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Glock to miss GP as grid changes are confirmed
Glock to miss GP as grid changes are confirmed
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Oct 2009   |  2:55 am GMT  |  26 comments

Timo Glock will miss the Japanese Grand Prix today following his heavy accident in qualifying. The Toyota driver suffered a 5cm cut in the back of his left leg. Doctors on Sunday morning advised him against racing.

This is a blow for Toyota, who ran Kamui Kobayashi on Friday in the practice session as Glock was reported to be suffering from flu. Toyota applied for Kobayashi to be given dispensation to race, but this was rejected because a driver must compete on the second day of a GP meeting.

Everyone in the F1 paddock has been trying to work out what the grid will be for this afternoon’s race. It became a popular game and almost nobody got it right.

For a start none of the five offenders have actually gone back the five places they were given.

Because so many drivers were given penalties, the key to it was the time at which the offence occured and at which the stewards considered it.

The winners from the revised grid are, Kimi Raikkonen, who goes from 8th to 5th, Nico Rosberg, who goes from 11th to 7th and Robert Kubica who was 13th and is now 9th.

Ironically Rubens Barrichello, is also a winner here. He was given a penalty for missing the yellow flags, but it only drops him down one place on the grid, from 5th to 6th.

Explain that to someone who isn’t a Formula 1 fan; how can a five place drop mean a drop of only one place? And even more whacky is the fact that he starts in front of Adrian Sutil, who was also penalised but who actually qualified in front of him! It’s not the stewards’ fault, the rules are what they are. But is it fair?

It’s like something from Alice in Wonderland.

But it is a classic example of the dysfunctionality of F1, the over-complication which has evolved into the system and which makes the sport so hard to explain to people at home. If you want a successful product, confuse your public at your peril.

And because of people’s natural scepticism, many will believe that Barrichello has been put 6th and Jenson Button 10th to keep the championship alive, when there is a perfectly logical explanation; except that it is illogical for Barrichello to get a five place penalty and drop only one place.

As for the race, Vettel may struggle to keep Hamilton with his KERS system behind him at the start. But he has the pace and the extra lap of fuel, to pass him at the first stops and drive off to win. Hamilton has the pace to keep everyone else at bay so I think he will finish second and Barrichello’s good fortune with the grid and his fuel load, suggest that he should be able to finish third today and take a few more points out of Button. Rosberg and Raikkonen are well placed to have a strong run.

Grid for Japanese Grand Prix (Changes in brackets)
1 Vettel
2 Trulli
3 Hamilton
4 Heidfeld (+2)
5 Raikkonen (+3)
6 Barrichello (-1)
7 Rosberg (+4)
8 Sutil (-4)
9 Kubica (+4)
10 Button (-3)
11 Kovalainen (-3) gearbox change
12 Alguersuari (+3)
13 Buemi (-3) Impeding
14 Fisichella (+2)
15 Nakajima ( (+2)
16 Alonso (-4)
17 Grosjean (+1)
18 Liuzzi (+1)

Starting from pit lane: Webber
Non Starter: Glock

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Well, this is likely to be my last season watching F1 for various reasons, but you know what…I’m actually not sure I’ll miss it.


If you look at the FIA media centre page you can see the official grid, with the order that penalties were applied.

They are indeed:








Glock withdrawn

Presumably, as Richard says, this was in the order that the offences occurred, although that is not stated (so much for transparency!)

I followed it through with my own high tech method (pencil & paper) and concur. Given the extent of the changes, it would have been very nice if the FIA had actually explained all this…


As far as I can tell if the penalties were processed in a strictly chronological order

Sutil (7th) & Rosberg (8th) should have been swapped. The same with Button (9th) & Kubica (10th); and also Buemi (12th) & Alguersuari (13th).

Lets look at the two Brawn drivers – Rubens started out in 5th which became 10th with a 5-place penalty. Jenson moves up from 7th to 6th

because Rubens is demoted. Next they apply Jenson’s penalty, dropping him to 11th.

Sutil would drop from 4th to 9th with Rubens

gaining one place (8th).

Next Buemi would be demoted from 7th to 12th which pushes RB to 7th & JB to 10th.

Heikki’s gearbox change drops him from 6th to 11th which also elevates RB (to 6th) & JB (to 9th). Robert Kubica doesn’t change and stays



OK, I can now answer my own question. They

processed the five drivers involved in the

Buemi incident like this:






By inserting Buemi between the others they

managed to demote Sutil, Button and Buemi

by an extra place compared to processing Buemi

after the other four.

Who knows why?


Presumably because they know the exact moment that Buemi first impeded somebody (Kubica?) and it was before Button entered the yellow flag zone.


So do I take it that Buemi’s penalty was for holding someone up not just dragging his bag of bolts along the track dangerously?

I ask because it would seem (to me, at least) to stand to reason that the man who caused the yellows that caused all four subsequent penalties would be the first name on the list!


The rule is that the penalties are applied in the order of when they were committed.

There’s nothing sinister and unfair about it. Complaining about it would be a bit like complaining about the tiebreaker rule of whomever set the time first when dealing with identical qualifying times. If it only happens once every couple of years it’s not a problem, if suddenly 8 drivers set identical times the same old line about “try explaining this to a non F1 fan” gets rolled out. Why do we need to explain these things to a non F1 fan anyway? F1 is a complex sport and there’s no need for it to be dumbed down for people who don’t care.



Matt. I think your remarks are a little harsh, I am an avid F1 fan & have been so for 25 years. I also write a report in a local magazine but, a five place penalty is a five place penalty. Sutil qualified 1 place ahead of Barrichello but started 2 places behind him same offence. Sutil & Alonso (-) 4, Button & Buemi (-) 3, Kovi (-) 2 & barrichello (-) 1. In my mind this is all wrong, (-) 5 for all.


