“I don’t even know what the grid is and I’m here to explain this to people,” Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle explained this morning during his pre-F1 race grid walk.
When there are so many penalties that nearly the entire half of the grid is affected, you know there’s a problem. The latest tally of grid-place penalties for Monza—where a car gets shuffled a certain number of grid spots back at the start for new drivetrain components—is 150. One-hundred and fifty! Yikes.
Formula One published this list of all the penalties this morning ahead of the race start, and it’s utterly insane:
The full list of penalties, listed by original qualifying position, is:
2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull – 20 places (additional power unit elements)
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull – 25 places (additional power unit elements, gearbox change)
10. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren – 25 places (additional power unit elements)
11. Sergio Perez, Force India – 5 places (gearbox change)
12. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault – 10 places (additional power unit elements)
13. Fernando Alonso, McLaren – 35 places (additional power unit elements)
15. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso – 10 places (additional power unit elements)
17. Jolyon Palmer, Renault – 15 places (additional power unit elements)
NC. Romain Grosjean, Haas – 5 places (gearbox change)
That’s nine cars of the 20-car grid! You can view the qualifying session results here, but they sort of don’t matter. Here’s the revised starting order, per F1:
1. Hamilton, 2. Stroll; 3. Ocon, 4. Bottas; 5. Raikkonen, 6. Vettel; 7. Massa, 8. Kvyat; 9. Magnussen, 10. Perez; 11. Ericsson, 12. Wehrlein; 13. Verstappen, 14. Hulkenberg; 15. Sainz, 16. Ricciardo; 17. Palmer, 18. Vandoorne; 19. Alonso, 20. Grosjean.
Penalties were applied based on the order at which cars went out during Free Practice 1, F1 notes. Red Bull was smart and sent their car into Free Practice 1 as soon as possible, knowing that both of their drivers would have grid penalties this weekend.
Force India’s Sergio Perez has a five-place grid penalty, but actually starts one place ahead of where he qualified because there are so many cars that were penalized. Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer kept their fifteenth-place and seventeenth-place qualifying positions for similar reasons.
Haas’ Romain Grosjean, of course, did not set a qualifying time at all after aquaplaning in the heavy rain during the first qualifying session right off the end of the start/finish straight. He will start at the back regardless.
FIA President Jean Todt admitted there was a problem and that something constructive needs to be done when Brundle asked him about the issue on the broadcast this morning. That’s a good sign, along with F1 Managing Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn’s admission that grid penalties are out of control.
But in the meantime, we all suffer. The fans. The teams. The drivers. And especially all of our sanity, unless we’ve all just accepted that qualifying is just going to be a fun exhibition of F1 cars’ speed through at least the end of this season.