Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Wagon wheel // Unsafe release penalties are under scrutiny

Published by Christine

Unsafe release penalties are under scrutiny
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

We've seen a couple of ten place grid penalties handed out to drivers this year after teams were found to have released cars in an unsafe manner (ie. the wheels fell off). Esteban Gutiérrez was the most recent driver on the receiving end of just such a sanction, and the Sauber driver complained that it was too harsh.

Taking up the theme, those present in the press conference ahead of the German Grand Prix were asked for their thoughts on the subject and defending champion Sebastian Vettel jumped at the chance to share his analogy. "I think it's like going to prison for stealing a chocolate bar. I think it's too harsh for the drivers, it's more for the team. There's not much you can do as a driver, but it is what it is."

Current title fight leader Nico Rosberg also added to the discussion: "Obviously it is one of the most dangerous situations for all of the people working in the pitlane you know. So definitely it should be harsh to try to avoid people doing that or things like that happening. We need to find the best way, what sort of penalties to do."

The stricter regulations were brought in after the events of the German Grand Prix last year, when a cameraman in the pitlane was injured by a flyaway wheel from Mark Webber's car. One year on and we have seen several runaway tyres but no repeats of such an incident.