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October 16, 2019
No Dirty Laundry, Just Motorsport News!

Home > Formula 1 > Are the fans to blame for the Canadian Grand Prix penalty controversy?

Are the fans to blame for the Canadian Grand Prix penalty controversy?

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The controversial penalty given to Sebastian Vettel at the Canadian Grand Prix has sparked a lot of debate about the F1 regulations. For the sake of playing devil’s advocate, did ourselves (the fans) dig our own grave? Is this whole situation our fault?

A hot topic last season was the fair application of penalties by the stewards. It was such a widely debated topic because it seemed as though the FIA were more lenient when it came to judging the top-tier teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull compared to the rest of the paddock.

© Pirelli & C SpA

Looking back just recently, I, along with many other fans, heavily criticized the stewards for their penalty against Daniil Kvyat in the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix. If you remember, Kvyat was handed a drive-through penalty when he skidded into Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz on the opening lap of the race.

In fact, that particular case does share some similarities to the situation at the Canadian Grand Prix, as Kvyat didn’t really have full control of his car either.

After the race, I argued that the stewards are stricter on Kvyat than the other drivers on the grid. I’ve also argued inconsistencies in when the rules are applied in the past. Many other fans have argued the same thing, advocating for the stewards to penalize the top teams as much as the bottom teams.

As much as I hate to admit it, if what had happened in Canada had happened with lower drivers, I would totally see the stewards giving out a penalty. Even worse, I don’t think that anyone would be against it.

If we think back just two weeks ago, we may very well have witnessed a similar instance of the rules being applied to a larger team. Many people thought that Max Verstappen’s penalty for an unsafe release was strict. Maybe this was the sign of a turning point in the way that the rules will be applied.

Could the events that unfolded in Canada simply be a side-effect of our own requests? Could it be that maybe the stewards finally applied a penalty to Vettel the same way that they would have for Kvyat and now the fans are just outraged because it was more costly?

It’s quite possible. I’m not saying I agree with the penalty. I don’t. But there are a lot of other penalties that I don’t agree with either, many of which were given to lower teams.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. Assumptions made in any analysis contained within this article are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.

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About Wesley Branton:

Wesley is a motorsport journalist from Canada who fell in love with Formula One many years ago. His work has been featured in other major motorsport news publications.