticed how the constant barrage of penalties and rubbish from the press (asking EB if he’d still have a drive etc) is what caused a massive dip in his speed late last season.

      8. you “should” take each situation on its own merits..

        but stewards will/must have his name marked.
        will be shame if we stop seeing overtakes like that.

        Matt

      9. Doobs says:

        Stewards were very lenient when his floor failed to comply after Qualy and accepted the explanation of accident damage without any fuss. There’s no agenda against Grosjean, but his driving last year was very erratic at times and as a consequence he was involved in more incidents requiring the stewards attention.

      10. Yak says:

        I don’t think that’s a matter of lenience, Doobs. It was a technical issue, less subjective than a driving issue. Lotus have another car they can use to demonstrate its compliance with the regulations, and I’m guessing spare floors on the side.

        Let’s say the race leader somehow manages to lose the nose of his car on the final lap (in keeping with the theme here, perhaps Grosjean had copped several drive throughs, and then as a backmarker got in the way of the race leader), but they had a big enough lead that they could still bring it home in 1st. Would it be right to just disqualify them from the race for being underweight? Or would/should they take into consideration the fact that a sizeable piece of the car is missing, and that under more normal circumstances the team can demonstrate that the car does comply with the regs?

      11. Richard D says:

        Well said!

    2. Chris says:

      What RG were you watching last year?

    3. iceman says:

      I think it’s true to some degree that the stewards have Grosjean’s card marked. Habitual offenders do seem less likely to be given the benefit of the doubt by the stewards than does a normally “clean” driver who is involved in an isolated incident. But I don’t think that’s particularly wrong or surprising. It’s down to Grosjean’s own actions and misjudgments, not what James or any other journalist might have said about them.

    4. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      SPA was huge…

      1. Yak says:

        The result of the Spa incident was huge, but what he did wasn’t really that huge. It wasn’t Maldonado vengefully taking swipes at people on track. He tried to cover Hamilton, and it turned out he wasn’t clear of his car. That just happened to result in a huge incident.

        Alonso tried the same thing to Kimi at Suzuka, just that the only result was Kimi being a bit irritated and Alonso causing his own DNF.

        Which is why it’s misguided to penalise based on the result of the action. If Grosjean’s contact with Hamilton had only resulted in Hamilton just losing the car for a split second and and losing a bit of time before regaining control and getting on with it, would it have still been a one race ban? Even if the exact same action by Grosjean had instead caused such a minor event? Or if Hamilton had still crashed out but basically sailed straight through the pack at turn one and was the only one out? What if one of the WDC contenders had done it (it’s not like Alonso hadn’t tried the similar things at times)? Would that pile up have resulted in a one race ban?

    5. Cliff says:

      James can defend himself, but I have to ask you, what part does RG have to play in this? I still have a copy of Spa 2012 and the on-board footage from from Alonso’s car, not least the other crashes pretty much marked RG’s card.

      To blame the media is simply a nonsense.

  21. nicolas nogaret says:

    well it seems neither massa nor grosjean is good on spatial awareness …neither thought all 4 wheels were outside the white line

    but all 4 wheels clearly outside , and the rules are equally clear

    ask yourself a simple question … if that had been a gravel trap would grosjean have made the overtake ?

    vettel also tried to do this ….on one occasion it cost him a 20 second penalty , on the other his team told him to give the place back , so no penalty ; which is what grosjean’s team should have done

    1. Spyros says:

      You’re talking about Germany last year, correct?

      If so, it’s apples and oranges… Vettel actually went off-track TO ACCELERATE BEFORE THE PASS, out of that (marvellous!) hairpin.

      Grosjean went off after the pass WITHOUT HAVING TO DO SO, to make sure Mass had enough room. You could even argue that he did it for safety reasons!

      As for your spat about spatial awareness (see what I did there?), it wasn’t just Massa or Grosjean that missed the fact the latter had all four wheels off, it was every single person watching — until seeing the replay, or course. F1 cars are pretty nifty when it comes to gadgets, but the drivers are already quite busy, without adding a TV monitor, to see if they should give a place back or not…

      1. peruvian says:

        I am with you, RG made a forced move to avoid an accident, and Massa’s intimidating move worked this time since RG is in trouble with the law.

      2. Doobs says:

        If RG couldn’t make the move stick without running off the track to avoid the subsequent aftermath then arguably he shouldn’t have been there.

      3. Spyros says:

        Doobs:

        He COULD make the pass without running wide, but didn’t. That’s the point!

      4. Vlad says:

        Yes, I wonder WHO made the complaint about the pass? Cannot have been Massa, after reading his comments… so I wonder whom might it be… any guesses? ;)

  22. Chris says:

    If Alonso, Vettel or Kimi made that move I think they would have got away with it (so to speak, as I feel they should do). R G is the Hamilton of a few years ago, punnished because of his name where ever possible. There is hope though, as I feel Hamilton is less of a victim these days (he was a few years ago) and quite rightly so. RG is unfairly being singled out at times, sometimes deserved though it has to be said.

    1. SteveS says:

      Does you have any examples to support what you say? Vettel was given a penalty in Germany last year for an identical pass on Button to the one RG put on Massa.

      1. Chris says:

        Steve I don’t have examples, what I was trying to say is RG’s card is marked more than other drivers because of his previous adventures. Hamilton was a marked driver to a few years back IMO. I remember at Abu Dhabi last year SV passing someone and being told by his team to give the place back, so maybe its RG’s team that needs to handle the situation a little better? I think Red Bull learn’t from the penalty your alluding to ;)

      2. Bartholomew says:

        Ironically it was Grosjean that Vettel had to give the place back to at Abu Dhabi!

