Reasoning, Responsibility and Run-off

Kimi Raikkonen - British GP 2014 James Moy Photography

Kimi Raikkonen – British GP 2014
James Moy Photography

Yesterday’s news that the FIA has rejected claims that Kimi Raikkonen should face punishment for his British Grand Prix-ending accident is, perhaps, unsurprising. I, for one, was not expecting a sudden about-face from the FIA.

That’s not to say that I think the FIA has got this one right, nor that their alleged reasoning for rejecting claims that punishment should have been forthcoming is anything other than moronic.

To begin this article, however, I’d like to make one thing clear. After my post on Monday about the role Raikkonen played in his own destiny in the British Grand Prix, I was forced to cease approving comments to the blog after reasonable and reasoned debate descended into fanatical-driven abuse and name calling. I will not stand for such a low level of discussion on this or any other post. I also want to make it clear that the focus of my piece could have been any one of the drivers on the grid. Just because I might at one time or another form an opinion that a driver has done something wrong, does not mean I have an axe to grind or that I dislike said driver. In these instances it is perhaps best to attempt to separate one’s emotional attachment, and to debate with reason rather than to close one’s eyes and thrust one’s head deep into the sand purely because you have read or heard something about your favourite driver with which you don’t agree. Not agreeing with something doesn’t necessarily make it wrong, nor the person who wrote it an idiot… or worse.

This article is not intended to press for a punishment for Raikkonen. It has been written merely to highlight where I believe the FIA has got their decision in this case worryingly wrong, and also to suggest a solution to the issue of drivers running wide. Not that I believe for a moment it will have a shred of an effect on future decisions, but anyway…

My colleague and well respected journalist Jon Noble wrote yesterday morning on this very subject, and reported the following:

“AUTOSPORT understands that while the FIA did look in to the incident, it decided that Raikkonen had not rejoined in an unsafe manner.

Telemetry data shows that, after leaving the track at 230 km/h, Raikkonen did scrub off some speed as he returned to the circuit, before his car was unsettled by a bump as it ran through a patch of grass.

Although the FIA accepted that Raikkonen would not have crashed if he had slowed down dramatically, it is understood the governing body believed that any other driver would have rejoined the track in the same manner.”

It is the final paragraph of this which I find to be of staggeringly short sight and to be verging on the asinine. For while Noble understands that the FIA has accepted that the accident would not have occurred had Raikkonen slowed, the governing body believes that everyone else would have done the same thing. And as such, it is perfectly acceptable.

Let’s come to that in a moment.

The remains of Raikkonen's F14T James Moy Photography

The remains of Raikkonen’s F14T
James Moy Photography

What seems abundantly clear to me is that Kimi Raikkonen’s first lap accident was born of several simple but key components.

1. He exceeded track limits
2. He re-entered the racing arena without the full control of his car and at a speed held by the FIA to be too high
3. The resultant accident eliminated himself and Felipe Massa from the race
4. The resultant accident caused substantial damage to the trackside barrier and the delay of the race restart by an hour

These are the facts

For the moment we can leave to one side the potential risk for the trackside workers and marshals and the potential injury to Max Chilton caused by Raikkonen’s loose wheel, as we thankfully escaped all of the above.

Article 20.2 of F1’s Sporting Regulations states that: “Should a car leave the track the driver may rejoin, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage.”

Again, I would argue that in this case Raikkonen exceeded track limits and thus left the track. He did not join in a safe manner as he was at a speed the FIA has admitted was too high, and he was also not in control of his vehicle as the manner in which he rejoined the track resulted in an accident entirely of his making. Regardless of the existence of the gulley, Raikkonen and he alone was in control of the car and as such there can be no argument that he was suitably in control of the car at the point he re-entered the track. Critically, he also re-entered the track on the racing line. Arguably, by joining the track where and how he did, he failed to lose position, thus gaining an advantage over where he might have rejoined had he done so safely.

As such I fail to see how Raikkonen’s first lap incident did not contravene Article 20.2 of the Sporting Regulations. Furthermore, he exceeded track limits and arguably gained an advantage. His driving also caused the retirement of another driver. Neither of these points was investigated. But on point one alone (Article 20.2) it seems highly difficult to argue that he did not deserve some kind of penalty be it a grid drop, penalty points or something as harsh as I had originally mooted, a race ban.

The decision, as it stands, fails to place any responsibility with Raikkonen for an accident that was entirely of his making.

If it had been a Grosjean, Maldonado, Gutierrez or Perez, I can’t help but feel points would have been the bare minimum.

Maldonado and Gutierrez - Bahrain 2014 James Moy Photography

Maldonado and Gutierrez – Bahrain 2014
James Moy Photography

If we return to the FIA’s logic of why a penalty was not applied, then as Noble’s article has outlined we must believe that it was because the governing body believed everyone would have done the same thing. To take such a line of argument, however, is bafflingly idiotic. It is as clear a case of argumentum ad populum as I have seen. Logically it is utterly flawed. The mere fact that a practice or a belief is widely conducted or held, is not necessarily a guarantee that it is correct. Often referred to as “the bandwagon fallacy” this argument is a critically dangerous path for the FIA to tread. For where does it end?

“Everyone else was doing it,” is not a reasonable excuse for the perpetrator, and as such it cannot be held as a reasonable excuse for a ruling body to fail to uphold its own principles and regulations.

Unless, of course, this is the FIA admitting that the rule is unworkable. If everyone is doing it, why not simply scrap the rules over track limits and re-entry? Why not just make it a free for all?

Alonso Vs Vettel - British GP 2014 James Moy Photography

Alonso Vs Vettel – British GP 2014
James Moy Photography

The FIA told us it would adopt a “zero-tolerance” policy as regarded track limits in DRS detection zones in Austria and Great Britain. The Alonso/Vettel scrap at Silverstone showed us that this promise was, itself, a fallacy. Some would argue that was a good thing as it gave us a great scrap. Others would question why the FIA should have made so much noise about “zero-tolerance” and then failed to enforce it.

Perhaps this is part of the FIA’s move towards leniency. If so, fair play to them for allowing that particular race to unfold. But then don’t go so heavy on “zero-tolerance” if it isn’t to be adhered to. And if leniency allowed Raikkonen to escape without so much as a wrist slap, then I for one feel it is a step too far. It stops being leniency and starts being weakness.

When it comes down to it, though, the problem at the root of all of this is that racing drivers are racing drivers. Give them a kerb and they’ll use every inch of it, and a little bit of the grass over the edge too. Give them an asphalt run-off and they’ll use it. It’s what makes them racers. They will take every advantage and we cannot be upset with them for doing so.

Again, the FIA must take its share of responsibility here.

Reims... exists today as it did 50 years ago

Reims… exists today as it did 50 years ago

There was a time when race tracks were the width of the tarmac. A simple painted white line at the edge of the road showed you track limits… perhaps a few hay bails or some oil drums. I spent yesterday driving around the old track at Reims. If you exceeded track limits there, you were in the middle of a field.

Gravel traps became, and were for many years, the standard run-off. But then teams and drivers got upset that a small mistake would lead to a beached car and the end of the session / race. And so we saw asphalt replace gravel. To a large extent the changes have helped greatly as damage is not so great and a small mistake which would have ended a session before now simply leads to running off track and rejoining… hopefully when it is safe to do so.

But inherent in that is the fact that, right now, there is no deterrent for making such a mistake. If a driver can keep their foot stuck in and not lose position or even momentum, then track limits mean less and less. From a fan perspective, we also lose an element of wonder as the twitching car is allowed to drift wide rather than to be caught, saved and powered through on opposite lock.

Many varieties of run-off have been tried, with Astro-turf seemingly the best considered option. But as we saw in Silverstone in Friday practice, Astro-turf can still bite.

For my money, Circuit Paul Ricard has had things right for the last decade. High abrasion run-off. But take it up a notch. Coat the run-off areas in such a high abrasion surface that it will not cause punctures or deflation, but will scrub enough rubber off as to ruin that set of tyres. Put a wheel off, let alone all four, and you’ve got to come in and get them changed.

The Toyota TS040, surrounded by Paul Ricard's high abrasion run-off James Moy Photography

The Toyota TS040, surrounded by Paul Ricard’s high abrasion run-off
James Moy Photography

No more keeping your foot in. No more making up positions. No more taking just a few inches more than you should. Keep it on track, inside the white lines.

If you once again make run-off areas a part of the track that drivers don’t want to be driving, if you make them somewhere that will slow drivers down, then they won’t use them. The FIA has created a generation of drivers who know they can push the limits and go over them without penalty, be it an immediately competitive one or, as is becoming increasingly clear, without fear of Charlie’s axe over their heads either.

It is time the FIA took the power back. They created the run-off. They created the opportunity for the rules to be exploited. They created a forgiving attitude, a lenient approach and a sloppy implementation of a supposed moral racing code.

These are supposed to be the 22 greatest racing drivers in the world. It’s about time they were held to the highest standards. Not pandered to and excused because they can’t, or won’t, keep their cars within the clearly marked limits of the track.

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124 thoughts on “Reasoning, Responsibility and Run-off

  1. Given it some thought, read your arguments, I think ultimately Kimi did the right thing. its his job to push and couldnt have know what the bump, if he saw it, would do to the car.

    The problem lies elsewhere. Either have proper gravel traps to slow cars, or have a clean run off area, with marked bumps if needed.

    • The FIA comment was absolutely acceptable. Every driver would have done the same. Else, we can argue that Vettel rejoined back unsafe in Austria, when his car was restarted? I was commenting the race on the TV and Vettel pushed another driver off the track. He wasn’t punished either.

      Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t against VET, RAI’s defense or trolling Will B. It’s just an accident. An unfortunate series of events. There will always be wrong decisions. Let’s move forward to the next one. This is how the world operates. Having said that, I have firm believe that nothing in FIA’s way of taking decisions will change.

