The Williams F1 Team has been handed a €60,000 fine for releasing Pastor Maldonado unsafely during second practice for the Indian Grand Prix.
Maldonado has just re-joined the circuit after switching from the soft to the medium compound tyre. As he approached turn 13, sparks began to fly from his front-right wheel.
The wheel nut subsequently fell off as he tackled the left-hander, rolling across the circuit. The Venezuelan driver attempted to get his car back to his pit garage but a combination of a loose wheel and a punctured tyre forced him to abandon his Williams FW35 at the pit entry, cutting his session short.
In Suzuka two weeks ago, Maldonado lost his left-rear wheel during the second practice session. Unlike his incident in India, the wheel did depart from the car which stewards deemed to be a “serious safety issue.”
They were fined €60,000 for the incident in Japan and made changes to the wheel retention system for this weekend. However, a similar problem occurred and the FIA made it clear that the penalty would have been harsher had the tyre fallen off.
A statement released by the stewards read: “The team need to ensure that both the wheel and its fastener are fully retained on the car. The Stewards decide that a fine of €60,000 is the most appropriate penalty in this case taking into account this was the second offense, but on this occasion the wheel was retained.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic