Following Rubens Barrichello’s gesticulation as he drove down the Singapore pitlane earlier today, the actions that caused Rubens to wave have been dealt with by the stewards; Nick Heidfeld has received a three-grid slot penalty for impeding Barrichello. It has been suggested by the drivers that the pitlane entrance requires even further investigation after they have found it difficult to negotiate slower moving cars entering the lane. The deceleration zone has already been moved once, and it is unlikely to get another shift before tomorrow’s race.
It wasn’t all one-sided though, as Barrichello has to cough up €10,000 to the FIA for not using the pitlane entrance deceleration zone correctly. The Honda driver was hampered by Heidfeld and decided to come into the pits at the last moment, not moving his car offline prior to slowing down to the mandatory speed.
The last part of the circuit was so tight and I watched the mirrors but you don’t see cars coming. When I saw him [Rubens] I tried to do the best I could to get out of the way. After the white line I tried to be as quick into the pitlane without moving completely right and going into his way. It was the best I could do. But apparently not enough. Nick Heidfeld.
These penalties put Rubens out of pocket and Nick back in ninth, promoting Sebastian Vettel, Timo Glock and Nico Rosberg up one place each.
I feel that this is a case of Heidfeld being blamed for a deficiency in the track design. – Its a shame there are no words from the stewards suggesting what Heidfeld should have done differently.
Rubens will of course begrudge every penny (or cent) of his fine, because he’ll feel that he should never have needed to go into the pits – yet alone a late lunge.
One last note… I’m not convinced Rubens’ late pit swoop was anywhere near as dangerous as Fernando’s earlier in the year, and am wary of the same punishment being doled out for both offences. Perhaps the stewards decided that after recent controversy they needed something demonstrably consistent, and prioritised that over fairness.
I didn’t see the incident but I can’t remember anyone ever being given a three place penalty. Is this yet another new ‘interpretation’. I have seen drivers given five or ten place penalties but not 3.
@Kris: I agree up until your final sentence…
I agree, Steven. The stewards appear to be a law unto themselves at the moment. Also, €10k for driving the wrong way up the circuit (an old and understandable regulation), and €10k for not slowing down in the appropriate zone – a regulation brought in less than 24 hours prior. Huh? Have the FIA spent all the McLaren-money already, are they really that short of funds?
Edit: To clarify, the pitlane entrance was moved overnight and therefore the ‘slowing down’ bit was moved significantly. My language above doesn’t make that clear, hence this amendment,
Having now seen the incident I can’t see what Heifeld was supposed to go. Whoever signed the safety certificate for this track should be fired. The pit entry and exit are ridiculous and the marshals are hopeless. I dread to think what will happen if there is any kind of serious accident. These people could kill someone.
Hi Steven as for a driver being given 3 places grid penalty I can’t remember either (but I might have a look…) but about the rule it can be “another interpretation” as the Rulebook permits it:
“31.6 In the event of a driving infringement during any practice session the Stewards may drop the driver such number of grid positions as they consider appropriate. Unless it is completely clear that a driver committed a driving infringement any such incident will normally be investigated after the relevant session, any penalty imposed shall not be subject to appeal.”
So is it appropriate I don’t know, but it is in the “F1 Sporting Regulations 2008” not exactly a book as fascinating as “the Lord of the Rings” but worth the reading….
I am amazed how people can suspect the FIA of doing what they want… there are regulations nobody should be surprised then!
I am not fan of the FIA, but I believe “inventing” penalties is one thing, applying the rulebook is another…. May be there must be a serious discussion about these rules, and they can be changed if there are enough people to push in that direction. Remember the FIA is made of people sent by the ASNs to the FIA they are not picked up by Mosley, or anybody else…
I would just like to see a list of offences and relevant penalties. It is not difficult. In the race Massa is unsafely released in front of Sutil again. This time he gets the universal drive through. This has to place an enormous question mark over the penalty he received in Valencia for exactly the same offence. The only difference I could see was that today the drive through had no effect because he was so far back.
So in Valencia the drive through would have been a bigger penalty and arguably in Singapore the tiny financial penalty would have been the bigger penalty because the drive through was irrelevant.