    • +1

      While Kimi did join at a high speed, he — most likely — didn’t realize he was running towards a bump, which could potentially make his rejoining unsafe.

      Had the track been smooth, everything would have been normal and Kimi would have been asked to hand over the position(s) he has gained by exceeding the track limits (if any) on the coming laps (or penalized for exceeding the track limits and gaining advantage) – I believe, that isn’t something uncommon these days, we’ve seen that a fair few times in the recent past.

  2. You lose this one because Kimi had control of his car until it hit the bump upon entering the track, then he lost it. You know nothing of driving an F1 car, your going on pure guess’s, you have no idea what Kimi is thinking or trying to do while going over 150mph. How about giving Kimi the benefit, that he knows a little more than you when it comes to driving an F1 car !!! Asshole

    • Wow, we get a personal attack in just the second reply. Kudos George for lowering the tone.

      Some facts for you. If Kimi had control until the bump then he lost it, but the bump was off track, then it follows that he lost control before returning to the track.

      I have driven an F1 car twice, once in 2003 and once the week after the Monaco Grand Prix this year. It was the Lotus E20, in which Kimi won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I have a valid race license and competed in the Ferrari Florida Winter Series earlier this year.

      I agree Kimi has probably forgotten more about driving F1 cars than I will ever know, but that doesn’t make him impervious to criticism.

      And this article focuses more on the poor job being done by the FIA.

      Enough with the personal insults though, eh chum?

      • @george you either did not read the article in its entirety, or are still chuffed that there are still people that think raikkonen did wrong and refuse to see it your way.

        I read the original post, and I agreed that raikkonen could have done more to avoid the accident, and that’s really the point here. Which is why i had to stifle a snicker when I read that last part of the FIA explanation trying to reason that anyone else would have responded the same way. Leaving aside the fact that it’s pure speculation, the fact is if you choose to 5 feet wide off the track and keep your foot over bumps, grass and dirt, you did something wrong.

        I like the abrasive tarmac idea, but i don’t know how feasible/cost efficient it would be to maintain. Gravel seems like an easier solution, without sterilizing the track environment too much. maybe a shallower gravel trap? Lava pits would be even better.

      • Let’s agree to disagree on control regaining the circuit, he had control when he made the move back on to the circuit but lost control during the act of rejoining the racetrack.

        It’s a fine line, so to me it isn’t the crux of the issue. Indeed, if Kimi walked the circuit at the start of the weekend, like pretty much every other driver, he may well have known where was ok to rejoin and where was not, there wouldn’t have been the accident, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

        But the conversation should be had.

        I agree with you completely on everything else. The fact that he was in a position to lose control like that is where I have a problem.

        Race driving by its very essence is to keep the car between the white lines, while going as fast as is possible. To me, it diminishes the sport (just a little) that the drivers now view the run-off areas as part of the racing surface, and that mistakes cost very little. I want to see precision; the ability to push to the limits of their ability, while retaining control.

        Running off-track should come with consequences. I don’t mean a horrific, fiery death, but it should put their race result in jeopardy.

        I was not aware of the existence of the material you mention at Paul Ricard, but if it has the effects that you mention, I’m all for it.

      • The thing is, if you are going to have large run off areas and a drives as deep as Raikkonen did, and there is no precedent of something like this happening, ANY DRIVER would have done the same thing as Raikkonen in order to rejoin the track.. also because it is the FIRST LAP and you’re losing positions. Please try and understand how a driver thinks. And if he should have seen the bump, then similarly he and others should have seen the high chicane bump at other circuits where his car’s front end was airborne. If you are NOT going to run over something, you are NOT going to know what is going to happen, so the fact that he did slow according to telemetry data shows he did something right, right?

        Also, I think you have to look at a driver’s previous records with using his head in one-to-one combats or normal racing and arrive at a judgement. Grosjean and Maldonado CANNOT be compared with Raikkonen with respect to driving behavior at the point when those two were reprimanded/punished and kimi right now. Things were building up for them.

        Also, I read your article unbiased, and i totally feel if it were say, Lewis Hamilton, that article would not have been written and followed up like it has been. It is Kimi Raikkonen and therefore, the article. You DID not think ban him the first 3-4 times you saw the replays.

        And if anything is to be blamed, it is the track and the people responsible such wide run-off ares where any driver will not slow down while rejoining on the first lap because track positions matter.

        • I will not accuse Will of bias, as I have no reason to. But I have to agree that Will is wrong on the different arguments he puts forward.
          What caused the accident was a ditch that is part of a run off area. That is the fault of the circuit owners. I watched Hill say on Sky “we can’t go round fixing every ditch in Silverstone”. … I say yes they jolly well can. At least they can do that at every exit to a run-off.
          Will has to remember that Kimi paid a big price for what happened. It’s not like he got off scot free.

          • Well, they can’t – b/c they’re terrible businesspeople and don’t have the budget to maintain their facility – or even finish the upgrades!

          • Joe Papp – to say they don’t have the budget is bunk. Take the attendance numbers for British GP 2013 (294,000) at US GP at COTA 2014 prices (low $170 USD – high $2400 USD), that is $50,000,000 to $705,000,000 USD. Now, they most certainly do have the money, but perhaps the track promoter/owner/investors should take less for themselves and fix the damn track (replace “the bump”) with asphalt. The fact is, if the pilot (happens to be Kimi) had maintained control of his car and kept it on track limits, he would not have found “the bump”.

      • Will, thanks for taking the time to give us your thoughts. I want you to know that I chuckle and shake my head in that “where do these people come from” fashion every time I read a post from the “George’s” of the world. I’d bet many have never been to a race and have no idea of the world you potentially have access too.
        I like Kimi and I agree with you. If he got off his ass an walked the track he would have known the bump was there. Even if there were no bump he was coming balls to the wall back onto the racing line on a corner he just missed, with more cars coming. It looked like the desperate act of a man being thumped by his team mate in the championship to me. How can there be no penalty for causing an accident; he wiped out Massa from outside the circuit. Kimi drove off the racing circuit and into a rut; how was his crash (and Massa’s and Kobayashi’s damage) not his fault? Kimi pulled a double bone head, he missed the corner, then missed the whole race track.
        A nice gravel trap would be my solution on that particular corner (and many others on the calendar). I like the extreme abrasion idea as well. It would have been a great solution during the Vettel/Alonso battle with whine. Run off areas should scrub off speed rapidly and never allow for acceleration.
        Going wide of the racing circuit has to create a physical real time penalty.

    • Kimi could just have slowed down sufficiently. End of story. Accident would have been avoided.

      Isn’t there a ban or rapport function on this site? People using that kind of language should consider getting out of the “posting on internet fora” business.

    • I think you are rehashing the same argument Will. I thought we were done with this. Let’s move on!!
      George get a friggen grip of yourself. Discourse is one thing but name calling on an F1 blog. Get a life.

    • Yes, sadly Will, right out of the gate you are attacked. Clearly some have not read your reasoning for closing your prior blog (you were/are spot on correct). The point here, George and DanielSussex – first post reply, is to have control of your race car all the time! But for Kimi going off-track Rally-style he would not have hit the “bump”. But for Kimi exceeding the track limits and going in to the run-off he would not have hit the bump. In Kimis case it is irrelevant whether he knew the bump was there. If he had stayed within the track limits he would not have “hit the bump”. If you had said the track promote regional/manager fixed the bump prior to race start, whether the FIA/teams/drivers had said the race will not go on until it is fixed …… I would agree with you.

      By the way – Mr Buxton knows enough, has enough credibility, passion, and love for the sport to state the facts and opinions he has on this event. The FIA needs to grow some ….. where is Max Mosley?

    • Kudos George. I’ve rarely seen an apology on thes internet forums, its usually escalation and more escalation. Good on you for being better than most !

    • by the circuit, we’re talking about kerbs last year (ie: not the track) and a rain gully this year (ie: not the track)

  3. Will, I could not agree more. The FIA needs to take the lead here and be seen to enforce its own regulations on driving standards, without fear or favour. Ditto for the track limits.
    On the other hand, given what has happened over recent days, should KR be benched for a race and Ferrari draft in Bianchi, it could actually work to the Scuderia’s advantage…

    • Phil,
      Draft Bianchi? I thought the same thing. yikes! Poor ol’Kimi getting the boot from Ferrari again and after only 4 1/2 months. sad sad sad. Actually, considering the brilliant Alonso has had 4 1/2 YEARS of pushing the Red Hulk around the track and couldn’t come up with a WC says lots about the car. Since Schumacher’s last WC in 2004, only Kimi has been able to bring that glory to Maranello.
      But, now that Mercedes’ hybrid system might be found illegal – Autoweek 9 July – perhaps Ferrari will have a chance after all.
      On to Germany!
      lm

  4. Some good information here, improvements could be made at the tracks and things will likely evolve or, at least we should expect that will happen. I still think you are a bit too much into the rules and enforcement side of things – racing is not any more fair play than our lives. Stuff happens. Do the best you can and move on.
    The FIA is just a perfect example of people with some power and not a clue or care about racing, just more rules.
    Thanks for having the passion and sharing it with us.

  5. A thought that crossed my mind during the one hour clean up at Silverstone. The cars all have transponders and data communications, for things like observing the DRS zone. Why not put sensors at the track limits on deserving corners, and if the car crosses them it shuts off? No new hazard is introduced to the drivers, but they will, by george, stay on the track! I’d even let them restart the car and rejoin the race. They’d be quite a few places down, and the fans wouldn’t lose their favorite driver.

      • I like that. It would be like what happens if you cut the corner on the PlayStation F1 game. I think that’s what happened on F1 97. (Showing my age!)
        If Kimi has slowed down a bit to rejoin safely there was a smooth piece of green painted run off before the grass he could have used. I have agreed with Will on this on most points. If some of the more accident prone drivers had caused this I feel there would have been greater penalties imposed.

      • Of the track, internal combustion only for 10/20 second!

