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.”
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.