Hamilton, Button & Sato cleared over tyre error

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Takuma Sato have not been punished after using extra wet weather tyres in this morning’s practice session at Interlagos.

McLaren, Honda and Super Aguri respectively were fined ??15,000 for the mistake and ordered to return one set of the wet tyres that had been scrubbed in to ensure they gained no advantage.

The stewards’ statement said: “To avoid the possibility that any of the three teams or their drivers could derive any benefit during the remainder of the event from having available to them part worn wet tyres, each team will forthwith voluntarily surrender those tyres to the FIA Technical Assistant.”

Although the rules were broken, it is hard to see what advantage any of the drivers gained from the move – indeed, having returned the tyres they may well now be at a minor disadvantage.

Photo: Daimler

Related links

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

16 comments on “Hamilton, Button & Sato cleared over tyre error”

  1. Pretty sensible penalty I guess.

    Though.. Ralf Schumacher did get 0.5s added to his quali time at the 2005 Monaco race for using an illegal tire (they accidentaly put on one tire from another set or some such, nothing that gave him any performance advantage at least). Makes one wonder, had it been only Button and Sato who did this today, would the stewards have taken 5 mins to decide on a grid penalty for them and then went home, instead of the hours it took today?

  2. We have seen this before, if Hamilton gets involved, everybody is unpunished.

  3. Magnus, that’s exactly what my dad said. It’s ridiculous. As long as Lewis is in on the error you’re not going to be heavily punished.


  4. Carlos…..you know had it been Alonso….you would have claimed a Mclaren conspiracy!

  5. This was first free practice, they dont even use race engines. The penalty here is comparable to that given to a driver for speeding in the pitlane, and which is a fine. However, if it had happened during qualifying or the race itself, definitely the penalty would have been a lot different.

    Drivers who speed in the pitlane during qualifying or a race, get time deductions and drive throughs respectively. Like wise, the use of the wrong sets of tyres during qualifying or during the race, attract a different penalty than that imposed during free practice. Thats the reason Ralf got a time penalty.

  6. why are these so-called ‘professional’ teams making such basic mistakes?!? Pull your socks up guys, don’t give the FIA anymore reasons to carry on this McLaren witch hunt..

  7. While I think this is a sensible penalty decision, I agree with some guys above, that it probably would be tougher and quicker decision by stewards should not Hamilton be involved.

    But I can’t understand how could 3 teams make such an error … With all the hundreds of people these teams employ, they could probably afford one extra person to watch out they do not breach any rules.

  8. Milos thinks teams can afford another employee just to watch the rules …… the problem is TOO MANY RULES!!!!! And knowing Hamilton was involved, I IMMEDIATELY wrote Clive and predicted a cash penalty, hours later I was proven correct. It really didn’t take a micro-second to determine the FIA wouldn’t impede Hammy’s quest for the championship. He could have run over and killed a pit lane worker and it would still have been a cash penalty! NOTHING is going to impede Hamilton’s quest to be the first rookie winner. He’ll be a winner, he won’t be a CHAMPION.

  9. Will you people STOP with the constant sniping! The penalty was fair, consistent, and the right choice – regardless of wether Hamilton was one of those being investigated!

    As I said last night, if it were just Button and Sato none of you would even be thinking about it, and the fine would invariably have been the same. These types of penalties get handed out all the time for pit lane infractions during free practice, or other minor errors and inevitably the driver or team gets a fine which is the best part of a years salary for many of us, but a drop in the ocean for them – these penalties are the equivalent of one of us getting a speeding ticket.

    The difference is not how the stewards are treating Hamilton, the difference is that you actually care about the end result.

    Hamilton will be victorious and will be a GREAT champion.

  10. Stop deluding yoursleves.

    Its a fact, had it been Alonso or any other driver except Ham involved with Button and Sato they all would get time added or even grid penalty.
    Ralf was punished in monaco for using wrong tyre, no advantage to him and team error as well. Isnt this the same thing, team error and no advantage to the driver?

  11. Rooster I think Oliver gave an answer to your question in comment six.

  12. Keith, I think a lot of people dont even realise that, 2007 is different from 2005.
    In 2005, fridays free practise was officially part of qualifying, in that the cars still had to retain their engines, gearboxes and tyre allocations.

    2007 is a lot different, mainly because, friday is officially for testing and not pre-qualifying, thats why teams can use their reserve drivers if they chose, and its similar to running an official test in Paul Ricard, or whatever circuit they chose.

    Lets assume it was a test driver in the car, would the FIA punish the teams by dropping their two cars down the grid?

    Many claim to be fans of F1, but really all they want to see are cars go fast and crash, they dont even bother to understand basic regulation changes. Although the FIA is to blame a bit, because they have changed things repeatedly almost every year, cant blame some for getting confused by it all.

  13. oliver makes a good point regarding practice differences 2005-2007 (Ralf’s mistake happened on a friday practice too btw, in case anyone was wondering).

    Another point is that Monaco 2005 was during the peak of the Michelin-Bridgestone tire war, perhaps it’s understandable the FIA were a bit more suspicious regarding tire issues back then.

  14. TommyBellingham
    20th October 2007, 11:23

    I knew drivers would go unpunished as Hamilton was involved. But I do think if Kimi or Alonso were involved too then FIA still wouldnt do anything. They want the championship to go down to the race

  15. If you ask me, it’s the rule that should be punished.

    Oh, and do Max at the same time.

  16. The only time I can think of a team using too many tyres in a practise session that was treated like a private test was when Jordan gave Franck Montagny two more sets than permitted in a Friday third-driver session in Nurburgring 2005. They were banned from using a third driver in the next third-driver session in Canada.

    I’m not sure that was a plausible option to impose on Hamilton, Sato or Button on this occasion – stopping them from doing the first session next year would cause a lot of problems for the FIA’s PR department, and it’s got enough already!

Comments are closed.