Schmidt's F1 blog: Too many penalties again

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E it wasn't that long ago we were upset about the stewards' fury. Let the race go, we asked. Penalties should only be used for serious offenses. Like in Hungary in 2010, when Michael Schumacher tried to force Rubens Barrichello into the pit wall. That could have ended in a bad accident.

Was Paul Ricard's start-up accident a serious offense? I say: It was an everyday accident, as it has happened 1,000 times in Formula 1 and probably went through 950 times with impunity until the FIA ​​started playing the justice of the peace.

Okay, Sebastian Vettel has the race destroyed by Valtteri Bottas. His own too, by the way. But whether he finishes in front of Bottas or behind him, whether the penalty really punishes him or not, that cannot be a measure of the penalty. The stewards cannot know how the race will end at the time the judgment is reached. You cannot wait until the end of the race because then the result would have to be corrected. Nobody wants that either.

Mitigating circumstances in the case of start-up accidents

Start-up accidents must be assessed separately anyway. In the hustle and bustle of the first lap, you can misjudge yourself. Also a four-time world champion. If he always gave up his place voluntarily, he would never have become world champion.

That shouldn't gloss over Vettel's action. There was an error. A misjudgment that shouldn't happen to a driver in his class. But it was not negligence, not a hara-kiri maneuver with no prospect of success. Lewis Hamilton called for a tougher sentence for Vettel. But what would that be gained? Even with a 10-second penalty, Vettel would have finished fifth and ahead of Bottas.

A drive-through penalty? Then you would have had to exclude Pierre Gasly from the next race if you wanted to stay in the relationship. The Toro Rosso driver completely destroyed Esteban Ocon's race. Bottas at least finished in the points.

By the way, Romain Grosjean also got 5 seconds grunted because he drove into the car on the approach to the first corner of Ocon. The Force India was at least as damaged as Bottas' Mercedes. Why did no one demand a tougher sentence for Grosjean.

Too much interference by the FIA ​​commissioners

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At the second pit stop, the mechanics had to wait 5 seconds.

I think everyone should calm down now. Especially the stewards. You're interfering too much in the race for me again. I would have said that if Bottas had braked himself and Vettel had driven in the car.

Just a small example of the excitement and regulation mania of our time. You will definitely remember the start of the 1989 French GP in Paul Ricard. Mauricio Gugelmin completely missed the braking point, got up on Thierry Boutsens Williams and landed on the rear wing of Nigel Mansell's Ferrari.

It could also have been Mansell's head. Mansell had to drive out of the pit lane at the restart. His race was also destroyed. Did anyone demand a penalty for Gugelmin back then? You will agree with me that this scene was a lot more dangerous than what Vettel did this year.

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