  23. Kristian says:

    It was highlighted because it was an overtake; surely a driver going wide each lap and gaining a tenth or so is getting an advantage too when coming into the pits?

    The simple solution would be to go back to the good old days and put gravel there. Remember Michael Schumacher running wide in Austria 1998? He didn’t make that mistake again…

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      Gravel and sand are far too harsh; drivers would be way too careful, not push hard and not attempt many passes. Low grip artificial turf is a better option. The lack of traction ensures a loss of time without damaging or beaching the car.

      1. Doobs says:

        Or it ends up in the sidepods.

    2. Marcin says:

      I agree – lots of drivers took that corner wide. The no advantage gained rule is nonsense – if there was no advantage, they would not have gone wide.

    3. CJD says:

      Austria still has all that gravel

      just was there for the DTM and F3 races

      just great when the miss the Goesser corner and try to get back to the track in an offroad manner (or just get stuck!)

      really looking forward to this next year

      greetings

  24. Mr Squiggle says:

    Holy Moley, the interview with Franz Tost on F1.com is very bullish on Dan Ric.

    Talk about jumping the gun..

    Anyhoo, props to Romain, he’s taken a battering over the last two years (most of it richly deserved).

    SOunds like he is gaining some respect with genuine fans…

  25. Irish con says:

    Yes technically the stewards were 100 per cent right with the penalty but it is still extremely harsh in my book and if they didn’t give a penalty not 1 person would of complained. We spent years complaining about no overtaking, then 3 years about the fake drs moves and now we have a great move into a very difficult corner when your by yourself and it gets punished. No need for it.

  26. Magnus says:

    I also think Romain has been judged too hard lately. He did though pass Massa outside the track which could have been dealt with immediately by letting him hand back the place as it is usually done. If the judges missed that, no penalty should have been given. The effect now beyound reason putting him in situations i shouldnt have been in.

    Hamilton escaped penalty when he didnt give Webber space inside the track while passning him.
    I sense weakness from judges having a problem giving penalties to loud “well-funded” teams.

    I would like too read a inside article enligthing the racing judgement system, Any chance?

    Magnus

    1. NotGood says:

      Here’s an idea. Drivers press an incar button within 30 secs to protest an incident. Review takes place live, a bit like rugby or tennis. Penalty decided on tv with steward talking over it, everyone gets to see the decision process, problem solved and adds to the tv spectacle

      1. Vlad says:

        And every driver pushes that button within 1 second, just for the hell of it :)

  27. Nikos says:

    Once more FIA messed it up. Even Massa was sympathetic to Roman, so that has to be a big blow to the stewards.
    On the other hand perhaps Massa should have been penalised about the incident with Rosberg on the first round. That was even worse, than the one with GRO and BUT.
    Can somebody explain to me. Why was the crash between PER-RAI in Monaco a race incident and the one between GRO-BUT in Hungary not? What the hell do the rules define???

    1. Matt says:

      Strangely, if Grosjean had held his line on the track, and Massa had bumped into him, it might have been deemed a racing incident, and no penalties would have been applied. Of course, one or both cars may have been too damaged to continue.

    2. ruthvin says:

      So trye . Perez was way off limits. Here button had been passed. Why this double standaed . . .

  28. Spyros says:

    Last year Vettel passed Button in Germany by going off the track. The pass was ‘disallowed’ and in the races that followed the stewards became quite a bit more vigilant, in places where someone could gain an advantage.

    But the Grosjean/Massa thing was different. Unlike Vettel/Button, where the former actually accelerated out of the corner after leaving the circuit, here Grosjean effectively went off-track after the maneuver, only to ensure he gave Massa (who was struggling for grip on older tyres) enough space!

    Apples and oranges.

    So yes, the stewards certainly need to keep such incidents in check, but in this case Grosjean did not gain any advantage by “leaving the circuit”, like Vettel did by being able to accelerate earlier.

    Factor in a narrow track like Hungary, and you could argue that Grosjean ought to be congratulated for having the (unusual, for him) spatial awareness to know that the car being overtaken might need more room, and therefore went off-track FOR SAFETY REASONS!!

    Let’s hope he is on similarly good form in Spa.

    1. joshua says:

      100% agree

      Well said.

    2. Yak says:

      With Massa’s recent driving, if I were side by side with him through a high speed corner, old tyres or not on the Ferrari, I’d be making that exit as wide as absolutely possible.

      1. Doobs says:

        The confimes of the track are the painted lines. If RG wants to go off piste he should drive around the visitor’s car park and pick up girls instead

  29. Jonathan says:

    I don’t think Grosjean should have gotten a penalty for the Massa incident. If they aren’t allowed to have four wheels off the circuit, the kerbs shouldn’t be so wide and enforcement should be more consistent. In any case, Ant Davidson showed that Massa was right alongside, so Grosjean didn’t have room to move onto the track without hitting Massa. Plus, it was only an inch off the track for a short amount of time. The stewards should have shown more discretion.

    On the other hand, I thought the penalty for driving into Button was too lenient.

    1. Spyros says:

      I fully agree on both counts.

      Ironically, it was perhaps RG’s extra vigilance after the Button incident, to give the other car a little extra room NEXT TIME, that ultimately got him to stay wide off Massa (and slightly off-track) and earn his unjust drive-through.

  30. clyde says:

    vettel does it regularly and gets away with it

    1. Chris says:

      Germany last year – punnished!! When he get away with it?

    2. F1fan says:

      Example please.

  31. I know says:

    You can feel sympathetic to Grosjean and still think that both penalties were right. Consistency is the most important, so unless you can make clean rules for circumstances when leaving the track are acceptable, it has to be punished all the time. A possibility would be to allow leaving the track only when you are completing a pass, and have already gotten in front of the other car.