        Also, massive Kimi fan here but I struggle to disagree with you on this Will. Sorry to still see personal attacks for this post, it’s a good piece!

    • I’m thinking to apply this to the driver loses a lap and the transponder is not active until they cross start/finish again …

    • Good idea. Adding to that idea how about something simpler. If you are detected or observed leaving the track, you are forbidden from using DRS for a certain number of laps. If not that then any power reduction should be postponed and triggered by crossing the start finish line. I think there may be safety issues in affecting car power unless the car is travelling safely in a straight line.

    • An interesting idea, but would probably be argued against by a driver who was forced off track, or possibly avoiding a shunt (for example, one of the Caterham’s had to fully take to the grass off-track to avoid getting speared by Kimi in the incident)

      • Right, immediately hobbling the driver by reducing the performance of his car upon leaving the track or damaging tires would unfairly penalize those who escaped the circuit to avoid an incident, for example or were pushed wide and went with the flow, rather than slam on the brakes and catch-out those still running behind.

        And couldn’t anything that degraded performance of a car attempting to rejoin the circuit be more dangerous and controversial than even the intentional leaving of the track in the first place? Missing is the voice of the drivers in this debate, as for all we know, they might find it preferable that their colleagues rejoin at a speed as closely matched as possible to their own, so as not to require either braking or avoiding maneuvers – though of course w/o cheating and unfairly using run-off to hold or advance position when it otherwise would’ve been lost through direct fault of the off-the-circuit driver.

        But if someone really insisted on pursuing a positioning data driven solution, perhaps they could simply limit it to recording the car’s position relative to actual width-of-circuit in real-time and, when all 4 wheels of a car are off, pinging race control so they can look into it?

        I guess tho that assumes that the FIA will do something about it when confronted w/ evidence, which it seems like they already have in some cases but allegedly don’t act on consistently…

        I would also like to know how many drivers spotted that draining ditch on their track walks? Was it a recent addition to the circuit? B/c if it wasn’t there in 2013, but some drivers saw it this year, you’d think they’d be inclined to discuss it amongst themselves as a professional courtesy (and self-preservation, from perspective of Massa, HK, and prolly even Chilton)?

        If you were a grand prix driver and noted a potential new hazard, it would be in your best interests to bring it up in the drivers’ meeting to ensure your fellow competitors were also aware, no? But wait – is the drivers’ meeting only a GPDA meeting (if it still even exists) or is there a drivers meeting open to all, including non-GPDA members (Kimi was not in the GPDA, last I remember it)? Of course, if everyone but Kimi knew about the ditch b/c they all walked the track but he didn’t, then are Kimi’s colleagues going to insist that he start walking the tracks? Or is Kimi himself going to start walking all circuits, even the one’s he’s already raced on, because he knows he caused the huge accident by driving over a gully he either didn’t know about or forgot was there?

        If Kimi walks the next circuit (or tours it in a wheelchair lol) we’ll know that the crash itself – 40+g – was capable of changing established behavior!!

        • Agreed. But I don’t think he will. Charlie oversees the drivers briefing which is compulsory. GPDA is separate. Would they discuss it? Possibly if they’d seen it as an issue. Would they pass info to each other as a courtesy? I doubt it.

          I see what you mean about penalising drivers nudged wide in battle or taking off track to avoid incidents. It’s a problem with no easy answer.

          First step though is to start clamping down on abusing track limits.

  6. I’m with you, Will. The rule is plain that a driver must only re-enter when it was safe to do so. It doesn’t say anything about requirements to lift or not, only that it must be safe for him to re-enter. When Kimi’s car reappeared on track, it was already out of control (said control having been lost during the excursion over the ditch, which obviously lies outside the track), and an out-of-control car is inherently unsafe. Thus, he was clearly in contravention of the rules.

    We need no further proof of this than that he caused such an accident: if his action were safe, an accident would not have occurred, QED.

    Your suggestion about super-abrasive runoffs is interesting, and it might be workable for some kinds of off-track excursions. But for a driver just putting wheels over the line, I don’t imagine there’s be sufficient friction for the tire degradation you’re hoping for: they’d still be able to violate the track boundaries in this manner.

    The “zero tolerance” thing in Austria had me puzzled. While they were sticklers at the exit of turn 8, it looked to me like cars were going 4-off at the exit of 6, going into 7, quite frequently, yet not a word was said about it.

  7. Will, thanks for taking another crack at this. As you say, just because they all would have done the same thing, doesn’t make it right. But, it DOES make them human- and we really can’t ask for too much more- I suspect that it’s in their genetics. I love the idea of motivating different behavior by tearing up their tires thus forcing a stop for a fresh set at the end of the lap!

    As for George and his ilk- I have only one word “CONVENTRY” (go look up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Send_to_Coventry). Shunning is a good motivator too ;-)

  8. As someone who witnessed Henry Surtees’ tragic accident at Brands Hatch a few years ago, the crash on Sunday horrified me while watching live.

    Seeing the tyres and debris being flung across the track was terrible, and I was nervous seeing Raikkonen and Massa’s cars stationary. Luckily Massa quickly got going again and Kimi was more or less OK.

    It wasn’t until footage released the other day that I realised how close Max Chilton was to being is a almost fatal accident all too similar to Henry Surtees’ just a few a years ago. No matter how advanced helmets become, the chances of surviving a head on collision with a tyre at a closing speed of a around 300mph are more or less 0.

    Max understandly sounded a little shook up in his post race interview.

    This for me further underlines your point of the FIA needing to take these matters more seriously. Kimi also has a history of using runoffs to his full advantage on opening laps (Spa 2009 sticks out most).

    F1 luckily escaped a major incident on Sunday, the FIA needs to make sure that the potential of this cause of accident is reduced completely.

  9. Great read, Will.

    I like the idea of having a runoff surface that penalises the drivers. Before i got to that part of your post, my mind had gone to a similar conclusion, albeit, my idea was a little more dangerous with a slippery surface.. but that would not be great if you’re heading for the barriers and would like to slow down some!

    But, then, my thoughts go to the support categories at many of the F1 races around the world. A highly abrasive surface that ruins tyre life might not be so great for the other, more budget conscious teams and privateers, driving at these events. And for permanent circuits, that are used the year ’round for club drivers etc… It would need to be a temporary surface for F1 weekends.

    Or what about when a driver is pushed out off the circuit by another driver, then forced to pit for new tryes? A double blow. While you can penalise the driver who caused the incident, it doesn’t stop the wronged driver from being a pit stop down + slow in lap. still, better than being taken out completely by a car rejoining the race, as Massa was, i guess.

  10. Will, sorry to hear you had to endure so mush BS regarding the Kimi issue. It is great to hear it all, wether we are in agreement or not. Please keep it coming. There
    is not enough of this quality writing in F1.

  11. This entire “Kimi issue” is more about the FIA than Kimi. For years now I’ve been more and more fed up with how drivers are allowed to go off the track. It’s the FIA’s responsibility to straighten this mess out. It’s quite obvious at this point that the FIA is wholly incapable of fixing this. They’re as bad as a kindergarten teacher who sets strict rules but never enforces them. what do you think is going to happen? The class will devolve into misbehavior.

    It’s the nature of the drivers to take advantage of every single opportunity they can, wherever they can find it. It’s the responsibility of the FIA to be the adults in the room and regulate things. Sadly, they’re showing themselves as totally bereft in that. Nothing spells “weakness” like setting rules then turning a blind eye when they’re broken.

    Except for the sport of mountain climbing, all others have a clearly delineated playing-area, if you will. It’s odd that F1 is the only one where heated debates have to spring up about exceeding that area. A tennis ball is either in or out. A soccer ball is either in or out. There are never any grey areas. The responsibility for the shambles this has devolved into falls squarely on the shoulders of the FIA and their history of weakness and ambiguity in this matter.

    Given this ongoing situation of exceeding track limits that the FIA is unwilling to solve, I would go with the Circuit Paul Ricard solution: drivers will pay a serious price for exceeding limits but in a safe way, and one where they’re not out of the race; their tires get ruined. It’s tantamount to a drive-through penalty. And guess what will happen to the number of drivers exceeding track limits then? My guess is that, rounded to the nearest whole number, it will be zero.

  12. I’m gonna do just what the FIA is gonna do – move on.

    I definitely cannot see any type of electronic control on off-track cars because in an emergency a sputtering car is almost as bad as a stalled car.

    Drivers are the primary control mechanism. Their oversight is the FIA’s job; sometimes they get it right and sometimes they get it wrong. And sometimes that oversight is unable to overlook who the driver is (or who he works for).

  13. Give it a rest.

    Your reasoning is repetitive and you’re not providing anything new to the discussion.

    The people who agree with you are going to say: “Aye, agree!” and those who don’t are going to say: “You’re wrong”. Lots of great conversations will ensue. /sarcasm

    Every driver on the grid would’ve done the same in his shoes, guaranteed.

    Furthermore, as far as I know, not one other driver or representative from other teams has said one thing about punishing Kimi for the accident. And as you mentioned the official sanctioning body ruling over F1 specifically said no punishment is forthcoming. That should clue you in that you’re wrong about this.

    Linkbaiting, however, is working quite well for you, I suppose.

    • Trying to wrap my head around the idea that I should take the word of the official sanctioning body ruling over F1 as infallible.

    • I agree with you that every driver would have done the same. That is part of the point that Will is making. Every driver would do the same because the FIA has fostered an environment where drivers are forgiven for breaking the rules. Every driver SHOULD be penalized for “doing the same thing”. Just because every driver would have done the same, does not make it okay. Apparently the “Bandwagon Fallacy” that Will mentioned is lost on you.

    • other drivers who do track walks might have known about the bump and entered earlier/safely so no they wouldnt have all done the same

  14. Once again Wil, you are on top of it. I agree with the whole textured run-off stuff and having to pay a price for exceeding your limit. The gravel trap was dumb because it was too high a price for an error. Blacked out asphalt areas are just as dumb as there is no penalty, in fact almost an incentive to exceed your capabilities because there is no penalty.

