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Formula One to revise race penalties
Alan Baldwin | January 17, 2004 12:22 IST
Formula One is to scrap drive-through penalties such as the one that scuppered Juan Pablo Montoya's title hopes last season.
International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley told Reuters after a meeting of team bosses on Friday that they had agreed to revise procedures.
"There will be a hearing after the race and then a penalty will be imposed, depending on the gravity of the offence.
"If that happens three times in a season the stewards are going to look very seriously into giving [the driver] a one race suspension. It won't be automatic but they will look at it very seriously," said Mosley.
Colombian Montoya was a title challenger for Williams until last year's penultimate U.S. Grand Prix where he collided on a slippery track with the Ferrari of Brazilian Rubens Barrichello.
Barrichello, team mate to eventual winner and world champion Michael Schumacher, spun off into the gravel and retired but Montoya continued and was given a drive-through penalty.
It began to rain and he had to stop for wet tyres before coming in for his penalty, leaving him out of the running.
Barrichello did not blame the Colombian for the nudge as Montoya tried to overtake and the Williams driver insisted it had been a racing incident.
Mosley subsequently suggested a revision of the procedures, advocating a penalty points system similar to that used to sanction road traffic offences in many countries.
"This is more flexible than that but there is the principle that someone who keeps on causing an accident in a dangerous way will be looking at a suspension," he said. "But we don't want to discourage people from racing."
Mosley said the meeting also discussed redrafting the Concorde Agreement governing the commercial running of the sport and a recently announced Memorandum of Understanding on Formula One's future.
The first race of the 2004 season is the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 7.