Let’s penalize German drivers at the German GP

What better way to endear yourself to the waning German public than change the regulations over the weekend a few times and then start handing out penalties for obscure, off-track action to German drivers.

It seems that Force India returned the wrong tires to Pirelli after qualifying as the FIA said: “during Q1, tyres without appropriate identification were used”. Who knew? Probably not the German public as most of them weren’t at the race which is a shame as there are three German drivers in the top 10.

Sure, Michael Schumacher isn’t one of them but I think there must be something else going on here. I understand how big Schumacher was to German motorsport fans but to have Nico Rosberg vying for a title, Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari attempting to re-kindle the German/Italian juggernaut and Nico Hulkenberg doing well at Force India, you’d think Germans would find reasons to attend the race.

The German GP was slated to alternate between Nurburg and Hockenheim and as such, it was absent from last year’s grid as the folks at the Nurburgring couldn’t summon the cash. One wonders with attendance down if we will see Hockenheim step in to the role as an annual option again or if Germany will once again be vacant from F1’s calendar.

The Hulkenberg penalty does make you wonder if every infraction should garner grid penalties instead of a hefty monetary fine. Nico will stat one place farther back for the tire infraction and while that’s not a huge impact, it’s probably merit for it not being a grid penalty at all if you could simply assign a fee.

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James Nash

It says German drivers…plural in the title. But they’ve only penalised one. Clutching at straws for a dramatic title?

Negative Camber

Uh….no. It’s an editorial.


They did however chose to fine the German team for an unsafe release infringement, rather than impose a grid penalty.

Guy Fawkes

So FIA penalizes the TEAM for an unsafe release. That’s partly the fault of the team and partly the fault of the driver in that case. And the penalize the DRIVER for the wrong tires being returned. Last time I checked, the driver doesn’t have a lot to do with where the tires end up after a session. I’ll just shake my head because obviously it doesn’t have the brains in it that the FIA has.


Hi Guy, I’d take the view that a grid penalty affects the team as well as the driver. The impact on the team is arguably more significant, as its points in the Constructors Championship that bring in the Bernie bucks, and keep the sponsors happy.
So if the team break a rule, they get a penalty that affects the driver, and vice versa.

Guy Fawkes

I see the point. It just seems that a monetary penalty on a team for something that was equally attributable to both the driver and the team doesn’t penalize the driver. Now, admittedly, 10k Euros is nothing but I’m willing to bet they don’t go into Lewis’ next check and take any of it! An unsafe release during the race leads to a penalty that affects both the driver’s standings and the team as an entity. So they must put a different standard on that rule during practice. No contact was made so “no harm, no foul” but what if… Read more »


Just to compare viewpoints, how do you think drivers should respond if the team tells them to let their team mate past?
In my view, the drivers are the employees if the team, they are there to help the team achieve its goals, not to persue their own goals at the expense of the team or their team mate. I even get grumpy if a driver backs his team mate into the clutches of another team, or punts their team mate so they finish 1st and 4th instead of 1st and 2nd.


I don’t get this division between the team and driver that I hear sometimes – the two are indivisible to me. If the team screws up, the driver suffers. And if the driver screws up, the team suffers. Obviously, the reverse also stands – they win and lose together as a unit. That said, there’s plenty of precedent for giving a team fine for an unsafe release – in the last few years, it has become the norm when penalizing this type of incident. Grid or time penalties have only been issued when there’s been an actual collision or a… Read more »


I think the difference between the Nico Hülkenberg penalty and Lewis Hamiltons pit lane incident was, that Force Indias mishap could potentially lead to a better grid position, Lewis’ clearly not. That’s when having a bit of un-clarity in the rules and stewards looking at it case by case works for you, #TeamLH … :-) As for the attendance, there are a lot of reasons for it. One are surely the ticket prices. If you want to go with your family, you easily spend about 1.000€ on tickets alone. A family ticket for DTM costs about 100. I know, DTM… Read more »


The ticket prices are certainly the prime suspect in the attendance slump. We talked about this on FBC the last time the German GP was held, and I compared the price of the same grandstand seat at the DTM race (which was packed to the rafters) and the F1 race (which was not). The price difference (10-20x the price for F1) is still the same, or possibly even a bit bigger. So there’s no surprise people aren’t flocking to the gates.

Tom Firth

Whilst I agree, you could say the same about Silverstone and the UK or any other country that has a healthy domestic series and compare the prices to F1 and of course F1 is much more expensive, people still flock.

I say bring back the old Hockenheim! That’ll fix things ;-)
If it doesn’t, who cares, we have an awesome track for one year, instead of the neutered track they call Hockenheim today. If we can have Osterreichring back, we can have Hockenheimring!

Alianora La Canta

Rules are rules, regardless of who’s breaking them. It’s just really bad timing that it’s the German teams and teams with German drivers who are getting into trouble in the first place…