Whiting Justifies Hülkenberg Penalty despite Grosjean Comparisons to 2012


Charlie Whiting has said that whilst there are direct comparisons to the first corner crashes in the 2012 and 2018 Belgian Grand Prix, the penalties handed out were wildly different, but this is down to the penalty points system that was introduced in 2014.

Romain Grosjean was handed a one-race ban in 2012 for taking out a number of cars on the run down to turn one, including Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, whilst Alonso was again involved in 2018 as Nico Hülkenberg earned himself a ten-place grid penalty for the Italian Grand Prix and three points on his Superlicence for his part in the La Source crash.

Whilst Hülkenberg openly admitted responsibility for the incident, he was never in line for the race ban that Grosjean received thanks to the points system, which came into play for the 2014 season, with a driver who receives twelve points on his licence then forced to sit out a race weekend.

“I think they looked back at the similar type of accident that was caused with Romain in 2012, if I remember,” Whiting is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.  “The accident was in fact what gave rise to the penalty points system.

“I think it was clearly Nico’s fault, he said he was completely to blame for it, and he took three, arguably four cars out, or destroyed their races.

“I think that came into it. I think the points are exactly right, and I think the 10-place grid penalty is pretty much what he expected, he didn’t say too much after it apparently.

“When you go back to the Grosjean accident and the accidents that preceded it, the whole idea of the penalty points system was to try and say – I think Grosjean had four different incidents – the idea was that if he’d had those accidents, and each had attracted three points, then we would be quite justified to ban him for a race.

“So that was the way that it was made 12 points, so in the future if that sort of thing happened, that would be the result.”

Romain Grosjean - Lotus F1 Team - Spa-Francorchamps
The start crash in 2012, which earned Romain Grosjean a one-race ban – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd