At-risk drivers call for ‘joke’ penalty points rethink as dreaded race ban threshold looms

Henry Valantine
The drivers start the race in Miami. Penalty points

Penalty points are a hot topic in Formula 1 at the moment, with several drivers close to a race ban.

Several Formula 1 drivers have called for a rethink of how penalty points are distributed during race weekends, with a few approaching the 12-point threshold that would trigger a race ban.

Kevin Magnussen has accumulated 10 on his Super Licence after a series of punishments this season have gone against him, but Williams driver Logan Sargeant called out what he believed was a “joke” of a penalty from China, whereby he received two penalty points for overtaking under Safety Car conditions.

Drivers call for penalty points rethink as 12-point threshold approaches

Fernando Alonso has been punished with two three-point infringements on his Super Licence so far this season, with the stewards opting to add penalty points for different punishments as they see fit.

Sargeant currently sits near top of these particular standings on eight penalty points, along with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, with any points accrued wiped after one year.

While no driver has yet been banned for a race under this system, it is as close as it has been to a race ban occurring – with multiple drivers an incident or two away from finding themselves on the sidelines for a Grand Prix weekend, which Sargeant does not believe should be the case, given the way penalty points are currently distributed.

“It’s a great question,” Sargeant responded when asked if penalty points are now given away too easily in Formula 1, having received more in China.

“I think mine was extremely frustrating. I think the penalty is one thing. I think to get penalty points for what it was, was a bit of a joke.

“I think a lot worse things happen throughout the weekend that you just get reprimanded for.

Who is running closest to a race ban as it stands in Formula 1?

👉 F1 penalty points: Kevin Magnussen on the edge of race ban after Miami punishments

👉 F1 jargon decoded: Breaking down what key Formula 1 words mean

“I’ve had people in qualifying slow down in front of me, nearly have huge crashes, and nothing happens.

“But then when I cross the line at the same time as someone else and you can’t even see it, you get two penalty points – and I think it’s not a great direction to be heading in.”

Lance Stroll, sat beside Sargeant, is sat on seven penalty points, was slightly more nonplussed, adding: “Yeah, I mean, it is what it is. Penalty points aren’t going away.”

Perez took a more joking view of the situation, adding – prior to Haas driver Magnussen taking the unwanted top spot in this particular table away from him: “I’m leading the championship currently on the penalty points!

“I think that already the penalties, sometimes you already pay the consequences for that and to add some penalty points, and given that we have now more races, I think it’s something that definitely should be looked at.

“Every incident if you see of all the points that every driver gets, there are a lot of points that are probably over the line, but the rule is there.

“But hopefully in the future it’s something that can be reviewed.”

Read next: F1 2024 strugglers giving drivers ‘a lot to consider’ before committing their futures