    Grosjean should have returned the place when he cut the chicane, no question about that.

  32. AlexD says:

    I am also there with other fans. As a Ferrari supported, I do not want others drivers to overtake, but this move on Massa was spectacular, the best move of the race. It might be that fans to not understand rules, but I thought that going off track with 2 wheels is OK. So did he went outside the white line with 2 or 4 wheels? What is allowed, 2 or 0?
    Track was very dirty, so it was very difficult to keep the line…just think about Kimi defending Vettel and how difficult it was for Vettel to keep the car on the track because of conditions.

    I really do not understand why Grosjean got the penalty and it looks like nobody does.

    1. Yak says:

      The rule is you have to keep part of the car on the track at all times, and if you do leave the track you’d better have a good reason for it. Given that the only parts of the car making contact with the ground are the tyres, that’s what you’re keeping within the lines. And unless you’re sliding along at an angle with one wheel on the track, generally that means at least means two wheels.

      The track is defined as the white lines at the edge of the track surface. Kerbs are not considered part of the track. They’re beyond the white lines and thus outside of the track limits. So when you see drivers going wide on to the kerbs on corner exit, or cutting across a kerb on the inside of a corner, it’s perfectly legal provided they’re only doing it with two wheels and the other two are still within the white lines.

      The problem is, there are plenty of cases where drivers aren’t keeping any wheels within the track limits, and aren’t being penalised for it. Drivers routinely running wide on exit for better exit speed, i.e. not for good reason. But it seems as long as you don’t do it during an overtake, you’ll get away with it.

      1. Doobs says:

        You’d probably need a small army of stewards to police every single car through every single corner of every single grands prix. Some “crimes” will always go un-noticed and unpunished. It doesn’t mean it’s sometimes OK, sometimes not depending if you’re a world Champ or the current bad boy. Drivers sometimes take the chance and sometimes get caught.

      2. Yak says:

        Sensors in the car and in the track at the places where running wide can can gain the drivers time. Not every corner has the potential to gain time if you run off, and isn’t F1 supposed to be the height of racing technology?

        Someone goes off, it’s electronically flagged and the stewards can look at it to see what the circumstances were. No need for them to have someone watching the onboard of every single car non-stop the whole race so they never miss anything.

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      My understanding is that so long as you have at least some part of at least one tyre in contact with the defined race track within the white lines, it is OK. So you are right, he should have been OK on this one.

  33. franed says:

    If Grosjean lasts long enough to get himself under control he will be one of the greats, he has raw speed.

  34. franed says:

    James when you get time, it would be interesting to hear from your technical associates if/how the new car development time has shortened in F1 over the years. In the mainstream motor industry it is now a small fraction of the 2-3 years it used to take. Can 3D print take the place of STL?

    1. Yak says:

      3D printing is a bit of a misguided term. Stereolithiography (I assume what you mean by STL) is basically a form of 3D printing, but people seem to think of 3D printing as only the more recent kind that people are now able to do at home by relatively inexpensive means. But certainly additive manufacturing has been around for some time, and the quality from other means of rapid protoyping would be better than… re-purposing the office’s inkjet printer. Haha.

      I have wondered how they go about their scale models though, as the rigidity/flexibility of the pieces of course would have an aerodynamic effect. So simply making them out of whatever you can turnaround in quick fashion surely wouldn’t necessarily be ideal/accurate.

      1. Yak says:

        Evidently I was typing too quickly and added an extra “i”. Stereolithography.

  35. Steve B says:

    The move on Massa was OK, until he moved off the track to make sure the raged Felipe did not tag him. FM has hit a lot of people, usually when they are overtaking him. I expect several chapters of Lewis’ biography will be needed to cover this.

    This time, it seemed like Massa was in control and RG went a few inches too far, he was too cautious, but had fairly won the place. Technically he was at fault, but far worse offences [Seb, we are looking at you..] have gone unpunished. This is why people are crying unfair, the inconsistencies in F1 stewarding.

    1. Me says:

      Apart from the overtake on Button in Germany when he was penalised for it, when has Vettel put all four wheels off the track when overtaking?

      1. Vlad says:

        I think he means at times during the race, but not when overtaking.

      2. Me says:

        So… it’s not relevant then.

      3. Yak says:

        It’s perfectly relevant. The rules are you don’t leave the track without good reason. If you do, you rejoin safely and without having gained an advantage. There’s nothing in relation to running off track while sticking an overtake.

        Routinely running wide at exits to get on the power earlier isn’t a valid reason for leaving the circuit. Just because there’s no overtake happening at the time, doesn’t mean there’s no time being made.

        Gaining an advantage and gaining a position aren’t the same thing.

      4. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Australia 2011 on Button (around outside of Turn 4) ironically quite soon after Button himself had got a penalty for overtaking Massa whilst completely off the track.
        Button even pointed it out on a radio message that was broadcast to the world.

  36. Steven L says:

    The move on Massa was OK, until he moved off the track to make sure the raged Felipe did not tag him. FM has hit a lot of people, usually when they are overtaking him. I expect several chapters of Lewis’ biography will be needed to cover this.

    This time, it seemed like Massa was in control and RG went a few inches too far, he was too cautious, but had fairly won the place. Technically he was at fault, but far worse offences [Seb, we are looking at you..] have gone unpunished. This is why people are crying unfair, the inconsistencies in F1 stewarding.

    1. Chris says:

      Are you the twin of Steve B, post no 35?

    2. SteveS says:

      Have you met Steve B? Seems like you two have a lot in common!

  37. P.Relli says:

    For me, the problem here is not with the rules, but with the circuits themselves. The large run-off areas encourage the drivers to have a go (example: Vettel’s attempt to get past Kimi)when there may/may not be space.

