New team quirk helped Force India escape €85,000 fine

Force India has escaped a potential €85,000 fine in Singapore because a suspended fine generated by an offence earlier in the season was deemed not to apply to the revamped team.

New team quirk helped Force India escape €85,000 fine

The case has highlighted how some sporting elements related to Sahara Force India have been carried over to the new Racing Point Force India by the FIA, and others have not.

In Singapore the team was found guilty of an unsafe release of Esteban Ocon’s car in FP3, and received a €5,000 fine.

However, the stewards’ decision made no mention of the fact that at the French GP the original team received a penalty of a €15,000 fine plus a further €85,000 suspended for 12 months when Sergio Perez was released with a loose wheel.

At Paul Ricard the stewards noted “that this is the third incident of this nature involving the team in the past two years and the second this year, and hence the usual penalty has been significantly increased.

“This fine represents the view of the Stewards that the team needs to investigate its assembly and quality control procedures to ensure this type of potentially dangerous incident does not occur again, and believes the penalty is suitable and will also act as a deterrent in the future.”

Although the Singapore incident was not as serious, in that it did not involve a loose wheel, in theory it would still have been sufficient to trigger the suspended fine, as that applied to all forms of unsafe release.

However in Singapore the FIA stewards decided that the French GP penalty was awarded to a different team, and was thus no longer valid.

In making that call they referred to the stewards’ decision at Spa which explained the rationale behind the acceptance of Racing Point Force India as a new entry, which also confirmed that some sporting elements – such as gearbox and engine usage and tyre choices – would carry over from Sahara Force India.

“The stewards were obviously aware of the suspended fine,” race director Charlie Whiting told Motorsport.com. “And we made them aware of the decision made in Spa.

"It was a good decision I think, because it set out why the drivers wouldn’t get a fresh engine and gearbox allocation, for example. Based on that they felt it wasn’t necessary to invoke that suspended fine.

“I think the punishment was the normal punishment for that offence. It wasn’t like a wheel came off – he just left a little too early.”

In the Singapore incident Ocon left the pit box with the gantry red light on, and drove into the path of Kevin Magnussen.

The stewards noted: “Driver of Car 31 was preparing for a burn out start from his pit stop position on the team’s instructions. At the same time, Car 20 was approaching in the fast lane. Driver of Car 31 started his burn out while the red light was still being displayed, the light was then changed to green by the team.

“The team failed to observe the arrival of Car 20 and to therefore stop Car 31 from proceeding with the burn out, resulting in an unsafe situation.”

The stewards also took note of the fact that Ocon had come quite close to a Williams mechanic who was standing in the pitlane.

“Magnussen was in the 33m zone that we set out when you’ve got a 60km/h speed limit,” said Whiting. “What actually happened was Ocon went on red, and the guy who was on it thought ‘I’d better put green.’ There was a little bit of a mix-up.

“For me there was no issue with Magnussen, but the thing that I felt was a little unnecessary was there was a Williams guy standing out there for a pit stop, and Ocon was asked to lay some rubber, and was a little bit over-exuberant, I would have thought.”

shares
comments
Spa letdown forced Mercedes to make ‘major’ qualifying step

Previous article

Spa letdown forced Mercedes to make ‘major’ qualifying step

Next article

Ferrari qualifying flop leaves Ricciardo with "optimism"

Ferrari qualifying flop leaves Ricciardo with "optimism"
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Singapore GP
Drivers Esteban Ocon
Teams Racing Point Force India
Author Adam Cooper
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Prime

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee.

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021