Guideline catalogue: What penalty for which offense
At the beginning of every year the heads in several task forces are spinning while they work on creating the best possible framework for the coming DTM season. One of these task forces is the ‘Sporting Working Group’, featuring representatives of DTM, DMSB, and the three manufacturers in involved. There task: to – inter alia – refine the sporting regulations that also include the penalties for the most different offenses. The results of these discussions afterwards are put down on paper in a guideline catalogue that will be valid for the Race Director and the stewards throughout the season. “Generally we try to stick to these guidelines but have got some room in the case of mitigating or aggravating circumstances,” says DMSB Press Officer Michael Kramp. DTM.com was allowed to take close look the guidelines. Please find below the most important penalties with – if necessary – explanations.
Penalties for having caused a collision
Here, the guidelines distinguish between two categories:
- The thoughtlessly caused collision without serious consequences occurred in practice or qualifying sessions will result in a three-position grid penalty. In the race, these offenses result in a drive-thru penalty. Should the respective driver repeat his offense in the further course of the race he will receive a 10-second stop-and-go penalty. Should the collision make an early end to the race of the causer of the incident he will receive a three-position grid penalty for the next race.
- The thoughtlessly cased collisions with serious, dangerous consequences in the practice or qualifying sessions result in a five-position grid penalty. In the race, these offenses result in a 10-second stop-and-go penalty and should the respective driver repeat his offense in the further course of the race he will be disqualified Should the collision make an early end to the race of the causer of the incident he will receive a five-position grid penalty for the next race.
Important: The penalty only is a punishment for the offense committed. It doesn’t matter how many cars the offender possibly pushed out of the race or what position those concerned held in the race or the championship. This approach also is obligatory regarding all the following penalties concerning rivals of the penalised driver.
Penalties for pit-lane speeding
- Should a driver be speeding in the pit lane in a practice or qualifying session he will have to cope with a fine, dependent on how much he exceeded the pit-lane speed limit. In the case of repeated pit-lane speeding, the drivers also can be booked by the stewards.
- During a race, exceeding the pit-lane speed limit by less than 20kph will be penalised by a drive-thru penalty. Should a driver exceed the speed limit by more than 20kph, the penalty will be a 10-second sop-and-go penalty.
Penalties for cutting corners
Should a driver go off the track an cut a corner, thus gaining an advantage he will be penalised depending on the session and the occurrence of the offense:
- In a practice session: Should a driver cut a corner for the third time in a session he will be booked.
- In the qualifying session: Cuts a driver a corner for the first or second time, his lap time will be disallowed. Should he do so for the third time in a session he also will be booked.
- In the race: Should a driver have gained a position by cutting a corner he has to switch positions with the driver he passed. Should this prove to be impossible, the penalties range from a warning – for the first cutting of a corner – up to a drive-thru penalty (in the case of the third offense).
Important: If a driver has been booked three times, he receives a five-position grid penalty for the next race. The fifth warning means a 10-position grid penalty. After this penalty, all the warnings are deleted.
Further grid penalty
These offenses committed in the practice session are – for instance – penalised with grid penalties:
- Pushing a driver off the track in a dangerous section (five positions)
- Repeated or dangerous hampering of a driver (five positions)
- Ignoring of yellow flags (three positions)
These offenses committed in a qualifying session are – for instance – penalised with grid penalties:
- Hampering an opponent (five positions)
- Ignoring yellow flags (three positions)
- Pushing a driver off the track (three positions or a warning)
Important: Compared to the other offenses, five positions for hampering another driver in a qualifying session seems to be a particularly severe penalty - and it really is. The reason: particularly in the closing stages of a season, hampering a rival could be chosen as tactical measure. And to prevent this, the manufacturers involved in DTM – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-AMG – agitated in particular in the ‘Sporting Working Group’ for a severe penalty for this offense.
Further drive-thru penalties in a race
For these offenses committed in a race, for instance – including information lap and starting grid – the guidelines provide drive-thru penalties:
- Overtaking behind the safety car
- The distance to the safety car or the driver ahead amounts to more than 10 vehicle lengths
- Speeding in a slow zone
- Overtaking under yellow flags
- Pushing a rival of the track repeatedly
- Unsafe release after a pit stop
- A jump start, with the car having lost its slot
Numerous offenses in DTM result in fines. These on-site fines can range from €10 to €50,000. “When it comes to determining the appropriate amount one uses to use cases of the past as orientation. What had to be paid for a similar offense in the past,” explains Kramp. “Higher fines – where necessary – only can be determined later by the appropriate sports court. But you have to be realistic regarding the fines. In a series that is contested by well-heeled teams and manufacturers, fines usually don’t represent a drastic punishment. In other words: a grid penalty usually is far more painful for team and driver involved in the battle for the title than an €10,000 fine.