Desperation or just a bad call by Robin Frijns?
Published: 09:59 Oct 31, 2012 | News
When two drivers who have been fighting over a major championship all year go head to head in a last race show-show down, the results are always dramatic and often controversial.
That was no exception two weekends ago in Barcelona when Julies Bianchi and Robin Frijns battled over the World Series by Renault Championship.
Bianchi went into the weekend leading the championship by three points, with the two drivers tied on race wins.
In the first race Frijns finished third to score him fifteen points and move him onto 189 for the season. Bianchi was running fifth, a result that would have left them tied on points and wins before the finale, however a late attempt to take the points lead Bianchi spun while attempting a pass on Kevin Magnussen dropping him to seventh, and giving Frijns a four point lead.
In race two they were separated on the grid by Arthur Pic and they remained that way until they both made their mandatory pit stops on lap nine. Frijns got out ahead in a move that could very easily have been deemed an unsafe release, but Bianchi was right on his tail.
Frijns knew that all he needed to do was stay ahead of Bianchi and the title was his, but the way he did it left a lot to be desired.
But then the great unknown decided to add yet another layer of tension to the situation. Mother Nature started raining at turn one.
Frijns took extra caution, and it was all Bianchi needed to get pass, in a fair clean move. That was not going to be enough for Bianchi, he needed to catch the battling team mates of Mikail Aleshin and Arno Vaiano, who were just a second up the road.
With his experience Bianchi was aware that Frijns was in his dirty air and would struggle to stay close through turn three, Bianchi said after the race that he saw Frijns dropping back and suddenly he was attacking from a long way back.
As the cars reached turn four they made contact, Bianchi was forced into the gravel, ending his race and championship. Frijns continued but was given a twenty five second time penalty dropping him to fourteenth and out of the points in the final classification but as he had the lead in points at the start of the race he still kept the championship.
Binachi was understandably furious and cited the 1997 Formula One incident when Michael Schumacher had his points deleted for deliberately driving into Jacques Villenuve in their second finale. I must point out that I do not know whether Frijns did it deliberately and have no evidence either way.
If he did, then Bianchi is completely right, it is the same as Aryton Senna in 1990 when he deliberately drove into Alain Prost in Suzuka, and admitted it, but was still able to keep the title.
The question that this raises in what happens in these situations? The fact is that after sixteen of the seventeen races Frijns had scored more points, so why should he have the title taken off him because of one incident in the last race? If this had happened in round one and not round seventeen Frijns would have taken his penalty and no more would have been said about it.
One rule that some series already have a rule where dangerous driving is punished by awarding penalty points on the drivers racing licence, which in turn result in a championship points deduction.
In the Ginetta GT Supercup this season, this rule was imposed with the level of success that World Series by Renault series would need to solve this argument.
Tom Sharp was found guilty of dangerous driving earlier in the season, was given three points on his racing licence, which equates to a nine point championship penalty. He lost the championship to Carl Breeze by four points.
This is the sort of rule that I feel should be introduced at all levels of motorsport, when the stewards make a mistake and impose a drive through penalty, the driver has no chance to appeal and it ruins their race.
If drive through penalties and stop and go penalties were scrapped in favour of this system it would stop stewards making race altering decisions, giving them a chance to take their time and impose sanctions.
So if causing another driver to retire from a race followed by a swift points deduction of, say, five points, and that penalty applies if two backmarkers have a crash in race one, or two championship contenders crash in the season ending race. The controversy is taken away, and it stops drivers doing what Frijns allegedly did on Sunday.
Both drivers want to get into Formula One, Bianchi is currently the Ferrari reserve and is testing for Force India, while Frijns makes his debut at the Young Driver Test for Sauber, and with the World Series by Renault Championship he also earns a test at Red Bull. There is a lot of drivers who are watching these two young men to set an example.