Okay, but go back to the scenario where one driver unfairly forces another off the track and over the penalty line. The stewards investigate and give him a 5-second pitstop penalty. Meanwhile the driver who was forced off has to serve a laptime penalty within two laps. The two penalties are the same, and it may well be that by being able to delay taking the penalty, the driver with the pitstop penalty will be hurt less by his penalty than the driver who did nothing wrong other than prevent an accident.
There has to be an allowance for leaving the track for a justifiable reason e.g. in avoidance. What if there is an accident and there are crashed cars on the circuit? Are the drivers going to pick their way past the wreckage on the circuit, rather than use the runoff area, for fear of getting an automatic penalty?
Yes I agree that is unfair but imagine there was grass on that chicane and the same thing happened, it would result in a time loss for the driver going off track and a possible investigation into the driver who forced them off track. Making it so going across the penalty line results in the driver being forced to do a 5s slower lap is similar to a driver being forced onto grass and the driver who did the forcing should be given a drive through penalty.
Since the FIA seem to love acronyms why not call it the Imaginary Wall Line (IWL) with the following rules.
1) When crossing an IWL
a) Should the lap in which you crossed the IWL already be 5s off of the previous lap the time loss will be considered as served and no further slowing down is required. (in this case you have already suffered for your mistake, no need to suffer twice)
b) Should you enter the pits on the lap you crossed the IWL you must do a 5s pit stop penalty instead of running a racing lap 5s off the pace. (It would be hard to tell if a lap was 5s off the pace with new tyres and their previous lap would already be slow due to coming into the pits)
c) Should a safety car come out between crossing the IWL and you completing a 5s slower lap then the requirement to set a slow lap is voided. (safety cars close the pack up anyway so in this instance the driver would not have gained a lasting advantage anyway, might be unfair if the mistake would have lost them a position but losing 5s upon resumption of the race is equally unfair, can anyone come up with a solution to this conundrum? Perhaps swap position with the car behind while under the safety car if the car was within 3s of you when crossing the IWL?)
d) Should the corner have an IWL on entry and on exit and you cross both of them only 1 penalty is applied. (again no need to suffer twice for the same mistake)
e) Should going across the IWL be due to avoidance then as long as no time is gained in that sector no penalty will be applied. (that should cover avoiding a collision in a battle or due to other cars blocking the circuit.)
2) When forcing a competitor over an IWL
a) The driver on the inside line is required to leave a cars width between themselves and the IWL. So as not to interfere with close battles then leeway shall be given along the following guidelines
a.1) If the inside driver leaves a gap between 0% and 89.9% of a cars width a drive through penalty will be issued.
a.2) If the inside driver leaves a gap between 90% and 94.9% of a cars width 1 warning will be issued prior to a drive through penalty.
a.3) If the inside driver leaves a gap between 95% and 99.9% of a cars width 2 warnings will be issued prior to a drive through penalty.
a.4) If the stewards cannot unanimously decide what level the infraction is then it will be deemed to be the more lenient infraction.
a.5) Any warnings accrued count against all infractions so a driver who received a warning for breaking a.3 will receive a drive through penalty if they break rule a.2 in the same race.
a.6) Once a drive through penalty is issued the warnings reset, any further infractions will result in a penalty point being added to the licence in addition to the usual penalty.
All the numbers in the above are up for amendment to get the balance right so that making a mistake is not too costly and disruption to great on track battles is not too high.
As a lot of people felt that Hamilton stepped over the mark in Bahrain when pushing Rosberg out in T4 you could use an IWL along the exit of this corner to force fairer racing as well as using it in chicanes to stop corner cutting, or make corner cutting hurt like it should and so on.