Novel ideal proposed to curb ‘childish irritations’ with football-styled ‘yellow cards’

Michelle Foster
Eventual race winner Max Verstappen pushes Charles Leclerc wide as they fight for the lead.

Max Verstappen received a five-second penalty for forcing Charles Leclerc off the track.

Tired of “childish” driver attempts to get rivals penalised, Gary Anderson has called for F1 to introduce football-style “yellow cards” that would force the drivers to “police themselves.”

From track limits to the rules of engagement, this year’s championship has seen too many penalties, some more just than others.

In the last two races of the season Max Verstappen was given a five-second penalty for pushing Charles Leclerc off the track at the start of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, while in Abu Dhabi Sergio Perez was given that same time penalty for an incident with Lando Norris.

‘It would hopefully put an end to the childish irritation’

But while Verstappen’s was deemed to be too lenient, Perez’s was judged by many to be too harsh who they felt it was hard racing and not worth the driver dropping from second to fifth in the classification.

Anderson, formerly Jordan and Jaguar’s F1 technical director, went as far as to say that Perez’s penalty is what is “wrong” with F1.

“Sergio Perez’s clash with Lando Norris in Abu Dhabi and his subsequent five-second penalty sums up a lot that is wrong with how penalties are applied in F1,” he told the Telegraph.

“We want to invite racing but it seems that the liberal handing out of small penalties is discouraging it by creating disproportionate punishments for minor incidents.

“Perez’s overtake of Norris was a reasonable racing move. Both drivers were responsible and could have avoided contact if they really wanted to.

“Neither driver suffered any damage and that is one reason why this should be deemed a racing incident.

“Norris went off the road to maintain his position so in effect that could be one of his three allowable track limits infringements.”

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He reckons Formula 1 could eradicate the penalty problem with “yellow cards.”

That would’ve opened the door for Verstappen to give the lead back to Leclerc in Las Vegas, which the Ferrari driver believed would’ve been the better solution, or risk a harsher post-race penalty.

“One solution is instead of handing out in-race penalties, notice could be put on the monitor stating that incidents like this would be investigated after the race, leaving the team and driver to consider their immediate options,” he continued.

“Both teams and drivers involved in that post-race process and the reaction of the team and driver at the time of the incident would be taken into account. This puts the onus on the teams to potentially police themselves.

“If anyone is found to be significantly at fault and did not react a black mark can go against their name, in addition to points or positions being lost if the incident is judged to be egregious and serious enough.

“If a driver reaches three ‘black marks’, for example, then that could mean a penalty of some form with additional infringements leading to punishments of increasing strength up to a race ban. It would be similar to how the totting up of yellow cards happens in football.

“Even so, quite often the five-second penalty is not enough of a punishment when it is applied for a larger misdemeanour. Max Verstappen ran Charles Leclerc off the road in the first corner of the race in Las Vegas leaving the Ferrari to run in dirty air but this allowed him to use his superior car to entirely negate the time disadvantage.

“It would also hopefully put an end to the childish irritation of drivers and teams complaining on the radio in an attempt to see their rivals penalised.”

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