Loose wheel earns McLaren a hefty fine

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

MCLAREN have been fined € 5 000 af­ter Bel­gian driver Stof­fel Van­doorne was re­leased from the pits with a loose wheel dur­ing yes­ter­day’s Chi­nese Grand Prix prac­tice.

Van­doorne brought his McLaren to a halt in the clos­ing stages of the se­cond 90-minute ses­sion.

“I need to stop the car, the tyre is not on,” re­ported the 26-year-old be­fore climb­ing out and help­ing mar­shals push his car to safety.

Ste­wards said McLaren had re­leased Van­doorne from the pits in an un­safe con­di­tion, but de­cided to limit the pun­ish­ment to a fine, and not a grid penalty, be­cause he had stopped the car in a safe man­ner.

“Con­sis­tent with pre- vi­ous de­ci­sions of a sim­i­lar na­ture, the ste­wards de­cided that the grid place penalty... would not be ap­plied as the driver took all ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions at the first avail­able op­por­tu­nity,” ste­wards said.

Van­doorne’s case was the lat­est in a se­ries of in­ci­dents of driv­ers be­ing re­leased from the pits with loose wheels on their cars.

Fer­rari were fined € 55,000 in Bahrain last week­end af­ter two in­ci­dents in­volv­ing Kimi Raikko­nen.

The Finn was sent out with a loose wheel in se­cond prac­tice at Sakhir and his car hit a me­chanic, who suf­fered a bro­ken leg, dur­ing a pit­stop when given the sig­nal to go while a rear wheel was un­changed. – Reuters

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