  15. I am a Kimi fan, but I can see faults on Kimi’s side. After he crashed my first thought was He will get penalty for unsafe re-enter the race. I disagree on Race ban, because in my opinion race ban is for repeat offender like Maldo or grosjean(He drives better recently).
    Well i don’t know the exact rules and punishment for unsafe re-enter the race, but I think Kimi at least deserve grid penalty.

  16. I don’t mean to sound like a sycophant, but I do tend to agree with Will’s blog posts and this is another one I find well reasoned and expressed. Kimi re-entered the track in an unsafe manner. There should have been some penalty from the FIA to at least establish that this sort of action isn’t acceptable behavior. Frankly I’m a bit surprised at the turnabout by the FIA; is it because it was Kimi? Or is the FIA thinking that they need to improve the “show”?

    I was unaware of the option of abrasive runoff areas. It sounds just like the progressive, forward thinking idea that the FIA could get behind. I’d like to see the remaining gravel runoffs removed, not only because it would allow cars to rejoin the race, but it would also be another safety measure in that it would remove the need for marshals to leave their protective areas to go remove a beached car.

    Will, are you at all concerned that there might be some payback from the FIA regarding your posts and reporting?

    • I’d hope the FIA would take criticism as constructive. I sit on the FIA Media and Communications Group (formerly known as the Press Council) and have a good relationship with them. As TV media these days, my pass is granted by FOM however. If the FIA’s unhappy I’m sure I’ll hear about it.

  17. Hindsight is 20/20. The issue I have for this sudden gathering of the pitchforks against Raikkonen is that it has been this way for the past decade. Either the FIA need to step up and hand out penalties (during the race and not after) for exceeding track limits, or we accept that tarmac runoff is part of the game as it has been since they started paving over gravel traps. How many would have gotten through La Source at the start in the past few years scott free?

    As with all aspects of F1 the limits of the rules are pushed to the brink and beyond. Blown/double diffusers? Check. Track limits? Why not? It’s all part of the equation to win. When the rules have been violated for so long, and then accepted as the norm, it comes as no surprise.

    Had Raikkonen caught the wobble/slide after hitting the bump, I’m sure everyone would have lauded the catch as heroic. His incident could have been much more serious for everyone, and thankfully it wasn’t however, the beautiful chaos and randomness that is the start of a Grand Prix is something that should not be overlooked.

  18. As great as the abrasive run off at Paul Ricard is, it does have a few drawbacks.

    It is incredibly expensive as it’s a mix of asphalt and tungsten. Circuits are already in money problems paying the fee to host so they are never gonna be able to upgrade to it
    It also limits the tracks use. MotoGP isn’t going to go to a circuit where the riders will be ground to a pulp as they slide off the circuit.

    I did hear a good idea of having free standing polystyrene advertising boards located in the runoff areas similar to the first chicane at Monza. Drivers in a big accident could hit them and be fine but running wide and clipping them might damage or clog your front wing.
    Also the mental image of a wall (even if you can fly through it) being in the run off is surely enough of a deterrent. Plus Bernie could stop with the digital ads and get even more money.

    They would be the modern equivalent of the old style catch fence from the 70’s just with less entanglement.

    • That sounds like a very interesting solution, with basically no cost involved. How about a much smaller asphalt run off ( to allow those pushed off the track as well as a blessing from Moto GP safety ) and then a gravel trap. This will also force those running wide to naturally slow down due to a smaller area and the solution would not be overly costly.

  19. Will – I’ve always found Kimi fascinating, but I agree with your analysis that he should have got some sort of penalty. Could this have been Kimi hoping to repeat what happened at 2009 at Spa when he ran off La Source on the first lap and by keeping his food down ended up in a better position than when left the racecourse?

  20. Will

    Love the piece and sorry for the comments that are negative, some people don’t play well with others.

    Question on the high abrasion idea…… Cost and other series using the same tracks. Is it fesable? I think that or a sensor to cut ecu power are both great ideas
    Thank you sir!
    Nick

  21. That is the most idiotic explanation ever. Because all others would do the same? Wow. I have no words. The only explanation is: it was a Ferrari and FIA was afraid to act. P.S. I’m a Ferrari fan and I really like Kimi for a badass attitude, but this was too much. It was stupid. If Kimi or Ferrari fans can’t see it, wow… But the biggest argument against what Kimi did is… He does not do prerace walks “because he does not need them”… and probably didn’t know about that bump. Crazy! Now we can wait for Maldo and his “others do it too” claims…

    • i was thinking maybe he pooped his pants a little and the FIA thought that was enough punishment. and he promised to start doing track walks or something..

  22. I’d like to disagree on one point. 20.2 states that it must be safe for the driver to return, but not that it must be done in a safe manner. Ignoring the subsequent crash, Kimi returned to the track in a space without impeding any cars so it can be considered as “safe to do so” – though even that is arguable.

    Unfortunately for Kimi, he then hit a bump/ditch on the way and crashed. This then comes under being an “incident” and would investigated as such. At that point it is more or less divided amongst most people as to whether the bump/ditch counts as being within Kimi’s control or not and therefore whether he deserves some sort of penalty.

    Personally, I would have given him a driver (not Driver’s Championship) points penalty (basically the old reprimand) but not a grid penalty.

    Of course as some drivers, like Alonso, actually pay attention during track walks to every aspect of the track, it may not have happened quite the same way with anyone else…

    • ” Ignoring the subsequent crash, Kimi returned to the track in a space without impeding any cars so it can be considered as “safe to do so””

      First of all, ignoring the accident it caused is nonsense, as it was a direct consequence of rejoining where and how he did that. And to argue he did not impede anyone, ignores all the cars coming up right behind him who had to take evasive action, starting with one of the STR cars, (if I remember right ) with Kobayashi and off course Massa who did an amazing job with spinning his car to avoid a frontal hit.

      The gully is OUTSIDE of the track limits, so he did not join track and THEN get unstable, he got unstable during the act of getting back on track, i.e. he was losing control of the car while doing it, and he was doing it right in the path of the cars coming up behind.

      I would argue that if this is exactly what most / all drivers would do (and its likely many of them would, although they might have avoided the gully because they knew of it from their track walks), just means all the more reason to act on this, to let them know behaviour such as this is not ok.

  23. Will, spot on. Absolutely correct.

    Beautiful reference to, and picture of, the Reims circuit.

    Is it possible the driver’s (sorry, pilots) are too comfortable, and too safe, which is aiding them to go wide to the run-off thinking “ah, if I crash or rejoin and take a competitor out, it’s only a damaged/repairable race car or two or more”? I’ll walk away a little sore.

    I love, love, love the notion of high abrasion run-off, and the subsequent inherent penalty in reduced tire (tyre) life. However, some might argue if my tyres were at the end of life and I was on my pit in lap to replace them, I go wide and suffer a puncture, and crash …. hmmmm, not so good. But you offer an excellent & balanced risk vs reward solution.

    I still argue that Kimi was anxious to stay in front of Alonso. So anxious as to drive beyond the track limits and not slow slightly to get in line behind the Sauber competitor to Kimis left (I deleted that race from my DVR so I don’t recall which Sauber it was). I also think felt he could drive off course and return safely. it may very well be if he made it through, knowing he would suffer significant tyre degradation he would have still done the same manuvuer, but come to the box many laps later.

    Kimi does need to sit out one race (not with a note from his doctor because he is sore), or at least start for the rear in the next race. In my never to be humbled opinion.

  24. “Arguably, by joining the track where and how he did, he failed to lose position, thus gaining an advantage over where he might have rejoined had he done so safely.” That weakens your argument considerably. Arguably, if he hadn’t hit the bump, he’d have rejoined safely. And “gaining an advantage” surely means over where he’d have been had he not lost the track in the first place? Otherwise, agree that the run-off issue needs addressing and that the FIA is weak.

  25. yet another misinformation from you Will… he doesn’t come even close to the place he left the track at, he actually loses 2 places when he rejoins. Take a look again at the video on Sky’s website, i did for a few times just to make sure i’m not talking rubbish. He actually rejoined pretty safe and he didn’t gain any advantage. The speed he had was indeed a little bit too high, but this is Kimi Raikkonen we’re talking about here, not Maldonado.

  26. Hard to argue against any point you’ve made here. The FIA comment about any other driver is ridiculous. How many people do you think tried the “everyone else was doing it” at the London riots? Prosecutions still took place.

    Your idea of the harsh, tyre destroying run off areas is a great one. The teams would never approve it though. The FIA either on that old chestnut, safety, just in case a puncture was caused.

    And I find it terrible that Max Chilton, 3 inches from death, was punished and Kimi was not. Yes, Max clearly broke the rules and there were a lot of mechanics running across the pit lane when he came down but given the circumstances, I think the guy could have been cut some slack

  27. Very correct article.
    Kimi was in the wrong, just by rejoining too late at that speed.
    If he rejoined at that speed 10meters back he rejoined on the paved part, but he went over the grass part.. Which is just very dangerous! It’s a miracle for him he escaped a penalty of any kind.

    Tarmac run-off doesn’t punish and yes some love graveltraps, BUT safety first. For cars a tarmac run-off is just so much safer, but yes it has a negative effect of not having a penalty for leaving the track.

