Insider’s guide: What F1 penalties are there and how are they applied? –

December 23, 2021 by No Comments

F1 takes no prisoners when it comes to dangerous and unfair driving or breaking the rules. There is a hefty set of penalties for anyone who steps out of line, and at races the buck stops with the stewards.

This system encourages teams to stick to the regulations and also discourages drivers from misdemeanours that could include blocking, pushing track limits, ignoring flags, speeding in the pits or driving dangerously.

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What penalties are there in F1?

The stewards have a range of punishments in their arsenal to use throughout a race weekend.

If a team replaces certain car parts outside permitted limits, they are punished with grid position penalties. Other ‘non-standard’ breaches of the regulations can result in a wide range of consequences – including fines of up to $100 million!

Driver can be reprimanded twice for minor misdemeanours without any penalty, but get a third and if two were due to driving infringements it’s an immediate ten place grid penalty.

Clear rule infringements in any session are typically investigated at the end of running, with exceeding track limits a regular occurrence this season. Anyone that does it gets the offending lap deleted.

In the race itself, depending on the severity of the incident, the stewards have a set of four main increasingly harsh penalties:

Five-second or ten-second time penalties

These must be carried out when the driver next makes a planned stop or pits under a safety car. The car must sit stationary for the penalty time before any tyre changes or other work is done. If the planned stops are completed before the penalty is given, or it comes in the last three laps, they can choose not to pit and have the penalty time added to their final race time instead.

Drive-through penalty

In this case, the driver must go into the pits and drive straight through at limited speed without stopping. This one must be served quickly – within two laps of receiving notice – and it can’t be taken under a safety car. If it’s given out in the last three laps, 20 seconds are added to the driver’s finishing time instead.

Ten-second stop-and-go penalty

This follows the same serving conditions as a drive-through but the driver must stop in the team’s pit for at least ten seconds and then immediately re-join the race without any work being done to the car. If the penalty comes in the last three laps, 30 seconds are added to the driver’s finishing time. There have been 38 of these penalties since 2000, but only eight in the last six seasons.

In all these cases, if the driver doesn’t respond in time or a team works on the car when they are not supposed to, they could be disqualified. If the driver retires before serving the penalty, it turns into a grid place penalty at the next race.

As well as these, the stewards can actually choose to hand out any punishment they deem suitable. This ranges from a simple reprimand for a wrongdoing to a disqualification or suspension in extreme circumstances.




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