Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2015

Raikkonen and Ferrari avoid pit lane release penalty

2015 Australian Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2015Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari will not face action from the stewards after he was released from the pits before his left-rear wheel had been fully attached.

Raikkonen had a problem with the same wheel during his first pit stop, when the nut was cross-threaded as it was attached to the axle. This caused the problem at the second pit stop, and when Ferrari realised what had happened Raikkonen was told to stop.

As he brought his car to a stop Raikkonen asked his team “did you leave the wheel loose?”. “Unfortunately the wheel was not tight,” his engineer replied, “I’m sorry, Kimi”.

Under revised rules for 2015 drivers are automatically given ten-place grid penalties if they are deemed to have left their pit box in an unsafe fashion and a further penalty if they continue to drive a car which is known to be unsafe.

However the stewards were satisfied Ferrari had done everything they could to ensure a safe procedure.

“The team explained that the system used to monitor pit stops gave no indication that the car was in an unsafe condition when released and the team caused the driver to stop the car immediately the problem was apparent from the driver and telemetry,” said a statement issued by the stewards.

“The team had paid close attention to the telemetry after the actions of the team members involved in the pit stop and further that the FIA technical delegate accepted the car was not in an unsafe condition when released the stewards took no further action.”

The wheel remained attached to the car. All cars are required to have a system in place to retain the wheel if it is not attached properly.

2015 Australian Grand Prix

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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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32 comments on “Raikkonen and Ferrari avoid pit lane release penalty”

  1. Under revised rules for 2015 drivers are automatically given ten-place grid penalties if they are deemed to have left their pit box in an unsafe fashion and a further penalty if they continue to drive a car which is known to be unsafe.

    However the stewards were satisfied Ferrari had done everything they could to ensure a safe procedur

    During the replay, it’s clear that the left rear mechanics having problems and are waving when Kimi is leaving. Isn’t that proof it was an unsafe release?

    1. Standard rules doesn’t apply to ferrari, because they are the “ferrari”.

    2. These stewards are a joke!

      The mechanic was raising his hand profusely.

    3. Absolutely. This decision is so obviously wrong that it hurts.

      1. His wheel stayed on his car. Let’s not have pit crew mistakes ruin two races for a driver, especially when it isn’t unsafe. But I also prefer racing to bureaucracy

        1. Can anyone remember ricciardo last year? Similar thing, And he stopped before end of pit lane… 10 place penalty for next race also… Just saying. Bernie is reaching into pockets and fondling hard…

  2. Great that Kimi won’t get penalised. Ha, they just showed the young Kimi in the Sauber special on Sky right now))) He really hasn’t changed much)))))

  3. Not quite sure how Ferrari got away with this. Not only did they let Raikkonen drive off with only three wheels securely attached, they didn’t tell him about it until after he’d pulled over to retire.

    Pretty much exactly what Renault did in Hungary ’09 and they got a one-race ban for it.

    1. I have to say I don’t think its the same at all. Renault let Alonso continue even when they knew the wheel was loose and would likely come off. They didn’t tell him anything. Kimi was immediately told to stop when Ferrari realised there was a problem. Kimi complied, does it really matter whether he knows the reason why or not?

      In the case of Hungary 09, there was also extenuating circumstances which contributed to the severity of the punishment (which in the end became a suspended ban anyway). First the wheel came off the car, which was very dangerous and still Renault told him to continue on three wheels all the way back to the pits. Now in light of the fact Henry Surtees had just been killed by a tyre hitting his helmet only one week before, and that this incident also happened on the same weekend Massa got hit by the spring from Barrichello’s car it is then understandable why the FIA reacted in the way that they did. It was very irresponsible and dangerous behaviour from Renault, and led to the tightening up of the rules to try and prevent this thing happening again.

    2. They got away with it because Ferrari.

      1. Exactly. I am a Ferrari and Kimi fan, so in that respect I am happy, but I find it wrong that they can get away with this. They released the car clearly unsafely, and should get the penalty the rules say.

