Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Hockenheimring, 2016

Hulkenberg receives one-place grid penalty

2016 German Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg has been given a one-place grid penalty for the German Grand Prix.

Felipe Massa, Williams, Hockenheimring, 2016
German GP qualifying in pictures
Force India were found to have used a set of tyres during qualifying which they had notified the FIA would not be used following the final practice session. Teams are required to return one set of tyres before qualifying begins.

These tyres are scanned electronically to notify the FIA they will no longer be used. However one of the scanned sets was fitted to Hulkenberg’s car during qualifying in error.

Hulkenberg’s comparatively light sanction sees him moved back one place on the grid from seventh to eighth, promoting Valtteri Bottas.

Hulkenberg was pleased with his qualifying effort, saying “most of my laps in the session came together nicely and my final effort in Q3 was spot on”.

“The long run pace is competitive, too, so we’ve got every chance of getting a great result this weekend,” he added.

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2016 German Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Hulkenberg receives one-place grid penalty”

  1. Uhh what? Is 1 grid drop is in possible penalty list? Or the stewards now could made up new penalty as their wish? Why not the usual 3 grid drop, or just fine the team if they feel its too severe?

    1. @sonicslv, in this instance, there is no set penalty in the regulations for this sort of offence, mainly because it is relatively rare for it to happen. I think that you have to go back to the mid to late 2000’s to find the last instance where you had a comparable mix up, and at that time I believe that the only option available to the stewards was to fine the team.

      In this case, the regulations do allow the stewards to give a grid penalty, the number of places for which can be determined by the stewards.

    2. @sonicslv

      Is 1 grid drop is in possible penalty list?

      Yes, here’s the relevant part of the rules:

      The stewards may impose any one of the penalties below on any driver involved in an Incident:
      g) A drop of any number of grid positions at the driver’s next Event.

      1. @keithcollantine Thanks, I somehow missed that part during my rulebook reading. Now that it’s possible, 1 grid drop seems a fair penalty for switching a ruined tire from qualy to start of the race, after the usual “replacement with a tire that have more or less same condition”, like Hamilton or Vettel did before. It should stop majority of people from complaining about gaining an advantage.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        31st July 2016, 10:23

        Interesting, it does not say that those numbers need to be ‘integers’.
        Thus soon we can see .5 or .1 grid place penalties.

  2. It feels like they’re just making the rules up as they go along.

    1. @kingshark When lewis got a spa penalty for off track overstaking of Kimi, and rightly as rule said, give the place back, he did give the place back to Kimi, then next straight before corner, he overtook him, but he was penalized for this. There wasnt anything in rule book stated he had to wait 2-3 corners before he can re attack again. Ham was penalized, and after the race they added the wording i think, about the 2-3 corners to rule book! So Yeah, they like to make up rules as they go along, like they say in USA, cops shoot and kill first, and question later…

      1. Well, that was eight years ago.

      2. @mysticus I believe that they penalized Hamilton because he didn’t give back as much as he gained. Although he conceded the place to KR, he was still effectively alongside KR which means he didn’t concede enough

    2. Robert McKay
      30th July 2016, 22:48

      I’ve long spoken about the FIA Random Penalty Generator (TM).

      I like to think it is operated much like those one-arm bandit slot machines in the casinos.

  3. I do have to ask as some of you will have better knowledge then me. Helkenburg is essentially moving from 1 side on the track to the other and is still on the 4th row. Will this penalty put him on the clean side of the track or the dirty side? Or is this track a place where it doesn’t matter?

    1. He has moved from being on the racing line to being off it but it doesn’t make a big difference at Hockenheim, the track gets a lot of use and both sides have fairly good grip.

  4. Cannot understand the logic of the FIA sometimes, the team was responsible for deciding which tyres go on the car itself and therefore the team as a whole should be punished rather than the driver alone. Similar to Hamilton’s unsafe release in FP3 where Mercedes are responsible for signalling when Hamilton can leave his garage yet Hulk gets a grid drop but Mercedes get fined?

    Funny how I praised the FIA for improving on the consistency front on Twitter the other day then they do this.

    1. They are not just punishing the driver alone though as FI stand to lose constructors points if Hulkenberg finishes lower than he would have without the penalty. The only way they could have made this penalty more team inclusive would have been to give Perez a grid drop too.

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