Button, Barrichello, Alonso, Sutil and Buemi get five-place grid penalties

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Both Brawns and three others have bene moved down the grid
Both Brawns and three others have bene moved down the grid

Five drivers have been been moved down the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix.

They are Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi and Fernando Alonso.

However because of the large number of drivers that got penalties, some of them will not lose a full five places. See the Japanese Grand Prix grid.

All of the drivers except Buemi were penalised for failing to slow down sufficiently after Buemi left debris at the exit of Spoon curve during Q2.

Buemi, meanwhile, was punished for driving his broken car back to the pits instead of stopping on the track.

Japanese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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150 comments on “Button, Barrichello, Alonso, Sutil and Buemi get five-place grid penalties”

  1. They deserved the penalties. They were going with 300 km/h through there with not knowing what has happened, a car could be just standing there.

    1. Bigbadderboom
      3rd October 2009, 20:45

      Agreed, it could have been a disaster, watching Jenson pick a route past the debris was cringeworthy, but it shows he has got balls.

  2. How come Buemi is penalized, as he was the one that crashed?

    1. Buemi has been penalised and reprimanded for attempting to recover a clearly wrecked car to the pits.

      Good decision all round though, that sort of thing is very dangerous.

      1. surely he’ll be punished for driving a broken car back to the pits AND impeding other drivers?

  3. TYPICAL……

    I get up in the middle of the night for two rainy practice sessions, and then a nice but dull sunny practice 3…..

    But for Quali? I say, nahh, I’ll sleep over and catch the replay in the day…..

    ARRRRGGG!!!!….lol. Missed most exciting Quali in a long time by the looks of things.

    1. Not really – hardly any actual competition – especially in Q3

    2. If you call putting the spectators and drivers wellbeing in jeapordy fun, then yes, I suppose you did.

  4. because he tried to drive back to the pits with a wrecked car with debris going all over the track, and getting in peoples way as he crawled back to the pits.

  5. thats a bit rubbish for rubans….if glock dosnt race, button has made a place up over him already

  6. buemi got the penalty because he continued to drive on track with a badly damaged car. ALonso deserved that, he wnated to sink other drivers to benefit from their penalties but in the end he got what he deserved!

    1. Are you drunk? Alonso was lifting the foot, the others took advantage of the yellow flag. he lost his flying lap because of the incident.

      1. Alonso didn’t lift in initial yellow flag. Only once he saw Buemi at 130R and in doing so compromised his lap.

      2. Here is Fernando’s version of what happened. He says that he lifted when he saw the yellow, but it may have been late as the officials saw it. In fact, he entered the pit and did not complete the lap. Contrast that to the Brawn cars that went through the yellow flat, and got their only timed lap of Q3.

        All is not said and done on the issue, as can be seen on the F1 web site.

        To quote:

        Note that the final starting order may change depending on the order in which penalties were deemed to have been applied. A final grid will be published by the FIA on Sunday morning.

        I don’t know who was where on the track, but that might have something to do with it. If they disallow the ill-gotten times of the Brawn boys, who knows where they’ll start?

  7. Well, had to be done. Glad to see Alonso nailed as well, he has been crowing about expecting to move up the grid due to others improving their time.

    “I’m sure tomorrow I’ll start a lot higher than 12th,” he said.
    “As soon as you see the yellow flag you have to lift off, and you have to be cautious because you don’t know what’s going to happen 20 meters later, maybe there’s a front wing or two cars blocking the track… I don’t know what the other people did. I only know what I did, that was lifting off quite late unfortunately but it’s when I saw the yellow flag… It was a little bit late from myself, but to be honest I lifted when I saw the yellow flag. Maybe it’s late, but hopefully it’s okay.”

    Hadn’t noticed Sutil improving as well, but it was obvious that Buemi needed to be penalised for continuing to drive his badly damage Torro Rosso around the track, with the implicit danger of leaving debris around the last sector of Suzuka.

    It does rather make a nonsense of the grid, where Kovi, Glock and Jaime, who actually caused red flag periods, will end up ahead of racers who completed the session unscathed.

    1. Maybe should make rule anyone that cause red flag automatically goto the back, that would prevent the Schumi/Monaco type of ‘accident’ too …

  8. Funny, Alonso said just hours ago that he did back off but others deserved penalties…

    Question: How do they judge this? Wasn’t some of them on their first timed lap of the session? How do they decide that someone was going too fast?

    1. They can see from the data I’m sure.

      Even with a slightly heavier car if you plotted the speeds of one lap with the other they should be similarly shaped, if they slowed for the yellow flag there would be a clear change on the “normal” shape.

