August 30, 2010

Necessary Accident?

Vettel was punished for "Causing an unecessary accident" , I imagine the race stewards, which included Nigel Mansell again, must have come to the conclusion that Barrichello slamming into Alonso was a "Necessary accident"?

Indeed, Barrichello was out of the race but certainly the FIA is known to give penalties to be served in future races, witness Schumacher. Perhaps these penalties depend on who is being hit and who is doing the hitting.

No question about it, Vettel made a driving mistake but looking at the long onboard replay, it does not look as close as it does from trackside shots. It was an unforced error but were the stewards correct in inflicting the drive through?

The perennial problem with Formula 1, the inconsistent application of penalties. Let's review a few notable incidents this season, I'm sure I forgot a few, but can we find a pattern?

- Webber hit Hamilton in Melbourne; no penalty
- Hamilton released in the path of Vettel in China: no penalty
- Button went unnecessarily slow behind the SC in China - no sanction.
- Barrichello tosses his steering wheel in the path of other cars in Monaco; no sanction
- Schumacher safety car move in Monaco; 20second penalty
- Schumacher vs Barrichello in Hungary : 10 grid spot penalty
- Vettel let too much space in Hungary behind the SC: Drive through
- Kubica hit Sutil in the pits at Hungary - 10 second penalty.
- Trulli hit Di Grassi under yellow in qualifying Spa; No penalty
- Vettel lost control of hit car and hit someone; DT-penalty
- Barrichello brakes too late and hit Alonso; No Penalty

end of post


  1. I thought the marshals at Spa did everything they could to turn an awesome race into a boring one. The boys are RACING and they're bound to screw things up once in a while if they're truly at the edge. Over-policing leads to negative racing in my mind.
    However, you have to wonder how many times Vettel can get away with clobbering other drivers while trying to pass them before he becomes driver-non-grata in the pitlane.
    Also, what was the first safety car all about? I didn't see anything (other than a few slippery corners) that was creating a dangerous situation.

  2. I think the drive through was entirely deserved, Vettel's hot-headedness is costing him race win after race win, though at least he was gracious enough to admit his wrong-doing afterwards.

    Also, last time I checked it was quite tricky to give a drive through to a guy that was back in the motorhome (Barrichello).

  3. That's what grid spot drops are for Anon.

  4. Judging by your list of incidents, the steward seem to have problems with the german drivers..

  5. Since the Webber incident... Vettel has a bit a reputation of being a little over the edge. So the stewards I think tend to deal a little harsher with him vs others. Think Dennis Rodman in the NBA - once you have a rep of being a "bad boy" you get penalized whether you deserve it or not.

  6. Are you forgetting Spa 2008?
    Are you also forgetting a $100million fine?

  7. The Vettel & Barichello incidents were very different. Barichello mis-judged a braking point in the rain. Vettel was trying some crazy unrealistic overtaking manoeuvre & screwed it up.

  8. I don't see an optimistic overtaking maneuver from the onboard. BTW. Anyone notice how much Vettel's front wing flexes as he gets right under the McLaren?

  9. Honestly, I think the Vettel's attempt looks somewhat reasonable after watching the onboard. He was certainly pressing but what caught him out was the bit of rain. If it had been dry there nothing would have come of it. I think he just misjudged his grip level.

    Barrichello's mistake was far more inexcusable in my eyes. It reminds me of the 1998 Spa crash where Panis comes flying in like 10 seconds after the crash is over and just looks like a total schmuck for not burying the brakes in at least some attempt at accident avoidance. No idea is Panis was penalized back then, but probably not since the whole field was scrap.

  10. @AC
    you are correct about the front movement.
    Actually watch carefully from the start of the onboard video you posted. It actually looks like its moving following the steering input of Seb. Very impressive...

  11. I don't think vettel's accident was so simple as a driver error. Uneven front/rear brake temps can cause massive brake bias swing. From simulator experience, it looked like he was caught out by an initial rear bias due to the fact that the front brakes would have been much colder than the rears at first application.

  12. I thought this very thing at the time.

    Schumacher NEARLY puts Barry in the wall. 10 place drop. Barry smashes into Nando because he forgets to brake and gets nothing.

  13. completely agree with this post. People are way to harsh on vettel, they act like he crashes someone every race.

  14. Does heavy braking take weight of the rear wheels in an F1 car? I'm thinking a car is not very stable during heavy braking, then toss in the "jerk on the wheel" direction change with a slick track makes things like this happen. It's just unfortunate that he collected JB.

  15. Accidents happen. if he'd gained an advantage, issue a penalty. But pitting for a new nose was enough.

    Barrichello liekwise. Penalty was retirement. Utterly remarkable the Ferrari could continue.

    Interestingly no penalty for Massa despite being a metre over the line at the start.

    But whatever Red Bull are doing to get that front wing to dip is impressive. They are very cleverly beating the rule book and I respect Adrian Newey for finding the loophole.

    Unfortunate Vettels brilliance is being compromised by him own impetuousness but he'll learn.

    Can't take away from Hamilton, webber and kubica for running great races though.

  16. It was an accident.

    From the onboard it doesn't look like his inputs were to cut around Button but the wing flex and rear brakes probably coupled with poor grip caused and upset in the balance of the car which he couldn't catch Penalty was too harsh - despite his poor reputation and deserved with sealing the deal on passes.

  17. i can't stand the fact that in almost every f1 related post AC always tries to fuel the idea of a Britain/McLaren mafia against every other driver.

    God you're so Ferrari-biased my friend!

    Vettel made an Unncecessary manouver at the moment and directly put Button, a World Championship contender, out of the race = penalty

    PS: note that Vettel also crashed into Liuzzi in the same race, just to mantain his crash per race avg!

  18. the front wing's flex is VERY impressive!

    any onboard video of a McLaren or Ferrari to compare?

  19. Button is a championship contender? Who actually believes that a McLaren securing the Driver's Championship this year would come at the hands of Button over Hamilton?

  20. Well nobody seems to have any problem with claiming a Ferrari mafia....

    In my view F1 racing is a bit too anglo-centric, especially when it comes to commentary. But I'm biased that way of course :)

  21. interesting:
    in the onboard footage, you can see a glitch in the picture just before Vettel looses control. this could be indicative of a bump he hit with his car before losing it.

    also: why does schumacher get a penalty for "maybe causing an accident", when he did not,
    but barrichello not gettting a penalty for actually causing one? (and don't give me that "it was not intentional"-bs, barrrichello in his 300th GP should be able to judge a breakpoint better than he did, so it was at least culpable negligence on his part... )

  22. I think AC is just trying to help balance the field of raving McLaren fans that all happen to be British too!

    And no, between the two Button would not come out on top for championship contention. I think he managed to get a great car last year and he's ridden the fumes of that success on over to McLaren.

  23. That is a very selective list. You seem to have forgotten the incidents were Vettel and Schumi were not punished. Vettel in Turkey? Schumi Canada against Massa and Kubica?

    How many times has Vettel hit another car this season, but he's only been punished once for it?


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