Red Bull and Force India fined for pit lane incidents

2013 German Grand Prix

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2013Red Bull and Force India have been fined for releasing their drivers from the pits in an unsafe fashion during the German Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s error was deemed the most serious and the team were fined ??30,000 (??25,830) for letting Mark Webber go before his right-rear wheel had been properly secured.

The wheel came off the car and struck cameraman Paul Allen who was taken to hospital.

“I knew we had lost the tyre in the pit stop of course, but not that someone got hit by it,” said Webber. “That?s bad and I hope he is okay, that?s the main thing.”

The stewards ruled: “The team released car two before all wheels were safely fitted and the right rear wheel came off as the car left the pit stop position. The wheel passed four teams and struck a camera operator causing injury.”

Force India were also punished for releasing Paul di Resta into the path of Jean-Eric Vergne during the race. The Silverstone based team were handed a ??5,000 (??4,305) fine.

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    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...

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    72 comments on “Red Bull and Force India fined for pit lane incidents”

    1. Comparable incident to what happened with Mercedes at the Hungaroring in 2010 and a similar fine.

      1. Comparable incident to what happened with Mercedes at the Hungaroring in 2010 and a similar fine.

        @keithcollantine – So the Stewards have a bit of consistancy (for a change) sure, but isn’t this about safety? That cameraman could have been killed. The teams spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year in an effort to shave fractions of a second off of their lap times in order to achieve victory.

        Money means little in the world of Formula 1, and time is the currency. So a time based penalty is the only way that a team will actually pay attention to a rule or regulation. I hate the overuse of penalties as much as any race fan, but since safety is paramount, then surely the pit lane is a place where people should be the safest.

        1. outside of the car that is.

          *obviously haven’t gotten the hang of quoting…

    2. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
      7th July 2013, 17:12

      €30,000? That’s like coins for RBR.
      Renault nearly got race ban when Alonso’s wheels going off in Hungary 2009. I don’t think RBR should have been banned, but… that penalty is not really a penalty.

      1. Difference is Renault knew the wheel was loose and decided to send Alonso out on track regardless. That is a worse offence in my opinion. Webber didn’t actually leave the pitlane, although admittedly his wheel had already fell off before he went very far.

        1. @adityafakhri @debaser91 maybe it had to do with Alonso not really stopping when the tyre came loose. And also because Henry Surtees had the terrible accident 1 week before and things were a bit too “hot”…?

        2. They really should impose actual penalties over this type of incident. Or set a minium time for a pitstop. Stops are way too rushed and the teams knowingly take risks in their procedures of sending out cars that are not ready. Just so they can gain a few tenths.

      2. Yes I think a fine isn’t the right call and the stewards should make a judgement in the race. They put a bloke in hospital and it could have been a lot worse. I am a Webber fan but drive through had to be the call & maybe also a fine to pay for the poor geezers hospital bills. When teams screw up they should be penalised on the track which will hurt them on points and not with champ change fines. So what it says is all your life is worth is roughly about the cost of a new nose cone…

        1. I agree. I mean, if the gearbox fails (even due to a tyre problem) then you get a penalty. I think this sort of thing should have a penalty on it too. Didn’t we have a pitlane crash in Silverstone?

        2. I agree, but in this case a drive through would have made no difference. The SC meant he still would have got the lap back, rejoined at the back of the field and finished in 7th place.

    3. Hopefully it wasn’t a Sauber.

    4. Ricardo Boccoli Gallego (@)
      7th July 2013, 17:17

      And what about Alonso and Ferrari ? Alonso didn’t take his car to the pits after the race finished…

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        7th July 2013, 17:21

        minimum weight?

        1. Ricardo Boccoli Gallego (@)
          7th July 2013, 17:45

          Yeah, but you can’t stop your car like that, Lewis was punished for that once… But I believe that Ferrari is above the rules sometimes..

