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F1 penalty points system to be amended

A more conservative approach to applying penalty points will be welcome news for drivers like Pierre Gasly.

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The FIA have changed Formula 1’s penalty points system for the 2023 season, according to reports from Motorsport.com

Pierre Gasly in 2022.
Pierre Gasly is only two points away from a race ban. (Image credit: Sky Sports F1) 

The new rules will be put in place to reduce the risk of drivers facing a race ban as a result of minor rule infringements.

It’s news that will probably come as a relief to drivers like Pierre Gasly. The Alpine driver found himself walking a fine line after picking up multiple penalty points last season for a series of minor offences.

Gasly has the most penalty points out of anyone on the grid, with 10 of them to his name. Two more, and Gasly will find himself with a race ban.

As it stands, the rules currently listed in the sporting regulations are as follows:

“With the exception of a reprimand or fine, when a penalty is applied under the Code or Article 54.3 the stewards may impose penalty points on a driver’s Super Licence.”

This means that any penalty a driver incurs can be met with a penalty point on their Super Licence. It’s easy to see how a myriad of minor offences can quickly lead to a race ban.

Penalty points remain on a driver’s Super Licence for 12 months. Each point is removed individually after a year has passed. However, if a driver has his licence suspended, all 12 points are removed once the ban has been served.

A more conservative approach

Gasly voiced his discontent regarding penalty points in November last year. “I’m not going to lie, it’s a very unpleasant situation and quite delicate,” said Gasly. “[It’s] in some ways a bit embarrassing to be standing in a position where I could be banned for a race after the season that I’ve done.”

He added, “I don’t really feel like I’ve been particularly dangerous over these last 12 months and that would definitely be a harsh penalty.”

Gasly remarked that he had been in conversation with the FIA over this issue. He said:

“I’ve been discussing it quite a lot with the FIA to try and find solutions because the way the regulation is written at the moment, it’s quite strict on the drivers and quite harsh penalties even though it’s not always related to dangerous driving.”

It’s expected that stewards will now be encouraged to be a little less liberal when it comes to handing out penalty points.

In fact, according to Motorsport.com, stewards took on-board this new approach to penalties at the season-opener in Bahrain. Gasly’s teammate, Esteban Ocon, drove a race plagued by time penalties. In a sign of a changed approach, however, the French driver managed to avoid having any penalty points added to his licence.

It’s news that will likely be welcomed by the drivers ahead of this weekend’s race in Saudi Arabia.

Featured Image Credit: The Sports Rush

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