Calls grow for F1 and FIA to introduce ‘harsher’ driver penalty system

Henry Valantine
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez in the garage during the F1 Japanese Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez in the garage during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer has joined the calls for a stronger penalty system in the sport, with more robust measures in place to punish drivers.

With five-second penalties proving to be not enough of a deterrent at times this season, with faster cars simply able to drive well clear of slower rivals to maintain position, there have been calls for a review into how penalties are dished out in F1.

When comparing different incidents, Palmer believes the punishments some drivers have received have been “disproportionate”, and those in slower cars have suffered more as a result.

Jolyon Palmer joins calls for stronger F1 penalties

In terms of recent examples, Lewis Hamilton was able to maintain position at Monza after his five-second penalty for colliding with Oscar Piastri, pushing hard to get enough of a gap at the finish to hold onto his place by the end.

And for Sergio Perez, he was given the same punishment for overtaking Fernando Alonso under Safety Car conditions as he dived into the pit entry at Suzuka – leading to the bizarre situation late in the race where he was sent back out after retiring to serve his penalty, so he would not have to take it in Qatar.

Reflecting on that moment and others from the season so far, former Renault driver Palmer believes action needs to be taken to proportionately punish drivers where necessary.

“It was a logical move by the team,” Palmer wrote in a column for about Perez coming back out again at Suzuka.

“It must have been a chastising experience for the driver, but he’ll have known it was the pragmatic approach to start with a clean slate next time out.

“It does beg the question from me though: does the penalty system need a review for next season?

“Should a driver get the same penalty for stealing a couple of tenths on pit entry – as Checo also did in Japan – as for spinning a rival around?

“Alonso got the same penalty in Singapore for crossing the pit entry line as Perez did for knocking Albon out of contention in the same race. This seems disproportionate to me. recommends

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“The five-second penalty definitely serves a purpose but there’s a growing feeling that it’s inadequate to punish drivers who are 100% to blame for an incident that grossly affects a rival. I’m in this camp too.

“There are many incidents, like the Hamilton and Perez one in the Spa Sprint, when you can argue a case for it being a racing incident or for one driver who is slightly more to blame.

“But in incidents like we’ve seen in Singapore and Japan, I think it’s hard to provide any defence for Perez.

“Moving forwards, I think harsher punishments should and probably will be brought in.

“A five-second penalty can be costly, but for the big teams it’s also too easy to overcome – as Hamilton also showed in Monza – while the minnows on the receiving end are left licking their wounds.”

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