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McLaren Fined $50,000 By Stewards

McLaren Fined $50,000 By Stewards

Fernando Alonso - 2007 SPanish Grand PrixFollowing on from the drama earlier in the evening regarding McLaren’s new gearbox, the stewards dealing with the matter in Monza have chosen to fine the team $50,000. The new gearbox that the Woking-based team ran during the Hungarian Grand Prix had not been crash tested, although the McLaren team said they were open with the FIA regarding their planned use of it. McLaren felt that the changes made meant the componant did not need another crash test, but the stewards today have decided otherwise.

It was the view of the FIA that the changes made to the original gearbox were ‘significant’. The view of the Stewards is that the components having been satisfactorily tested indicate that the cars complied with the technical configuration required when they raced in Hungary. Nothing in this decision is to be taken as condoning the practice of retrospective impact testing resulting in the use of untested components but in the particular circumstances of this case no further sanction will be applied. Stewards Press Release.

McLaren could not have their constructor points taken away from them (a practise that is common with this kind of ‘misdemeanor’) as they have already had them deducted following Fernando Alonso’s incident involving Lewis Hamilton in the pitlane in Hungary.

New poll on the home page: Are McLaren being intentionally picked on this season? Are the FIA singling them out in a bid to spice up the championship and keep viewing figures up? There is no ‘maybe’ in this poll, just yes, or no.

Formula One, F1, McLaren

Oliver White

12 comments

  • $50,000 is a pretty lenient fine don’t you think?

    I don’t think what McLaren did was overly bad, but the FIA don’t have previous for being lenient!

    Maybe they know they have the chance to be nasty next week instead…

  • I don’t think McLaren are being intentionally picked on this season. But I think the public reaction (and I mean the general one from people who are not so informed about the ins-and-outs of F1) to the WMSC’s decision not to punish McLaren for Stepneygate has encouraged the FIA to try to look “tough” on any other McLaren misdemeanour, however small (or nonexistent).

  • What are the Italian GP stewards doing getting involved in something that happened at a different race? It’s none of their business. If a team did something wrong at a race which is discovered afterwards then it’s up to the FIA to sort out.

  • Hey Don,

    Isn’t there a single steward now who attends all the races and oversees the others? I presumed this is what they meant when they said “the stewards at Monza are discussing…”

    If your line of thinking is correct though, it is a good point. Why are stewards from one event discussing the matters of another that they didn’t witness?

  • Well get on over to the homepage and bleedin’ well vote then, doctorvee.

    Of course, your comment is appreciated more than your click though, thanks. I also think the same, I don’t believe all the conspiracy theories, but I do think the FIA are thinking very carefully as to how they approach McLaren and Ferrari what with Stepneygate still up in the air.

  • Yes, there is one permanent steward (Tony Scott-Andrews), but he works as part of a team with the other two changing stewards. Races are separate events and if the stewards chose not to get involved at one event (for whatever reason) they’ve absolutely no business doing it at another event.

  • I don’t think the FIA can really win – no matter what they do there will be a mass outcry from either McLaren or Ferrari supporters!

    They never seem to do themselves any favours though.

  • I have to side with Don on this one, not necessarily as a Formula One fan, but as a sportsman. The Hungarian Grand Prix is all done and wrapped up. Yes, there is one case still pending (because McLaren appealed the decision) but in reality it is over with. No new events or outcomes relating to the race can come about, it simply isn’t sporting. If the FIA had said something there and then, well that would be fine. But they didn’t. They didn’t say boo.

    In my opinion, the blasted thing passed the crash test anyway, so what matter does it make at the very end of the day?

  • The stewards’ decision hinges on the word “significant”. McLaren said they didn’t think the change was significant in terms of crash testing because the old casing was engineered to higher limits than the test required and the new one, although lighter was as strong. The stewards, without explaining why, decided that it was a significant change.

    See the problem? Like so many of the FIA’s regulations, it is open to opinion and interpretation. McLaren did the necessary in informing the stewards of the change well before the GP and the stewards did not request a crash test at that time. It was reasonable to assume that the gearbox casing was okay to race therefore. To decide at a later date that it should have been crash tested leaves all the teams in a fog of indecision regarding the application of the rules.

    Naturally, every time a new gearbox casing is fitted, the teams will now rush to the stewards to have it crash tested. That stable door is closed. But how many others are there? The rules are written in such a way that the stewards can interpret them however they like and the possibilities for partisanship become rife. Words like “significant” do not belong in a rulebook that has the weight and intent of law. It is a ridiculous situation that crops up again and again and brings F1 into disrepute far more than any stupid espionage drama.

    And why will no-one answer my point about the new Red Bull/Toro Rosso gearbox? Was it crash tested? Does anybody care? No, because they’re not fighting Ferrari for the championship. The whole thing stinks.

  • It’s ridiculous! If the gearbox had failed the crash test when the FIA got round to testing it, then this would not have been a severe enough penalty (in view of McLaren having already lost points, a race ban would have been appropriate). However, since McLaren were right in thinking their new gearbox would have passed the crash test, and since they did co-operate with the FIA when asked, I do not believe that any punishment is appropriate.

    I don’t buy the “it was at a different race argument”, because apparently this argument has been going on for more than the length of one race (the gearbox debuted in Hungary and was tested at Turkey). In view of this, it makes sense that the matter would continue until resolved.

    I don’t think McLaren are being picked on as such – it is simply that the FIA are being their usual peculiar selves.

  • I don’t have a problem with an issue dragging on until resolved. But it’s up to the FIA to resolve it – not the race stewards. Their concern should purely be with what goes on at the meeting they’re stewarding over. Nothing else. Not what goes on at previous races, or between races.

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