  28. I think Buxton’s basic argument that Raikkonen could have done more to prevent the accident is sound, but I strongly disagree with his vitriolic implication that Kimi was grossly negligent and could have killed someone. I feel it is borderline slanderous. Raikkonen has complained all year that he cannot keep the car straight. Even on the straights it is not straight. No-one can argue against the fact the formidable torque from these new power units and the lax downforce this season have made the cars a bitch to drive (for many). Raikkonen particularly, who has had many spinouts this year caused when he applies throttle out of corners. It is a problem he and his engineers have been trying to fix all season. Who is to say this poor-handling car was not partly responsible for the Silverstone accident? Raikkonen was turning on to the track and accelerating. Sound familiar? Sure, going over the grass and the gully made things worse, so, yes, Raikkonen could have slowed down more, allowing him to rejoin the track on the tarmac instead of the grass. However, had he been driving a car that does not incessantly want to spin, as his Ferrari does, the accident would not necessarily have happened anyway, in my opinion. I feel this is why the Scuderia have pretty much kept quiet about it. I realise Buxton is entitled to an opinion and is speaking on behalf of driver safety, however, it does not justify the vilification of a driver who has yet to have his say on the accident. And, knowing Kimi, he won’t say anything until he’s pestered by the press next Thursday in Hockenheim. And, even then, the taciturn Finn will likely brush it off as “one of those things”. However, I reckon drivers should be given a fair hearing before being verbally, and publicly, lynched.

    • LollipopMan – perhaps Kimi and Scuderia are simply not compatible…ref: Monza ’07 – youtu dot be/Ay72NiwsjYk

      Simply put: Kimi chose to drive off circuit rather control his race car and keep it between the white lines. Kimi wasn’t bumped off or forced off track, it was a calculated (granted nearly in an instantaneous moment) maneuver to drive off.
      ref: Alonso’s point of view – youtu dot be/8Q-TNhWv688

      FIA stated, beyond any doubt to NOT TO PUT ALL FOUR TYRES OVER THE LINE. Kimi violated that demand from the FIA. Two things should happen (in my opinion); 1) FIA apply back of grid or sit out of one race penalty to Kimi, and 2) Kimi (and all others) accept it and move on.

      • This was surely not a calcuted manoeuvre by Kimi! Nor would any driver use crawling speed to get back to the track as suggested above.

        But Will, you and some others can try to continue the campaign of lynching Kimi. The FIA, most experts and drivers did not talk about a penalty. Time to move on!!!

        • Evidently you have not viewed the in-car of Alonso, of Kimi chosing to go off into the weeds (run-off), hence calculated. Otherwise, he was either bumped off track or he was not in control of his vehicle. This my point – Kimi knowing in advance via a track walk there was a bump is irrelavant. The fact that those drivers and crew that did walk the track, apparently did not see the bump, or saw it and did not demand it be repaired prior to race start. I couldn’t care less it was Kimi …. I think he knows he can’t hang with Alonso, extended the limits of the track (calculated), and tried (but failed) to return to the track safely…… There, I feel better, and have moved on (have you?) eagerly awaiting Grosser Preis Santander Von Deutschland 2014.

        • Exactly.

          And the fact that it’s only Will Buxton and Lauda clamoring for Kimi to be penalized (along w/ amateur F1 blogger Keith Collantine – lol) doesn’t add any credibility to these claims. After all, Lauda is also the person who complained that FIA code required the complete replacement of the damaged section of armco before the GP could be restarted safely…hardly a credible commentator on the issue then.

  29. I’m not surprised there was a nasty reaction to the previous post and this is little better. Perhaps if the name was changed to WilltheF1fan pieces like these would be more understandable

  30. Hi Will,
    I’ve read all 3 articles you mention in this piece and I agree exactly with what you’ve said about Kimi and the FIA inconsistencies. I’m not sure if abrasive run off areas are the solution as there is possibly as safety hazard but it neither of our jobs, as fans or media, to run and control the sport. If the FIA was more in tune with what fans want then there would be no need for the ludacris “Strategy group” who seem to only want to put on a show rather than good racing!

  31. CODE OF DRIVING CONDUCT ON CIRCUITS
    1 .Observance of signals
    The instructions detailed in Appendix H to the International Sporting Code are deemed to be part of this code of driving conduct. All drivers must abide by them.
    2. Overtaking, car control and track limits
    a) A car alone on the track may use the full width of the said track, however, as soon as it is caught by a car which is about to lap it the driver must allow the faster driver past at the first
    possible opportunity.
    If the driver who has been caught does not seem to make full use of the rear-view mirrors, flag marshals will display the waved blue flag to indicate that the faster driver wants to overtake.
    Any driver who appears to ignore the blue flags will be reported to the Stewards of the meeting.

    b)Overtaking, according to the circumstances, may be carried out on either the right or the left.
    A driver may not deliberately leave the track without justifiable reason.
    More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted.
    Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off-line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the
    approach to the corner.
    However, manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as
    deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track
    or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited.

    Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above offences will be reported to the stewards of the meeting.

    c) Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of doubt, the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not.
    Should a car leave the track for any reason, and without prejudice to 2(d) below, the driver may rejoin. However, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any advantage.
    A driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track.

    d) Repetition of serious mistakes or the appearance of a lack of control over the car (such as leaving the track) will be reported to the stewards of the meeting and may entail the imposition
    of penalties up to and including the exclusion of any driver concerned.

    e) It is not permitted to drive any car unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers at any time.

    3.Cars stopping during a race
    a) The driver of any car leaving the track because of being unable to maintain racing speed should signal the intention to do so in good time and is responsible for ensuring that the manoeuvre is carried out safely and as near as possible to a point of exit.

    b) Should a car stop outside the pit lane, it must be moved as soon as possible so that its presence does not constitute a danger or hinder other drivers.
    If the driver is unable to move the car, it shall be the duty of the marshals to assist. If such assistance results in the driver rejoining the race, this must be done without committing any
    breach of the regulations and without gaining any advantage.

    c) Repairs carried out on the track may only be made by the driver using tools and spare parts carried aboard the car.

    d) Replenishment of any kind is prohibited save when the car concerned is stopped at its pit.

    e) Apart from the driver and duly appointed officials, nobody is allowed to touch a car except in the pit lane.
    f) Pushing a car on the track is prohibited.
    g) Except during a race suspension, any car abandoned on the circuit by its driver, even temporarily, shall be considered as withdrawn from the race.

    4. Entrance to the pit lane
    a) The section of track leading to the pit lane shall be referred to as the “pit entry”
    .
    b)During competition, access to the pit lane is allowed only through the pit entry.

    c)Any driver intending to leave the track or to enter the pit lane should make sure that it is safe to do so.

    d) Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the Stewards of the Meeting), the crossing, in any direction, of the line separating the pit entry and the track is prohibited.

    5. Exit from the pit lane
    Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the Stewards of the Meeting), any line painted on the track at the pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pits from those
    on the track must not be crossed by any part of a car leaving the pits.

    How many of these fundamental rules are ignored race by race?

    Example:
    In Silverstone, Vettels leaves track in Copse up to 13 times.. (laps 25-50).

    d) Repetition of serious mistakes or the appearance of a lack of control over the car (such as leaving the track) will be reported to the stewards of the meeting and may entail the imposition
    of penalties up to and including the exclusion of any driver concerned.

    This is The CODE. The fundamental rules all drivers must abide by them

  32. Will
    This is a great article and although on balance I do not agree with your view that Kimi should be penalised, clearly your reasoning is valid.
    There is one observation though around the current obsession by the FIA and also some of the experts following F1 around track limits.
    I can’t see how the zero tolerance approach is beneficial for the sport – of course it makes drivers respect track limits more, but also generates complete anti-climaxes like Grosjean being penalised in Hungary following a great move on Massa. More importantly, it makes everyone complain about each other and chase the penalty – much like players diving in the box during football matches in an attempt to get a penalty. There was nothing more depressing that seeing a great battle between Vettel and Alonso last weekend being polluted with complaints that the other driver was going off limits and should be penalised.
    Shortly after the Grosjean penalty in Hungary there was a great last lap battle for the win at the NASCAR race in Watkins Glen between Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski which I found to be brilliant racing (although I am not a supported of other NASCAR practices regarding leniency on driver behaviours). However, these two drivers were more often outside the track than on it. In Formula One, it would have generated penalties left right and centre. Is that the right approach? As long as it’s a level playing field, I don’t mind anyone going off limits, as long as obviously they don’t get a huge advantage taking a shortcut a la Rosberg in Montreal. But the last chicane at Montreal is an exception, most tracks don’t allow that sort of thing. In addition, as you pointed out, rejoining the track should be done in a safe manner. I am not sure I have the best solution but find the current approach quite frustrating for the fans.

  33. You have your opinion on it, others have another … Everything is fine as long as the insults don’t get too personal again :)

    I think that Kimi already lost two positions when he rejoined the track. He could have braked to join the track safely again, but then the speed difference could have caused another collision. If not for the bump, he wouldn’t have endangered anybody. Of coure he should not have driven over that bump but that’s easy to judge in the aftermath.

    In the end, the FIA decided not give him a penalty. I could understand a grid penalty or some penalty points but the claim about a ban for not re-entering the track correctly was too harsh anyway! I guess that not even Maldonado would have been banned for that (considering the bump).

    Your opinion is another, however I wonder why no other current driver did talk about the “stupid” mistake of Kimi. I guess that the majority would have done a similar thing if they were in a similar situation.

    • “If not for the bump, he wouldn’t have endangered anybody.” – but for Kimi deciding to stay on track by slowing ever so slightly and getting in line behind the Sauber, he wouldn’t have endangered anybody. But didn’t, so suppose Kimi decided to slow to a near crawl in the paved run-off and waited for all competitors to pass, then enter the race track safely through the paved section before the grass and bump …. He wouldn’t have endangered anybody, rejoin at the back of the pack, we would not be having this discussion. Perhaps there are too many convoluted rules, much like the U.S. tax laws. Too many loopholes for teams and competitors to rationalize why got away with what the did. In my opinion.

  34. i remember kimi saying he doesnt do track walks of tracks he’s already done track walks on which seems fine but i’m willing to bet that he forgot about the dip at the re-entry point and that a track walk would have reminded him

  35. He should have been punished clear and simple. The extra wide run-off areas do allow a race car to rejoin the track. That’s why they have clearly painted rejoin areas. KR overshot it by several car lengths through keeping his foot down and ended up ploughing through a ditch. KR at fault. FIA wrong. FM and MC race ruined.

  36. Chilton almost lost his life and for whatever reason you guys are arguing about Kimi’s mistake. Someone already lost their life recently to this kind of accident and it’s only a matter of time before it happens again. If that wheel had narrowly missed Hamilton’s, Vettel’s, or Alonso’s head, perhaps then it would get the attention it deserves.

    But by all means continue this worthless argument. Whatever floats you’re boat.

  37. The FIA should’ve done something as soon as they saw Petrov’s antics at Malaysia in 2011. Here we had a situation where the driver went wide on the exit of a corner, and just kept his foot in when rejoining. The result was a rallycross-style jump back onto the circuit, with no control over his car when he eventually landed because the steering arm broke, and a potentially serious back injury from what I believe was a 80G impact.

    I 100% agree that the FIA need to be strict with track limits. Its not about gaining an advantage anymore, its about how that is exceeding the boundaries of the circuit and safety issues with it. They should’ve gave Raikkonen a penalty. A race ban? Thats probably too harsh. But I’d say making him start from the pitlane is apt considering Hockenheim has its massive run-off at turn one, and I think putting Raikkonen in that position again is just inappropriate.

  38. I started watching F1 back in 1998, there have been ups and downs, there may have been precedents, but I do not remember such unfortunate lynch campaign.

    Reasoning means nothing because the purpose is to stamp power – the power to form opinions, to defy champions at the end of their career, to challenge “establishments”.

    Responsibility means nothing, if it is not also responsibility to ethics. When one watches those frightful videos and hears the horrifying thud of Raikkonen – car and body – hitting the barrier, one cannot help thinking that it takes special mentality to transform this accident into a platform of self-righteousness.

    Run-off areas in the virtual space are not large enough to avoid this sad episode.

    (Please note that the comment occurs only because it was unavoidable to witness this campaign. It is not aimed against the journalist, it merely expresses deep disappointment.)

  39. Will, insightful and studied, as usual.

    There has to be an offsetting cost for going off if they don’t want gravel traps. The Paul Ricard solution is cost-effective for tracks to implement and is a proportionate penalty for a driver’s mistake.

    Psychology also played a massive role in Kimi’s decision to come back on track at full speed. He didn’t want to suffer the criticism of an already suspicious Luca di Montezemolo for another careless display, so he took an unreasonable risk that didn’t pay off. That is why the FIA’s assertion that any other driver would have done the same is off the mark. Kimi couldn’t afford another demonstration of his lack of focus and commitment, so he had subjective motivation.

    His second date with Ferrari is not like the first. This time, he’s up against Fernando who consistently delivers more than the car has to offer. Kimi complains on the radio that the car won’t go straight and that he doesn’t understand it. Any other champion would work hard and after 3-4 races figure out a way to adapt his driving style to suit even a dog of a car. While Pedro De La Rosa was testing at Silverstone, Fernando got in the simulator in Maranello to support Pedro’s feedback. I can’t imagine Kimi doing that unless he was specifically instructed to do so, whereas Fernando would likely volunteer.

    Kimi is yet to deliver any hint of magic this year, yet Fernando got a podium among other stunning performances this year.

    He has certainly lost the right to the Iceman moniker. He’s going back to the tired line “I have other opportunities outside of F1.” You know Kimi, we don’t care this time around. Playing hard to get becomes less and less convincing when your teammate is destroying you 9-0.

  40. Some racing fans are beyond understanding. One could imagine them being insulted by the very rude Mr. Raikkonen and would then gladly wait around to be also spat on so they could feel truly blessed by the “Iceman’s” obnoxious personality.

  41. Will,
    Well said…..and I would go a little further based on Noble’s comments:

    “Although the FIA accepted that Raikkonen would not have crashed if he had slowed down dramatically, it is understood the governing body believed that any other driver would have rejoined the track in the same manner.””

    Isn’t it because every driver would do the same thing that the FIA is suppose to put into place and enforce the safety policies?!?!?!?

    I am of the same opinion that Kimi should sit out the next race…and quite honestly I think this is what is going to get him out of the car this year, “back problems from the Silverstone crash are forcing a sit-out of the rest of the season for Kimi and X will be taking his seat”.
    I know Kimi wasn’t trying to cause and accident but the fact remains his actions and his actions alone led to the end result. If the FIA doesn’t do something I think Ferrari should take a little own-ace here then too, after-all Kimi is a representative of the company.

  42. If you ask me the only reasonable thing that can be done is to make the kerbs serrated or saw toothed or whatever you call it. Nothing will keep a finely balanced racing car or a talented smooth driver away from the edge of the track and therefore the run off area like a nasty sticky uppy kerb that will unbalance their delicately handling machine. Abrasive run off areas are too destructive for the 80% of drivers that will invariably never venture that far off line unless they are punted off or avoiding someone elses accident so I can’t see that being a viable solution nor can I see cutting the power being a very clever idea, I mean, imagine you’ve just come to the top of eau-rouge, foot planted to find a rear wing doing 100k less than you … not a very pleasant sight I’m sure :(
    As for the Kimi this Kimi that thing, it’s done. It’s over, nothing will happen to anyone involved and no one will be prosecuted/jailed/hanged/given a drive through/docked points/disqualified/barred from earth so let’s look forward to the next round in Germany and see how long it is before track limits are mentioned in P1. I reckon 10mins.

  43. Will,
    Your passion carries itself into your writing and it’s fun to read. Could you answer a few questions, please:
    1. Have you watched the overhead video of the incident? This is information the FIA has and is crucial to understanding exactly what happened.
    2. Is there still a penalty for going off track and gaining advantage? This 2 wheels, 4 wheels off rule is untenable. (Witness the whining between Vettel and Alonso.)
    3. Is there still a penalty for untethered tires? If so, then Ferrari earned that penalty.
    4. The cost to bring Silverstone up to FIA specifications was, I believe, something like 22 million euros. According to Damon Hill they’d run out of money to remove/alter the curbs, but plan to do so in the future.
    lm

  44. Pingback: Daily links for the end of the week. | Ewan Silver

  45. Excellent writing and excellent points, as always, Will. I love Kimi as a driver, for better or worse, and it was a bitter pill to swallow that this accident was his mistake, but you make it pretty clear that the status quo is not safe.

    In addition to everything you’ve highlighted here, why doesn’t F1 have spotters the way NASCAR does? Somebody who, in effect, acts as the pit lane lollipop guy does, but for the whole track? In Nascar, there is always a pair of eyes on your car from above with a direct radio line to your ear letting you know when theres somebody at yoru quarter panel, to your inside, to your outside, or coming up fast. They let you know when it is safe to rejoin, and warn you about all the things you can’t see.

    It doesn’t seem possible to have one person who can see the whole track without a helicopter, but it seems completely feasible to me to have people stationed around the track for each driver to act as spotters.

  46. Who do you think you are to criticize the decisions of the FIA? Don’t try to fuck Kimi because you will not be able to. You are a shoddy journalist!.

  47. There are a lot of differing views here and, like my colleague Will, I am genuinely chuffed to see so much passion for F1. Not agreeing with everything people are saying, but I hope someone in power takes note of that passion.
    One more comment on Kimi and the Ferrari; it’s not that long until Spa…

  48. Pingback: Law change raises possibility of London Grand Prix | F1 Fanatic Round-up | Formula 1 News

  49. Is it just me or do all the people from lands with the Queen as the head of state, or at least the ones from Speed/NBC have 2 things in common. #1 Lewis is the most infallible driver on the grid…you especially Will. Even when he is loosing time to Nico he “has a plan”. #2 Kimi is an unmotivated 2nd rate driver. Sorry, I do follow your reasoning, but I question your motivation for this “opinion” of yours.

    • RE: Hamilton , I dont think it’s just speed. You see it on SkySports as well. I suppose its understandable, given that most of the press covering \ distributing to the english-reading public (or maybe to the F1 public in general ? ) is British. And sometimes, I wonder if they even know they’re doing it.

      Re: the kimi bit – the idea that Kimi is “unmotivated” took a life of its own after 2008 \ 2009 , despite the fact that an unmotivated driver would never have done what he did at Lotus, I dont know what the heck he’s doing at Ferrari =)

      Anyway, Ultimately, I dont think Raikkonen is the point of this post, perhaps Will should open a Forum on this Website as well , or point us to places where we can discuss the finer points of Kimis motivation and other article-unrelated topics =)

      • Haha, yes, you are correct. I’m a huge Kimi fan, but I can’t say anything other than I’m disappointed this year. I will even say it was very optimistic of him to think he could rejoin the track safely…

        Will, I think the way I see it is this. There are a set of rules for past Champions and there is a rule for the back markers. If Alonso, Button, Hamilton would have done this, they wouldn’t have gotten a penalty either. Maldonado or Perez? They probably would be forced to sit out a race. It might not be that logical, but for whatever reason, I agree…they have proven themselves to be great drivers and deserve the benefit of the doubt.

  50. Blah blah blah Buxton doubles-down on Kimi criticism, even after FIA reveals that review of telemetry indicated Raikkonen did reduce his speed before rejoining the track…

  51. Buried in the piece is this nugget of fallacious logic that, had Buxton read and repeated it to himself before clicking on “publish”, could’ve saved us all the time we wasted on his latest anti-Raikkonen rant:

    >”When it comes down to it, though, the problem at the root of all of this is that racing drivers are racing drivers.”

    d’oh.

  52. No, Will – no penalty was applied b/c no investigation formally was conducted b/c FIA understood what you deludedly refuse to accept: that Kimi did not rejoin in an unsafe manner.

    • Joe, you, better than most, must surely understand that the argument of “everyone is doing it” is not and can never be a viable excuse to rule violation in sport.

