Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Hockenheimring, 2019

Alfa Romeo to appeal Raikkonen and Giovinazzi penalties

2019 German Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Alfa Romeo have announced they will appeal against the 30-second penalties which cost Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi their points finishes in the German Grand Prix.

The pair originally finished seventh and eighth at the Hockenheimring. However post-race inspection of their start data revealed their clutch performance and torque delivery did not confirm to the regulations.

Team principal Frederic Vasseur says the team respects the FIA stewards’ decision but believe they can prove it should be overturned.

“It is extremely disappointing to have both cars penalised and pushed out of the points in what had been such an exciting race,” said Vasseur.

“The situation arose during the laps we spent behind the Safety Car ahead of the standing start: we suffered a dysfunction of the clutch that was beyond our control and we will further investigate the issue. We respect the FIA’s process and the stewards’ work, but will appeal this decision as we believe we have the grounds and evidence to have it overturned. In this regard, we will be in touch with the FIA soon.

“Kimi and Antonio drove very well in challenging conditions and seventh and eighth place were the rightful reward for their performance. The team worked really hard to put both cars in the points and we showed once again that we have the pace to fight at the sharp end of the midfield. This race was a great showcase for Formula One and it’s a pity it ended this way.”

Raikkonen and Giovinazzi were given 10-second stop-go penalties which were converted to 30-second post-race penalties. These dropped them to 12th and 13th in the final classifications. The penalties promoted Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica into the top 10 points-scoring places.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

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.

Posted on Categories 2019 F1 season articles, F1 newsTags , ,

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 20 comments on “Alfa Romeo to appeal Raikkonen and Giovinazzi penalties”

    1. Another team with “overwhelming evidence”, now justifying something broken on a car to allow breaking rules.

      1. they admitted that they knew it was illegal and now they don’t want to be punished. and people say Ferrari and Mercedes are bad

      2. @dallein or rather they were unlucky enough that Lewis finished behind them.

    2. This year is likely to become a record-breaker in terms of appeals and post-race confusions. Add to this some absurd penalty decisions during the race and the obvious result IMHO is a necessity for less rules, but harsher penalties when they are broken. What do other readers think?

      1. This year is likely to become a record-breaker in terms of appeals and post-race confusions

        It is absolutely not. There were times when checking the sunday evening news to see who got disqualified was the norm.
        It’s a part of F1 and I personally think it’s an important one.

    3. Lol, what is this all about? They did so well, clutch torque delivery? Unless they got more than allowed fuel flow or hybrid power, I really fail to see why such a harsh penalty?

      1. Because traction control is banned, and they appear to have concocted a way of getting it back by re-configuring the clutch electronics.

        1. Really? A clutch that releases slower than the drivers commitment to an instant driver gear command resulting in power being less readily available each gear change would actually be a disadvantage overall. It would make the car accelerate slower at all times, useful only if your drivers were so poor they needed it. Similar effect to TC but NOT TC. However, if that clutch slowness is any way linked and reactive to track conditions or electronically sensed tire grip then it IS traction control. A rose by any other name etc. That would be cheating period.

          1. @sloppysmusic clutch is only used on standing starts. Once the car is moving, the clutch is always engaged.

      2. @jureo, as noted in the previous article that Keith has produced on this topic, the penalty specifically relates to the way in which the clutch was operating at the start of the race and the fact that, by slowing the rate at which the clutch was fully engaged, it allowed for a more gentle application of power at the start of the race.

        Whilst not quite a form of traction control – since it does not actually measure anything to do with wheel slippage – it could be considered a form of driver aid given that it would have assisted the drivers with pulling away from the line by smoothing out the power delivery to the rear wheels.

    4. Pointless to appeal this, with the emphasis on the word “pointless”.

    5. Rules are rules. This is a technical rule, not relying on opinion. Open and shut case.

      Alfas claim that ‘they drove well, and therefore don’t deserve a penalty’ is laughable.

    6. They aren’t getting that one overturned. It doesn’t matter if they believe they have evidence, FIA have seen something in the data on both cars (seems very unlikely both cars would have the exact same issue) and the only way they’d get that one thrown out is if they could prove whatever sensors the FIA use to read the data were faulty and had firm data from multiple other sources to show there was nothing untoward.

      The fact it was on both cars and they seem to either be pointing the issue as mechanical or software rather than a logging issue makes it all irrelevant, if a car has an issue and breaks the rules unwittingly in the process, it’s still a penalty every day of the week.

    7. Penalised for doing what everyone is doing, coincidentally penalised when it became useful. Masi is going to keep his job it is clear.

    8. Why can’t they just make the starts completely mechanical and driver operated? Clutch timing, clutch bite point, that IS traction control god damn. So are all the complex engine modes. Why can’t the Fia make a rule the each team can only use one set engine mode for every session and race, that would save some money and make the racing more real than what we watch. This wet race showed off just how bad f1 is, because with all the wasted money and corporate manufacturer greed controlling the sport, all it took was for something as natural and simple as rain to make a better show. The sport is too complicated, too predictable, boring and unsporting. They can simplify it so much and still be the fastest motorsport in the world if they hadn’t let the manufacturers get too much power.

    9. So, it this one of those stewards’ decisions that cannot be appealed yet they do so? Also, shouldn’t these kind of breaches of technical regulations result in instant disqualification (i.e. Ricciardo at the 2014 Australian GP)?

      1. Yes and yes.

    10. However post-race inspection of their start data revealed their clutch performance and torque delivery did not confirm to the regulations.

      After a bit of digging I finally found the FIA’s actual reports on this.
      From the Stewards report for car 99, it says:

      The clutch is controlled electronically via the Common ECU. However, the teams have
      the option to tune some of the controlling parameters. In order to prevent the teams from using this tuning to affect the way in which the clutch engages at the start of the race in a way that could potentially mimic traction control or other advantageous schemes, the FIA requires that the torque in the clutch matches (within specified limits) the torque demand as the driver releases the clutch. This must occur within 70 milliseconds.

      In the case of both cars of Alfa Romeo Racing, the time that it took for the torque to align with the torque demand was close to 200 milliseconds and 300 milliseconds respectively. This provided a more gradual application of the torque, which given the wet conditions was a potential advantage.

      An important point here is the Engine Control Unit is specified by the FIA. From the way it is written the report seems to suggest the software controlling the clutch is also mandated by the FIA, so they can “peek” into the software to see if it is actually what they specified or if Alfa Romeo had put in their own software … but that never happened. They could have asked the team for the settings they used to “tune” the clutch release, and then checked to see if the settings were what the team said … but that too never happened.
      So the question is, could it be that when the driver “drops the clutch” (70 ms response time) could something else have happened that reduced the torque shock to the wheels? For example, you’d expect the suspension system to react to this, the chassis will twist, fuel will slosh around, the temperature sensitive tyres (temperature affects air pressure with the tyre) will distort, etc.
      Thinking about the tyre pressures, there’s no mention of what these were in the Stewards report at the start of the Formation laps and what they were at the actual race start, so it could be the tyre pressures had slightly dropped out of specification.
      I’m not convinced by this, I think the Stewards could have been more thorough in their investigation.

      1. …but that never happened.

        My apologies to the Stewards for asserting somethings never happened when in fact they did. The items scrutinised for the race are covered in Technical Report Document 55.
        I still don’t consider a slow release of a clutch as proof of some sort of traction control.

    11. Good luck with that, Alfa Romeo.
      You’ll need it.

    Comments are closed.