FIA want to bring back Natural Penalties to F1 Circuits

The FIA are hoping to reintroduce natural penalties on Formula One circuits in order to provide instant justice to any driver looking to gain an advantage off-track. It also saves the race stewards a big job. 

Whilst a “natural penalty” sounds like the FIA might be putting an alligator at Monza’s turn-one or a hive of parasitic wasps at turn-one in Mexico. A natural penalty is actually something that automatically gives a time penalty, like the run-off road to the left of Monza’s first corner. This idea would definitely improve the spectacle of the races, with tedious penalties unlikely to be distributed without consistency.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 30: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes AMG Petronas, during the Mexico Grand Prix 2016 in the Racetrack Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico on October 30, 2016.   (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 30: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes AMG Petronas, during the Mexico Grand Prix 2016 in the Racetrack Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico on October 30, 2016. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

FIA Stewards Chairman Garry Connelly said,

“There are now probably only 11 or 12 corners across the whole championship where there is the potential for cutting corners in a very obvious way.

There are solutions that can be adopted to sort those issues out, such as the solution that has been adopted for turn one in Monza, where if you do go off there is a natural penalty in that it takes you longer to rejoin than if you had used the circuit. That makes it a lot easier for the stewards as the penalty is applied on track.

The point we also made is that the rules say a driver can rejoin the track as long as you do it safely and gain no lasting advantage – The word lasting is again very subjective.

Does it mean lasting for 500m, until the next turn, the next few laps or the whole race? That subjectivity is removed if the circuit is modified or designed to immediately disadvantage a driver if he does go off track.”

– Garry Connelly

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico. Sunday 30 October 2016. Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31 Honda, leads Esteban Gutierrez, Haas VF-16 Ferrari, and Felipe Nasr, Sauber C35 Ferrari. World Copyright: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _31I9528
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico.
Sunday 30 October 2016.
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31 Honda, leads Esteban Gutierrez, Haas VF-16 Ferrari, and Felipe Nasr, Sauber C35 Ferrari.
World Copyright: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic
ref: Digital Image _31I9528

The measures to make tracks police themselves is a well needed one. The stewards have been inconsistent in this area in 2016 to the degree that even drivers have been complaining about it.

“I’ve seen less [penalties] for more. I heard that [in Mexico] there were very similar situations with mine and Fernando’s incident and that there were no penalties. This is what Formula One needs to understand, either to look at it incident by incident or to put a fixed rule.”

– Carlos Sainz