The penalty points system has been in use for the past five seasons. In that time, 13 drivers have accumulated 10 or more. Among them is Pastor Maldonado, who hasn’t started an F1 race since 2015.
No driver has yet reached 12 points within a 12-month period, which would lead to an automatic ban. Verstappen and Grosjean both ended the year on seven penalty points, but have accumulated career totals of 19.
Both drivers have criticised F1’s penalty points system. “I hate these stupid penalty points,” said Verstappen in Austin. “Maybe you deserve a penalty, but it’s not that bad that you deserve a penalty point. For me that’s a bit out of proportion.”
In response to Verstappen’s criticism of the penalty points, FIA race director Charlie Whiting said they are “there to make a habitual offender take notice.”
Grosjean said many of the incidents for which he received penalty points should not have been penalised. The points system was introduced after Grosjean was banned for triggering a crash at the start of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix.
“Penalty points are not a penalty,” Whiting pointed out. “They are just there to track a driver’s record.
“They’re completely separate. When you have a penalty you always get a penalty point. Except for a reprimand, you don’t get penalty points for reprimands. I know some people are a bit confused [but] applying points is not a penalty as such.”
F1 stewards have handed out a total of 287 penalty points since they were introduced, an average of 2.87 per race weekend. Two drivers ended 2018 with clean licences: Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and