          1. But I believe that Ferrari is above the rules sometimes..

            The rules says that every car during practice sessions (qualifying is considered a practice session) should make it to the pit lane under its own power & not after the race
            we should first take a look at the rule before coming into conclusion

      2. Not required after race, only after qualifying and practice.

        I doubt he had too little fuel given the safety car period.

        1. Ricardo Boccoli Gallego (@)
          7th July 2013, 17:47

          Thank you, i forgot that :)

    5. Good decision considering it was clearly teams’ fault. Well the stewards were being lamented by sky people , they made a great decision at that point in the race.

    6. Hmmm way to go RB twice in one year and of course it came from the the “lucky” Webber camp. A real shame as I think he really could have challenged for the victory today. First 5 laps on softs are not generally as strong as Vets however he kept with him and was able to use DRS until the 1st pit stop. I guess we will never know but hopefully we will get one more showdown before the season outs… That if the team allow it ;)
      Poor bloke and glad he will be alright. Last thing anyone wants is another death in F1 this year.

    7. The conspiracy theorist weights in “damn, Red Bull was worried Webber could jump Vettel so they screwed his race”

      1. @jcost The idea that a team would sabotage their driver’s pit stop in that way – with the complicity of at least one of the mechanics, without anyone finding out – is beyond far-fetched. And given a person was injured because of this I think it’s in poor taste to suggest it was, even jokingly.

        1. While in this case I completely agree with you, I also suspect we’d both have used the exact same logic to shoot down crashgate if a similar argument had been made right after it happened!

          1. @hawkii Sadly I think the sheer cynicism of Crashgate has poisoned the minds of a generation of F1 fans. Everyone’s on the lookout for teams using cunning ways to sacrifice their number two driver.

            But what’s being suggested here – even if it is out of the side of the mouth (or perhaps not in the case of @svianna below) – is that Red Bull have a mechanic who’s willing to sabotage one of their own cars. And do it in a way which has the potential to cause serious injury either to an innocent third party (as happened) or to Webber himself. Surely no one is seriously entertaining that proposition?

            1. Hopefully not (I know I’m not), I can’t see anyone being reckless enough to deliberately send a tyre careening down the pit lane. F1 got lucky this time, and who knows, the 500g less weight in the kevlar construction may actually have made a difference.

        2. @keithcollantine

          I hope you noticed I was just being provocative.

          I’m sure it was an unintended fail.

          1. @jcost So do you believe it or not? You haven’t said.

            1. @keithcollantine

              jcost was referring to the post above by mingmong. So the way I read it jcost does not believe anything underhanded is going on.

            2. I don’t believe it @keithcollantine

      2. Where do I sign?

        1. The thing about conspiracy theories is the fact that some of them are TRUE. If you look at the races that SB and MW have raced as teammates for RBR, and compare the number of times when MW had a “problem” versus Vettel’s share of “problems” you would see that MW can’t be that unlucky.

          Certainly a team would not create a deliberate unsafe situation, but, let me give you a hint of how things can be done: during the pit stop, someone inside the garage can turn off a valve in the pneumatic line that feeds the power wrench used by the mechanic in one of the four corners of the car. As the whole world is paying attention to pit stop itself, nobody sees the deliberate sabotage happening inside the garage. You just need a few seconds of a malfunction to separate the two cars.

          We need a F1 wikileaks section.

          1. Two words: Constructors’ Championship. That’s what earns the money, so the team wants to get BOTH cars as high as possible.

            1. When you have billions of dollars and can spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get, not one, but TWO F1 teams, you don’t care about that. For MD to have SV a four time champion is much more important.

              RBR does not want MW and SV racing wheel to wheel, especially now that MW announced his departure.

            2. @svianna – Here’s my super-detailed plan to stop drivers racing wheel to wheel.

              Step 1 – Tell them not to race wheel to wheel.
              Step 2 – Go to step 1.

          2. I’m not sure Webber had more problems than Vettel! Did you watch the last race, for example?

            1. As I said, look at the statistics of the last 3 1/2 seasons between the two.

            2. @svianna

              As I said, look at the statistics of the last 3 1/2 seasons between the two.