    I say bring back gravel traps, this would invite a bit of risk/reward back into the game.

    1. DanT says:

      The extended tarmac areas have been brought in to improve safety. As a result of this the white lines have to be adhered to. I agree that it would be better to have gravel/low grip outside of all the track limits and if you think about it had there been then then Grosjean wouldn’t have made the pass stick. My initial reaction was outrage at the penalty as this sort of move should be applauded. But if you think about it if it was allowed it wouldn’t be long before these ultra competitive drivers would be taking advantage of the precedent being set. So we need to decide on one thing or the other, we can’t have our cake and eat it.

    2. Neil says:

      If you bring back gravel, the risk is too great and the drivers would not try the pass in the first place.

      Better is something designed to be low-grip, but not race-ending like gravel. Then the pass would be attempted, but if it failed the drivers get to keep racing.

      1. Doobs says:

        Low grip would beat the purpose of a “gravel trap” – to slow down out of control cars. Otherwise the spectators would have to be so far from the track they’d be better off staying at home.

    3. jjpm says:

      That bloody rule is a result of Abu-Dhabi or Bahrain parking lots tracks! Now its applied everywhere! these ruling should be track’s dependant.
      Why didn’t Rosberg got penalized on 1st lap? He went largely off track and gain 2 or 3 places on return.
      Why hasn’t Alonso been disqualify for his DRS misuse?
      I suspect he has used his DRS wrongly to avoid being passed by RG while in DRS range of the swiss-french driver.
      Why the stewards didn’t communicate the lap number at which Alonso has been misusing the DRS?
      protecting Ferrari?

      And now a drive-through or stop-and-go penalties are deadly because of the 80kmh limit in pit lane! Has not much to do with a wheel badly mounted!
      Drivers may as well park the car and go home!

      SC staying on track for too many laps, SC deployed while not really needed, speed limit
      imposed for what?
      Is Jean Todt overloading the rules book with safety issues to kill Formula One racing, he’s surely doing a good job at it.

    4. Vlad says:

      Agree, bring back gravel traps. Risky drivers who beach themselves will learn how to drive in due course.
      And those that are brilliant might just make the pass stick.
      Harshness sorts out the men from the boys.

  38. Brent says:

    I don’t think Grosjean would have tried the move if he had not had the option of the run off, if he didn’t make it stick; which he didn’t. He ended up four wheels off, nice try but no cigar.

  39. Paige says:

    What I’m happy to see is that Grosjean looks like he is starting to come alive. He’s back to showing the pace he had last year, and this has been the key thing for him, as he really wasn’t showing this after all of the incidents he had last year. He seems to have his confidence back, and if he can take the next step toward consistency, that first win may come very soon. This will be a very welcome sight. He’s a nice guy, and with drivers like Webber and Massa looking to be on the way out, it’ll be great to have another fast driver like Grosjean getting results and mixing things up.

    He’s definitely a guy we should pull for. He’s had his troubles, and he’s maintained a good attitude and remained a nice guy throughout. Grosjean’s a guy who can be tremendous for the sport.

  40. Nick says:

    Im seeing a lot of talk about run off areas being too large and lack of gravel traps..

    But Grosjean didn’t go through the run off area, he was centimeters…if not millimeters from the white line with all 4 wheels on the chicane…since he believed that he still had part of wheels over the white line.

    At least that’s the way I’ve seen it from when I was watching. It was a close run thing and the penalty seemed to a bit harsh for what it was.

    Could they incorporate the ripple strips around corners into the track and run the while line around the outside of them….but stipulate you can’t have any wheels off them when passing. Drivers use them anyway so why not run the line around them…

  41. quest says:

    With the Massa incident it is understandable why he went off the track. But then he should have just given the place back.

    But the move on Jenson was vintage Grosjean. Not only did he hit him, but also cut the chicane to complete the move. I have zero sympathy for him.

  42. ThatLindseyGuy says:

    Much as I and other fans will have enjoyed watching Grosjean’s move on Massa, the stewards can’t really exercise leeway when facing a decision over a rule breach.

    In football (for example), a spectacular goal can be disallowed if you are ‘a couple of centimetres’ offside. Why should it be different in F1 if Grosjean makes a spectacular pass ‘a couple of centimetres’(Boullier) outside of the track limits?

  43. alexdhq says:

    Definitely wrong! This type of penalty suggests that overtaking moves should only happen on straights from now on, with DRS, and completed before the turn. It just further reduces de driver’s motivation to really fight for position – as Grosjean did – on circuits such as this where it’s very hard to pass in the first place.

  44. Cedgy says:

    Romains move on Massa was bold and impressive, it really showes he has grown some “balls”. To me the stewards deciscion was too harsh.
    it’s a shame really but I hope Grojean is going to do more of that it in future races. The guy is fast and aggressive after all!

  45. pargo says:

    Well, I guess we’ll see less of these brave overtaking moves for fear of being penalised. Just when F1 was getting interesting again…

    1. nicolas nogaret says:

      no problem with trying , nobody is stopping that

      but if you don’t make it [ grosjean didn't ] you give the place back …no penalty

  46. JohnBt says:

    Grosjean raw speed is fantastic, he just need to improve his race craft, kinda reminds me of Lewis when he began though.

    Agree with many, the penalty for his move on Massa was really uncalled for. Stewards need some form of discretion else racing becomes wussy.

    F1 is a sport and also entertainment. Grosjean did entertain us well and we must admit it. Only wished he’ll smile more like before, but then who could’ve blamed him for the flak he’s receiving. I really feel sorry for him when he has that glazed look, kinda kills his spirit.