        1. This actually seems like a good decision from the stewards in this case. The nut was cross threaded, but the wheel was still attached. Not the same as a wheel unattached on a car that is released from the pits and then flies off with no restriction. Ferrari made the right call to end Kimi’s race right there as opposed to having him limp all the way around the circuit to try and come back into the pits for a possible repair. That would have been a dangerous risk and worthy of a severe penalty.

    3. The FIA statement is quite clear.
      1) System used to monitor pit stops gave no indication that the car was in an unsafe condition when released
      2) FIA technical delegate accepted the car was not in an unsafe condition when released
      3) Team caused the driver to stop the car immediately the problem was apparent from the driver and telemetry

      So, it looks like the wheel was on safely enough on, but since it was cross-threaded and showed up in telemetry, team had to call Kimi to stop. The penalty was not justified.

      Not everything in racing needs to be penalized and not every decision in the racing is a conspiracy. Sometimes errors just happen.

      1. The mechanic clearly indicated that the wheel was not correctly attached and had not given the correct signal to allow the car to be released. Any other team would get the penalty. This decision stinks. As usual Ferrari treated differently to others!

  4. Didn’t Ricciardo or someone from last season get a penalty that spanned two races for doing exactly what Ferrari and Kimi did today, and perhaps even travelling a lesser distance after the release than was withnessed today?

    1. I think the difference is Kimi pulled over while Ricciardo completed the lap and returned to the pits

      1. Riicardo stopped while still in pitlane and he got a penalty anyway.

  5. ColdFly F1 (@)
    15th March 2015, 12:00

    There can be no doubt that Kimi ‘has left his pit box in an unsafe fashion’. (the wheel guys did not raise their hands indicating that they were ready)
    But luckily the stewards used some sense when reviewing what happened.

    It just shows how stupid such ‘automatic penalties’ can be. I rather have the stewards judge intent and seriousness of an incident (just a bit more consistency would help though).

    1. Don’t hold your breath on that happening.

  6. Ferrari International Assistance in action.

    1. Unfortunately nothing else explains this INCONSISTANCY

    2. Ferrari Internal Affairs. I think the FIA were kind to Ferrari, it was immediately obvious that Kimi shouldn’t have pitted again and in the 2nd stop it was also clear after the wheel went in it that it was not going back again, the wheel hub was damaged already, the fact it didn’t come undone and tha Ferrari forced Kimi to stop, saved Ferrari from a penalty even though the rule is unforgiving. It’s good for the show though, but 2007-2014 mistake here from Ferrari.

  7. Kimi and Ferrari got away with one there..

  8. Is this the start of the Ferrari political influence rearing its ugly head again? Oh dear, just made a poor race even worse.

  9. Schumacher didn’t get a penalty when Mercedes forgot to attack his wheel-nut properly at China 2012. Nothing to do with the supposed Ferrari International Assistance.

  10. Only in F1. You make a rule then choose who it applies to and when to enforce it. Whats the betting when Vettel changes lids that he gets fined? Where is the safety aspect in that?

  11. Why? Ricciardo got a penalty for exactly the same thing last year? Ferrari’s International Assistance isn’t exactly dispelling rumours right now…

  12. It is fascinating to me how strict pit road rules are in F1 and how relatively lax they are in NASCAR. NASCAR doesn’t even require you to have all five lug nuts on the wheel this year and cars regularly have to pit with loose wheels. It is a death sentence if you do the same in F1. The retirement isn’t penalty enough? The unsafe release is another that has me laughing at F1. Ever see an Indy 500 or a NASCAR race? They are all “unsafe.”

    1. To be fair, missing one lug nut in F1 is a little more serious then in NASCAR. :-)

  13. Like others have said, this feels at least a little inconstant with past rulings. However, it is a new season and new rules. I’ve always felt seasons should be internally consistent in the application for the rules, but season to season doesn’t mater. I’m willing to wait and see how the next team is treated.

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