The BelgiumGP was great. It had everything, high speeds, slow corners, direction changes which let us see the capabilities of a F1 car and of course what everyone is talking about the drama. If you didn’t watched or haven’t been following F1 the drama which I am talking about is Roman Grosjean’s race ban for the next race (Monza) and Pastor Maldonado’s ten place combined grid penalty for his jump start and collision during the race.
Racing is dangerous, but there has been many steps which have been taken and steps will continue to be made to make it even safer. But this does not mean that we should encourage or allow dangerous driving. In many races this season we have see the errors due to lack of experience or just the passion of youth. Not all of theses have been major but regardless they were racing incidents and put people at risk. We should not be to harsh on a young driver they are learning and they will get better and more familiar with time. But things need to be done engrave the mistakes which they made and give them reason to improve.
Looking at Grosjean we can see that he has made multiple first lap errors. If he had a race ban for his first first lap error I would be outraged. But it’s not his first and he needs to learn. The move he made on Lewis Hamilton was aggressive and unnecessary. The result was a massive crash at the first corner of the Spa circuit. This was a major crash and Things could have ended very badly. Alonso almost took a race car to the face but it narrowly missed. Looking back to the other incidents they may not all have been his fault, he seem to find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time for many of his incidents. Grosjean is a racer, we saw that he can handle the pressure with the battle between his teammate during the HungaryGP. He can handle a car, but needs to learn how to handle the traffic. With a bit of reflection and the feed back that I am sure he’s going to receive his return to F1 will be one with driving if confidence and awareness of the limits and how much he can force it.
Now on to Maldonado. What can I say, he’s been the stewards watch list for a large part of this season. I don’t want to add I the Maldonado hate machine which is rolling and has a lot if fuel to keep going for a while but I will say a few things. I think that his driving is fast, give him a clear track and he can compete with the top guys, his car is good and he pushes it to the limit. The problem is some times he goes a bit to far. There is lot of pressure for theses drivers bring results and that can explain his jump start and incident during Spa. But that doesn’t make it okay. With a racer that has had this many incidents during one season he should have had a large penalty by now. I don’t think that Maldonado will change or improve until he misses a race. He knows that he had a spot on his team, they can’t replace him right now. He brings to much funding with him and he does have good pace with the car when he can finish the race. So he needs a large harsh punishment to get him in line.
As mentioned by Will Buxton the stewards need to be more consistent and clear with the actions they take. Grid places and fines are fine for minor incidents but when people are put in danger then larger actions need to be taken. Buxton mentions how soccer flags are handed out 3 yellows then you miss a game, something like that should be placed in racing. Let the drivers know that you are serious about the rules. Let them see what they will miss if they don’t shape up. Miss the points, miss the fans and most of all miss the thrill of racing
These two guys aren’t the only young gun racers who have had problems. We saw Jean Eric Vergen come across another driver at Valencia earlier this year,that was another error due to lack of experience. We have seen Sebastian Vettel take out his teammate in his earlier seasons of racing and we saw Hamilton have a incident in pit lane in Canada while he was still green. These guys are former world champions they learned from the mistakes which they made and became great drivers lets hope the current batch of young drivers will learn, grow and race at world champion quality too.