The way it's implemented annoys the hell out of me, if you make a mistake you are deprived of the power to correct it, it really breaks the immersion for me, we really need a more mature solution.Yes, I agree. Imagine Maldonardo getting a five second penalty everytime he went off track - puh, the world would be filled with Ponies and Rainbows -> Rainbowdash!
That said, it is an effective tool to restrict 'arcade' players from cutting corners, like I'm sure you've experienced first hand in multiplayer.
YouWell, i think you have a chance to correct the mistake if you drive faster (?_?) and overtake the slower guys you were overtaken by making the mistake in the first place.
That said, an argument could be made to disable the Penalties in club and league races, especially on tacks with draconian enforcement of said penalties like Donnigton as was suggested multiple times already.