Romain Grosjean, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Grosjean handed grid penalty for impeding Norris

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean has been docked three places on the grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix for holding up Lando Norris in qualifying.

The Haas driver was also given a penalty point, putting him on a total of eight, which leaves him four away from a potential ban.

Grosjean got in the way of Norris at the final corner during Q1. “The driver of car eight [Grosjean] stated that he was about to commence a push lap when he was overtaken by car five [Sebastian Vettel] and thus slowed significantly to maintain a sufficient gap.

“He was not advised by the team of the rapid approach of car four [Norris], which was on a push lap. The speed differential was 136 km/h at the point where car four had to take avoiding action.”

Haas did not inform Grosjean that Norris was approaching until he was almost at the final corner, at which point he was told: “Watch for Norris behind, Norris behind now.”

The stewards said they “accept that the driver of car eight did not intentionally intend to impede, however it is the driver’s responsibility to be aware, when travelling abnormally slowly, that faster cars may be approaching.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Grosjean handed grid penalty for impeding Norris”

  1. Weak penalty for a known & regular transgressor.

    1. Sky F1 are reporting HAAS never communicate with their drivers in qualifying regarding traffic & hot-lap drivers. If that is true then they really need to change their process.

      1. @ming-mong – yeah, I too was surprised when Brundle said that. It’s one thing to make an error, quite another to wilfully omit something.

        1. @phylyp – motorsport f1 & Lando are reporting Seb might have been the cause to why Grosjean was where he was…

    2. I agree, it was quite a weak penalty for what was a potentially dangerous incident…

  2. Why did Hass kept doing this? There should be a penalty for the team that never alert their drivers of faster car coming.

    1. @ruliemaulana .. The artlicle linked above indicates that Norris believes that Grosjean and/or Hass wasn’t at fault as you seggest. ie:

      Norris said there was no question he was held up by Grosjean, but did not feel the Frenchman could have done much more in the circumstances.

      The McLaren driver compared what Vettel did to ex-McLaren driver Fernando Alonso’s qualifying incident with Kevin Magnussen in Italy last year.

      “To be fair to him he only had three seconds for his team to tell him I was behind if they didn’t already,” said Norris of Grosjean.

      “It would have been very hard for him if he didn’t know to suddenly change his whole approach and giving up his whole lap.

      “From what he said he didn’t know I was behind until I was pretty much about to crash into him.

      “Vettel screwed him over, which is not a very nice thing to do in terms of us being racers, we try to respect each other.

      “If you’ve got a car ahead you don’t just overtake them into the final corner, like Magnussen and Fernando last year in Monza, because you kind of screw both your qualifying laps.

      “I think he did what he could when he knew. But he did impede me.

      1. sorry – Keith has also explained it more fully here

      2. @potsie159 thanks anyway

  3. The Haas F1 team has over 200 people on their staff and they can’t even get one of them to be a spotter?

  4. It makes absolutely no sense not have someone alerting the Haas drivers of approaching cars. The speed differences between a car on a hot lap and a car slowing right down to give themselves track room is too big for a driver to be certain to see and react. FIA should just make this mandatory before an accident happens.

  5. Steiner: Shut up shut up shut up.

  6. I think a finish drop (i.e. losing 3 positions wherever you finish) instead of a grid drop would be a lot more of a penalty.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th March 2019, 20:41

      Changing the race outcome for something that happened in qualifying would be a bit strange. The penalty should be applied as soon as possible. If they know that they will loose 3 positions at the end of the race, the team would likely end up doing things differently. If they have already had it, it is too bad and that is the point i think.

  7. Don’t agree with penalties for this type of thing. Let the drivers sort themselves out on the track and if they trip over each other or someone wants to play dirty games then so be it.

    If not, they may as well go back to one lap shootouts.

    1. Knowingly allowing “dirty games” sounds like an incredibly bad idea to me. Imagine teams having one of their cars blocking everyone other than their own priority driver in the closing stages of Q3 so that nobody is able to improve. That would be boring to watch and unfair for the competitors. Not to mention the safety aspects that arises. But it would definitely happen if it was allowed as you suggest.

      I do agree that in this particular case it feels like the penalty could perhaps be put on the team alone and not the driver. But, competitors should always be aware of the rules as they are at the time – even if they don’t agree with them. Since they currently state that it is the drivers responsibility (not the team) to be aware of faster cars when driving slowly, it is correct to penalize Grosjean.

  8. So Grosjean starts below top 10. Will he have to keep his quali tires or be permitted to switch?

    1. As I understand the wording of the rules he will have to keep his Q2-tires for the start of the race. The rule applies to those that qualify for Q3, and Grosean did that.

  9. Take a look.. I agree with Norris.
    Norris: “Vettel screwed him over, which is not a very nice thing to do in terms of us being racers, we try to respect each other. If you’ve got a car ahead you don’t just overtake them into the final corner, like Magnussen and Fernando last year in Monza, because you kind of screw both your qualifying laps.”
    Grosjean: “I think it’s Vettel that made a mess here, he didn’t really respect the unwritten rule that you don’t overtake before the last corner.”

    1. From that clip it seems Grosjean was already slowed to a snail’s pace, so I don’t see how it’s reasonable to expect Vettel to tuck in behind him until he makes his leisurely way around the last corner. I still see this as an issue with the team not keeping the driver informed about traffic, and Grosjean being somewhat oblivious. Of course having to nurse the tires like you’re carrying a tray of nearly full champagne glasses balanced on the halo doesn’t help.

  10. CrashJeans has serious form for close to every transgression known in F1.
    He has so often behaved multiple times, a though he’s the only driver on track.
    There’s single mindedness, focus, concentration etc.
    His abysmal record of incidents. Suggests to me he should have a full peripheral sight check actually.
    One of the more fascinating aspects of all of the good drivers is their massive increase in peripheral vision over most ordinary folk. RG’s needs a thorough look at by a specialist.

    1. @wildbiker
      Agreed, and that’s why VER can’t be considered anywhere near the top of the crop.

  11. It was blatantly obvious that GRO was impeding NOR, so highly probable would receive a grid pen. But the ziggo commentator was literally yelling how ludicrous it was that they were even investigating the incident, bc “obviously GRO did nothing wrong” (paraphrasing), even though he’d just seen the live onboard footage from the McL.

    And that was one of the more ‘balanced’ comments too, LOL.

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