The Formula 1 Grand Prix at Monza did not quite live up to the expectations of a close battle between the Ferrari and Mercedes teams. That is not to say of course that there wasn't plenty going on all the way down the field and among the minor placings.

Perhaps the biggest bone of contention though was set around the grid penalty system for power unit elements replacements.

The restrictions for this Formula 1 season are quite specific and a short version of the regulations state ....

"Each driver may use no more than four power units during a championship season. Should a driver use more than four of any of the six power unit elements during the course of a season, a grid penalty will be imposed.


The penalties imposed for using additional elements work thus: the first time a fifth of any of the elements is used, a ten-place grid penalty will be imposed. A five-place grid penalty will then be imposed the first time a fifth of any of the remaining elements is used. Likewise, the first time a sixth of any of the elements is used, a ten-place grid penalty will be imposed, and so on".

It does sound like some 'Resource Consent' document but plainly the result of all of this is the really quite silly announcements that some drivers are then given multiple grid penalties with one, McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne, given a 65 grid place penalty at his home event, the Belgian Grand Prix.

At Monza the penalty situation got so confusing and complicated that one or two drivers and teams were unsure of where they would actually start the race.

Nine drivers were affected with penalties ranging from five to thirty-five grid spots and it got so confusing that one or two actually started the race from positions much higher than they could possibly have expected, even with the penalties. Nobody involved in Formula 1 thinks the situation is even acceptable let alone ideal so some solution must be found.

One of the main points of contention is that the driver is the one that takes the hit for a failure of the team or the power unit supplier and it is he who suffers the penalty. That situation is not good for either him, his fans or indeed the race itself, depriving all of seeing the truly fastest drivers competing together, although it does occasionally have some side benefits by seeing a driver such as Daniel Ricciardo slice his way through the field from back to front.

A further knock on effect is to deprive the employees of the team an amount of bonus points money that may have been forthcoming, through no fault of their own.

The old adage of "we are a team and we win and lose together" only goes so far when the mortgage has to be paid.

It is the system that is wrong.

That system was initiated to try and keeps the costs down and to make the whole engine supply situation as equitable as possible.

If the power unit supply was not controlled it would then be very obvious that the bigger, richer teams would have multiple engines available and change them for specific qualifying engines to more reliable race engines after every qualifying.

This system was prevalent for many years prior to the introduction of the current technology and saw engines being changed every evening and even between track sessions and it was a situation that clearly could not continue as the engines and subsequent 'power units' became more complicated and far more expensive.

The penalty system should be more targeted, more focused on the reason and the responsibility for whatever infringement has been committed.

If there is any breach of regulation by the driver then the driver should suffer. Either by monetary fine, licence penalty points (as in the public driving infringement system) or as a last resort an actual grid penalty.

At least it would mean that any grid penalty was the driver's own fault.

A licence penalty point system is already in place with the active points leader being Daniil Kvyat with a total of ten. In second position is Sebastian Vettel, tied with Kevin Magnussen on seven.

One step off the podium are Sergio Perez and Jolyon Palmer with six each.

Should a driver reach the maximum of twelve points then his Super Licence will be suspended for the following event, in effect a one-race ban. The points will be removed once the driver returns. At least it would mean that any grid penalty was the driver's own fault.

For any Formula 1 team, Constructor Championship points deduction and swinging financial penalties, as long as both are meaningful and are real deterrents, would be more effective.

Introduced on a sliding scale, the deduction of points would hurt as it would ultimately affect the teams position in the Constructors battle and that would then have the knock on effect of a possibly reduced rate card for sponsors, as well as possibly affecting the drivers contracts.

Whatever is decided by those who can decide on such matters, and that decision should very definitely not involve or be influenced by any one, or group, of the Formula 1 teams themselves, then it should primarily take into account both the fairness of a situation and perhaps even more importantly, the show for the fans who pay good money to see good competition.