I know of two cases:

  • In the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, on June 25, it appears that Sebastien Vettel deliberately drove into Lewis Hamilton while they were behind the safety car. Vettel was subsequently given a 10 second stop-go penalty for "dangerous driving".

  • In the 1997 European Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher was penalised after colliding with Jacques Villeneuve. His punishment was to have his results expunged from the record books for that season.

As a 10 second stop-go seems very lenient, are there any other examples of penalties for this type of thing?

2 Answers 2


There are a few other examples of drivers deliberately driving into each other or simply crashing for their own gain or their team, however the punishments were always quite inconsistent.

So I have a few other examples here which will show you the inconsistency of the punishements carried out for deliberate crashing

Schumacher vs Villeneuve (Jerez 1997)

  1. As you mentioned there is the example of Schumacher driving into Villeneuve during the final round of the 1997 season in Jerez, where he was punished and saw all his championship points being stripped away.

Schumacher vs Hill (Adelaide 1994)

  1. In 1994, Schumacher collided with Damon Hill during the final round of the championship in Adelaide. In terms of championship, Schumacher was ahead of Hill by 1 point, and therefore during the race he couldn't allow him to pass him for the lead as that would mean that Hill wound win the championship. The collision between them caused both drivers to retire, with Schumacher retiring on the spot and Hill pitting immediately to retire because of irreparable damage to the car's front left suspension wishbone. This ultimately handed the championship to Michael, with no punishment being carried out as it was deemed as a racing incident by the stewards, although watching replays does make it look like Michael turned in on Hill in a bid to take him out, but that is your opinion:

Schumacher was blamed for the incident by many Formula One insiders. Subsequently the race stewards judged it as a racing incident and took no action against Schumacher. Schumacher, at age 25 was Germany's first Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion, but under highly controversial circumstances, although no action was ever taken against him.


Schumacher (Monaco 2006)

  1. While we are still on the subject of Schumacher, another incident happened in 2006 during the Monaco GP which saw Schumacher be punished, although he didn't drive into any other driver or crashed his car. He caused a yellow flag in the Rascasse corner where he parked his car at the end of qualifying to prevent his championship rival Fernando Alonso from completing his final lap (Alonso was putting purple sectors, which means he was on route to get pole if he kept up the lap) in their fight for pole position. As a result, he was sent to the back of the grid with his teammate:

When asked about the incident, Schumacher responded by saying that he "locked up the front and went wide." The consensus in the paddock was that it was a deliberate act and the issue was raised with the race stewards. The stewards agreed and punished Schumacher by sending him to the back of the grid, alongside his teammate, making this the first time ever in the history of the sport that two Ferrari team cars would start a race on the back row.


Senna vs Prost (Japan 1990)

  1. Another incident of a driver colliding into another happened in 1990 during the final round of the 1990 season in Japan where Senna wiped Prost out of the race in the first corner, which is considered one of the worst of all due to speed they were going at when they crashed. Senna had the pole, but was unhappy with the side of the track it was situated on, claiming that pole should always be on the racing line. He even said the following before the race:

Senna vowed that if Prost (starting second) got the advantage into the first corner, which most were sure he would, Senna would attempt to take the lead into the first corner, regardless of the consequences. The two drivers made contact in the first corner, sending both drivers off the track.


The crash happened and Senna won the title for the 2nd time. He wasn't punished for the incident, but did open up about it a year later:

As Senna put it when he opened up one year later: "I was so frustrated I promised myself that if after the start I lose first place, I would go for it in the first corner - regardless of the result I would go for it and Prost wouldn't turn in the first corner ahead of me. And that's what took place. That was a result of the politicians making stupid decisions."


Piquet Jr. & Renault (Singapore 2008)

  1. The final example I'll share here to prove my point that punishments for deliberate crashing are inconsistent is Piquet Jr. crashing deliberately into the wall to allow teammate Alonso to win the 2008 Singapore GP.

Here is what happened in the race:

They [Massa, Hamilton, Räikkönen] continued in this order until Renault's Nelson Piquet, Jr. spun out and crashed on lap 14, bringing out the safety car. The leading drivers all pitted when the pit lane was opened. Massa prematurely left the pit box with his fuel hose still attached and dropped to last place. Alonso, who had pitted before the safety car was deployed, subsequently took the lead and won the race.

It was later discovered that Piquet Jr. was told to crash deliberately by the team leaders (Britatore and Symonds) to maximise Alonso's chances of winning the race:

In September 2009, Renault F1 admitted to an FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting that Piquet had deliberately crashed per instructions from Renault team principal Flavio Briatore and chief engineer Pat Symonds, in the hope of helping Alonso win.

The punishment was the harshest of all as it affected the entire team, not just a single driver:

The Renault team were handed a disqualification from F1, which was suspended for two years pending any further rule infringements. Briatore was banned from all FIA-sanctioned events for life, while Symonds was banned for five years. However, Briatore and Symonds sued the FIA in French courts, and on January 5, 2010, the Tribunal de Grande Instance overturned the ban which had been put in place on both men.


Very interesting article adressing the inconsistency in punishment from Autosport: https://www.autosport.com/f1/feature/7004/what-makes-a-deliberate-crash-ok


Well you can also add Nigel Mansell crashing into Senna in Portugal 1990. I think he got a ban of one or two races for that action.

You can also add Ayrton Senna doing the same, crashing in purpose to Nigel Mansell at Adelaide (last race of the season) in 1992 to prevent Nigel to win 10 in a row, and goodbye him with a crash.


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