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Teams against adding ballast to penalise drivers

  • Published on 21 Sep 2019 08:48
  • comments 2
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Team principals have been left unimpressed by proposals to replace the current grid penalty system with ballast penalties. 

It has been recently suggested that adding ballast to the cars could replace demoting drivers to the back of the grid when they take on engine components outside the provided quota. 

However, team bosses are not pleased with the suggestion.

"I’m not a big fan at all of the ballast, not ballast success, but ballast penalty," said Alfa Romeo's Frederic Vasseur. "I think it would be even worse for the race.

"At least when you have the penalty you start from the back it could spice a little bit the race but if you have the ballast penalty it would be even worse."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says F1 should try to find a more balanced penalty to punish those that exceed those who exceed the number of power unit components that can be used during a season.

"I think we’ve seen in other categories that it doesn’t work," he said. "It screws your whole weekend, not just the qualifying.

"The only shame about what we have at the moment is that it potentially robs the fans on a Saturday of seeing drivers going for a qualifying position. If we look at Monza, Max taking part for a couple of laps in Q1, not wanting to progress past Q2.

"I think if we could find a more balanced penalty than just straight to the back of the grid we should consider it, so that you are still encouraging drivers on a Saturday to be going for a qualifying position."

Cyril Abiteboul of Renault added that a time penalty applied in the race or after the race would allow for the result to be affected, but not the on-track action.

"A time penalty you could serve under your pit stop or that would be added at the end of the race and that would just encourage better racing without altering the starting position, without altering also qualifying," he said.

"And frankly I don’t understand why, I don’t understand the unintended consequences, I don’t understand why it’s not more commonly supported, but there must be a good reason."

McLaren CEO Zak Brown concurred with Abiteboul, stating that implementing a time penalty would be a "clean" method of punishing the drivers.

"I agree with Cyril, so you got one vote," he commented. "I think a time penalty is pretty clean to understand. It doesn’t mix up the grid, you serve it at your pit stop.

"Strategy comes into play, when do you pit, tyres etc. So that I think would be the simplest, least disruption, the easiest to understand and would add some excitement to the race."

Replies (2)

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  • i don't know, depends how much it hurts racing

    • + 0
    • Sep 21 2019 - 11:37
  • abhidbgt

    Posts: 229

    The only advantage of time penalty is that it would result in action in middle of the race when the time penalty is served. So leaders can build a sizeable gap to trailing cars and then avoid overtaking slower cars on account of the gap created earlier. Many other possibilities exist for this solution but it can still be a better solution than grid penalties.

    • + 0
    • Sep 21 2019 - 11:38

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