  47. F1 dingo says:

    it would be interesting to know if any driver ‘left the track’ when setting their qualifying laps? or is this simply a race rule?

    I’m sure I’ve seent his happen in the past in qualifying? if rules are rules then any such laps should not stand inqualifying. what if Lewis for instance ‘left the track’ when setting his pole time and Vettel did not – I’m not picking here just using that as an example.

    If there are instances such as Hungary where overtaking opportunities could be conjured maybe the track limits in that area should be altered for next season….

  48. Harshad says:

    James,

    Need a honest reply from you!, does the ‘driver name’ influence Stewards decision making?

    To me Grosjean penalty was harsh, but by the rule book was fare!

    But what I want to ask is, why Hamilton’s move on webber (second time he passed him) @turn 3 wasn’t even investigated?
    They entered the corner side by side and hamilton forced webber off track. Even Brundle didn’t seem convincing when he said Hamilton ‘might’ get away with it.

    This move was similar to Alonso vs Vettel @Monza (2011/2012), where Vettel got penalised and Alonso didn’t hence, I ask does the “driver name” influence Stewards decision making, if not then why don’t we see consistency from race to race?

  49. Zombie says:

    Wasn’t Alan McNish involved in another controversial decision in 2011 or 2012 ?

    1. jjpm says:

      I believe so with Michael Schumacher…

      the whole steward’s business seems geared to provide the FOM/FIA with the ability to manipulate the outcome of the championship as it please the reigning power.
      In other sports the referee are visible on the ground and observable when making decision but not in F1! no siree!

  50. Dan says:

    Romain seems to have matured into a better driver this year. I doubt the stewards and the FIA will ever mature.

  51. meridabob says:

    I haven’t read all the posts prior to this one but I have to say drivers like Button are responsible for the sterilization of F1. “What was he thinking!” is one of the headlines made by Button. Well, obviously he was thinking about racing and was looking far more racey than Button has in a very long time. I think Canada was the last time Button looked racey and that was a few years ago when he put both Hamilton and Alonso out of the race….he was racing! F1 is a contact sport. Go look at “Murray’s Memories” on the BBC website, all wheel banging and driving each other off the track. If you were new to F1 as a tv viewer you would think that drivers were only allowed to pass under the drs (whatever that is!) and if they tried anywhere else they get a penalty.
    I assume the ex-driver on the stewards panel never touched another car or attempted to pass during their careers as drivers and deservedly can make these excitment killing decisions.

  52. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I agree. And also I think journalists did not give GROSJEAN the consideration he deserves when he was giving hard time to Vettel. Instead, they were talking about Button, but of course it’s only my opinion.

    Maybe GROSJEAN is bringing a lot of fun in the second half of the season, maybe he is now a raising star, maybe, time will tell.

  53. Elie says:

    James this is like Hamilton 2011. I still honestly cannot believe the hammering he copped on a few occasions.Do you think sometimes the FIA want to make an example of a driver ?.

    When I first saw the Jenson pass I thought here goes Romain again- but the replay shows he was alongside and both were fighting mid corner with Romain slightly wobbly. What Perez did to Kimi at Monaco was much worse and even leaving him no room at China was slightly worse than this- yet not even a mention !! are we seeing Lotus being punished for Romains past- because its sure starting to feel that way. Mclaren seem like they can do no wrong- is this the cry baby Jenson pulling th bleeding heart routine.

    The second incident in a sense whilst harsh seems more understandable because Romain pulled a great move- but how great would it have been if he stayed on track and Jenson ran into him??. To be honest I only saw two wheels come off the track and this coincides with Felipes comment- this would also explain why Lotus did not give the position back because surely they would have done so if it was clear at the time. Did Eric Boullier and others only notice it after the race-??Im guessing only the stewards knew for sure at the time and if so wouldnt it be fair to share that with team asap.?? Many thanks again for a nice article James.

    1. deancassady says:

      [mod]
      The Massa overtake was done, but MASSA drifted wide, taking too much speed into the corner to straighten it out in the exit.
      Grosjean had the choice to crash, or move over enough to avoid a crash.
      It was a good call by him, and superbly executed.
      There should be no penalty for this; while I support Filipe’s public support of Grosjean, if anyone should get a penalty from this incident, it is Massa, not Grosjean.

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        @deancassady : absolutly right, it’s Massa to blame, but I don’t understand why there is never investigation for this kind of “Massa move” where he give NO ROOM at all!!!

        They investigate the wrong side: the car going slightly wide, instead of the car NOT GIVING ROOM.
        Ask Hamilton about Massa!

      2. dean cassady says:

        Torn, hanks for the feedback.
        I got to say that I like Massa, and I feel for his plight.
        I think he did the big thing, in this case, and mentioned that Grosjean wasn’t at fault in this incident.
        As you seem to be aware, there is the ‘special’ Massa-Hamilton thing, and it makes me remember, the thing all over again.
        But even in this, as frustrating as it may be, for us fans, to have had the truly enjoyable racing of Hamilton stymied so many times, by Massa, one must consider the question, why?
        Do you believe that it i just something Massa has towards, Lewy?
        Or could there be a much more plausible explanation behind the well-wrought pattern?
        I don’t know about you, but I don’t really ‘buy’ all that much coming out of the Alonso Media Corporation spin team, including but (obviously) not limited to the ‘buddy-buddy’ mutual admiration club Alonso seems to demonstrate with Hamilton. (Incidently, I don’t buy it from the Hammy side all that much, either; but a little bit more).

        Great to have a place to co-relate to other people paying attention to this absurd ‘sport’; thanks to you and James, and all the other; happy summer camping.

    2. Elie says:

      *correction and Felipe ran into him..”

