Last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix featured quite possibly the most pointless qualifying session in the recent history of Formula 1, as almost half of the field had grid penalties lingering over them ahead of the race at the ‘Temple of Speed’.
Nine drivers were awarded grid penalties for last Sunday’s race at Monza, all of which were due to drivers opting for various component changes, most notably to their power units.
With the legal limit being so low to reduce costs, teams are still having to fork out for new components due to the rapidly increasing calendar.
Additional races, of course, mean additional stress and pressure on the engines and the gearboxes, something teams would rather replace, than break.
Monza was clearly a step too far, with ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle having labelled the situation as “unacceptable”, whilst Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insisted that the grid penalty issue must be cleaned up to “avoid confusion”.
“I know why we have grid penalties, because we don’t want to have qualifying engines and deploy an engine at every single race weekend,” said Wolff.
“There were suggestions to make the teams have penalty points in the championship, but that wouldn’t solve the problem because we would still throw engines at a driver that can win the championship.
“So we need to tidy them [the regulations] up. Maybe we can do it unanimously for next year. It would make sense.
“It would make sense all of us sticking our heads together and saying how can we clean that up so we avoid confusion.”
Max Verstappen was one of the nine drivers who were awarded with a grid penalty; however, just as he did at the Belgian Grand Prix, the reigning World Champion recovered from an abnormal position to claim yet another victory.
The Dutchman quickly recovered from starting seventh and found himself leading the race properly on Lap 34/53, after Ferrari opted for a two-stop strategy with Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen has amassed now an almost uncatchable 116-point lead over the Monegasque driver, with the Red Bull ace now able to win the Drivers’ Championship at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix.
Carlos Sainz and Sir Lewis Hamilton also both took grid penalties and were forced to start from P18 and P19, respectively.
The duo also recovered incredibly well at Monza, with the Spaniard and Brit having crossed the line in fourth and fifth.