Penalty in the race, Minardi invokes the single judge: “Necessary uniformity”

Penalty in the race, Minardi invokes the single judge: “Necessary uniformity”

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Penalty in the race, Minardi invokes the single judge: “Necessary uniformity”

After the sanctions imposed in the Austian GP, ​​the confrontation is rekindled. From Patrese to Steiner unanimous opinion: “Clear rules to favor the show”

The line is thin: what is the limit allowed for a driver to defend his position? Do you still have the right, under attack, to close the door? We asked ourselves this last Sunday, on the occasion of the Austrian GP, ​​observing the duels between Lando Norris and Sergio Perez first and then between the Mexican of Red Bull and Charles Leclerc. In both cases, whoever was in front suffered a penalty for having “accompanied” the opponents outside, on the gravel. Penalties that were obviously not digested by those who suffered them and this was taken for granted. Unless Red Bull boss Christian Horner took sides to defend Norris. “For me it was a race accident. A normal “wheel to wheel” but these are races: if these sanctions are imposed, the risk is that a driver may intentionally be thrown on the track and then ask for a penalty “.

Dijon ’79

Therefore, from the heart of the racetracks, the request to grant more freedom to the drivers is born from the same insiders. “With today’s meter, how would the Dijon ’79 duel between Gilles Villeneuve and René Arnoux have been evaluated?” asks Riccardo Patrese, 256 GP in F1. “I try to recall a few episodes in the years in which I raced, therefore from the end of the seventies to the beginning of the nineties, contacts that may have created dangers and do not come to mind. Rather, I am well aware of what happened to me in 1992 in Estoril, on the occasion of the GP of Portugal with Gerhard Berger (then on the McLaren-Honda; ed) that literally made me fly in the air with my Williams, not signaling my entry to the pits. It was discussed at the next race meeting but no measures were taken because there was no rule and in almost thirty years the FIA ​​has not felt the need to write it ”. The ex-Paduan driver has very clear ideas about the maneuvers of the Austrian GP: “Whoever is in front has the right to choose the trajectory, even if only half a car is ahead. Any rival who wants to go outside takes a risk and if he sees that there is no space he must necessarily lift his foot and try again, also because it is necessary to keep in mind that naturally from the point of the rope he slides outwards ”.

Sole judge

Rethink the rules? Giancarlo Minardi, former manufacturer and today president of the Imola circuit, is convinced of this: “The penalties that were imposed in Austria were exaggerated – says the manager from Romagna – unfortunately the regulation was not written well and so, someone also throws himself in if there is no space and “hope in God” “. Minardi also relaunches an old proposal that has long been swept off the table: the single judge. “In a highly professional sport like this, it is necessary that there is uniformity of judgment”. In addition to the melee, in the two Austrian weekends there were numerous penalties determined by the exits (sometimes really millimeter from the track).


“It is not to be dramatized – explains René Rosin, team principal of Prema, the Vicenza team protagonist in Formula 2 and Formula 3, training ground for many students of the Ferrari Driver Academy – our Dennis Hauger won race 1 in F.3 and closed the two more on the podium without taking any penalty regarding exceeding the track limits ”. That is, you can drive quickly and avoid breaking the rules. “Once it was easier to enforce the track limits because sausages were placed beyond the curb, but in this way the cars broke down so …”. And on the contacts, the manager from Vicenza is understanding, knowing the difficulty of “finding the right compromise between entertainment and safety”. Haas team principal Gunther Steiner argues that the only discriminating factor in sanctions must be risk. “If it is not the case why punish?”.


For former Ferrari driver Ivan Capelli, drivers’ mistakes are often the perverse effect of working on the simulator “which makes you lose references on the real car”. Also for the Milanese we need a review of the regulation that “is taking away space from the riders’ imagination. We have slipped into a cul de sac and to get out of it we need the collaboration of the drivers and teams. Only behaviors that endanger safety should be sanctioned. Even in my time, we gave it a good reason, but in the end it was corrected ”. And Patrese also explains why: “There was a code of honor, if you made some mistake, you knew that they would then make you pay”.

July 10, 2021 (change July 10, 2021 | 13:10)