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Exclusive: Mercedes call for changes to reprimand system

Mercedes believe that a change to how the reprimand system works in Formula 1 is due, particularly in light of this year’s 23-race calendar.

Since 2014, the penalty points system has been in place. Any driver
who racks up 12 penalty points over the course of any 12-month period
(not necessarily in one season), will earn an automatic race ban for the
following race.

As things stand, no driver has ever reached the 12-point mark.

Yuki Tsunoda ended the 2021 campaign with the most penalty points, having accrued eight points, whilst Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were just behind on seven points each.

There is also a system in place for reprimands, which can be handed out for incidents that take place both on and off track and do not necessarily have penalty points attached. If three reprimands are given – and two are for a driving infringement – a grid penalty will be issued to the driver in question.

Unlike penalty points, reprimands are wiped clean at the end of a season, rather than being carried over into the next year.

However, in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Mercedes Sporting Director Ron Meadows has explained why he believes the penalty and reprimands systems may need to adapt in line with how the calendar has grown in recent times.

Changes to system would make “perfect sense”

Meadows believes that, while the current system is fit for purpose, the fact that the season is now much longer than in the past calls for a change.

“This ‘right of review’ is obviously a bit challenging for everyone, but I think, all in all, it’s not bad,” Meadows said.

“I think there’s talk of extending the amount of reprimands you can have because of the longer season, which makes perfect sense.

“Because 12 points and three reprimands might not be enough for a 23, 24 race season. That we came up [with] when we had 16, 17 races.”

In terms of the alterations that he would like to see, Meadows explained: “I think it looks like we’re going to five reprimands, which I think is a good compromise. I would go to probably 15 penalty points [in a 12-month period].”

The issue looks set to be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the Sporting Advisory Committee, likely to be held between the Saudi Arabian and Australian Grands Prix.

Introduction of two F1 Race Directors in 2022

One change that has already come into effect for 2022 is that concerning the role of the Race Director.

Following the FIA’s investigation into the controversial events of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Michael Masi was removed from the position and has been replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who will alternate in the role throughout the year.

When asked for his thoughts on this change, Meadows expressed hope that it will work out, though admitted that it will take time to see how it unfolds.

“We’ve seen in the past with the stewards’ decisions, it will go different ways on occasion, but that’s just human beings for you,” Meadows said.

“And then we’ve all got different views on decisions, so I think we just need to wait and see how it goes. But I think, if it’s black and white, which most of the calls are, I think it should be okay.”


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