Fernando Alonso, Logan Sargeant Closer to F1 Suspensions after Chinese GP Incidents

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Alonso, Sargeant Inch Closer to F1 Suspensions Bryn Lennon - Formula 1 - Getty Images
  • The current FIA penalty points system was introduced in Formula 1 in 2015.

  • Drivers cannot collect 12 points within a rolling 12-month period; if they do so they will be suspended for one event.

  • The 12-point point level has never been hit since its introduction in Formula 1.

Williams’ Logan Sargeant is now two-thirds of the way toward a one-race suspension in Formula 1 after an infraction at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Sargeant was one of several drivers to pick up a sanction in China, inching him closer to undesirable territory, as he tackles his second season in the championship.

When Formula 1 drivers are involved in incidents—most notably a collision with a rival, or driving that can be construed as dangerous—stewards regularly apply penalty points alongside in-race time penalties.

The current penalty points system was introduced in Formula 1 in 2015, and was readdressed ahead of the 2023 campaign, after an agreement for stewards to adopt a more lenient approach for minor sporting breaches such as track limits infractions.

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Fernando Alonso is halfway to a week off for penalty points infractions.BSR Agency - Getty Images

Drivers cannot collect 12 points within a rolling 12-month period; if they do so they will be suspended for one event, before being permitted to return at the following Grand Prix with the slate wiped clean.

Sargeant was handed two penalty points after he was judged to have overtaken Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg during the Safety Car period in Sunday’s race at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Hulkenberg, emerging from the pit lane after a tire stop, crossed the Safety Car Line 2 fractionally in front of Sargeant, whose quicker momentum into Turn 1 carried him ahead of the Haas driver.

“From my perspective, I thought I crossed the line first,” said Sargeant. “When the cars are going at such different speeds, I don’t know how I could’ve known the true order.”

Sargeant’s penalty brings him up to eight penalty points for the rolling 12-month period, with the first two not due to be wiped from his record until September 3.

In 2023, Sargeant received two points in Italy for colliding with Valtteri Bottas, two for contact again with Bottas in Japan, and another two for a yellow frag infraction during qualifying in Mexico City.

It means Sargeant must navigate the next 11 Grands Prix—which includes two Sprint races in Miami and Austria—without collecting another four penalty points.

Alonso Halfway to Suspension

It was also a messy weekend for the Aston Martin drivers, Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso.

Stroll received two penalty points for striking RB’s Daniel Ricciardo at the hairpin during Sunday’s race, bringing his 12-month total up to seven.

Teammate Alonso has sustained six penalty points across just a three-event spell.

Alonso collected three penalty points for his incident with George Russell in Australia, when he was judged to have driven in a manner that contributed to the Mercedes driver’s accident. Alonso was then judged to have been culpable for a collision with Carlos Sainz during the Sprint Race in China, for which he received another three penalty points.

It is a rare situation for Alonso, as the two-time World Champion did not amass a single penalty point through the entirety of the 2023 season.

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Sergio Perez is more than halfway to a one-race suspension for penalties.GREG BAKER - Getty Images

The Case of Sergio Perez

The only other driver halfway or more toward a suspension is Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who is on seven, and the first two from his record will not be removed until September 17.

No Suspensions Issued Since 2012

But while the 12-point threshold has been reached on multiple occasions in Formula 2, it has never been hit since its introduction in Formula 1.

Current Alpine racer Pierre Gasly and ex-Toro Rosso stalwart Daniil Kvyat both reached 10 penalty points at various intervals but evaded trouble thereafter to bring down their number.

Formula 1 has not suspended a driver from a Grand Prix since 2012, when Romain Grosjean was suspended from Italy for triggering an accident at the start in Belgium—a situation which occurred prior to the introduction of the penalty points system.

The F1 Penalty Box

Here's the current penalty points for each F1 driver after the F1 Chinese Grand Prix. Any driver reaching 12 points in a rolling 12-month period will be suspended for one race.

  • Max Verstappen 2

  • Sergio Perez 7

  • Lewis Hamilton 4

  • George Russell 4

  • Charles Leclerc 0

  • Carlos Sainz 0

  • Lando Norris 0

  • Oscar Piastri 0

  • Fernando Alonso 6

  • Lance Stroll 7

  • Pierre Gasly 0

  • Esteban Ocon 0

  • Logan Sargeant 8

  • Alex Albon 0

  • Daniel Ricciardo 2

  • Yuki Tsunoda 3

  • Valtteri Bottas 2

  • Zhou Guanyu 2

  • Kevin Magnussen 5

  • Nico Hulkenberg 2