Alpine demands changes in grid penalty rules

Alpine demands changes in grid penalty rules

The delay in the grid penalty rules going into force at Monza should not have happened, according to Alpine sporting director Alan Permane.

Permane is certain that the rules will be examined in the future and possibly improved through an automated procedure.

Several drivers in Italian Grand Prix qualifying had grid penalties hanging over their heads, and since there were so many different penalties, it took over four hours after qualifying ended to reveal the provisional grid for Sunday’s race.

Many people, including the teams were unsure of how the grid would appear after the session because of the wait, and those who were impacted had to perform a significant amount of rearranging.

The delay in the grid penalty rules going into force at Monza, according to Alpine’s sports director Alan Permane, should not have happened.

Permane feels the FIA and Formula 1 formed the grid perfectly, but he also thinks the lengthy wait was due to caution in making sure everything was right and proper. However, he thinks there may be methods to speed up the grid formation.

“We have guidelines from 2020 and I think the grid was formed exactly how it stated in that guideline,” said Permane. “That guideline has been developed, it was developed with F1 and the FIA, and has been applied consistently since then.”

“So I don’t think there are any surprises in it, but there might have been among people who didn’t have the guideline, I guess but I do agree three and three-quarter hours is a bit long to wait for a grid.”

“I think it would be relatively simple for them to publish it as the last car crosses the line, with the proviso it might change after scrutineering or whatever… They could plug all the known penalties into something and it would be better for everybody.”

Permane suggests that FIA can make changes to the grid penalty rules by making a faster grid arrangement, giving the teams enough time to plan on their strategies.

“I’d imagine so, but I’m not an expert,” he said when asked if the procedure could be automated by a program. “But you would know the car that’s in first, it’s going to have a 10-place penalty. You have all of the information at the end of qualifying, and I’m sure they will look at it.”

“I don’t quite know why it took so long… I guess they were double checking, triple checking everything.”

“They are supposed to have a grid published four hours before the start of a race, so anything we get on a Saturday night is a bonus and they publish a provisional grid.

“I get it for you guys [media] it’s important, and it’s also important for us to start building our strategies and things like that.”

What Monza demonstrated is that Formula 1 drivers are increasingly getting penalized at circuits where there are more opportunities for overtaking, signaling a growth in the practice of taking penalties almost in a “tactical” sense.

It also demonstrated how it caused chaos by holding a qualifying session with only the most hazy knowledge of how the grid would develop later on, as was the situation at Spa.

Multiple speculations about who would start where based on the wording of the pertinent section of the FIA Sporting Regulations emerged as a result of the fact that it took Monza so long to confirm it.

Moving forward, clarity is paramount, and a solution is also required for how qualifying sessions themselves must be run when pre-known grid penalties are in effect. For example, anyone with a back-of-the-grid start should be barred from competing in order to prevent other drivers from advancing, reprimanding others while they are already being penalized.

Simply said, the existing method does not add up as it should, and that section of the laws should be rectified in time for 2023.

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