              Car related DNFs for Webber since 2010- 2 (US 2012, China 2013)
              Car related DNFs for Vettel since 2010- 6 (Australia 2010, Korea 2010, Abu Dhabi 2011, Europe 2012, Italy 2012, Britain 2013)

              End of story.

            3. @david-a

              Except for Italy, those were 5 probable wins. And RBR for sure would have loved MW to finish ahead of Alonso at the USGP last year. There have also been some mechanicals that kept Vettel from winning as well (Bahrain 2010 and Brazil 2011 come to mind).

              What people don’t want to accept is that Vettel pretty much takes care of finishing in front of Webber the majority of the time (and that Webber’s a pretty good driver in his own right).

          3. If you look at the races that SB and MW have raced as teammates for RBR, and compare the number of times when MW had a “problem” versus Vettel’s share of “problems” you would see that MW can’t be that unlucky.

            It would help matters immensely if the people saying this sort of thing ever actually LOOKED at the respective car problems of Webber and Vettel over their time together, rather than operating off their vague impressions of what they think they remember happening.

            Here is the abbreviated version of the answer – overall both drivers have had the same number of car problems, but Vettel’s problems on average are far more severe than Webbers.

          4. Yes it’s true. Webber is constantly hired so the team can work out new ways to stop him from racing. Vettel is a genetically engineered test from the Red Bull company. All the team sponsors are fake. Ferrari make Alonso drive a Fiat 500 with F1 bodywork. If Vettel drives with them they will bring out the real car. Marussia and Caterham are really the fastest cars on the track but have been paid to drive slowly

    8. Keith you put a lot of blind faith in multi million dollar organisations. History tells us otherwise. Now I could ruffle a few feathers and get all political but I wont. Back to racing now. I seem to remember a little conspiracy in Singapore a few years back which highlights the lengths teams & drivers will go to win a race and make that money. I bet people like yourself would have never imagined something like that was possible as it was just a normal racing incident. Never in a million years. Lance Armstrong was the greatest thing since slice bread and had the wool pulled over most of worlds eyes, whilst laughing in there face I might add. People can be so naive to think foul play does not exist. Now I am not saying this particular event is a conspiracy however I never rule out any such thing as you never really know in this crazy world we live in… Especially when power, money and egos are involved.

      1. @ming-mong So let me get this straight: you believe one or more of Red Bull’s mechanics conspired to send him from the pit box with a loose wheel to sabotage his race? Even knowing that the wheel could come off and strike one of dozens of different people in the pits? Or do so at high speed on the track with who knows what consequences?

        1. Some people want to see conspiracy so bad, they see it everywhere. It’s kind of an addiction.

          The Singapore comparison falls apart because while there was danger, it wasn’t any greater than if it was as genuine accident. The Lance Armstrong comparison falls apart because that was simple cheating – no-one was at risk beyond the norms of competitive cycling.

        2. @keithcollantine – No I don’t believe that at all however I will not side with your “beyond far-fetched” way of thinking. Crashgate has not poisoned my mind, history of mankind has.

          1. Alex (@korbendallas)
            8th July 2013, 8:08

            That’s the problem with confirmation bias – regardless of the massive weight of evidence against some sort of Red Bull conspiracy against Webber, some choose to believe the vague links that suggest in an incredibly convoluted way that Webber has more car issues than Vettel, and RBR are conducting a secret campaign to sabotage their expensive driver in his very expensive car. Which is, of course, utter nonsense, akin to the “there were no planes on 9/11” people. Red Bull were in line for a 1-2. Why on earth would they ruin that?

            1. Why would they want to separate MW and SV on the track? Turkey 2010. that’s why.


          2. @ming-mong Well, what are you accusing Red Bull of doing then?

