F1 may introduce penalty points system

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Formula One may develop a new “penalty points” system for driver infringements.

A report by Autosport indicates this would be one of the items discussed by the Sporting Working Group think tank, along with a revised testing schedule and clarification of pit lane speeding penalties, for future 2014 rule changes.

Driver licenses would be hit with penalty points at small increments, only building later on. A mock system may appear later this year.

Such an introduction comes in the face of some the over-aggressive driving that populated last year, particularly by Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Grosjean earned a one-race suspension after causing the crash at La Source of last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

But this year, the incidences of contact have been fairly reduced; in a “penalty points” system, Esteban Gutierrez’s smash into Adrian Sutil at China could be a penalty-enforcing example.

It’s a delicate balance for the FIA to achieve, and would need unanimous support from the 11 teams before implementation, said FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting.

“It’s a complex question and we need to get the balance right because banning a driver is a serious issue,” Whiting told Autosport. “We need to make sure a driver genuinely deserves any ban.

“We will be monitoring offenses and running a [hypothetical] system in the background to see how it would all work if put into practice. We need to do that for a while.”

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.