      This article tries to find a solution to the problems inherent in F1 which allowed Raikkonen the scope to do what he did. You’re an intelligent, well educated man. Don’t let your emotions on this and your clear adoration of the Finn get in the way of your comprehension of the issues at stake. It does you no favours.

      Let’s just agree to disagree on this shall we?

      • Hi Will, thanks for the courtesy of your reply, and your kind words (which nevertheless leave me feeling a bit of a cad…). If I understand you correctly, you’re saying that you’re not pursuing a vendetta against Raikkonen, in which case I apologize for suggesting otherwise. You’re obviously very passionate about this track limits issue, as it was the first on-air question you posed to a subject (Lauda, iirc?) on NBC after the incident, asking if ‘something didn’t have to be done’ (paraphrasing).

        My objection is to what looks like the scapegoating of one driver after a terrible incident in order to criticize the governing body, by extension. It seems like you’re taking advantage of the FIA’s poor official communication/PR skills and your superior mastery of rhetoric to enhance the justifiable critique of their sporting governance failures, but in a way that’s unfair to the athlete and encourages unnecessary, unhelpful public hostility towards them.

        It would absolutely be logically fallacious were FIA to “exonerate” Raikkonen (even though he was never formally under investigation, right?) by resorting to argumentum ad populum, but here I think it’s inappropriate to emphasize that while downplaying the more significant fact that review of telemetry indicated Raikkonen made an effort to reduce speed before rejoining and hadn’t disregarded his own safety or the other competitors’ (or marshals’).

        FIA does neither itself nor Kimi any favors with the sloppy language, but I’d think a nuanced reading would allow us to judge the crash to be a genuine accident not caused by negligence, in which Raikkonen’s driving conformed to the norms of behavior and action reasonably expected of any other superlicense holder in those circumstances. You seem to open the door slightly to this when you accept that “racing drivers are racing drivers”, but then frustratingly describe that reality as the “problem” at the “root of all of this” (!) … when, from my view, the problem is inconsistent guidance and ruling on the part of the FIA, and not negligence or excessive risk-taking on the part of the competitors.

        Many Formula 1 drivers seem to be quite comfortable publicly criticizing their colleagues, whether out of reasonable, genuine frustration (Webber vs. Grosjean 2012, Japanese GP – http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/formula1/19862043) or “handbags at dawn” (Alonso vs. Vettel 2014, British GP – http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/formula1/28214000). So the absence of any accusations of shoddiness against Raikkonen (especially from a notorious moaner like Massa) would seem to support FIA’s (poorly-phrased) observation – that Kimi wasn’t driving unreasonably when he moved to re-enter the circuit.

        Unless they’re all in on a conspiracy to protect the Finn – and the FIA – from accountability?

        Of course we can agree to disagree, but it’s difficult now for me to imagine that someone can look at what happened to Kimi (and Massa and HK) and, absent sustainable evidence of negligence or devious rule-breaking on his part, suggest that the horrendous experience of that terrible crash wasn’t “punishment” enough, and that a sporting sanction for KR is required to deter similar behavior if the future (even though the governing body + stewards say the behavior was not actionable).

        You’re an enthusiastic, entertaining broadcast journalist and a surprisingly capable writer, Will. And I thought you did good to put Bernie on the spot and almost “door-step” him about Monza. I’m glad that you’re raising some issues of officiating and sporting administration by the FIA (and hope you’ll also educate the public to questionable F1 governance practices that are negatively influencing this post-Concorde era, like those covered by Dieter Rencken). But I think it’s unfair, opportunistic, and frankly, a bit cruel to cite assertions of illegal driving as “fact” and then encourage the public to believe a crash victim should be formally penalized for a racing incident, and, perhaps worse, suggest assigning him liability for a substantial race-delay ultimately forced by FIA regulations.

        You are incredibly influential in shaping how thousands and thousands of fans think about the relationship between athletes and their governing body (and not just in motorsports), which is why i blanched at the uncharitable suggestion that Kimi Raikkonen’s terrible Silverstone crash should be judged comparable to incidents caused repeatedly by Romain Grosjean or Pastor Maldonado, and ‘disciplined’ accordingly…

        • Joe, great post and thanks for taking the time to submit your thoughts so eloquently.

          I’ll try and address each of your points.

          First, no I did not mean to scapegoat Kimi. My initial article came from a genuine place that I believe he had acted in a reckless fashion and should be held to account for it. It’s interesting, but if we look back to the Grosjean incident a few years ago, previous form was not mentioned in the stewards decision. Instead, he was banned for one race for an “extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others.” Worryingly, and I wrote on this subject at the time, the FIA also referenced the fact championship contenders had been eliminated in the incident, thus placing what was almost universally decried as an unacceptable notion of value on drivers and their perceived importance.

          The replays and stills of Kimi’s loose wheel narrowly missing Max Chilton (It really was close… we are talking inches) show that we did have potential for serious injury. Factor in also that it is usual for the FIA to investigate and view as a very serious offence, any incident which causes the cessation of a race. As such, I believed it was not only possible but pertinent to draw parallels between Grosjean’s Spa moment and Raikkonen’s Silverstone incident.

          Thus when the Autosport story emerged, and it must be highlighted that I have dealt only with what Noble and Autosport reported they had learned and “understood” as no official word has been forthcoming, I wanted to address the points raised.

          The FIA seemingly accepted that Raikkonen’s re-entry speed was too high, regardless of it being lower. Had speed been scrubbed off when he hit the gulley? Had he lifted? Again, we don’t know. But we do know the FIA still regarded it as too fast.

          I do not accept the argument raised by some that Kimi is a safe driver, a world champion, and so shuld be judged on previous form because he isn’t “reckless like a Maldonado etc”. Similarly, I don’t think we should come down harder on him because, as a champion, we should expect more from him. All I want to see is parity, across the board, for those at the centre of causing accidents and those innocent victims of their rivals’ mistakes.

          Raikkonen and Raikkonen alone was in charge of his car. Thus, to my mind it was Raikkonen and Raikkonen alone who should take responsibility. My point on track walks is that re-entry points are researched on track walks for just such moments. That gulley would have been spotted. The track of course added to the incident, but the onus is on the driver to re-enter safely and the fact that his re-entry sparked an immediate accident is proof evident, in my mind, that his re-entry was not safe. As such I am still perplexed as to how this incident did not receive the level of scrutiny I would expect to see if, say, a Maldonado had created it.

          But the FIA has taken some of this responsibility in its officiating of the sport. As I said, racers are racers, and if everyone keeps their foot stuck in over run-off areas, and the FIA considers this practice as acceptable, increasing the size of run-off and in so doing facilitating this practice, then my intention was to move this argument on to that very subject and ask if there wasn’t a way we could adapt run-off areas to maintain their safety but take away any advantage gained by utilising space which is not considered to be part of the racetrack.

          Thus the FIA’s argument that Raikkonen had done nothing wrong because everyone else would have done the same thing is intensely worrying. If everyone stops slowing for yellow flags, if drivers start ignoring blue flags, if teams bring along bigger fuel tanks and ignore fuel flow rates across the board, do we just swallow that as acceptable practice because everyone is doing it?

          The run off is not the race track. If everyone is using it so as not to be disadvantaged, the FIA has only itself to blame for not imposing the law in the first place. I’d just like rules enforced across the board. One rule for all regardless of previous form, races won, championships taken or teams raced for.

          Thanks also for your kind words – I was a writer long before this television thing, which was all a lovely mistake.

          • “if we look back to the Grosjean incident a few years ago, previous form was not mentioned in the stewards decision.”

            It may not have been mentioned specifically by the stewards, but you can guarantee that his role in 7 first lap crashes (out of 12 race starts) weighed heavily in their consideration of appropriate punishment. And at the risk of being a pendant, the incident happened less than 2 years ago (not a few as noted in your reply above).

          • Will, this was a fantastic reply, and I can see convergence not that far away.

            I agree with most all of the different strands you’ve woven together here (quite expertly, btw – really just such a pleasure to read such confident writing that challenges the reader), and nothing on which we might still disagree here would be fatal to … collaborating on detailed analyses of structural, economic, sporting, and governance issues in F1 – now (FIA track limits here) or in the future! lol

            How to contact you directly, privately, btw? (maybe on Twitter – follow then msg me?)

            Cheers.

      • And just to be absolutely clear, my insinuating that Kimi merits sympathy for his experience of the Silverstone crash, as opposed to a penalty, is not a corrupt argument from pathos – Argumentum ad Miserecordiam. I simply am not aware of the existence of any incontrovertible proof that Raikkonen drove recklessly, and so proceed on the basis of it being a genuine racing incident – i.e., an “accident”.

  53. Raikkonen did not crash because of his driving, he crashed because of a bump on the edge of the circuit which caused his car to become extremely unstable. Nobody could have foreseen that (a) Raikkonen would hit this bump (b) that he would lose control like this (c) that his car would go back across the circuit and (d) that his car would hit another car, I defy anyone to say otherwise. The fact that Massa got caught up is unfortunate for him but that is not the fault of anyone, it was a total accident. It is the same principle as if a driver suffers a tyre blowout at high speed and his car snaps sideways into another car, it is just an accident.

    • Well, I think we’re digressing from the focus of the article (The inane track limits that resulted in Kimi Doing what he did), but Since Will greenlighted your comment …

      “Nobody could have foreseen that Raikkonen would hit this bump” – Until we do a Q&A with Kimi or some reliable person confirms it, we wont know whether he did a track walk or not – which he’s said himself on a few occasions that he doesnt see a point in. A track walk “May’ve” helped with picking up the finer points such as this one. But more than that, addressing these ridiculous Run-offs would probably be best.

  54. I feel that the comparison of between Kimi and Maldonado and other drivers is a moot point. Kimi has been driving in f1 on and off since the early 2000’s and has proven himself to be one of the best drivers on the grid, and has also proven that he drives in a safe manner. Maldonado crashes nearly every week. Perez (speaking from what i have read off F1 Fanatic) is arrogant and stubborn, hence the axe from McLaren. And Esteban is a driver with very little experience in the world of F1.