    3. Elie says:

      Ok I just saw another angle of Grosjean -Button incident and I will say he definitely deserved the penalty- he did have control and he just moved over on Jenson. I don’t get it with this guy he continually thinks he’s faster than he is !

  54. SuperSi says:

    Its about time someone pointed out that the stewards are clearly against Grosjean.
    The move was a great fair move and if you look at it in slow mo, you can see that Grosjean had to turn towards the outside kerb because massa pushed him wide and off the race track. Grosjean had made a great move that would have worked without leaving the track, he showed great maturity and avoided a nasty accident. Watching Vettel in that race I noticed on every exit kerb he was doing exactly the same as Grosjean and marginally leaving the track, but because he didnt actually pass anyone it was deamed ok. Go ahead somebody youtube an onboard of Vettel from that race, the evidence is there.

  55. Bart says:

    I totally and truly disagreed with the penalty when it was handed, but after giving it a second thought, I changed my mind…

    Technically, he was off track.
    Had he got away with it, in my view, it would’ve been unfair to all those drivers who didn’t try or didn’t even think of trying to put a move as they knew they would end up going off.

    Also, I see such an overtake as “OK, I’m going for it, there’s a run-off area, I can always use it and hope to get away with it.”

    It’s a bit like Lewis at Spa, 2008, when he tried to outbrake Kimi knowing he had probably no more than 5% chance of success, and he went for it just because he could go off, gain a bit of speed on the run-off and get Kimi into the next corner.

    I want to see real overtaking, moves just like Webber put on Alonso in Spa, 2011, or Alonso on Button in Brazil, same year.

    That’s how I see it.
    Cheers, Bart

  56. Spyros says:

    The blunt question we need to hear the answer to, is this:

    Is it acceptable to hand out inconsistent penalties to drivers, to punish those who tend to be a little careless and consequently, to favour those who do not make frequent visits to the stewards’ room after the race?

    Answers in a postcard, please.

  57. ruthvin says:

    The move on button was 100 times better than the one perez rried on raikkonen. Atleast he was completely ahead of button unlike perez who was just so behind raikkonen. That time no one even rebuked perez . Even james dint saying that it was racing incident. Why this double standard s

  58. aliD says:

    tricky one but i think it was right thing to do… it may seem a bit harsh but where is the limit then ? grosjean was 1 cm off line, some body could say i was 2cm off line, 3 cm off line etc… it goes on and on…and you cant draw the line… in tennis, in wimbledon for example they dont accept even 1 mm if the ball is out… out is out and in is in… and if there was a wall there, could he have done the same move? it was quite spectacular, really fun to watch but sometimes you cannot flex the rules… and i think it is one of those situations… just unlucky for him unfortunately…

    1. jjpm says:

      Yeah but in tennis nobody cares if the ball dies or explodes by being in or off the line…

  59. SteveS says:

    I feel it was harsh. However, the stewards are consistently harsh, and that’s the important thing. Vettel received the exact same penalty for the exact same infraction at the German GP last year. I’d prefer the stewards gave the drivers a little more lee-way in overtaking maneuvers, because we all want to see overtaking. But the important thing is that they are consistent.

  60. Seán Craddock says:

    I didn’t voice my opinion on this yet. I have to say it is a disgrace seeing how Grosjean is blamed for everything these days! In Silverstone at the start Webber blamed him, and even at Hungary where Alonso blamed him for ruining his race at the start.

    Grosjean made a terrific start in Hungary and did everything right! Alonso said he was being too aggressive and concentrating on himself “he forgot we’re racing 24 other cars” (Don’t know who Alonso’s racing because everyone else is racing against 21 others). Fernando needs to take a step back and look at some of his own driving.

    A good example is Begium 2007 at the start when he forced Hamilton completely off the track without penalty. Not only that but he put four wheels off the track himself (similar distance off the track to GRO in Hungary). Watch that move again and tell me that’s not aggressive. It’s certainly more aggressive than what GRO did to Alonse

  61. Chris says:

    While I agree the penalty was harsh and thought that moment of the race was brilliant, could Grosjean’s reputation and earlier incident with Button have removed any “benefit of the doubt” from the stewards?

    With Grosjean’s constant blunders last year which took out a title contender and ruined several drivers’ races, could it be that stewards are simply forced to subject Grosjean to the letter of the law rather than give him the benefit of the doubt?

    Sadly, his reputation precedes him, even if he’s making strides in improving. Maybe this will help allow him to make bigger strides in displaying the same aggression level but even more mature and maybe stay on the track a couple centimeters the other way.

    I used to hate Grosjean and thought he was taking up valuable grid space. But if he continues to improve and avoids anymore Monaco weekends, maybe my tune on him will change. I am still skeptical and like the stewards, will still refrain from giving him the benefit of the doubt because he still has learning to do.

  62. Warren says:

    Confused about this 4 wheels outside the white line rule (within the limits of the track) after watching nurburgring first lap turn 1 webber clearly has all 4 wheels off the track in doing so completes the pass on Hamilton. Thoughts James or anyone????

    1. Andreas says:

      Webber passed Hamilton under braking into turn 1, and that pass was well completed at turn-in. At the exit, when he went off track, Webber was actually dicing with Vettel in front. Webber lost that battle, so no advantage gained.

  63. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    James, I would like to ask who are “indispensable” as a showmen in F1, drivers who must be there to attract public to circuits and TVs.

    Besides VET-ALO-KIMI-HAM, I think Grosjean is one of them, and also PEREZ and HULK.
    The others IMO are forgettable, are they?

    Has this reasoning about the marketing of the show any place when teams consider drivers?

