Poll Should Vettel have been penalised for his start in Japan?

Should drivers be penalised for the sort of start Vettel made in the 2011 Japanese GP?

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Bookies drive nice cars because of people like me
Before you vote: this is not a vote about whether Vettel should have been penalised. It is a vote about whether any driver should be allowed to squeeze another off the road.

Straight up, I wouldn't be asking the question if I didn't think the move was wrong. The main reason for this is safety, but there is also a sporting aspect. I saw this much in the same way as I saw Webber on Vettel in Turkey, Schumacher on Barrichello in Hungary last year and Schumacher on Hamilton at Monza this year. I'm sure there are others...

Safety: any time a driver is forced onto the grass to avoid a collision, there is a risk of contact and at the start especially, there is a danger of any accident causing a chain reaction of accidents. If Vettel and Button had touched, one of them would have spun across the track, into the path of the other 22 cars with frightening consequences.

There is a reduced risk if the driver getting squeezed backs off, as Button did today, but even that risks a chain reaction. If Button had anyone behind him, they could easily have rear-ended him with the same carnage resulting.

Sporting: It's a race, to see who is fastest. I have no problem with the door being closed, before the driver is alongside. If the driver is alongside though, the tactic is pure bullying which has no place in any sport. This gets a little more complicated when a corner is involved (Schumacher on Hamilton at Monza) because the car in front has to turn.

In my view there should be a responsibility to leave a cars width once the car behind has its front wheels level with your rears. The drivers could be alerted to this via some sort of audio signal, my 2003 has reversing sensors, they just need something a bit more sophisticated.

I would like to hear others opinions on this. If you think this was ok, where is the line?

"Is that how we are racing now?", Button to Vettel in the driver's room. Is this how we are racing??
What I didn't like about it was that he turned to the right to block Button, and then turned left into the middle of the circuit to try and turn in. That constitutes two moves, and should be punished I reckon.
Oh... I read the question wrong, disregard my vote.

I think that at the start moves like that shouldn't be penalised unless a driver is forced to go onto the grass with all 4 wheels.

When in the middle of a race moves like that should not be allowed.

That is just my opinion of course, based on absolutely nothing except that I like agressive starts :dunno:
Vettel or anyone else should not be penalised for what Seb did today,

Because it has happened often and was never penalised as we were told by Charlie that because it's the start, it's hard to police and it's acceptable.

So in this instance no, but generally how stupid to allow this? Will they wait till a serious accident is caused by a naughty but within the rules squeeze?

Seb would not have done it if the rules were sensible
If it is clear from the video and telemetry - especially the in-car footage - that a driver is intentionally crowding out his opponent then there should be a penalty as is stipulated in the existing rules.
It's a tricky one though as the drivers are often moving about in reaction to those around them because some get off the line better than others. Although, I do think it's a bit of different context when the protagonists involved are more or less clear of the rest of the field .
Didn't Hamilton get a drive through penality for a similar thing at the Japanese GP at Fuji in 2008?

Have the FIA/Charlie Whitting change the rule since then? Or is it still one rule for one and another one for another?

IMHO - i think Vettel or any other driver who has pushed someone off the track intentional or not should be punished and that the rule should be consistant to all drivers not just one.
Oops, I mullered that one - I got it into my head that the vote was whether the move should be punished, a careful re-read of the title explains why I was so out voted.

Charlie's comment appears to be that these moves are not penalised at the start as they could not catch all rule infringements and enforce fairly - I have to say I'll have to remember that one as a defense if I ever end up in court.... You can't punish me because some other guy will have got away with it. There's a defense you can build a house on!
Despite the 2 questions opposing each other in phrasing, my response is the same to both questions.
Should he be punished? No. Current rules (and seemingly driver briefings) ignore startline incidents as far as possible, so I think just about OK.

Should it be allowed (i.e. future/ change to rules)? No. Crowding should be considered in the same light whether at the start of the race or at any point during. I'd agree with the majority on this so vote No.
I've added the poll back on so it matches the thread title and deleted the off topic posts.

Feel free to vote again and carry on discussing.
Didn't Hamilton get a drive through penality for a similar thing at the Japanese GP at Fuji in 2008?

No? Unless ive gone nuts and my mind has invented something else, Hamilton braked about 3 miles too late into the first corner missed everybody bizzarly got a pen for it, Also in that race iirc Massa got a penalty for a phantom cutting of the course and Wurz for doing something to massa that simply did not happen.

Hope im not breaking any rules here put what i remember about that race was thinking that the Race stewards were toking somethink during the race. They all seemed odd descions.

Anywho.... back on topic, im wrting before ive voted but theres a fine line, has long its one move, and there enough room for the other car to get past, then Yes it should be allowed. In the example of Vettel it was very very marginal. I personally would not of wanted to make that call.

EDIT: Aha! and i clicked the wrong one........Doh! +1 to No penaly then.
:givemestrength:silly boy!
hamilton forces a car off track in hungary and gets a penalty. alonso does the same in italy and escapes penalty and now vettel also escpes, the stewards surely are out to get hamilton
Hmm out of all those incidents Hamilton fully forced Di Resta off track and therefore that incident was possibly the worst of all these incidents, making it rather clear cut. However one could argue all of the other incidents occured in a high speed part of the track and and therefore could claim that these incidents were potentially more dangerous and therefore should have warranted a penalty.

There's definatly some room for discussion here. But it just may be a case of Hamilton's incident was over the line with the others just keeping their toes on it.
I have to say that I hate when drivers at the front swerve across in front of the second place man at the start of the GP.

I have referred to this as the "Schumacher Swerve", as it was something that Schumi regularly did, and he was lucky not to be taken out at the start more often! This sort of swerve is not only dangerous, but it is unsporting as well. Personally, I would give anyone who swerves like that a stop-go - whether Vettel, Hamilton, Button or Schumacher!
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