- Sebastian Vettel driving in the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix for Aston Martin

OPINION: FIA's killing F1 by penalising every incident that happens

I honestly think the FIA is doing all it can to turn F1 race weekends into F1 fast-parade weekends.

7w ago

Do I even know where to start with the FIA? The FIA has been around in F1 since the 1990s at least and for a while it was ok. Races were entertaining, penalties and disqualifications were less controversial, incidents are dealt with accordingly. Over time, this governing body has turned more into an organisation that wants to ban racing, rather than allowing racing at its finest. I'm not talking the more dangerous kind of racing, but hard racing, fair racing, the reason people watch Formula 1. RACING!


Vettel being disqualified is one of the most controversial penalties of the season so far. The FIA couldn't take out it's mandatory 1 litre sample from the car after the race, because the fuel ran out. Instead of penalising the Constructor / Team by docking 18 points from them, they decide to disqualify Vettel, for having less than 0.3 litres of fuel left at the end of the race, due to the team thinking they were not going to be fighting for a potential victory, but rather, they would be lapped, so they fuelled for 69 laps, rather than 70, leading the Aston Martin to be forced to park up on the cooldown lap. A simple deduction of the 18 points (essentially, a disqualification from Hungary) towards the team that Vettel brought home with a P2, while letting Vettel keep his P2, might have sufficed.


Yes, the incident that had Lando Norris fans fuming. The McLaren driver lost a potential chance of fighting for P2 because of a penalty for an incident that occurred at the safety car restart in Austria, which saw the Brit accidentally force an impatient Perez off the track. Perez was sent into the gravel and tumbled down the order as a result. Lando Norris got a 5 second time penalty for the incident.


Vettel inadvertently running Hamilton off the track

Vettel inadvertently running Hamilton off the track

The FIA gave Sebastian Vettel a 5-second time penalty for an unsafe re-entry that forced Hamiton off the circuit. Yes, Vettel got a time penalty for accidentally leaving the track and accidentally rejoining in an unsafe manner. This penalty was so harsh, that the driver who benefitted from the resulting time penalty, Lewis Hamilton, even said the "penalty wasn't his decision" and disagreed with it, even going as far to allow Vettel on the top step with him, before Vettel took his allocated spot on the rostrum again. The FIA could have - and SHOULD have- told Vettel to let Hamilton by.


Russell was denied a points finish by a grid penalty for a Lap 1 incident during the inaugural F1 Sprint in Silverstone. Russell accidentally forced the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz off the track after a brief lockup. Russell was set for a shock P9 start and a points chance, before the stewards ruled him fully responsible. Incidents on Lap 1 of a race are usually deemed as a Racing Incident, but the Stewards decided a 3-place grid penalty was appropriate.


The FIA can reduce the amount of penalties given in any single race, by giving drivers a "slap on the wrist", known as a non-driving reprimand. In Canada 2019, Vettel could and should have been told to give back the P1 he was holding to Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton probably would have won it either way, but this way, Hamilton and Vettel could have had a battle for the race lead again. Of course, when appropriate, like in Silverstone when they penalised Hamilton, or in Budapest, when they penalised Bottas and Stroll with a 5-place grid penalty for their next race. Overall, the FIA could deem more incidents as racing incidents, give reprimands and have drivers give back a position to the driver they forced off the track. At this rate, overtakes will be banned in 2022.

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Comments (22)

  • It's a good job the FIA weren't watching the BTCC and its support races on the same weekend they might have fainted

      1 month ago
  • I agree it's getting silly. Far too many Racing Incidents have been deemed penalties of late. Its almost like the stewards feel that they have to penalise someone in a collision to make it look like they're doing something.

    The Bottas Bowling Ball incident is the only penalty I agree with this season.

      1 month ago
  • The problem is not the penalties. The problem is the impressionable and uneducated fans, who believe the necessity and severity of a penalty has to be defined by the volumes of carbon fibre confetti and the number of flips cars perform in the course of an incident. While in reality, at least by rules and any kind of common sense, the spectacle should have ZERO impact on the judgement. The fact of breaking the rules, the intention, the recklessness and ineptitude are the only factors that should determine the penalty.

    When one driver breaks the rule pushing a competitor off the track it may result in nothing at all, or it may result in the latter being killed. The outcome is often determined by outside circumstances and pure luck. I'll argue, for a rule written in blood a 5 second penalty is an absolute disgrace.

      1 month ago
  • Vettel's DQ is easy, black and white. The team broke the rule which prevents using illegal fuels. I'm sorry that happened, he didn't deserve that happening, but it just did. The team messed up.

      1 month ago
  • I understand the vettel penalty from last weekend it's in the regulation and it's quite clear that you should have 1L of fuel and it's not like vettel or Aston Martin were particularly targeted everyone had to adhere to this reg even fast charging lewis Hamilton or last finisher Giovinazzi. This rule isn't open to interpretation by the stewards it's pretty black and white.

      1 month ago
    • Not only should "have 1l" but "be able to extract 1l". Whether there's 10 more litres in the car that they can't get out doesn't even matter.

        1 month ago