Drivers must have an FIA super license to compete in Formula 1. A few years ago, the motorsport federation decided to turn it into a kind of points driving licence. If an F1 driver accumulates 12 penalty points on his super license within a 12-month period, there will be a one-race suspension. The stewards can additionally hand out those penalty points if they have already given a driver a ticket and remain in place for exactly one year. So far, however, it has not happened that anyone in Formula 1 has been suspended for accumulating 12 penalty points.
The stewards issued a total of 35 time penalties, 21 reprimands and 12 grid penalties for incidents on the track in 2021. The stewards were busiest during the Austrian GP, when they handed out no fewer than 13 penalties. This was followed by the Hungarian Grand Prix with twelve penalties and the Italian GP with eight penalties. Only in the United States did the stewards not have to intervene. It is also striking that the amount of fines collected in 2021 almost doubled compared to a year earlier. The €58,200 from 2020 became €113,400 last season, largely due to the €50,000 fine Verstappen received in Brazil for touching Lewis Hamilton’s rear wing.
Watch out for Tsunoda and Verstappen
In the past Formula 1 season, however, no one came close to a race suspension. All those penalties led to a total of 69 penalty points for the various drivers. Eight of those penalties came from Yuki Tsunoda. Since four of those penalty points do not expire until November, he must certainly be careful in the first phase of 2022. That also applies to Max Verstappen, who is in second place in terms of penalty points with seven penalties. His first penalty points will not be canceled until September.
Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez has also collected seven penalty points in 2021 and with that three Red Bull drivers occupy the first three places in the penalty points classification. This is followed by three drivers with six penalty points: Sebastian Vettel, Nikita Mazepin and Nicholas Latifi. Vettel doesn’t seem to have much to worry about as the Aston Martin driver collected five of his six points in the opening race of 2021 in Bahrain. Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll and Lando Norris ended the year with five points, while seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton only had two points. He got both after the incident with Max Verstappen in Silverstone.
Five drivers performed excellently in 2021 and closed the year without penalty points on their super license. Robert Kubica drove two flawless races as a substitute for corona-infected Kimi Raikkonen, while Daniel Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Mick Schumacher were out of trouble all season.