Ross Brawn

Brawn: Engine penalties are hard for fans to swallow

Ross Brawn

Formula 1 technical chief Ross Brawn intends to discuss the farcical engine penalty system with the FIA in an effort to address an aspect of the regulations which he believes fans of the sport are finding hard to accept.

In his post race column, in the wake of the Italian Grand Prix, Brawn said, “On the subject of penalties for changing components, once again there were many of them in Monza.”

“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. 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 points to the fact that Red Bull drivers – Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen – were among the biggest losers when penalties were dished out for the race, after they qualified second and third respectively but had to start at the wrong end of the grid but went on to show good race pace.

Brawn said, “Daniel Ricciardo was one of the stars of the Italian Grand Prix. Red Bull Racing were genuinely competitive at Monza and, if it hadn’t been for the grid penalties he and team-mate Max Verstappen took for changing various power unit elements, the pair might have taken the fight to Hamilton.”

“While Verstappen was ruled out of contention for major points by an early puncture Ricciardo staged a remarkable recovery from 16th on the grid. The best moves of the race were down to him, particularly on Kimi Raikkonen at the first chicane and Sergio Pérez at the second chicane, while his charge to try and catch Vettel in the closing stages, kept the interest alive right to the flag.”

“Setting the fastest race lap was scant reward, but it meant Daniel’s trademark smile was just a little broader come the end of the day,” added Brawn.

He also gave his assessment on the title battle which saw Mercedes comprehensively defeat Ferrari on their home turf. A one-two for the Silver Arrows further increased their lead in the constructors’ championship, while Lewis Hamilton wrested the drivers’ points lead from Sebastian Vettel who finished third on the day.

Brawn reflected, “Ferrari was no doubt hoping for a better way to celebrate the company’s 70th anniversary. However, at home the Prancing Horse wasn’t competitive in either the wet qualifying or the dry race. Vettel’s third place was a real case of damage limitation.”

But added that the Reds could bounce back, “In theory, the pendulum could swing back towards Ferrari in Singapore, at least based on how things went at two similar tracks in Monaco and Budapest, where Raikkonen and Vettel respectively took pole position and where the team took one-two finishes.”

“However, in this sport, things can change very quickly, especially between the two very well prepared and determined teams currently fighting it out for the titles,” added Brawn.