Calls grow for driver penalty system overhaul

Calls are growing for F1 to overhaul its system of penalising drivers for technical problems.

Former F1 driver Mark Webber was the first to bring up the issue of a driver suffering an engine or gearbox problem only to get further punished with a grid demotion.

"A lot of people turn on the TV for the race and say 'Why is my favourite driver at the back?' We lose people just for that," he said.

Webber suggested a better penalty would be a loss of constructors' points for the team.

Kevin Magnussen agrees: "If there is an engine failure the blame is more on the team's side, so I think taking a constructor point or something could be looked at."

In Austria, Lewis Hamilton's championship fight suffered a blow when Mercedes had to change his gearbox out of sequence, and the Briton got a five-place grid penalty.

"Penalties in general affect the world championship in too great a way," said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

"I always want the one who is the fastest to be able to win the race, so I believe technical failures should not so severely penalise the drivers.

"On the other hand, the situation can't get out of control, because if no one is penalised, we will always be changing the gearbox, engine and so on.

"But I hope that with an experienced guy like Ross Brawn in charge (of F1), there will be some decisions to change the situation," Wolff added.

(GMM)

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