Revealed: which F1 drivers have the most penalty points

Jake Nichol August 7, 2021
Revealed: which F1 drivers have the most penalty points
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

To be able to race in Formula One, drivers need a super licence.

Much like your average driving licence for the road, it basically qualifies someone to be able to compete in F1.

You’ve got a theory test on the rules, have to be over 18 and have at least 40 points from other championships to qualify.

But there’s also penalty points – get enough and you’ll earn yourself a race ban.

Below is a breakdown of how each driver racked up their tally, and when the points are wiped from their record.

The rules around penalty points

Drivers are allowed to get 12 points on their licence within a 12 month period.

Points expire a year to the day after they are issued, meaning drivers could compete in over 20 race weekends carrying the points.

Since the system was introduced to F1, no driver has yet to hit 12 points and be banned.

Romain Grosjean was the last driver to be banned for a race – the 2012 Italian GP.

This was after the Lotus driver triggered the first corner pile-up one race earlier in Belgium.

Two drivers close to a race ban

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez and McLaren’s Lando Norris are treading a fine line when it comes to penalty points.

Mexican Perez will lose two points soon after the summer break for separate incidents in the 2020 season.

He was judged to have ignored blue flags in Spain and clattered into Kimi Raikkonen at Mugello, but they’ll be gone by September 11th.

He will carry two more points until April 18th, 2022 for overtaking cars under a safety car at Imola after running wide in wet conditions.

But he earned half of his total tally during the recent Austrian GP – Red Bull’s home track.

Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

On two occasions he was adjudged to have forced Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc wide and off the track, in the space of a handful of laps.

Each incident was worth two penalty points, according to the stewards.

Norris, now in his third F1 season also picked up two points in that Austria race – ironically for forcing Perez wide!

Both drivers will lose those points on 4th July, 2022.

The British driver has to wait until November this year before three points are lost for ignoring yellow flags in Turkey.

Providing he doesn’t earn anymore penalty points, Norris will drop down to just the Austria points on June 5th, 2022.

This is when three more will go for staying out under a red flag in Azerbaijan.

Aston Martin big on penalty points

Sebastian Vettel carried a sparkling clean super licence with him from Ferrari to Aston Martin at the start of the season – something he quickly lost.

Trying to improve his time in qualifying for the season-opener, he ignored yellow flags for a Turn 1 incident. Three points.

He then clattered into Esteban Ocon, also at Turn 1, during the race after misjudging his braking. Two points.

Vettel then kept things clean until Austria when he picked up a single point for blocking Fernando Alonso in qualifying.

He will carry all six through to the 2022 season, losing the five for Bahrain on March 28th and the last on July 3rd.

Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Team-mate Lance Stroll has also been busy getting the type of points Aston Martin wish he wouldn’t be scoring.

Stroll didn’t score any actual points in the 2020 Portuguese GP, but got three penalty ones instead.

Two were issued for hitting Norris, and he got another one for exceeding track limits too often during the race. They’ll all expire on October 25th.

Overtaking Pierre Gasly off the track at Imola got Stroll one point.

His Turn 1 antics in Hungary last week was worth two points.

He will carry the Hungary points through to August 1st, 2022.

One more half way to a ban

Nicholas Latifi is the final driver half way to a ban – his six points all coming within the last two months.

Three were issued in Azerbaijan for not entering the pitlane when instructed after Max Verstappen’s tyre blowout.

The rest came in Austria when ignoring double-waved yellow flags – which instruct a driver to ‘slow down and be prepared to stop.’

He will have a clean licence on July 4th, 2022 – provided he picks up no further points.

The most and least experienced

Despite starting more grands prix than anyone in history – 340 of them, Kimi Raikkonen is not immune to penalty points.

The Finn has five to his name – which incidentally is one less than actual points he’s scored since the start of 2020.

He’ll lose one point on September 13th for not entering the pits at Mugello correctly.

Hitting George Russell at the Nurburgring last October was worth two points.

Like six other drivers, he picked up penalty points in Austria.

This was for hitting Vettel on the final lap, sending both into a high-speed spin.

Nikita Mazepin also has five – the Haas driver picking them up in his first half season of F1.

One came in Portugal for ignoring blue flags, and another for blocking Norris in Spain qualifying.

Not one to miss out on the Austria fun, three were issued for not respecting double-waved yellows in an incident similar to Latifi.

The world champion and his team-mate

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has four points on his licence, having lost some already this season.

He picked some up for hitting Alex Albon in Austria 2020, which took his tally down when they were expunged.

Two were issued for entering the closed pitlane at Monza last season, which go on September, 6th.

He picked two up for the controversial first-lap contact with Max Verstappen at Silverstone.

Photo by Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas earned two for his pitlane spin at the Styrian GP – which will go on June 25th, 2022.

He will carry a further two through to August 1st next year as well for his shenanigans at Turn 1 in Hungary.

Interestingly, the other contender for a 2022 Mercedes seat also has four points…

George Russell, who tested for Mercedes post Hungary in a tyre test, picked three up in last season’s Turkish GP.

The Williams driver ignored those double-waved yellows in qualifying, to be lost in November.

One point for hitting Sainz in sprint qualifying at Silverstone will be carried until July 2022.

Four is the number

A total of five drivers – one quarter of the grid are on four points.

The other two are Antonio Giovinazzi of Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri rookie Yuki Tsuonda.

The Italian picked up two for the same offence as Hamilton of entering a closed Monza pitlane in Italy 2020.

Austria proved to be busy for the stewards, as Giovinazzi was slapped with two more for overtaking under the safety car – a big no no.

Tsunoda picked one up at Imola for exceeding track limits, and a further one at the Styrian GP for impeding Bottas.

A week later at the Red Bull Ring, the Japanese was penalised for crossing over the white line marking the pitlane entry. Twice.

Not quite squeaky clean

Charles Leclerc earned two points for causing the first-lap collision at the Sakhir GP.

The Ferrari driver tagged eventual race winner Perez into a spin, in turn prompting Max Verstappen to run wide and into the barrier.

Those points will expire on December, 6th.

Team-mate Carlos Sainz’s sole point will be wiped on November 14th, a year after he impeded Perez in Turkey qualifying.

Daniel Ricciardo’s record is due to become clean on September, 27th after his point for not going the correct side of a bollard in Russia is forgotten.

Photo by Yuri Kochetkov – Pool/Getty Images

Angels of the grid

Four drivers have spotless records – with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leading the way.

Despite some feeling his driving style is overly defensive, Verstappen has not committed any offences worthy of a penalty by the stewards.

Fernando Alonso has had a clean return to F1 after two years out – not picking up any points in his 11 races so far.

His team-mate Esteban Ocon also enjoys a clean record – his sole penalty point for blocking Russell having expired in early August 2021.

The wiping of that point against Ocon’s name means Alpine is the only team to not have a penalty point against either driver.

Reigning Formula 2 champion Mick Schumacher has not had any incidents, either.

The Haas driver has yet to attract the ire of the race stewards, leaving his F1 super licence clean of any penalty points.

Photo by Florion Goga – Pool/Getty Images

This article was last updated on August 8th, 2021.

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Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.