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Hungary 2009: Penalty Updates

Hungary 2009: Penalty Updates

The race at Hungary this afternoon was quite hectic at times, and during the event Kimi Raikkonen was being investigated for his actions at the very start. There were two other incidents of note during the grand prix that the stewards didn’t initially state they were investigating, but after the race the appropriate team members were summoned to the steward’s office to offer explanations. Renault have been suspended from the next race, and Red Bull have been reprimanded for the second race in a row.

As the lights went out in Hungary and the race got underway, Kimi Raikkonen was making use of his KERS device and was thundering up the field. The Finnish pilot squeezed Sebastian Vettel over to the right and the German Red Bull driver believes contact was made. After the first corner, Vettel radioed his team to say that he thought there was damage to the front wing, but it turned out to be more serious. The front-left suspension on the RB5 had been broken, and at about the mid-point of the race, it gave way. Vettel was forced to retire his car.

Despite this though, the stewards, who were investigating the incident, said that it was just a racing incident and that no punishment would be handed out.

However, Renault have been given a very harsh penalty following the incident that saw Fernando Alonso’s wheel come off mid-lap. The team, Piquet inclusive, will not race in Valencia in a months time. Although it is rumoured that Piquet will not be racing for Renault again anyway, penalty or no penalty. Further information on the Renault suspension can be read in this post.

Also, Red Bull have been reprimanded for the second race in succession. In Germany, Vettel was released early following a pitstop and the Milton Keynes squad were given a slap on the wrists. And again in Hungary this time, Mark Webber was released into the path of Kimi Raikkonen following a bodged pitstop that almost saw the fuel man get dragged to the floor. Webber thought he had been given the indication to go, but in fact the fuel nozzle was still attached to the RB5. Webber quickly backtracked his motions and stopped, but now under pressure, the team released him without checking the fast lane again and Webber was forced to back out of the throttle to avoid colliding with the Ferrari.

Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Sebastien buemi, who was enjoying a great weekend starting in P10, has not only finished in last place and been beaten by his rookie team mate, but has also received a fine for €1800 for speeding in the pitlane.

All in all, it was quite the Hungarian Grand Prix. Renault are out for one race, Raikkonen got away with being a bit boisterous at the start and Red Bull are treading on a very thin line with regards to pitstops.

Oliver White

5 comments

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  • I actually agree with the decision not to impose a penalty on Raikkonen. To me it was racing, pure and simple. I don’t want to see namby pamby drivers too scared to make moves on one another for fear of the race stewards.

    Red Bull need to calm it down a bit with regards to their pitstops. It’s the second race in a row now that they’ve been reprimanded, after Vettel was deemed to have been unsafely released at the German Grand Prix, but today’s was a lot closer and Webber lucky not to collide with Raikkonen.

    As for Renault? Toughie. To ban them from the European GP is very harsh, especially on the thousands of Spanish fans who probably bought a ticket just to see Alonso in action. But then, whose to say they still won’t? Albeit, in red overalls…

  • Albeit, in red overalls…

    Just been debating on Sidepodcast.

    Can Alonso contractually jump ship for a one-off? He may have performance related clauses that allow it. Renault will be angry as will the sponsors, but Alonso could race in white overalls, or pay them off himself because he is a racer and will want to race.

    Also, if Flavio can’t give him a car, can he stop Alonso from looking for a one-off drive elsewhere? And if the rumours are true, then obviously the choice of team will be interesting, especially given their circumstances at the moment. But they will want Massa back ASAP, which will ruin the resto f the season for Alonso. But then, Fernando isn’t afraid to stick it to Flavio, ie. McLaren move in late ’05 for the ’07 season.

    Also/also, are Renault in the sport for the long-term? If they are looking to get out of the sport, this could be a great way to remove themselves. Flavio always said that he will remain at the helm all the time Alonso is in one of his cars. And I believe Flavio is the one who kept Renault in F1 over the last off-season when Honda withdrew.

    I think it is about to get very, very interesting. On the grid, Eddie Jordan asked Flavio about Alonso’s 2010 contract negotiations and the Italian refused to answer.

    As I said, very very interesting…

  • I don’t think that Kimi should have been penalised either, but I would at least like some consistency with Stewards decisions. With Webber being pinged last time around, so should Kimi have been.

  • I suppose the penultimate paragraph settles the question of “Is Jaime Alguersuari too young for F1?” 🙂

    Some of the penalties looked strange at first glance. The Renault one seemed severe (a penalty for Alonso specifically for continuing at high speed after it was obvious there was something wrong with his wheel looked more appropriate) until I read this morning that Renault were being accused of knowingly releasing Alonso with a loose wheel and not telling Fernando. I’m not sure how the FIA intends to prove it at appeal, but if true, the reason for a penalty other than the usual fine becomes clear.

    I still think Kimi should have been penalised with a drive-through for his start, although he did have the partial excuse of needing to dodge someone on his left. He didn’t need to go anywhere near as far to the right as he did, but I suppose a stewarding panel tired out after analysing all the other stuff that happened this weekend could be forgiven for not being entirely consistent…

  • I would at least like some consistency with Stewards decisions

    Wouldn’t we all!

    I read this morning that Renault were being accused of knowingly releasing Alonso with a loose wheel and not telling Fernando.

    Yeah, it became much clearer once this was known. The stewards said that Alonso had actually contacted the team saying he thought he had a puncture (which I think was broadcast, possibly), but little came back in way of response. It is the knowingly let him go (but then, that could be put down to error-of-judgement, much like Webber’s pitstop and resulting reprimand) and failure to warn that got the team in trouble. Had they radioed Alonso to slow right down or even retire there and then (although Alonso would have blatantly limped around at low speed), then they would have probably not received such a hefty penalty.

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