    When they cause infractions, it is generally unsafe for everyone around them, almost every race. Especially in pastor Maldonado case. I can see why the FIA would be less likely to penalize Kimi for hitting a bump large enough to get his car airborne, although it produces xxxx lbs of downforce. I believe the real problem is the FIA letting Silverstone have such a large ditch less than a meter off of the track. And that would be Ferrari’s argument towards the FIA if they chose to penalize Kimi. The FIA would probably agree with Ferrari and I am sure there have been some closed door discussions concerning the condition of the runoff areas since this incident.

    All in all, I feel the FIA is correct in not penalizing Kimi for being a racing driver. Also consider the fact he was in a pack of Marussias and Caterhams, all of which he is much faster than. Having a ditch large enough to launch a car producing that much downforce is to blame in my opinion.

    • Thomas, although there are some untestable assumptions in what you’ve written, I understand the sentiment that characterizes your post, and also read the negative commentary on Perez you mention. But one thing I don’t understand is the relevance of the following:

      “Also consider the fact he was in a pack of Marussias and Caterhams, all of which he is much faster than.”

      Surely in considering whether or not to assign liability for an incident, and to whom, the relevant status of the cars in proximity isn’t an issue, unless there’s an objective difference in functionality or performance that is a causal factor of a crash in which they’re involved?

      Are you saying that the grouping of Marussia, Caterham, and Ferrari cars (and Williams?) towards the back of the grid contributed to the incident and almost, idk, made it inevitable for example?

      • No, it wasn’t inevitable due to Catherham and Marussia being on the grid as you imply. But the pace is certainly much different for these cars. For example lap times between a Caterham and a Ferrari this year are over a 1 second difference.

        Put yourself in Kimi’s seat, You can go wide and re-enter behind the 4 slowest cars on the grid, and fight through traffic for 3-5 laps. Or you can keep your foot planted and be done with it on lap 1. And you have to make this decision from apex to re-entry, maybe 1/4 of a second.

        Every racing driver would keep there foot in it. As would I.

        I still maintain, that a bump large enough to launch a car like that is to blame and Silverstone should be the focus of the media spotlight, not Kimi. Mikka Hakkinen was just interviewed concerning Kimi and his retirement statement and displayed the same sentiments as I have concerning the bump. +1 for me!!!

  55. While i disagree with your Kimi comments (i honestly believe had it been any other driver there would be no penalty, thats racing) you are SO SPOT ON about runoff. Racers nowadays are rewarded by pushing past the limit and now they want safety past it! The gravel pits were safe and a penalty. I love the Paul Ricard solution. You exceed, you pay the performance price and can continue (what the fans want). Something needs to be done. At this rate they might as well just race in an overgrown undulating parking lot and paint lines where they should go….

  56. Will, I agree with you although I hold Kimi in high regard as a driver. Simply swapping drivers in this scenario leads me to believe that if Maldonado (my favorite driver to dislike) had been the one involved, I would have said it was driver error – I would have also said, “there he goes again”. Also, if that gully had not launched Kimi I’m sure he would have reentered the pack safely and went on his merry way. I guess what I am saying is that regardless of whether he knew he would be launched or not, I believe it is part of his job to balance the risk of failure with successful driving.
    Also, I am sad to see the type of name calling that went on here. F1 Racing is entertainment and I feel that people who can’t have a smart discussion, even with disagreement should simply bite their tongue.

  57. Off Topic, but I thought you might be interested in my German GP race reflections

    Race Attendance.

    I’m happy to report that I was one of the few actually attending the German GP over the weekend. It was great to hear the (not so new) engines for myself for the first time, and I have to say I think the new sound is an improvement. It’s great to hear more of what is going for the drivers beyond the scream of an engine. The cars are not quiet, they are bearable, and it is interesting to hear the differences between each manufacturer. All in all, F1 has done a great job at improving the show on track.

    What was disappointing however was the half-hearted attempts to appease race attending fans. In 2013 I attended the Singapore GP. I paid £400 for a roving ticket, over the race weekend when there wasn’t action on track there were performances on 3 different stages around the circuit. There were 100’s of food and drink stalls offering a huge choice, catering for anyone’s tastes. Event sponsors supported the race with stands, offering fans a way to engage with the names they see on the track or cars. There was almost too much to do and the event was busy!

    Fast forward to the German GP, I paid almost the same amount of money for Mercedes Grandstand Tickets, it was my second time attending the race at this grandstand, the view of the track is awesome, and despite a 25% increase in price vs 2012, I decided it was worth it. In 2012 Mercedes seemed to have made a real effort to entertain fans, with a village behind the stand with driving experiences, bars, driver interviews and a band of sorts. This year, whilst all this remained it was less than half the size, and now included 2 additional areas reserved for VIPS (my £400 didn’t make me a VIP’s) The General F1 village was even worse, with a Santander backed area accompanying merchandise stalls and a local, somewhat inept make shift cocktail bar beach. I went to Hockenheim for the final round of the DTM last year, the race had a higher attendance and the ‘Village’ was full of stands from sponsors and teams making money from fans in the breaks in the racing. It was a far more involving experience.

    A fun feature of sitting in the Mercedes stand in 2012 was on the parade lap on race day, people sitting in the stand were asked to hold up a sign to make a large message of support to its drivers, yesterday I was a bit disappointed the same thing had not been planned, and in fact had moved to the stadium complex, It was only on watching the race back when I got home that I realised how empty our stand was and how the message would simply not have worked, which made no sense since when I bought the tickets I was lead to believe the stand was almost sold out, and as a consequence I had bought more expensive seats.

    Like many lame fans I take pleasure in trying to get around the paddock over the race weekend, in the hope of meeting some of the stars we see on our screens every other weekend, such as Mr Will Buxton, at most GP’s this is not too difficult but this year it seemed like the race organisers had more staff protecting these areas than they had selling overpriced beers! It makes no sense to keep fans away from the people they have paid lots of money to see.

    I don’t understand why the partners of teams, like Monster, Blackberry, Unilever, P&G, Coca-Cola don’t have stands at the race, if there is an issue with them being seen on TV keep off the screens, but you have a captive audience who will buy your product if you make it available to them over a race weekend.

    Over the course of the weekend I resolved that this would probably be my last European GP, from now on I will head to races in countries where the government recognise the value a race is bringing to the economy and invest in making the race an event.

    The European business model for F1 is broken. Tickets are overpriced, the focus seems to be on the VIPs, there is very little for the fan to do outside of the race itself and the fan is treated like dirt to be honest.

    That being said the race was great, and I did manage to meet and talk to Lewis Hamilton (after intense discussions with security around the track) I was very impressed with Lewis over the weekend. He kept his cool despite the challenges he faced and he’s making a real effort to engage with HIS fans. When I caught up with him on Saturday after that qualifying session, he asked me if I’d had a good day and put my name on the cap he signed for me. On race day after an interview at the Mercedes stand I noticed he was putting the name of every person asking for autographs on his special edition caps. A very classy touch.

    • Jon Wilde – thank you for sharing the great comments. It is always good to hear stories from fans in the stands. It was obvious attendance was very, very low. I believe Will (or Leigh, Steve, David had made the comment) even eluded to the lack of fan turn-out.

      I wish the sweet thunderous sound experienced at the track translated better in the broadcast. Perhaps more onboard time.

      Sadly, it is all about the money. Teams have to “pay-to-play” for air time (least they are in an accident, cause a red flag situation, break ontrack, or are leading the race).

      I live in California and am doing a mental coin-flip as to whether it is going to Texas for event at COTA. To get a room for the weekend at a reasonable rate is nearly 100 miles from the track, and the cost of a GA (General Admission or roving ticket) is $300 USD (early bird rate). The value is simply not there for me. But I love F1 and the newest drivers (Ricciardo, Bottas, Magnussen, Kvyat ….) oh heck, all of the team’s and drivers. One heck of a show.

      I suspect the push for “cost reduction” for teams is proportional to the available prize money and/or gate sales.

      Nothing will ever replace the thrill, sounds, smells, and excitement of being at the track. However, with today’s technology, and the stupid cost of the F1 app., they ought to stream ALL teams, all on-car, pit crew camera’s. Let the fans decide what car(s) they want to watch and listen to. The team’s can filter what radio dialog is included in the video stream. No offense, Will. In my never to be humbled opinion this would augment your broadcast, not be “instead of” your supreme insight and commentary since you are in the trenches.

      Jon – thanks again for sharing your experiences.

      • Jon – Thanks for the comments. Keen to know what you said to the security folks to let you through..!

        DGretlein – I was pretty shocked when the USGP ticket prices were announced. I went to the last three races at Indy, where Grandstand tickets on the start/finish started at $85 for race day. Montreal offers better value in my opinion (although hotel are a little pricey for the GP weekend).

        Hearing this morning that a Mexico City race will come online next year… Could be another good option from CA

  58. How about this to end all the off-track shenanigans we’re seeing lately – if your car leaves the track with all 4 wheels, regardless of the reason for doing so, the pit lane speed limiter kicks in automatically; to clear the pit limiter mode, the driver needs to bring his car to a full stop where it is safe to do so, then engage first gear and drive off (basically as if he was doing a pitstop).

    • Seconded. Just saw this after making a post along similar not-overly punitive lines. It once was you exceeded the limits and flirted with death. OK, not good. But it ain’t right that the track has infinitely extensible boundaries. Get a wheel off the black stuff in some places. OK. But not the way it is.

  59. We have a simple, every-day solution in SCCA Autocross. If you knock a cone out of its box it costs you two seconds. That could be a good start for F1 off-track running. For many, if not most, autocross events. all four off the black stuff is a DNF – that lap doesn’t count.

    If we weekend amateurs can deal with these stipulations, I don’t see why the “superior big boys” can’t.

    Or, you could bring back the way courses used to be.

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