AlexD – you are not alone – F1 is so fixed, it bores me to death…

To me, Button represents the utter failure of F1 as a sport – he has the skills of a dodo…

Utter garbage…


Call me crazier than a sack of madness, but could the FIA change the rules so that when a driver gets a 5 place penalty, they, like, add say hmmm… maybe 5 to his grid slot, and that gives his new grid position?

Jeff in Ohio, USA

It’s not just casual fans of F1 who may be confused by the grid positions for today’s race.

I’ve followed F1 closely for 40 years, and I totally clueless regarding the stewards’ decisions. Pleaee explain when your schedule allows!



I was wondering what you are going to say, James when you are going to see that Rubens is 6th and Button is 10th. There is no such thing as fair in the way penalties were applied – it is just not logical.

I am watching F1 since 1997, I guess and this year I am completely tired, I really do not know how much longer I will be in the game. My brother is watching F1 for a long time, but this year he barely knows who is racing and when, his interest has fallen below 0 level. There are other people that I know that were running F1 websites for many years and they stopped this business this year as they no longer enjoy the sport.

I personally feel that F1 is making fool of me and I really need to ask myself a question – do I really want to invest my time in this any longer.

Such a bad feeling I have…and I am not planning to watch a race today. Why would I? It is being manipulated, so I have other things to do.


Don’t be so overdramatic and pathetic. The penalties were applied in the order they occurred, there is nothing random or illogical about it. With that attitude it won’t be long before long you start accusing Red Bull of paying their sister team to crash and cause the red flag in the first place.

Buemi ran out of talent. Alonso went past first without slowing down, followed by Barrichello, then Button. Next, Buemi held up Kubica trying to drag his car back to the pit, earning his penalty. Finally, Sutil set his time by overtaking Buemi under the yellow flags to get his penalty. Finally, Kovi got his 5 place penalty because they chose to replace the gearbox after qualifying ended.

You don’t even need a Brawn super computer to work out the final order, just a piece of paper and a pen. The key thing is that because Barichello was one of the first to get his penalty (putting him behind Button, Buemi and Kovi) he then shuffled back up the order when they had their 5 place drops. Seemples.


I totally agree with your sentiment Peter, it’s just a matter of logic. I believe, however, that your order is slightly out – in order to arrive at the grid that they started with, Buemi must have been penalised before Button, so the order of penalties must have been Alonso, Barrichello, Buemi, Button, Sutil, Kovaleinen (ignoring Liuzzi as he was last anyway).


And to those who say it’s illogical that Sutil started behind Barrichello, there’s at least an argument that his offence was worse as he had far longer to react and back off.


Although I accept that the penalties have been applied as per the rule book, it’s difficult for me not to feel the same way sometimes.

Given the recent revelations about what some people in the sport will do, and knowing of Bernie’s love of a last-race championship showdown, one has to wonder just a little bit about Buemi’s accident.

It’s sad to have to type that, but who or what can we trust anymore? I’ve been following F1 for over 15 years now, and I haven’t felt this bad since Austria 2002.


I want Barichello to get podium and keep title challenge open and Trulli to win 1st Toyota race.


I wish race control or the stewards would explain their reasoning for the way the grid turned out.


According to Brawn engineers there is an official explanation and when their strategist ran it through the computer it came up with the same grid as the official one. As far as Brawn are concerned there is nothing odd about it. I hope that the explanation will be made public.


Hilarious. They may as well have had the drivers pick their starting positions from a hat!


this is absolutely crazy!! i posted when the penalties were announced about how they were to be applied, and did a few different ways on my little spreadsheet (yes i’m a geek!) as i realised that if they were done sequentially, then most of them wouldn’t actually receive a 5 place grid drop.

surely it would have been fairer to take their finishing positions, add 5 to each, that stays still and then the remaining drivers fill the gaps in order. that bari moves back only one place for exactly the same misdemeanour as alonso who moves back four places is just stupid, there’s no other word for it. the FIA have screwed up again, and the rules need looking at.


Yup, that’d be the way to do it, unless anyone can come up with some good reason why that might not work sometimes.

Still, at least this way Bernie will be happy…

Mammalian Verisimilitude

The only way it wouldn’t work is if you had someone get a five-place penalty, while someone in front gets a ten-place penalty, and you both end up in the same position as a result.

The solution’s fairly simple – apply the five-place penalties first, simultaneously; then the ten-place penalties, again simultaneously with one another; then any back-of-the-grid penalties.

The only other minor mess this may cause would be that you’d have to make a slight allowance for those at the back (obviously, Liuzzi [who qualified 19th with a five-place penalty to be added] couldn’t start 24th out of 18, but they’d just get stacked at the back in the order they qualified).

It would still make a hellavalot more sense than today’s mess.


James, If at all possible, would you try to find the sequence of penalties for the affected drivers and show how the grid wound up as it did. It does seem odd but I’m sure the rules are sufficently clear to understand how it turned out as it did, but it would be interesting see, so i can understand them in better detail. Where did the transmission changes come in relative to the running order of Buemi’s (?) crash?

And what order were the penalties handed out.

Hope you can help.

Thanks for the great site.

I turned on the lights to correct my typing, so if possible delete my previous post.




I am very confused could you please give a more detailed explanation of how the penalties were handed out to result in this bizarre situation.


Just when we thought it couldnt possibly get any more weird… probably in keeping with the way this season has gone…inexplicable…should be an intriguing race…

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