      1. Bigbadderboom
        3rd October 2009, 20:48

        Alonso took his time to calculate, then tried to exploit the situation by highlighting the Brawn cars discretion, safety must remain paramount in current motorsport, and Alonso was as guilty as the rest and they all got a just penalty, they will think about it next time, which is the whole point.

  9. Definitely deserved, will make a very interesting race.

    Does anybody know if Brawn’s will get opportunity to choose a different fuel load, given they’ve dropped out of top 10?

    1. No. All cars locked down under Parc Ferme rules now.

  10. Absolutely the right call- I just hope this isn’t another Bernie Ecclestone influenced decision, to try and prevent Button from winning the title too early.

  11. It was definitely the right decision, the yellow flags are there to be heeded.
    I am not a Vettel fan, but I want the gap closed, Button has got it too easy.

  12. Prisoner Monkeys
    3rd October 2009, 12:07

    Fernando Alonso after qualifying: “I expect to be much higher than 12th”

    Fernando Alonso after penalties: 17th.

    Do not advance to Ferrari. Do not collect 20€ million salary.

  13. Prisoner Monkeys
    3rd October 2009, 12:23

    Heikki Kovalainen has changed his gearbox, sending him down to 13th.

    One less moving chicane for Brawn to avoid.

    1. Well spotted, and Glock moves to back of grid as needs new chassis – if he races at all.

      Blimey, all change then.

  14. Good call, sensible penalty too considering the amount of cars involved.

  15. Alonso haters really **** me off. The guy was concerned and he did slow down in his lap, and his hopes for going up some spots was completely natural and valid… any pilot would hope for that, I’d expect them to, at least. Too bad for him that he didn’t do it until it was too late, but that’s absolutely no reason the ridicule him… You people gotta stop with this… I was a Hamilton hater and trust me, Alonso haters sound just like Hamilton haters; stupid, juvenile and ignorant. That’s why I stopped with all the “Hamilton sucks” thing. They’re both good drivers, they’re both liars and they’re both arrogant. Get over it.

  16. Question, since I was very sleepy during the Quali;
    Did any of the drivers who were on their flying lap manage to finish their laps and not be penalized?

    1. James Brickles
      3rd October 2009, 16:12

      Heidfeld I think was one.

    2. Nick Heidfeld did I think.

  17. Prisoner Monkeys
    3rd October 2009, 12:33

    New qualifying rules for 2010: spin a chocolate wheel.

  18. Hey guys i have a question, is a rule existing that limits the distance between the different starting spots like from p1 to p3 etc.
    Sometimes it seemed that the gaps would be slightly different from track to track but i thought that can’t be true as it would be a stupid advantage/disadvantage for any driver related to last/next race.

    Thanks in advance

  19. Right decision with the penalties.

  20. now all of sudden FERNANDO is playing STEWARD ALONSO?what kind of attitude this guy has, he’s witch hunting to benefit and make up grid places! well looky what happened, he also got penalize. i can’t wait for his debut with ferrari and throw his weight around, antagonize the team and make his way back to renault.i have so much respect for his talent, but as a person?i don’t think so. he acts as if it’s his birth right to have everybody listen and follow his every single wish!

    1. He’s a piece of work isn’t he?

      I observed Domenicali’s reaction to the BBC question of how did Massa react when he found out that Teflonso was his new teammate. Domenicali just said that Massa was concentrating on getting better for next year. That said it all!

      1. It said that Felipe isn’t happy to be having one of the best (if not THE best) driver on the grid and a very strong team leader alongside him…He’ll have to really up his game to keep up with Alonso – Ok so Kimi is quicker than Massa too, but Alonso is a lot more consistant and motivated than Kimi is. He’s hardly going to be overjoyed about it is he?

        1. Your delousional

    2. Who’s to say that Renault post-Flav would take Teflonso back?

    3. … and if you don’t obey him, he’s gonna crack you as he does with walnuts:



  21. According to some spanish press, Alonso was penalised for going too slow ***?

    1. The FIA stewards’ report makes it pretty clear Alonso got his penalty because he did not back off soon enough:


  22. I’m Alonso fan, I like his character, never give up: today he was slow but he cleverly gave an impression that he slowed down and was demanding penalties to others..Next year with Felipe they will perfect pair, two crying babies at same team

  23. Hey, Alonso was right in whatever he did. He slowed down and dint even complete his flying lap. Button, Barichelo, Sutil , they all did.
    This explains tht Alonso knows about every damn small rule in F1. He didnt notice the yellow flag immed. otherwise he would have slowed doen instantly. He is gonna kick everybody’s butt around next year., Wait and watch

    1. every driver in my opinion knows every rule, it’s mr alonso’s attitude at the end of quali that ticked me off, or should i say most people.look, he’a a great champion, very talented and all but his attitude is somewhat spotty. why didn’t he just let the stewards do their job, you NEVER tell somebody how to do his job

      1. Bigbadderboom
        3rd October 2009, 20:55

        Professional racing drivers with absolute perfect support, these guys all know the rules backwards, it’s just convinient to leave us guessing.

