All of these penalties already drop their respective cars down into the bottom half of the grid. There were so many that Sky Sports had to specify the order they would be penalized.

And these are on the low side. McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne got an insane 65 grid-place penalty at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend. It’s become excessive and absurd.


Granted, these penalties came from a desire to keep costs down by limiting the number of engines teams can use. Anything F1 can do to keep costs more manageable for smaller teams is a good move, especially since we’ve seen several come and go quickly in recent years. However, I can’t imagine allowing a fifth set of power unit components for the year to give struggling teams a better shot at scoring in the points would be too bad.

But that’s only solving part of the problem. Grid penalties change qualifying results and often annoy the fans who watch those sessions, a point which even Formula One’s heads have noted. Formula One Managing Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn told

I hate the fact that we’re having to affect the racing because of the technical issues. I know you can say if a car breaks down in a race that’s a technical issue and you’ve affected the race, but I think the fans understand that.

For a fan to stomach that his hero is on the back of the grid because he had to change the engine, that’s not great sport.

We’ve got to find a solution to that, either through a different form of penalty or to remove the penalty altogether and just live with the problem that it was trying to fix.


Preach that gospel far and wide, brother, because it’s been my biggest source of irritation with recent F1 races.

So, maybe F1 should find another penalty that doesn’t affect the results so much—at least for the smaller numbers of component swaps, such that teams who are clearly abusing the rules could still have results affected after a certain point.


Something F1 teams would really hate that would happen entirely off the track would be ideal, like making certain components off-limits to development or suspending members of the crew. (The phrase “mandatory shoeys” also came to mind, however, I realized that could be grossly unsanitary.)

Brawn suggested a potential loss of constructors’ championship points, or the loss of allowed “tokens” for power unit changes to—both of which would get the job done.


I’m sure the same minds who give us cars capable of pulling G-forces that near those of a fighter jet can come up with something creatively onerous that would leave the qualifying results alone. But something’s got to give. I’m tired of tuning into qualifying only to have the results I see play out on track get owned by grid penalties on top of grid penalties.

Luckily, there’s hope now that even F1's higher-ups are as sick of the practice as I am. Do us a solid and change that for next year, please.