Webber calls for end to F1 grid penalties

Former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber would prefer to see teams docked constructors' championship points rather than handing drivers grid penalties when mechanical problems occur.

Webber calls for end to F1 grid penalties
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40, Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
 David Croft interviews Mark Webber
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, battles, Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Grid
Mark Webber

Each driver faces a strict limit on the number of engine components and gearboxes they can use over the course of a season and are demoted from their qualifying positions every time they take another component over the limit.

"There's too much policing," Webber said. "I don't want any penalties for a driver that's had nothing to do with it.

"[For example] if a mechanic has put a brake disc in the wrong way, and a driver is at the back of the grid.

"A lot of people don't watch qualifying, they turn on [the TV] and are like, 'why is my favourite driver at the back of the grid?' and so we lose people for that.

"It's hard enough to get the quality at the front of the grid as it is, let alone having guys diluted down the back through no reason of their own, so we don't need all that junk in there."

When asked how he would punish squads that exceed the set limits on components, Webber, a nine-time F1 race winner, expressed his preference for a points penalty for the teams involved.

"Constructors' points, whatever," he said, "Find a way that you don't hurt the driver.

"There have been so many ridiculous penalties over the last five years that the driver has had nothing to do with, and it's had a big impact on how the weekend would have been in terms of entertainment."

One team that has been on the receiving end of a high number of grid penalties in recent years is McLaren, due to its struggles with its Honda power unit.

Webber, the 2014 World Endurance champion, described his disappointment at McLaren's performance situation and the impact it was having on Alonso.

He said: "It's a total waste and an absolute travesty that he's at the back of the grid, driving a car that's uncompetitive.

"But he's still in a situation where he's driving phenomenally. I think his value has never been higher, what he's done at the Indy 500, and then what he's done sometimes with that McLaren."

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