    2. Alsono should know to pay attention to yellow flags:

      See his 2003 Interlagos crash:

      1. I really don’t get this. So they all get five place penalties… but not really.

        Give them all 5 places then bump everyone else who didn’t commit the crime. I can’t believe the Brawns have only dropped a couple of places… They also got into Q3 because of the yellow flag incident.. Stupid stewards ruining the racing again

  24. What’s funny is that Teflonso was the one whining to the stewards about the others not lifting off under yellow flags and yet he was one of the culprits. Good luck for next year, Massa and Maranello.

  25. Why do I even watch qualification anymore? The system cleary doesn’t work. It’s very counterintuitive that the person sometimes not driving the fastest lap is still on pole and if one session lasts for 20 minutes, 15 of them are unnecessary. Vettel was obviously the quickest out there today though. Btw for the people doubting his speed: Vettel is the only one who made it to Q3 in every Qualifying session, chew on that. Anyway, even if the qualifying system works, the FIA always has rules so the starting grid will change about 4 hours after watching. It’s annoying! I’m not saying the’re wrong here because it was kind of dangerous but it’s not clear who did what. This greatly benefits Raikkonen and Heidfeld. Also it’s great for Vettel, if he wins and Button scores 0 it’s only 15 points with 2 races to go!

    1. It’s very counterintuitive that the person sometimes not driving the fastest lap is still on pole.

      Won’t be a problem next year when they get rid of refuelling.

      Vettel was obviously the quickest out there today though. Btw for the people doubting his speed: Vettel is the only one who made it to Q3 in every Qualifying session, chew on that.

      No-one had said anything about Vettel’s speed, who are you taking to?

  26. Never seen so many grid penalties for one race.

    1. Must be pushing some kind of record. There were over 20 in one F3 race this year though, all for going to fast through a yellow flag zone.

      1. Bigbadderboom
        3rd October 2009, 20:59

        We critisize stewards for delayed or innacurate decisions, but they must be commended today as they absolutley made the right call. But the cynics will say it’s only because it benefits the season.

  27. I think the penalties are deserved, just like Jacques Villeneuve in ’97.

    What intrigues me is why those penalised did not slow down. If they had slowed or even stayed in the garage they would have better off than now. I can only imagine they thought they would not be penalised or the stewards would be too weak to penalised everyone. Seems bizarre for world class drivers to driver full speed through an accident zone.

    Certainly be setting the alarm tomorrow.

  28. If they finish as the grid position (I know that is not ever possible) the championship will go to the last round.

    1. Not necessarily – Button coud still win the title at Interlagos.

  29. hasn’t KOV got a grid penalty for changing his gearbox? autosport says so. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/79191

      1. cheers!

  30. Good, deserved, and also the championship must go down to the last corner of the last race, or it’s just not that exciting!! :)

  31. I think penalties was right, unless Alonso did back off as I have heard.
    Slightly off topic but for anyone interested, Mclaren fans and MP4 I know you will be
    The hottest rumour at the Suzuka circuit on Saturday is that McLaren is contemplating splitting completely with Mercedes at the end of the season.

    1. Yes, F Alonso slowed but not until he passed the hazard. http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Documents/jpn09_document_28.pdf

      He took the worst decision. He has had the same penalty and has not been able to enter into Q3.

      Next time, he will have to still running fast if he fails in slowing down it in the appropriate moment. He will have the same penalty.

      Brawns and Sutil were much more clever.

