Logan Sargeant will start today’s Japanese Grand Prix from the pit lane and is required to serve a 10-second time penalty during the race following an error by his team.Suzuka.
Formula 1’s rules allow teams to have no more than two cars ready for using at any one time and forbid them from having completed spare available in order to control costs. They may have spare survival cells ready to be built up into replacement cars.
The rules tightly define how complete these survival cells may be. The stewards found Williams broke that rule when they began work on a replacement car for Sargeant after his Saturday crash.
FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer informed the stewards Williams began work on their spare chassis, number three, on Saturday night. He noted “chassis three was assembled to more than an assembly comprising a survival cell as defined in [Sporting Regulations] Article 27.2” and “this has to be considered as a third car available to the competitor.”
Williams’ repairs included fitting replacement parts and changing the specifications of some components which meant Sargeant would inevitably required to start from the pits. The stewards noted the team’s failure to follow the rules regarding the spare chassis meant a further penalty was required.
“After hearing from the competitor, the technical delegate and the single seater director [Nikolas Tombazis], the stewards came to the conclusion that during qualifying (Q1), the Williams Racing car number suffered an accident where chassis one [was] damaged beyond repair.
“Following the qualifying session, chassis three was then assembled to a level exceeding that defined in Article 27.2 of the Sporting Regulations, which defines the state of assembly for a chassis to be considered to be a car,” the stewards stated. “The Williams Racing team was therefore found to be in breach of Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations, which states that each competitor may not have more than two cars available at any time during a competition.
“Furthermore it should be noted that the available working time during parc fermé for the assembly of a complete car is limited, and hence in case of severe accident, this may jeopardise the participation of a car in the race. It is also noted that car two has been subjected to a change of specification, and therefore, under Article 40.9 is due to start the race from the pit lane in any case for a different offence.
“According to [technical directive] 021/Issue G dated on 22nd August 2023 the minimum penalty for an offence will be a start from the pit lane. In addition to this, a further penalty may be imposed by the stewards. As a start from pit lane is already imposed for the modification of parts, a further penalty for having a third chassis available was appropriate.”
However the stewards believe the matter should be discussed by a future meeting of the Sporting Advisory Committee.
Sargeant was already due to start today’s race from last place having failed to set a time in qualifying, but been given a dispensation to start by the stewards.
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2023 Japanese Grand Prix
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