Williams fined again over wheel nut problem

2013 Indian Grand Prix

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Williams have been fined for the second race weekend in a row after a wheel nut came off one of their cars during practice on Friday.

As in Japan the fault happened on Pastor Maldonado’s car. Although the wheel nut came off the car Maldonado was able to bring it to a stop with all four wheels still attached.

The team were fined €60,000 (£51,000) for the infringement, as they also were in Japan.

Following the failure in Japan Williams assured the FIA changes would be made to guard against a repeat of what the governing body called a “serious safety issue”. The team altered the ‘plungers’ on its wheel retention devices and revised its pit stop procedure to prevent the problem happening again.

FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer examined the changes and said at the time “in my opinion the action taken by the team should avoid a similar incident happening”.

The stewards ruled that the failure in India occurred when the wheel nut was cross-threaded during a pit stop, which meant the wheel retaining plunger did not engage and the car was “released in an unsafe condition” from the pit box.

“The stewards noted that in this case the wheel had been retained on the car (unlike the similar incident in Suzuka two weeks ago) and that the cross threading of the wheel fastener contributed to the fastener coming off the car,” they noted.

“Whilst the stewards accept that improvements to the wheel retaining system had been implemented the team need to ensure that both the wheel and its fastener are fully retained on the car.

“The stewards decide that a fine of €60,000 is the most appropriate penalty in this case taking into account this was the second offence, but on this occasion the wheel was retained.”

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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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15 comments on “Williams fined again over wheel nut problem”

  1. It’s getting slightly silly now. Are they trying something extreme to recover the performance deficit they have? If so, it’s not working.

    This is their worst season ever, isn’t it?

    1. And they are losing a lot of money too …

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        25th October 2013, 21:02

        Those wheel nuts will make them nuts,

    2. Yeah they’re currently sitting with the lowest points they’ve ever scored in a season, and it doesn’t like they’re going to add any more points to their grand total of 1….

      1. Is there anymore money fines to come or even Marussia or Caterham going to score a point. Now that is bad as 1 point is not good enough as they will probably end up with 1 as their total

    3. I think its just several manufacturing errors, and possibly not having the funds to test everything as often and intensively as the top teams @vettel1

      As Bauer mentions, at least the safety catch did make sure the wheel stayed on the car, now the next step is to make sure the wheelnut does the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams took this as a que to have a good look at their own systems again.

  2. Who is team principal at Williams these days?

      1. I thought it was his daughter Claire?

        1. @woshidavid95 She’s deputy team principal. I’m not sure how much decision making power she has, I think Frank is available at all times from England when he’s not at the races.

  3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    25th October 2013, 20:58

    It’s incredible how this “traditional” team can’t produce better results than Toro Rosso, Sauber or Force India. They have really lost all sense of direction in F1 this year. I hope 2014 sets them much much better

    1. That’s what happens when you put a woman in de facto control of an F1 team but without assigning her the status of team principal (thereby ensuring she’d be held accountable for driving the team into the ground as an incompetent leader) – unlike Kaltenborn at Sauber. Claire Williams should either be made the official, titular head of the team, taking Frank out to pasture and put him (and Williams’ fans) out of their combined misery, or she should be fired post-haste.

      This is the same woman, after all, who had the brilliant idea of lying to the fans and the media about Susie Wolff’s potential as an F1 racer, while giving her a coveted testing opportunity at the expense of actual race car drivers, all in hopes of cheaply capitalizing on Wolff’s sex to (unsuccessfully) lure backers to the team who’d want to be associated with political correctness and reverse gender-discrimination.

      How’s that working out for you, Claire?

      1. The only point in that which make sense, is that there is an issue with making someone lead the team but officially be only deputy.

        The rest is rather ignored for being irrelevant nonsense.

  4. What an obscene fine! This is yet more evidence of FIA corruption, as that money goes straight into the coffers of the governing body, no doubt likely to be spent by Todt on his re-election campaign. That money could fund the salary and benefits for a full-time employee of the team, which just goes to show how (not) concerned with the viability of the sport the FIA is (and that they’re actually concerned with raping F1 in tandem w/ CVC).

    There is no need for a 60 thousand euro fine in this case, and it’s totally not justifiable as the amount of a fine cannot, according to the rules, be compounded and increased simply because the stewards allege that it is a “second-offense,” if their logic is faulty, b/c (in BRILLIANT FIA STYLE!) they also are on record stating that, in the aftermath of the first failure, “the action taken by [Williams] should avoid a similar incident happening [in the future]”.

    So if anything, the FIA should be fining themselves for approving a system that then led to a rule-violation!

    1. So do you think the team should just be allowed to get away with sending a car onto the track with a wheel incorrectly fixed on the car without any penalty?

      As to where the money goes, It doesn’t go to anyone at the FIA, As par an agreement with teams any money from fines gets put into the FIA road safety campaigns & there are checks in place for teams to ensure this is the case, Has been since the late 90s.

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