Rosberg ‘slapped wrist’ for final lap incident in Austria


Over three and a half hours after the conclusion of the dramatic last lap in the 2016 Austrian GP, the stewards have ruled on a lap last incident which saw the two Mercedes drivers collide whilst in 1st and 2nd place.

The race stewards decided “Car 6 did not allow Car 44 ‘racing room’ and hence the driver of Car 6 was responsible for the collision.”

Rosberg was subsequently awarded a ten second penalty for causing a collision and two penalty points for failing to stop his damaged car. The stewards though added, “We do note the extenuating circumstances and the fact that the driver of Car 6 (ROS) did slow down significantly and attempted to mitigate the risk to other drivers and cars.”

These penalties do not affect the overall classification of the race because the German driver finished P4, some 16.1 seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in fifth position.

Rosberg’s car suffered damage to the front wing during the coming together and he lost his front wing within metres, forcing the German to limp home across the line. The chasing Max Verstappen and Kimi Räikkönen overtook him before the chequered flag and Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory cutting his deficit in the F1 drivers’ title race to just 11 points.

The stewards have clearly attributed blame here, yet the penalty awarded has no effect whatsoever. Further, the penalty being handed down retrospectively obviously means the stewards understand the zero impact ‘no penalty’ penalty. Surely this kind of pointless decision is confusing and unacceptable?

How does the penalty compare to others handed down for similar incidents during races this year?

Bahrain: Bottas, caused a collision, drive through penalty and 2 penalty points

Russia: Sainz Jnr, forcing a car off track, 10 second time penalty, 2 points

Russia: Gutierrez, caused a collision, drive through penalty, 2 points

Russia: Kvyat, caused a collision, 10 second stop and go penalty, 3 points

Spain: Magnussen, caused a collision, 10 second time penalty, 2 points

Monaco: Ericsson, caused a collision, 3 place grid drop, 2 penalty points

Monaco: Bottas, caused a collision, 10 second time penalty, 2 points

Monaco: Kvyat, caused a collision, 3 place grid drop, 2 points

Unlike the coming together of the Mercedes drivers in Spain, here the stewards have penalised Rosberg. This may influence the teams’ decisions on how to deal with the matter internally, though at present Toto Wolff is leaning towards implementing team orders to prevent this kind of event.

“The outcome needs to be that we avoid contact between the two cars, so everything is going to be on the table,” said Toto to Sky Sports F1. Clearly, this would have meant today, Lewis Hamilton would have been instructed to hold station and been denied the opportunity to overtake and win the race.

20 responses to “Rosberg ‘slapped wrist’ for final lap incident in Austria

  1. Mercedes will pay a far higher PR price should they impose team orders than the cost of an occasional point loss if they don’t.
    No one likes control freaks who deny the public sporting competition. Toto pease note.

    • In my own opinion, Toto does not have to “puke himself”. He should terminate both of their 2017 contracts, publicly, and decide/announce who gets the drive(s) in December 2016 for next year. … #1 … it shows backbone … #2 … even more publicity for Mercedes … #3 … If they do, all other teams will follow – as what is happening now, promoting clean but good hard racing.

  2. The stewards decision was purely from a political standpoint as they don’t want to be seen as interfering with the championship by coming down hard on Rosberg.

    Rosberg made no attempt to make the corner and to then say it was Lewis who was to be blamed, smacks of pure arrogance. The stewards may have been lenient on him, but he may yet come to regret what he did today.

    • well said Fortis

      This may become Massa’s Singapore 2008 or Alonso’s Abu Dhabi 2010 or Alonso’s Japan/Spa 2012…

      Titles are won by slim margins and if Rosberg loses the WDC by 8 points today may be what he looks back on.

  3. I think it was a very lenient penalty considering Rosberg deliberately nerfed Hamilton off the track. I have never liked it when people cheat at sports. Fortunately for Hamilton he managed to go on and win the race, despite Rosberg and despite Mercedes poor pit stops and strategy harming his chances.

  4. Lenient, since I think Nico intended there to be a collision when in the other cases, the collisions were due to driver error. Just listen to what Nico said after the race, it’s clear his actions were deliberate.

  5. Rosberg brakes later and goes very deep into the corner on the inside of Lewis.
    Lewis has space to his outside and isn’t at the edge of the track boundary.
    Whilst side by side Lewis turns into Nico expecting the German to start turning into the corner
    Nico however has run very deep into the corner only just started to turn right when contact is made.
    Contact is made a considerable inside the track boundary.

    So who’s at fault? The guy on the inside? The car on the outside wasn’t near the track boundary though, surely if that’s the case then the car on the inside is entitled to take a wide line around the corner? Just so long as they don’t force the car alongside off the track, which wasn’t the case when contact was made and can clearly be seen from all the pictures.

    For me it’s a very dangerous precedent that has been set by the stewards. It suggests that when defending a corner a driver is obliged to turn in to the apex on the racing line and you’re no longer allowed to go deep into a corner in order to help defend a position. The block pass (or block defend in this case) looks to have become outlawed with this decision? I’m surprised very surprised by the judgement. It effectively means that the moves that Hamilton put on Nico in Austin 15, Japan 15, Canada 16, Spa 14 , Bahrain 14 etc would all be subject to penalties now as those were all block passes/block defence moves by running the other car out of road. Likewise a couple of moves Nico has done to Lewis would also be outlawed, like Canada 15.

    If Lewis was on the track boundary this incident would be a slam dunk as Nico’s fault, but it wasn’t and that’s what is very uncomfortable about the ruling. Given it’s location on track I’d have left it as a racing incident.

    • Nico still could have moved over when lewis tries to rejoin. That was just a dick move. And that alone is worth a punishment

      • Yes, that was a dick of a move. Though it wasn’t that he was punished for. I absolutely agree a penalty for that not allowing him back on track was very much justified. A bizarre set of circumstances really.

    • Except that Hamilton was clearly ahead of Rosberg.
      Had it been the other way around, or even has they been exactly alongside, then your arguments would make more sense; as it is, it was no longer Rosberg’s corner to dictate, and ramming Hamilton was a punishable offense.

      Clearly these are quite fine judgments, but observe appears fairly consistently not to be able to make them in the heat of battle.

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