            1. @keithcollantine – You can throw the bait out but this fish ain’t biting. No accusations whatsoever from me pal. I would not waste my energy with facts I don’t have. As Iv’e said to you in the past try and keep a little bit of an open mind before you shut down others and there opinions. I guess we are cut from different cloths. And that is ok.

              @korbendallas – 9/11. Oh dear. I see your bait, I’ll have a nibble but no strike. No 9/11 conspiracy theorists debate there were no actual planes. They debate that planes were the smoke & mirrors to a much deeper plot. War makes a lot of organisations & economies very rich whilst breading fear & hate keeps the masses under control. It is an old but rather simple philosophy. One example is a manufacturers that churn out 200+ $200 million fighter planes will want to get paid at some stage. They will also want to sell there proven product to allies countries. Sitting on the tarmac, aging and turning to rust ain’t going to do it. I guess your the type that believe everything you read & hear on mainstream British/US news… Now back to RBR, they like 1-2 or 1-3 or 1-4, they simply don’t like 2-1. It disrupts the organisation and it’s plans.

              At the end of the day who really cares? We are sad pathetic loosers debating nonsense we have no control over whilst sitting in our glass bowl homes. We should be making love to our partners now instead of wasting energy on this crud.

              Go humans!

            2. @ming-mong – There’s a difference between having an open mind and being a conspiracy nut.

            3. @ming-mong

              Now back to RBR, they like 1-2 or 1-3 or 1-4, they simply don’t like 2-1.

              And the reason why they ordered a 2-1 result in Malaysia is … ?!?

        3. As I said, earlier, I don’t believe that a team would deliberately create that type of hazard. But, as I already mentioned, it is not out of the realm of possibility for someone to deliberately close the pneumatic line to the wrench. The goal? delay the pit stop by a few (5-10) seconds, so you create space between the two drivers. In the confusion, the car was inadvertently released.

          Singapore is not a conspiracy theory. It is a FACT. Many would have refused to believe that a professional F1 driver would propose/agree to crash deliberately in order to benefit the team and the other driver, but Piquet Jr. did EXACTLY THAT. And, for those who believe that Alonso was unaware of the conspiracy, you are just too naive. When you mix hundreds of millions of euros and hyper-inflated egos, there is no limit to what people will do.

          As I said, the problem with debunkers of conspiracy theories is the fact that some of them are true.

          1. @svianna

            it is not out of the realm of possibility for someone to deliberately close the pneumatic line to the wrench. The goal? delay the pit stop by a few (5-10) seconds

            What you’re suggesting carries with it the obvious risk that the car might be sent out of the pits with the wheel improperly attached which is a potential safety hazard. Not just to the person in the pits, but what might have happened to Webber or one of his rivals had he got out onto the track and the wheel came off speed.

            Crashgate was one thing but what you’re suggesting is far worse. Nelson Piquet Jnr agreed to crash to help Alonso, what you’re suggesting is that someone at Red Bull intentionally put the life of Mark Webber and potentially other drivers and other people at the track at risk.

            So as you’re the one making this very serious charge, the least you should do is tell us whether you believe it yourself. Otherwise you’re just making snide allegations of the most serious kind about a professional racing team.

          2. @svianna

            Lets go with the idea that RB want to delay Webber. Best ways of doing it would be to keep him out longer on old tires, make sure he comes out of the stop into traffic. Or you can be really sneaky and make his gearbox fail. Where the logic fails is the F1 is a business. RB spend a small countries economy to have the number 1 status. They cannot hope that Vettel is going to score enough points to keep them on top. Webber needs to score good points as well. All it takes is a few good finishes from Ferrari or Merc or Lotus to make RB second. RB make more money by being a number 1 team then by having a number 1 driver. Money is what big business thinks about. Turkey 2010 is a poor reason not to want to let their drivers race 1 2. Vettel and Webber have been side by side many times since then. If they really wanted Webber not to race Vettel they would not waste hundreds of millions doing something underhanded. They would waste a few tens of millions and give Webber a come second bonus.

