Force India boss defends grid penalties system

Force India’s Sergio Perez at Monza

Formula 1’s grid penalties system keeps a lid on costs down and thus also helps smaller teams be more competitive, says Force India boss Otmar Szafnauer.

Szafnauer’s comments come in the wake of Ross Brawn expressing his dislike of the system prior to the Italian Grand Prix and claiming that it should be dropped or modified.

In Italy, nine of the 20 drivers incurred penalties for engine or gearbox changes, significantly mixing up the starting grid.

“If we had an unlimited amount of money, I’d agree with Ross,” said Szafnauer.

“Let everyone spend what they want. Then it’s a whole different formula.

“But you can’t say we have to control costs but not have this kind of stuff because they are incongruent, those two statements.

“We have to remember why they are there and one of the reasons was cost saving.

“In the old days, before we had a set number of engines per driver you can use, you could use one engine per race and that cost a lot of money.

“Next year we go to three engines per driver. How do you remove the incentive to say ‘Well I don’t care if it’s three, I have the money to spend so I’ll do six’?

“One way to do it is grid penalties. they remove the incentive to spend money on engine development.

“If there is a better way to do it, I’m all for it. When the rules were written, that was the best way.”

Despite the frustration from fans, Force India technical director Andy Green believes the mixed grid created by the penalties ultimately provided an entertaining race.

“What is wrong with having grid penalties and mixing the grid up?” asked Green.

“It’s something we always talk about, trying to make a better show.

“You’ve just had it and now everyone is complaining the grid is mixed up.

“Make your mind up guys. What do you want?

“Who won driver of the day? (Daniel) Ricciardo (who started 16th and finished fourth at Monza).

“Where did he start? Towards the back with grid penalties.

“It was the best drive this afternoon. Tell me that is wrong. I don’t think so.”

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