Brawn plans FIA talks to discuss grid penalty system

Formula 1 chief Ross Brawn says he plans to discuss with the FIA ways to change the sport's under-fire grid penalty system, following the chaos at the Italian Grand Prix.

Fans were in uproar ahead of the race when F1 faced a situation where it was very hard to work out the final grid.

That was because nine drivers had been handed a total of 150 grid penalties – with only Lewis Hamilton unaffected and guaranteed to start in the same place he qualified.

Heading into the weekend, Brawn had been clear that he did not like the penalty system, and he now says that what happened at Monza has added a fresh impetus to get things changed.

"It's an aspect of the regulations that needs looking at closely, because if it's right in principle, its implementation is definitely difficult for fans to swallow," said Brawn, in an official F1 newsletter reflecting on the Italian GP weekend.

"We've got some ideas about how to change it and we need to discuss it in detail with the FIA to see how to improve the situation."

Brawn is not the only one in F1 unhappy with what happened at Monza.

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has urged a rethink of the situation, and suggested that financial penalties could be a better solution.

"I agree with Ross," he said when asked by Motorsport.com for his view on the penalty system. "Ross said earlier in the week that he wanted to get rid of this and we should, to be honest.

"You take a penalty already when you break something on the car, or break a gearbox, so I think it should be only based on pace and not on a penalty on the way you make a grid.

"If you have four or three engines per year, then when you break an engine you hurt yourself: so if you start to break 10 engines, obviously there could be a system of penalties that is not a sporting one but a financial one."

Record crowd

Despite the controversy of the grid penalties that marred the build-up to the race, Brawn was delighted with the success of the weekend – which boasted good crowd figures.

"We had an all-time record crowd for this event of 185,000 from Thursday to Sunday at Monza, beating the previous record – from the year 2000 – by over 15 percent. The numbers were also up a third on last year," he said.

"Amazing figures, but even more amazing was the palpable passion at the temple of speed. Monza really has a special atmosphere, thanks to the attraction of this historic track and the enthusiasm of the Italian crowd, boosted by large numbers of foreign visitors too."

He added: "A special thanks must go to all those who sat out in the pouring rain on Saturday to watch Formula 1 qualifying. It's a real mark of the dedication and real fan commitment. Not easy to wait it out for that long and they deserve real thanks and respect."

 

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