  64. shortsighted says:

    I thought the ‘driver’ steward was there to help to give some sense in the application of the rules. It would be interesting to see how the ‘driver’ steward in this case justifies the penalties on Grosjean in passing Massa which Massa, a driver involved, thought was fair and in touching Button. The ‘driver’ steward is meant to be there to help motor racing and not in this case ruined it by slapping penalties without good sense. Perez was left without any punishment hitting Raikennon in Monti Carlo. What is happening now with this ‘driver’ steward whose suitability for future races should be looked into carefully.

  65. jjpm says:

    And maybe some of you here are not aware of that clip : Romain Grosjean passing
    www youtube com/watch?v=2IN-lIf_62I
    with dot instead of blank

    ps I dont know if external links are permitted

    1. Hugy says:

      That was indeed great. RG had a great time in GP2. If he keeps his coolness and drives consistently, he might have a good time in F1.

  66. richard piers says:

    Since the track surrounds have now become largely tarmac the penalties make sense and are only applied when someone is overtaken or repeatedly uses the “run off”
    The clash, more like crash, with Button showed the old problem of lack of peripheral vision and a rush of blood and cost Button 2 places. the finishing places should have been reversed, 20 seconds meant nothing.

  67. Wayne Brookes says:

    The glaring sad truth is F1 is a shadow of what it used to be, they used to be gladiators. While i totally support the push for further saftey you have to make allowances for gutsy risk takers otherwise its boring and clinical.

  68. F1 Bobby says:

    Was a really brave overtake and the job was already done. Silly penalty for the sake of a couple of inches.

  69. IP says:

    One of those rare occasions in F1 where the rules are absolutely clear and concise. Unfortunately in this case it probably isn’t in the sporting spirit. Nobody really at fault in this case.

  70. Sufyaan Patel says:

    I dont think he was really to blame for the Button incident. JB should have backed off and yielded. Button made a similar move on Massa later in the race. Massa new he was never going to make it no matter how late he broke/which line he took, so let Button by.

    As for the penalty for the move on Massa (running over the white lines on the exit), that was harsh. The chap didnt have much space left so had to use a bit of run off. Much different to what Seb did in Germany.

    I guess it comes down to the issue of once your card is marked, there will always be more eyes watching your every little move. Just ask Lewis ;)

    1. nicolas nogaret says:

      that’s the most amazing comment I ever saw …a driver on his racing line should back off and give way ?

  71. Vlad says:

    Yes DRS is like a boring barbie doll toy.

    Hopefully 2014 is back to the good ol days of turbos and less aerodynamic influence. Bring back testing also. So what if one team has more of a budget?? No restrictions on budgets also… then Lotus might have been able to keep James Allison by raising his salary. All this pinching of other teams design gurus in an era where the car counts towards 90% of the result, is depressing.

  72. Elie says:

    James is there anyway to get some feedback about the rulings in Hungary because they just seem inconsistent and clearly there are alot of valid points made by fans here.- Really just to get an understanding WHY!

    Seriously Perez has done no less than 5 stupid things which actually caused avoidable damage from ridiculous positions this season for which he got off Scott free..Not even a. mnetion – it’s just Bizarre ! Im sure there have been others but Perez I would say has been the worst offender in 2013.

    On the flip side whilst I commend guys like Grosjean for having a go there is not doubting these ex GP2 stars still lack control during these manoeuvres – you never see this from the Alonso, Raikkonen or Hamilton- when they are passing they still have control of their equipment and are more precise.

  73. Rob Westwood says:

    So does this mean now that come the Indian GP and Abu Dhabi, Seb will no longer put all 4 wheels over the line for fear of punishment? I dont think so. It has annoyed me for a couple of years now where drivers dont stick to the white lines. At the end of the day the lines define the track. Vettel is the biggest exponent IMO of leaving the race track, the penultimate corner at India is always a prime example of Vettels cheating. I know everyone does it but I always think it was Seb who was the first real culprit of it and who did it consistently.
    At Hungary later in the race after RGs penalty, Seb went all 4 wheels over the white lines chasing Kimi, so wheres the difference? He didnt get punished for that.
    RGs penalty has now set a precedent IMO. Does this mean from Spa onwards every single time a driver leaves the track they will be punished like Romain? I think not. However I hope they do as like I said previously it has really annoyed me for a while now. The white lines define the track. Of course well have the stupidity of the second chicane at Monza soon where they are told its ok to cut the corner there! Ridiculous!

    1. Jake says:

      I agree the car should stay within the white lines. What we need is a penalty that is not as severe as a drive thru’ but not a time added on penalty as that is a pain for fans to follow during a race. Perhaps a “one timed lap penalty” where the driver can’t lap any faster than say 110% of his fastest lap in the race so far. If you pass another car by leaving the track then you still have to give back the position or you get a drive thru’ penalty.

  74. Mon Pen says:

    [mod] Fact: He was 4 wheels off the track. Fact: he had not completed the pass. Fact: no driver has any obligation to move off the racing line. The pathetic whingers who say “he was only a couple of centimetres off the track” might think of how much of a problem that might cause – remember the famous Ferrari bargeboards that were indisputably illegal but “within tolerances” which caused utter outrage. Do we really want more of that?

  75. Jake says:

    James,
    Would the stewards investigate the incident if the other driver/team does not complain?

  76. Giorgio says:

    Not in topic
    James,
    Could it be the case that Rai and Vet 2nd & 3rd sequence was influenced by pit lane speed reduction which started from the last race?
    I mean there was 4 sec time increase due to this change.

  77. Andrewinwork says:

    With the stewards it seems very much to be a case of “give a dog a bad name….” this year it’s Grosjean a couple of seasons back it was Hamilton.
    It’s moredisappoiting to note how quickly the other drivers turn on him as though he’s seen as a newbie and not entitled to join the big 4′s party

  78. Tim B says:

    Might be worth considering moving the white lines on that corner a few cm for future races – Grosjean wasn’t over the line by much. It’s a legitimate overtaking opportunity for a faster car (or one that got a better run out of T3), and it’s worth encouraging drivers to make the move when it’s on.