    9. Did anyone else notice that when Webber stopped with his three wheels he stopped in the Toro Rosso pit box?

      1. So what happened to the penalty for Ferrari releasing Alonso in an unsafe manner at Silverstone? Was this conveniently forgotten with all the problems vis-à-vis tyres exploding?!

        1. @giverny

          Alonso stopped and didn’t hold up the other car. He prevented a dangerous situation from occuring. So no penalty. This has always been the way it went. If someone is held up or hit, a penalty follows. If not, no penalty.

        2. This. Ferrari clearly should have been investigated and penalized for their unsafe release, too. “Well, the driver avoided hitting anything” isn’t an excuse. The release was still unsafe, and yet magically went unpenalized.

    10. On another note, will there be some sort of penalty for Bianchi?

      I’m not exactly sure how that car managed to roll backwards on it’s own, but was it something Bianchi didn’t do?

      1. F1 cars don’t have handbrakes, and the car was left in neutral so the marshals could push it without wrecking the engine/gearbox.

        1. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher)
          7th July 2013, 19:46

          I thought that they are meant to leave the car in gear, and theres a button on the side of the car that the marshals press, I think with a ‘N’ next to it to put it into neutral. Not sure if leaving it in gear would have enough force to stop it rolling down the hill anyway.

          1. Just checked, and the regulations state the car must be left in neutral or with clutch disengaged.

      2. If I’m not mistaken, Bianchi was told “hit the fire extinguisher and get out.” Not sure what more he should have done.

      3. When it comes to fire, F1 drivers are ordered to evacuate a car within five seconds, don’t think they have the time and sense to make sure brakes and such are in place.

        1. Yeah, but he came back to it and put the steering wheel back didnt he? Not really blaming him under the circumstances though.

    11. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher)
      7th July 2013, 19:42

      These fines are so meaningless. What if the cameraman was more seriously injured.

      1. @mike-the-bike-schumacher

        I think broken collarbone and ribs are serious, and they still would have received a fine… It was an unsafe release, and the precedent is a fine (possibly a reprimand, but I think this case earned a fine)

    12. Wasnt there an unsafe release involving one of the Toro Rossos?

      1. Nevermind, I forgot to read the last sentence.

    13. Zantkiller (@)
      8th July 2013, 4:39

      In my opinion stuff like the Red Bull incident should be punished with a lot more than just a fine.

      I would have removed the points Red Bull has scored today and given them the fine.

      1. @zantkiller

        For a problem with the wheel and then the sign post guy making a mistake?

    14. The fines given will now set a precedent that will be exploited by the teams. The 5,000 fine for Force India will be sum worth paying if it means you can get a driver into a points winning position. On the RBR incident it could have been a lot worse, and the fine wouldn’t even cover the costs.

      And why was Webber allowed to un-lap himself and then get points. Allowing cars to un-lap under the safety car is supposed to remove slower cars so that they don’t intrefere with the racing at the front of the field, Webber was not in that position.
      I can see the reason for the safety car but if the race officials had waited ten seconds they would have realised it was not needed and we wouldn’t have had 6 wasted laps.

    15. For those thinking a more severe penalty is in order for RBR – at the end of the day, this is still a wheel not secured to the car before it was released. This happens somewhat frequently, though the wheel usually wobbles off the car somewhere on track. It’s unfortunate that a cameraman was hurt, but a team shouldn’t be punished just based on that. What if the tire missed everybody entirely? Should they not be fined at all?

      Re: Mark being allowed to unlap himself. The rule allows for cars to unlap themselves – not for cars that “we all know are slow and will be lapped again” to unlap themselves. It’s like the Red Flag rules where cars can take on new tires, etc. It’s not “it’s okay as long it helps my driver but not if it’s going to help someone else’s favorite driver.” Safety Cars and Red Flags will always nullify certain strategies and will help some people but not others and for others make no difference. That’s the sport we’re in. There are already too many issues with subjectivity around penalties without adding more subjectivity to you gets to benefit from what.

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