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Drivers wary of penalty system

ESPN Staff
May 11, 2013 « Ricciardo excited by Toro Rosso updates | Red Bull has 'no shortage of choice' - Horner »
Drivers would gain penalty points for transgressions such as causing a collision © Sutton Images
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Daniel Ricciardo says drivers are wary of a proposed penalty points system which could see them banned for multiple discretions.

The teams have discussed the possibility of introducing the system, which would see the stewards handing out penalty points for misdemeanours, with a driver potentially being banned for one race if they accumulate 12 points in a 12-month period.

There is some confusion over whether the teams are agreed on the system, with Sam Michael saying he believes it has been approved after a Sporting Working Group (SWG) meeting in Barcelona but a Williams spokesperson telling ESPN that discussions are ongoing. However, the drivers talked about the issue in their drivers' briefing on Friday evening and Ricciardo said there are some concerns that need addressing from their point of view.

"It's been a topic we discussed a little bit today, just trying to understand how it would work and if it's a good thing or not," Ricciardo said. "Still nothing is close to being confirmed I don't believe, but it's basically like a car licence. Maybe you have 12 points and by speeding in the pit lane or causing a collision you might lose one point or two points and eventually if you are to lose all 12 it could result in a one race ban. This is the talk, so I don't know what will happen.

"We've obviously got to discuss this and make sure that it is not a bad thing. I think everyone's looking for clarity so between an incident people want to know 'Alright, this guy crashed in to me, is he going to get a drive-through? Is he going to get a five-place grid penalty? Is he going to get anything?'

"So I think just having maybe a points system like this could clarify what exactly the cost of an incident is. But saying that if they start bringing things in like unsafe pit release and you get a deducted point that's not really your fault that's the team's fault. They have to be careful with how they do it, so we'll see."

Ricciardo also said there would be times when the penalty system would be beneficial, but that drivers shouldn't become scared to race due to fear of sanctions.

"It's a tough one because a one-race ban is a really big penalty, but obviously it will take a bit to get up to 12 points so you've probably earned your one-race ban if you lose 12 points. I think the toughest one is if you're racing, you have an incident and you get a drive-through or something. If the incident is not so clear that's when it really hurts you, so in that respect it would probably be a better thing to have a decision after the race.

"We haven't received any paper how it would work yet, it would be pretty complex, you would imagine. You might get up to 11 points and start the next year with a clean sheet so if it is to take place they need to do it with a lot of thought. I'm not really sure, everyone has a different opinion really. I think there should not be penalties unnecessarily; if it's a racing incident it's a racing incident, let it be and move on."

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