  79. wenner says:

    In driver briefings before each race the drivers are informed in which corners they can go outside the track in qualy and/or in the race. Of course this doesnt always apply when completing an overtaking maneuver, but sometimes it does (think first corner in Spa). Thats why sometimes drivers go outside the track and don´t get punished like Vettel´s move on Button in Australia 2011 versus Vettel´s move on Button in Germany 2012 which resulted in a time penalty after the race.

    RoGro´s penalty was harsh and no doubt his past offences helped the stewards to make their decision but his team should have informed him to give the place back to Massa and that would have been it.

  80. Sleeves says:

    Grosjean needs time!
    That he has the speed, it is no doubt!
    He has gotten better when he’s not putting himself under pressure.
    In the final interviews, he starts to sound like Kimi, we’ll see ….
    Now all of a sudden he says a win is around the corner!
    As soon as he puts pressure on himself, it becomes a failure!
    Just like Masa, he needs the cuddle ….

  81. Seifenkistler says:

    Wouldn’t a few land mines placed outside the white lines quickly resolve this advantage or not problem by applying Darwinism?

  82. mj says:

    there is nothing new here, the penalties have been inconsistent for years, as far back as Senna, Mansell days. It’s part of the sport and politics too! inconsistency at the moment seems to be worse than ever though, and will disscourage drivers from driving at the limit on daring moves like Grosjean’s. F1 needs to grow a pair and allow some proper racing, an stop turning the races into a penalty fest, its boring! Unless a driver blatantly goes off the track what difference does it make? he was outside of the line by a centimetre or two. The likes of David Coulthard and others say, “rules are rules, if that was Moncaco you would be in the wall” well its NOT Monaco, so that is a pointless argument. You don’t go outside the lines in Monaco because you cant! other tracks drivers frequently cut the chicanes, kurbs and white lines in FP1, FP2 and Quali, either ban it from the start or leave it alone! The other problem is the stuards. Have one team that travel with the races, the same stuards, and the same ex drivers for every race, then there is consistency. GRosjean should have just bee sked to give the place back and no more. AS for the Button move, hmmm Ive seen plenty worse with no penatly. This penalty culture in F1 is breeding complacent , whiney drivers such as Button and Vettel and Alonso, whining at every opportunity. Would Ham, Kimmi or Webber have complained at that move? I doubt it, they would have just got on with it, since Grosjean would have passed them within the next lap or two anyway.

    1. Bartholomew says:

      “Would Ham, Kimmi or Webber have complained at that move?”

      Yes, even Kimi has had his radio moments in China and Monaco. Webber and swerving towards teammates post-race I’m sure wouldn’t “get on with it” either.

  83. Elie says:

    Okay James Im going to do an “about face” on Grosjean at Hungary. I just saw the race edit on F1 website and I gotta say it was just another silly mistake- he just moved over on Jendon, and he did have control.

    I find myself constantly looking for ways to defend him because he can very quick but honestly every time he is next to someone – he thinks he’s quicker than he is and keeps misjudging cars- alongside, in front , behind- it don’t matter he just feels he’s in position to push his way in front.
    Perhaps a GP 2 throwback. I don’t think it’s going to change !.
    I will now stick to what I said last year- despite his speed he will constantly fail in F1- he will nay win a few races but he will constantly crash with other drivers also – mostly likely when you would least expect it.

  84. Owen Brooker says:

    “A rule is a rule” – this is quite true – but why was it only applied to Grosjean? I bet there is not one driver who kept 4 wheels within the white lines for whole race – but no-one else was punished. If this rule had been applied at Canada over the years we would not have the “wall of champions”. In that location the edge of the track appears to be the wall itself, no matter that in order to brush the wall all 4 wheels are well off the circuit. Purely from a safety point of view the rule ought to be applied here too?

    1. dimitris says:

      Drivers do go off track all the time for many reasons and are not penalized when they do not do it in order to gain an advantage over an opponent. They also cut chicanes sometimes but if they make a habit of it they are warned and are penalized, and if they get in front of an opponent they have to give the place back. In quali if a driver cuts a chicane, then his time does not count. From the race edit of Formula1.com Grojean did not just go over the white line by a few inches, he was well off without being pushed by Massa. There are a few border-line incidents where a driver has to go off track to avoid a collision, but these are examined on a case to case basis.
      Just think a soccer player scoring a goal with his hand, should it be alllowed because it was a good move?

      1. Owen Brooker says:

        The hand ball rule is soccer makes the point clearly. If you touch the ball with any part of your arm, whether you gained an advantage or not then it is a foul. It doesn’t matter if you are close to the goal or not. If the edge of the track is the white line then you should have to stay within the white line “a rule is a rule”. The problem is the rule is being applied very selectively and it appears to be subjective.

  85. zx6dude says:

    He shouldn’t have been penalized for Massa’s overtake. That was a brilliant move.
    Button’s move. Yup deserved a penalty but during the race not one afterwards. Why is it that when there are lots of laps still remaining the stewards opt to decide after the race? I get that they may want to interview the driver but I think it spoils the race.

  86. Rod Aguirre says:

    Unfair.

  87. Matt says:

    I think it was pretty clear on the replays that he did end up with all 4 wheel’s off, although it was very close, rules are rules. All the team needed to do was recognise this and tell him to give the place back and he wouldn’t have been penalised so harshly.

    Not the first time Lotus haven’t been completely on the money with calls during the race.

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