The Japanese Grand Prix stewards were very busy indeed after qualifying for Sunday’s race after a number of incidents had to be investigated. This resulted in a number of penalties being dished out including a drive-through penalty being handed out before the race has even started – a first in F1.
Firstly, the Sauber F1 Team have been fined €20,000 for issuing Nico Hulkenberg an incorrect radio message at the end of final practice. He held up Max Chilton after being told that he was on a cool down lap, when he wasn’t.
The stewards said that “the team of car 11 [Sauber] advised him [Hulkenberg] by radio that car 23 [Chilton] was on a ‘cool down’ lap. Car 11 was preparing for a fast lap when the driver realised car 23 was immediately behind him and tried his best to give car 23 the apex.”
They added: “The team of car 23 [Marussia] does not believe the incident amounted to illegitimately impeding. However, whilst the driver of car 11 is not found to be in breach of Article 16.1(g), we determine the team to be responsible for the incident, which was potentially dangerous, by issuing an incorrect message.”
Nico Rosberg was also penalised for driving too slow on the run to 130R during practice. He was given his second reprimand of the season after stewards ruled that “car 9 [Rosberg] slowed to less than 90kph when car 20 [Pic] was closing at full speed on the straight. The speed differential was approximately 200kph at the point where car 20 needed to decide on which side to pass. The driver of car 9 conceded that he should have more clearly indicated to car 20 on which side he could pass, by moving to one side.”
Adrian Sutil was given a 5-place grid penalty for the race after his car required a gearbox change after it was damaged during a crash in third practice.
Pic was also penalised after he went through a red light at the pit exit during qualifying for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix. He did the same thing in Korea and stewards took this into account when handing out his penalty.
He was given a drive-through penalty for the race which must be served within the first five laps. Stewards said: “Car 20 [Pic] crossed the pit exit line at 14:17:10. The red light was at 14:17:05. It is noted this is the second consecutive event in which the driver has driven through a red light.”
The Frenchman already had a 10-place grid penalty after picking up his third reprimand in Korea last weekend.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic