F1 drivers rally against penalty points & the FIA are open to talks
The 2022 Formula 1 campaign has turned into another year of claim, counterclaim, a focus on regulations and plenty of rule change tweaks and for newer fans to the sport of racing, terms like bouncing and porpoising are again the flavour of the month.
After everything that has been argued about during the campaign so far, it looks increasingly like Red Bull and Max Verstappen will again totally run away with the Drivers and Constructors Championships given their massive leads as we now go into the Brazilian Grand Prix in Interlagos, São Paulo.
However, as is always the way with F1, it looks like the arguments and debates are not yet over for the year with the newest one hitting the headlines concerning F1 drivers pushing for a change in the penalty points system. The current system is like playing online roulette at Ignition Casino, as the drivers feel they are being banned from races for frivolous and unimportant offences.
Speaking ahead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly commented that he was 'a bit embarrassed' to be two licence points off a mandatory one race ban, and he was backed strongly by Mercedes driver George Russell who said that 'the penalty does not fit the crime, especially in Pierre's case. The rules aren't in the right place'.
Governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile's approach to various administrative matters has increasingly come into focus this campaign and Russell, Grand Prix Drivers' Association director, has already informed drivers that changes could soon be afoot after the plethora of complaints and controversies.
"They have expressed that were going to have the conversation in the off-season and review all of this. There is a lot to review this season in many different regards, so the FIA are definitely going to have a busy off-season. In sport, you have to be ready and able to adapt, you have regulations in place and it only takes one incident to recognise maybe the regulation isn't quite right. We need to have the capability to change things and take penalty points away afterwards if we all agree it was incorrect."
Gasly himself finds himself on ten penalty points following a series of incidents in the 2022 season, ranging from collisions with rivals, to speeding under red flag conditions. He has also had his moments of exceeding track limits and not staying within the required distance of the safety car, and under the current rules, any driver who reaches 12 points in any rolling 12 month period receives an automatic one race ban.
Whether fans agree or not, Gasly has even openly discussed whether it would be more advantageous to his season, given his position, if he were to deliberately accrue the remaining two points in Brazil, so he can serve the ban and wipe his record clean in the final race out in Abu Dhabi next weekend. Of course, should he not do this, then the ban continues to hang over his head as he switches to the Alpine team next year.
"It is a very unpleasant situation and quite delicate and in some ways also a bit embarrassing to be standing in a position where I could be banned for a race. After the season I have done, I don't particularly feel I have been particularly dangerous and that would be a very harsh penalty. There have been a lot of discussions with the FIA to avoid the penalty. There is a lot at stake. No-one knows what could happen in 2023. I could have an amazing car and be fighting for the championship. I can't take the risk to miss a race. It is a very tricky situation. I hope we can avoid the situation where I end up being banned for a race. I can't go into next year with only two points and that risk over my head but at the same time there is no clear solution."
Gasly has a lot of support here from his fellow drivers and an FIA spokesman has confirmed to the likes of the BBC that a review will be held this winter, but as things stand, Gasly will serve his ban if he picks up those extra two points this year - whether or not a subsequent change means he would not serve a ban, and would have his record wiped clean for 2023, remains unknown at this stage.
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