      1. They were much more clever in strategy way, Alonso was much more clever in safety way.

        1. Yes, but he has been equally punished, despite being safer.

          1. Safer or just more cynical?

    2. Wow Steph, please more news about this whenever you can —-

      1. Bartholomew about Mclaren and Mercedes?
        Here is full article…

        The hottest rumour at the Suzuka circuit on Saturday is that McLaren is contemplating splitting completely with Mercedes at the end of the season.
        Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that the Woking based team’s plan, masterminded by chairman and former team boss Ron Dennis, is to buy BMW’s formula one engine division from the withdrawing German carmaker in order to go it alone as an independent chassis and engine constructor.
        The move would clear the path for Mercedes to completely concentrate on its intensifying partnership with Brawn, with Dennis thought not keen on the prospect of taking a back seat to Mercedes’ new favourite.
        McLaren has an engine supply contract with equity partner Mercedes for two more seasons, but Dennis is believed to be confident that – as with his new MP4-12C road car project – the outfit can manage without the Stuttgart based manufacturer.
        Auto Motor und Sport said BMW would be interested in selling its F1 engine programme for the right price, and that Dennis may already have made enquiries with the marque’s Munich headquarters.
        It is also rumoured that McLaren’s existing Bahraini investors might bolster their involvement in order to support the new independent engine programme.
        Said team boss Martin Whitmarsh: “We have no plans to buy BMW’s engines.”

        If it does happen I don’t think it will be next season. It’s a bit late for plans like that and even if there is a rift with Mercedes, they have the best engine on offer at the minute.
        The question is though will it happen? Many believed, including me, that Mercedes simply wanted to expand into F1 rather than dilute relations with Mclaren but since then they are having seperate road cars and these rumours about engines are increasing.

        1. WOW! Thanx for that Steph, I’m not going to ask you where you got that info & your sources. Ron at work!! You just cannot keep Ron off F1. He is a master tactician. He’s turning mclaren into a british ferrrari. Good news for all hardcore mclaren fans :)

          1. Just good old searching web, hopefully if I get to be a journalist I can become a true F1 spy :P
            Odd as well as talk on live blog of Dennis returning…
            So Brawn the ‘new Mclaren’ and Mclaren back to indepence but new era for engines for them…this is quite confusing.
            So next year will Brawn be silver and if Mclaren sever all ties with Mercedes (I think at this time for next season unlikely) what will there car be like?

        2. I’m sorry but the way that story is written is a joke. Leaving Whitmarsh’s plain, on-the-record denial until the last line is classic “never let the facts get in the way of a good story” journalism.

          1. Said team boss Martin Whitmarsh: “We have no plans to buy BMW’s engines.”

            If McLaren buys the BMW Engine Division they won’t be BMW’s engines!

          2. True I thought so but I still wonder about Mclaren and Mercedes future in the long run

    3. I have also read this. They are contemplating buying BMW’s engine programm and continuing it as a Mclaren engine and making them a true mfg.
      It isnt like the new grenn machines from BMW are going to win any kind of competition anymore. You cannot be green and race now can you. I love their new commercials where they espouse the virtues of their new philosophy. Might as well put a frilly set of undergarments on it or a pocket protector. Even Kubica is having second thoughts about going to race for another mfg. Bmw has burned him 2 times now.

    4. oh my god steph you cannot be serious?!?! that would be disaster for mclaren, i would have never imagined an mp4 with a renault engine on the back. please tell me you’re kidding

  32. Sorry that was meant to be in quotes.
    Also Button says he didn’t lift off in case there was a car behind. Has he ever heard of the invention of the mirror? :P
    Though he does say he respects their decision which is good.

    1. Button is starting to worry me. He is getting a bit shaky any way you look at it.

      1. StrFerrari4Ever
        3rd October 2009, 15:02

        Yup I agree you saw the look on his face when the drivers went in Scrutineering he was very serious and that penalty will only give him more pressure and we shall see whethe he can cope with it.

  33. Pffftt If anti Alonso people are going to continue like this from now on, this site is going to become a nightmare…Didn’t Hamilton qualify good?

    1. I do not think that anti-Alonso comments are with regards his ability or the team that he represents, but with regards to his obvious arrogance. How he can also claim no knowledge/involvement in last year’s Renault incident also beggars belief!

      1. How he can also claim no knowledge/involvement in last year’s Renault incident also beggars belief!

        The FIA agreed with him on that score. What beggars belief is that despite the case having been settled for weeks now, people are STILL GOING ON ABOUT IT.

        1. Put perfectly Red Andy

        2. I agree Andy, but this is why I said he should have criticised what happened at Singapore. No, it wouldn’t have stopped every single person from believing he was involved, but a show of integrity would have made many more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

          1. well-said.

        3. The FIA agreeing with him is by no means a vendication of alonso. They couldnt get to the bottom of a paper bag.
          Many conspirators in certain events are shielded from the event even when they are fully aware of it.

        4. I love how when the FIA makes a decision that people like they say how it’s final since the FIA said so, but when they don’t like what the FIA does, it’s because Max is an evil dictator… yeah…

      2. This is the worst of it all. We should stop loosing our energy discussing how good or bad person he is when we are basing our comments on biased press tidbits or unfortunate comments of himself or rumors. How come people have the insight to evaluate Alonso without even knowing who he is personally.

