Japan 2009: Penalties Galore

Japan 2009: Penalties Galore

Several drivers have felt the wrath of the FIA this weekend during the Japanese Grand Prix qualifying session. The afternoon was hectic and saw many accidents as drivers skated over gravel traps and contacted barriers. With several red flags and many more yellow flags, the stewards were having a field day.

The first penalty of the day went to Vitantonio Liuzzi, the Italian taking an unscheduled gear box change prior to qualifying and therefore accepting a five-grid slot demotion. As it turned out, Liuzzi could only manage last-place anyway, his only consolation being the non-active participant, Mark Webber. The Red Bull pilot was unable to take part in the running after damaging his car earlier in the day. Webber will start tomorrow’s race from the pitlane, therefore leaving Liuzzi at the back of the grid.

And for infringing the rule which states drivers must lift sufficiently when the yellow flags are waving, Fernando Alonso, Adrian Sutil, Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button have all been reprimanded. Sebastien Buemi has landed himself in hot water as well for driving back to the pitlane with a damaged car. Each has been awarded a demotion of five grid slots, meaning a change to the order following qualifying.

  • Vitantonio Liuzzi qualified 19th and remains 19th.
  • Fernando Alonso qualified 12th but will start 17th.
  • Sebastien Buemi qualified 10th but will start 15th.
  • Jenson Button qualified 7th but will start 12th.
  • Rubens Barrichello qualified 5th but will start 10th.
  • Adrian Sutil qualified 4th but will start 9th.

This promotes Nick Heidfeld to fourth, Kimi Raikkonen to fifth and Heikki Kovalainen to sixth. Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica also get promoted up the order. A grid will follow later today.


  • WOW

    Never seen anything like this before. This season Formula One has been so completely unpredictable. Just look at how many wrecks and red flags came from qualifying. And now the changes in the grid posistions. I am glad I didn’t put any money down on Jensen to become Drivers Champion this weekend.

    Again Bernie must delighted for what his little F1 has become this year, a headline maker.

  • I’m fairly sure Alonso and Buemi can’t both be starting 15th in the same race, but this is the FIA we’re talking about. Who knows what will be tried?

    It may seem a bit messy for all these penalties to be issued, but the yellow flags are there for a reason and if people won’t slow down for them, penalising them is a safety issue.

    What worries me more is all the people crashing and bringing out red flags. I think we’re lucky we don’t have two drivers on the injured list. The only bright spot I can see is that at least Timo Glock won’t be tempted to do any post-qualifying over-exertion and aggravate his flu…

  • it’s still a bit funny that Alonso went out of his way to provoke this. I believe his quote right after qualy was “currently I’m 12th, but I expect that to change”, thinking he was going UP after the Brawns got reprimanded. He was correct, it did change, but in the opposite direction.

  • I believe his quote right after qualy was “currently I’m 12th, but I expect that to change”, thinking he was going UP after the Brawns got reprimanded. He was correct, it did change, but in the opposite direction. {Bill – previous comment}

    Now that’s irony! 😀

  • I checked to see if there was any news a few hours after qualifying. When I found out about the penalties

    1) I nearly had a tizzy fit and

    2) I nearly wet myself laughing coz I’m a vettel/ferrari supporter. My parents just laughed too.

  • It was a bit more mixed for me because I support Fisi (yay for getting promoted 2 places!) and Force India (for Tonio it made no difference but boo for Adrian getting demoted 4 places). Still, it was fair if not very transparent.



    In the next generation F60 with improved KERS, Red Bull-ish aerodynamics and with the return of the number one, number two driver FRANKENMASSA, both Drivers and Constructors Championships will return to Scuderia Ferrari in 2010.

    Alonso is such a strong driver, look what he has done with the POS Renault and its carnival of misfits this year. Combine his passion and Ferrari motivation, this will make an unbeleivable challenge for those who race against them. Alonso will become the 2010 Drivers Champion before Singapore.

    What’s your opinion ??

  • Although I’m a Ferrari supporter, the thing with Alonso is that you either love him or hate him. I’m inbetween. I think his a very taltned driver, I just don’t like him. I know that Vettel doesn’t NEED to drive at Ferrari, but maybe if he did his chances would improve just a little.

    Maybe the reason that I don’t like Alonso is because of his resembalence to my Year 7 science teacher, who was the most boring teacher-ever! He now plays for Nottingham Rugby Football Club (Search David Jackson). But it might be because of the ‘Spygate’ scandel involving Alonso and Pedro de la Rosa.

    HMM, I guess we’ll never know.

  • Claire,

    I totally know what you mean about Alonso. For years I have tried to like him better as a driver and somehow he has never been very high on my list.

    Seems like the moment I heard of the Alonso signing I had this realization that his addition to Ferrari will make Scuderia Ferrari a real handfull for all who come to challenge. This guy has shown that he can get more out of a car than most others and add that to a Ferrari package that is now getting it right…should make the rest of the paddock have some pretty miserable days.

    As I see it The Brawn will only slide downhill, the Red Bulls seem to pretty much be at their limit and both McLaren and Ferrari have become much tougher as the season winds down. Even considering that most developement efforts are being focused to the 2010 cars at this point, the rest of the current paddock are taking shots at having a moment or two of glory and otherwise not really worth even discussing.

    With many new teams and the rising and falling of teams we have come to know, Formula One in 2010 will be quite a spectacle.

  • I can see the 2010 championship being closer than this year (If you can count that as close) because two of the biggest names in F1 are coming together (Alonso and Ferrari) and all the new teams (After Brawn’s performance, we can’t rule them out) and even more with the new rule changes (The fuel and the change in the point system)I’m really looking forward to it, although I’m rather annoyed that Donnington have slim chances with the hosting British GP, because I wasgoing to go for my dad’s birthday because I never been to qualifying/race, were as my brother as. That is the main problem of being the second child.

    I’m also looking forward to addition of the South Korean Grand Prix and (Said in a proud british accent) the return of the Candian Grand Prix (Curious to know if Kubica will have flashbacks of the past two times he’s driven there)

    I have to go now (Eating choclate cake is a big priority especially when your comforting eating because your hero (vettel) has qualified (In angry voice) 16th)

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