Formula 1 – Pit lane and Penalties

Stewards have the power to impose several penalties on a driver if he commits an offence during a race. Offences include jumping the start, causing an avoidable accident, unfairly blocking another driver, impeding another driver when being lapped or speeding in the pit lane.

Except during the race, any driver who exceeds the limit will be fined €200 for each km/h above the limit (this may be increased in the case of a second offence in the same Event) and will be subject to other penalties. During the race, the stewards may impose either of the penalties.

The two most common types of penalty are the drive-through penalty and the ten-second time penalty.

In the first type of penalty the driver must enter the pits, drive through the pit lane at the pit-lane speed limit and rejoin the race without stopping. Depending on the length of the pit lane this can prove to be costly to a driver sucess in the race due to the amount of time lost.

The ten-second time penalty  – also known as a stop-and-go – is of course more time consuming. In this case the driver must not only enter the pits, but must also stop for ten seconds at his pit before rejoining the race. During this time the driver’s team are not permitted to work on the car.

In both of these penalties the driver has three laps, from the time his team is notified, to enter the pits. If he fails to comply that may result in exclusion from the race (black flag).

The only exception is when the penalty is awarded during the final five laps of the race. In this case the driver may continue and complete the race. 20 or 30 seconds will be added to his total race time in the case, respectively, of drive-through penalty or a stop-and-go. In both cases this will affect significatntly the driver final race standing.

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