F1 drivers expect changes to penalty points system as Gasly nears ban · RaceFans

Formula 1 drivers expect to see changes to the penalty points system after Pierre Gasly moved close to triggering an automatic one-race ban.

Gasly reached a total of 10 penalty points at the Mexican Grand Prix. Two more will lead to him being banned from his next race. As no points will be deducted from his licence until late May next year, Gasly faces starting the next nine races knowing he is at serious risk of collecting a ban.

While no Formula 1 driver has ever reached the 12-point threshold and been banned as a result, it has happened four times in Formula 2, including three times since June. F2 CEO Bruno Michel said earlier this year the practice of giving drivers penalty points for some infringements, such as exceeding track limits, should be reconsidered.

Several of Gasly’s F1 rivals believe his situation shows a rethink is needed and expect it to happen. “I think there’s been already good discussions, and I think it’s better to keep it internal, but from my understanding there will be some changes made for the future,” said Valtteri Bottas.

The Alfa Romeo driver said drivers should not be given penalty points if the infringements they committed were not in any way dangerous. “The points should be only given when it’s really dangerous and can be harm[ful] to yourself or somebody else on-track,” he argued. “So I think we will see progress being made.

“I don’t think Pierre deserves to be in that kind of situation, on the edge. But that’s the rule now. The main thing is how we act with that in the future.”

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Sergio Perez agreed. “When it’s not related to bad driving or mistakes there shouldn’t be a penalty,” said the Red Bull driver, “and it would be really bad if if he ends up losing a race for that.”

Having not raced in F1 during 2021 and started this year with no penalty points on his licence, Alexander Albon moved halfway towards a ban over the opening half of the season. He also believes the system is too harsh.

“I’m quite high up there as well and I completely agree with Pierre,” he said. “Just to give some context to it, I think I have three points on my licence [that are] down to track limits, which is something which is not dangerous at all. I’m not harming any other driver or myself in that situation.

“I’ve got another two points for a collision with Stroll in Jeddah, which I think at the end of the race, we as drivers deemed wasn’t my fault. So there are a lot of points on my licence which I don’t think are deserved.”

Albon also expects alterations to the system and said drivers’ existing points totals may have to be revised when that happens. “We are discussing about it, I think there is going to be a change,” he said. “[But] if we’ve already got the points on licence what happens then? Because even if we do make steps forward into next year do the points that we just got from previous years or previous races, stay on or whatever?

“I think we do need to do something about it. I don’t think any of us are dangerous drivers. I do understand, of course, you should punish drivers if they do dangerous things. But I think a lot of the points that everyone has right now aren’t because of dangerous things.”

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