        We all know how bad PR he does for himself when he talks what he thinks, but thats about it. Let’s move on.

        1. Fully agree yes. Let’s more on and talk F1, enough of Alonso this or that. This is F1 Fanatic no? Not Anti-Alonso Fanatic.

          1. Hear, hear.

  34. I wonder if Buemi will reveal all after he’s fired next year….

  35. Grandprixlover
    3rd October 2009, 15:38

    ALonso’s A VERY talented driver, and tat’s wat matters cuz his carrer is nothin to do with watever you guys are saying. He deserves the respect.

  36. I recall Teflonso plowing into a parked car in a massive debris field, in the rain, a few years ago on the back straight at Interlagos. He was lucky to walk away from that. One would imagine that he would have learned from that. I’m not certain but I don’t think he was penalized for that. But at the end of the day, any driver is going to keep his foot in it and risk the slight penalty, rather than slow down and hand a spot to another guy. This is why 5 spaces is not enough. If drivers have a rational basis to break a rule in a way that could end in a truly catastrophic accident, the penalty risk side of the equation needs to be bigger.

    In any event, the steward should have red-flagged the session immediately. There were heaps of debris on the racing line at a stretch where the cars are pushing 200mph. Its hard to see why they stopped the session for a car in gravel but not for a full car wing lying in the in a high speed section of track.

    1. I recall Teflonso plowing into a parked car in a massive debris field, in the rain, a few years ago on the back straight at Interlagos. He was lucky to walk away from that.

      Good point.

      In any event, the steward should have red-flagged the session immediately. There were heaps of debris on the racing line at a stretch where the cars are pushing 200mph.

      Another good point.

  37. Hakkinen used to acknowledge a yellow flag by waving, while keeping his foot to the floor…

    Would the Spoon Curve Five have escaped penalties by doing that – or can stewards go and check the data for some Piquet-like throttle inputs?

    1. I doubt it, think the stewards have sharpened up on that kind of thing.

    2. When Go-Karting I find if you raise your right index finger off the wheel while looking at the Finish Line Marshal when taking a warning works wonders.

    3. lol, ‘the Spoon Curve Five’! or should that be 20? ha.

  38. This is a dumb decision by FIA to give a five place grid penalty. Here’s what I would ha ve preferred.

    Cancel BUT, BAR, ALO’s laptime (that particular lap that they sped). Figure out their positions in the grid. Give everyone a five-place grid penalty from there.

    This is total rubbish that BUT and BAR advanced to Q3 and managed to stay ahead of ALO.

  39. And on top of all that BUT makes a statement that “he doesn’t want to win a title by cheating, like Schumacher”. This is “cheating” except it’s unlike Schumacher.

    1. I always criticise penalties when the stewards get them wrong, but I think they did the right think here.

      1. I agree that they got it half right. They should have invalidated that lap time for BUT and BAR, which would have not let them get to Q3 at all. It’s not fair that ALO who set a time in Q2 gets to start 16, while BAR and BUT start well ahead.

        1. I agree, I can’t understand why they effectively kept the laps and then arranged what place they would be in when Alonso backed off meaning he wouldn’t get into q3 at all.

  40. massa should try to obey alonso’s rules, otherwise:



  41. Even though the penalties are deserved I find Buemi`s interesting when you think of the state that some Cars make it back to the Pits, Schumi Spa 98 springs to mind.

    1. They’ve changed the rules since then. Buemi’s penalty is pretty much consistent with Vettel’s at Melbourne this year and Alonso’s at Hungary.

  42. i say this every grand prix weekend, tomorrow will be an amazing GP got to back vettel i am a lewis fan but he tends to play “wacky races” sometimes and i think it could be one of those days tomorrow.
    anyone got a quid on heidfeld??????did not think so!

    1. but he tends to play “wacky races” sometimes

      That’s funny. As a fellow Hamilton fan, I too have that fear going into the first corner.

  43. surely the 5 yellow flag penalties were given at the same time? then the FIA were right to move them all in one block…

  44. In the scenario that if they did slow down with the yellow flag and the qualifying time was up…but some of the cars did’nt even complete one lap in q3, what happens then? what times will they count? i think this is what forced the 4 drivers to continue even when the yellow flag was out..because there was no time left for q3 and they had not put in a good lap or no lap till then

  45. If 5 Drivers fail to slow in a yellow flag zone, would you question `the yellow flag zone` or the Drivers?.

    1. The drivers…. It was clearly yellow flagged, it had flashing lights.

      If it was another team other than Brawn people wouldn’t be arguing the decision.