Hamilton may be penalised over tyre blunder

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Interlagos, 2007, 3 | DaimlerLewis Hamilton and two other drivers may face penalties after breaking the rules governing tyre use at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton along with Jenson Button and Takuma Sato used more than the regulation number of wet weather tyres practice on Friday morning at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

The McLaren team admitted a mistake had been made. FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer noticed the error and reported it to the race stewards.

The three are believed to have broken article 25.3 of the Sporting Regulations which states:

During the Event no driver may use more than fourteen sets of dry-weather tyres, four sets of wet-weather tyres and three sets of extreme-weather tyres.

No driver may use more than two sets of each specification of dry-weather tyre during P1 and P2.

No driver may use more than one set of wet and one set of extreme-weather tyres during P1 and P2.

A set of tyres will be deemed to comprise two front and two rear tyres all of which must be of the same specification.

Potential punishments are covered by article 31.6:

In the event of a driving infringement during any practice session the Stewards may drop the driver such number of grid positions as they consider appropriate. Unless it is completely clear that a driver committed a driving infringement any such incident will normally be investigated after the relevant session, any penalty imposed shall not be subject to appeal.

It is not clear what punishment, if any, the three may face. Ferrari started both its drivers on wet weather tyres against the instructions of the race stewards at the Japanese Grand Prix and were unpunished after the drivers were ordered to change tyres.

But they broke a stewards’ ruling rather than a specific regulation, and the team claimed not to haver received the e-mail informing them of the decision.

It is also worth noting that in 2002 the stewards at the same race granted a special dispensation to Ferrari allowing Michael Schumacher to have access to a larger number of tyres than usual, as he and team mate Rubens Barrichello were using different models of Ferraris with different wheel mounts.

But’s it’s unlikely the stewards will give much leniency to what appears to be a straight breach of the rules, regardless of whether any advantage was gained by the drivers.

Photo: Daimler

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22 comments on “Hamilton may be penalised over tyre blunder”

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  1. Some will scream out that this penalty is unfair. But I ask, why are drivers fined for speeding in the pitlane? Why don’t the FIA make them lose grid position?
    This is not the first time tyres have been confisticated, and fines issued. It may not satisfy everybody but thats how it is.

    The best the FIA can do is to stipulate penalties for each contravention of the rules and not make it arbitrary, that way you know what is coming, except perhaps for those situations where there are unforseen reasons that force such contraventions.

  2. To be frankly honest, I think oliver is one of the only one’s to make an objective decision.

    Almost everyone else is being extremely biased, and in my opinion is hardly worth listening to. How can you punish someone for the crime of using an extra set of tires for an in/out lap in free practice, when it was the team’s fault? I suppose that was a purposeful and deliberate blow from Hamilton to gain the psychological edge in the championship *rolls eyes*, well maybe the FIA should put Hamilton to the back of the grid to make the race more exciting and to make sure he doesn’t break a rule like this again in his rebel manner, fair, well some of you are suggesting no doubt. There can be little justification for this.

    If the same had happened to Alonso the penalty would of been the same, I have no doubt. There has been precedent from the past to deal with this situation, it is not out-of-character for the FIA. Any less or more than a fine and the taking of the tires that were in question would of led me to complain about the decision. A fine is not ample enough. And anything more than that is quite ridiculous, some are just hoping for any dishonourable opening to allow their favourite driver to win.

    My opinion.

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