During the Russian Grand Prix, an action by six-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, made many people doubt the FIA's judgment. It turns out that the Mercedes driver practiced two starts when the paddock was opened, the zones in which the British driver practiced them, were not allowed. After analysing these two incidents, the FIA stewards decided to impose a 5-second penalty for each incident, giving a total of 10 seconds, plus 2 penalty points on his super license, placing the Mercedes driver with a total of 10 points. It should be noted that, if a driver obtains 12 points in a period of 12 months, that driver will be suspended for one race. Obviously, he will not be able to score and the team will only be able to race with one car, leaving him (and the team) at a disadvantage. Sometime later, the FIA returned to take up the case of the six-time world champion and decided to withdraw those two points in his super license and better imposed a financial fine on the German team. This incident sparked a debate about what is correct and what is not in this system.
“I raised this question in the drivers’ meeting about the driving points. How sometimes they give them to someone, then they retire those points. I think this thing needs to be a bit reviewed.” Commented Daniil Kvyat. “If you get the penalty points if you case, let’s say, a dangerous collision with someone or a really dangerous manoeuvre, and it’s clearly someone’s fault, then okay, it’s justified.”
“But blue flag infringements, like all this sort of bull****, I don’t think you really need any licence points. It’s not a taxi park, you know. We need to be able to always push on the limit. So it just needs I think to be slightly reviewed, the system.”
“I’m not a big fan of these points. Dani [Kvyat] spoke about it, because he was in a situation where they put a couple of things on him, where I believe he didn’t do any dangerous driving or anything close to that. I just feel it’s a bit strange.” Said Pierre Gasly.
“I believe in F1 we all respect each other. Sometimes you clash with other drivers, it’s part of motorsport. But at the end, the respect is always there. I don’t think that’s the way to tackle the incidents that happen sometimes. I think we think we’re quite old enough and mature enough to discuss these matters.”
Other drivers joined the complaints against this system since some drivers do not do any dangerous driving or the incident is not their fault but still receive points in their license.
“I think hopefully the stewards have better understanding of what deserves penalty points and what doesn’t. Because there are some rules where a driver gets penalty points when they shouldn’t.” Lando Norris commented. “I think it’s been cleared up slightly, but we’ll see in the future when people get them again.”
Michael Masi also commented about this topic but he wouldn’t give any of his thoughts when asked by Autosport since he finds this topic confidential and it’s just for him and drivers.
“Discussions that are in the drivers’ briefing are between the drivers, myself and the team managers. We’ll continue to have any discussions, good, bad or otherwise, within that environment, and for me, in that environment, not to comment upon.” Said FIA race director.