Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, Imola, 2022

Zhou ordered to start from pit lane after two parc ferme breaches

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Zhou Guanyu has been ordered to start the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix from the pit lane after his Alfa Romeo team was found to have broken parc ferme rules.

The stewards found the team committed two separate breaches of the regulations while working on Zhou’s car, which was damaged when he crashed out of today’s sprint race.

The car was required to be covered and fitted with FIA seals within two hours of the sprint race ending, which did not happen.

The team also continued to work on Zhou’s car without FIA supervision, another breach of the rules. The stewards noted “the competitor admitted that modifications were made to the car” during that time.

“In any event, given the lack of supervision the stewards would have been entitled to draw an inference that modifications were made to the car and/or changes were made to the set-up of the suspension while the car was to have been held under parc ferme conditions,” they added.

“The penalty for breach of the parc ferme conditions is specified in Article 40.9 b), which is for the driver to start from the pit lane. We accordingly imposed the penalty stipulated in Article 40.9 b).”

Zhou was previously due to start the grand prix from last place following his sprint race retirement.

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2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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11 comments on “Zhou ordered to start from pit lane after two parc ferme breaches”

  1. Clumsy of them. Should have read the rulebook.

    1. Negatory: Worth the penalty to get into the damage, A$AP. So to speak. As it were.

      1. @elchinero – you can fix damage, replacing part for same spec part, but you need to get the FIA there watching, to make sure that’s all you are doing. Modifications are not allowed, unless you don’t have a replacement, but if the FIA are there you can argue that point, and sometimes be allowed. Seems they didn’t even ask for the FIA to supervise repairs.

      2. Doesn’t matter much, last place to pit lane start, but it seems clumsy to irritate the FIA when you don’t have to.

    2. @biker56 it sounds more what happened to Gasly last year in Monza – the length of time required to recover and repair the car meant they would have to break the curfew period, whilst the extent of the damage means they’d have to change the specification of parts used to a different (older) specification, automatically requiring a pit lane start.

      It doesn’t sound like a case of “not reading the rule book” – they seem to have known what the rules were and accepted that it’s either a case of having to take the penalty for having to revert to an older specification part and working outside the curfew period, or withdrawing from the race entirely.

      1. Agreed.
        I bet they knew the rules and penalties and took their best course of action. A pit-lane start won’t be a major drawback as they will catch up at the first safety car period. Should be inside the first handfull of laps.
        Is there a difference between Curfew Time and Parc-Ferme conditions? I understood one was technical in nature and the Curfew was aimed at manpower working conditions.

      2. anon and @rekibsn – Good points, but I think it’s clumsy to not follow the rules, and possibly irritate the FIA when you don’t have to.
        I think the problem was parc ferme conditions, not curfew in this case.

  2. Speaking of clumsy, does anyone else think that it could describe Gasly’s driving?
    Zhou, well advanced, looked like he expected to be able to go through the corner around the outside like in F2 and appeared to give Gasly enough room, but Gasly “understeered” into him – expensively wrecking the Alfa Romeo.
    If there had been top drivers or cars involved then there would have been a penalty, or at least some controversy, but there hasn’t even been mention of the incident on F1 sites (although the official F1 site has a video of the incident for your entertainment).

  3. I really do not understand why they have these parc ferme rules in place. They offer nothing from a sporting or a spectacle point of view.

    1. It was introduced in early ’00s first for financial reasons. Back then they used to tear down and rebuild cars after every session, including change of spec of parts. Imagine qualifying one car and
      on the grid the next day starting the race with a car that’s quite different setupwise, also different specs of bodywork, cooling, suspension, brakes…

  4. @venedikov

    Yes, but now that they have a budget cap these rules seem to be pointless.
    If anything they diminish the spactacle as the cars are not on the limit as they used to be.

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