Should there be a revision of F1 rules?

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Sebastian Vettel’s five-point penalty was discussed by drivers at Paul Ricard on Thursday

Last Updated: 20/06/19 5:41pm

Ahead of the French Grand Prix, drivers at Paul Ricard debated the hot topic that has dominated the past fortnight.

Ferrari will meet Formula One stewards at the French Grand Prix on Friday after seeking a review of the decision that cost Sebastian Vettel victory in Canada two weeks ago.

Vettel had started on pole position and finished first before being demoted to second when the time penalty was added on, giving the victory to Mercedes’ five times world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The governing FIA said on Thursday that team representatives had been asked to meet the stewards who officiated in Canada at 12.15pm UK time on Friday after first practice at the Le Castellet circuit.

Ferrari said on Monday they had requested a review of the stewards’ decision to give Vettel a five-second penalty in Montreal.

The fall-out from the Canadian Grand Prix led to Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz and Alfa Romeo’s Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi being asked if the current rules stifle them from being able to have more hard racing – and there was plenty of sympathy for Vettel…

Nico Hulkenberg – Renault

“There was a penalty? I didn’t notice that in the press.

“My opinion is that it’s racing and it’s tough to control a car on the grass, and then how you make the entry to the race track because we simply aren’t in full control and don’t have the normal grip. So for me, it seemed like a racing incident.

“In terms of rules, there’s obviously different judgements every weekend with different stewards, so I don’t necessarily see a reason why we need to tweak the rules now.”

Romain Grosjean – Haas

“Everything we do on track has a rule, and it’s very hard to deviate from those. I believe there are too many guidelines, with penalties that are applied to those guidelines. Sometimes, two incidents can be very different but end up with the same penalty.

“I crossed the pit exit line in Monaco, partly out of my own will, and got a five-second penalty, one point on my licence, and then Verstappen had an unsafe release in the pit lane, had a touch with Bottas, and it was a five-second one-point penalty because that is what’s written [in the rules].

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“Sometimes, it’s hard for the stewards to decide where they want to go, even though everything is written, because each case is different. With Seb, only he knows if he could’ve controlled the car better and left more room on the right-hand side.”

Pierre Gasly – Red Bull

“It’s really hard when you cross the line first on track and then after you’re told you’re second. So it depends which perspective you look at it. For sure, from Seb’s side, it’s really harsh, and then from Lewis’ side, you would be thinking I could’ve won the race without this incident.

“When you race Formula One cars at that speed, pushing to the limit, these things happen, and it’s part of racing. It’s difficult to draw the line, but it was quite harsh to lose the victory that way.”

How it stands after seven rounds

Drivers’ – Top 4
1. Lewis Hamilton162 points
2. Valtteri Bottas133 points
3. Sebastian Vettel100 points
4. Max Verstappen88 points
Constructors’ – Top 4
1. Mercedes295 points
2. Ferrari172 points
3. Red Bull124 points
4. McLaren30 points

Carlos Sainz – McLaren

“Like any other Formula One fan, I was disappointed to see the penalty because as a driver, I’d have done exactly the same as Seb. I would just have re-joined the track to try to keep first position independently of where the other car is at. Was it dangerous? Potentially, but what’s not dangerous in Formula One?

“There’s always a bit of danger as you’re always close to walls, and I don’t think that at any point Lewis was under real threat of having a huge accident, so I don’t think there was reason to give a penalty, but the rule is written, and the stewards applied the rule.

“So I don’t really understand the criticism the stewards have received over the last couple of weeks as they are only doing their job and they have a rule that they have to interpret and they have to apply.

“That’s what they did, so it’s not the fault of the stewards, it’s not the fault of Seb and it’s not the fault of Lewis either. There’s just a rule that I feel shouldn’t be there, which is a bit too drastic and a bit too black and white. It doesn’t interpret well the rules of racing, which is to race hard and to enjoy.”

Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo

“It’s not nice to lose a race like that, but these are the rules. The most important thing is that the rules are consistent throughout the races and to every driver, so I feel this is the main thing.”

Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes

“From a drivers’ point of view, honestly when you go off and straight on at the chicane, the first thing that comes into your mind is get as quickly as you can back to the track without damaging the car.

“That’s what Seb did but obviously Lewis happened to be there also. I don’t know if he did it on purpose, the decisions and penalties I’ll leave to others. For sure it’s not a nice feeling to lose a win with a penalty.

“From my point of view it would be nice sometimes to be able to race a bit harder but it also needs to be fair racing.”

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