Renault and Mercedes fined for pit chaos

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Robert Kubica, Adrian Sutil, Hungaroring, 2010

Renault and Mercedes have each been fined $50,000 for their roles in incidents that took place in the pit lane during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

A wheel came off Nico Rosberg’s car and Renault’s lollipop man allowed Robert Kubica out of his pit box too soon, causing a collision with Adrian Sutil.

Both teams were fined for “unsafe release” of their vehicles. Kubica was also given a stop-go penalty before retiring from the race. Rosberg retired immediately after the problem at his pit stop.

The pit lane was especially crowded as 16 of the runners pitted simultaneously when the safety car was deployed.

At the same race last year Renault were found to have allowed Fernando Alonso out of the pits with an improperly attached front-right wheel, which came off his car once he returned to the track. They were initially banned from the following race but the punishment was reduced on appeal.

2010 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Image (C) Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo

35 comments on “Renault and Mercedes fined for pit chaos”

  1. Why did Kubica retire? I got the impression that he’d had enough, after being so far behind. But I don’t it’s legal to retire for without having a car problem.

    1. It’s not illegal to retire a healthy car, but the team might not appreciate it.

      At any rate he retired with front suspension damage incurred in the collision with Sutil.

      1. Keith, are these fines not pretty soft on them in the circumstances? Or is it merely a case of human error from the lollipop man and therefore difficult to punish, despite being a fairly serious incident?

      2. More likely they decided to save the engine and gearbox.

        1. I think the same, there was no sense to continue this race for Kubica.

      3. Keith, wasn’t that stop/go penalty for Kubica?

        1. Indeed it was – fixed it.

          1. i thought he came in to do hes stop and go but never left.
            if that’s right then did he actually serve the stop and go penalty?
            and now they are being fined for not serving the stop and go?

  2. 50k is the maximum fine per infraction isn’t it?

    1. Ferrari were fined 100k for their antics in Germany.

      1. they were fined under 2 separate infractions iirc

  3. I am surprised with the penalties given to Renault and Mercedes. The flying/bouncing wheel from Rosberg’s car could have easily killed someone in the pits and the unsafe release by Renault destroyed Sutil’s race. The drive through for Kubica meant nothing as he was already laps behind and $50,000 is pocket money to an F1 team. I would have expected a grid penalty for this much pit lane carnage.

    1. A grid penalty for whom? The team? The driver? MSC / ROS pit crew is the same, as is KUB / PET, so hard to penalize Kubica and Rosberg for a mistake made by someone who could have done it just as well on Schumachers or Petrov’s car.

  4. Kubica was given a stop-go penalty according to race commentary…

  5. It’s pity they didnt show this on TV, as Ive never seen a stop-go penalty in F1 (or simply dont remember), only drive-throughs.
    And yeah, its somewhat funny, last year Renault were almost banned for one race, this year Mercedes gets only 50 000 fine.

    1. You could say that this would be due to Bernie’s ethos that F1 is a money making machine.

      10 seconds of TV time is millions in his pockets. So to spend 10 seconds looking at a stationary car is simply loss of dollars.

      1. I think they actually showed it. Kubica stopped, the pit-crew just looked in to the car (didn’t touch, following the rules), after 10 seconds they decided to push him back to the garage.

        1. From what i recall they only showed Kubica pulling into the pit box and showing 3 seconds of the stop-go.

          After that they cut back to the action out on track.

          1. Yes. Hamilton retired at that point so quite rightly director cut to that.

    2. Well, Rosberg never actually left the pits. From what I remember, Alonso completed a full lap with one tyre loose. So, I guess they thought of Rosberg’s incident as less dangerous than the one with Renault – and the difference in the penalties was in accordance with the difference in danger.

  6. how can you fine a team for team orders 100 000$
    and fine other teams 50 000$ for big safety issues?
    what happened to the pits was far more dangerous then schumi move on the “WHINER” but everybody seem to forget that
    quote from another site
    “A Williams mechanic was knocked unconscious in a pitlane accident on Sunday.
    Nigel Hope found himself in the path of the loose wheel that came off former team driver Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes car during the Hungarian grand prix.
    Hope, a team truck driver, was reportedly knocked unconscious in the incident and was taken to the medical centre.
    It is believed he suffered a broken rib, but he bravely returned to pitstop duty after returning from the medical centre.
    “After I heard that my tyre hit ‘big Nige’, I was more concerned about my tyre than him!” joked Rosberg.

    so why nobody cares about the worse that could have happened on the pits and whines for what didn’t happened between michael and “the WHINER”
    because is not a ferrari or schumi involved
    come on

    1. I hope Nigel Hope get’s a big wedge of that $50k for injuries received!

  7. So maybe they will ban pit stops at all next season :)
    They banned refuelling for safety reasons but pit crews still do mistakes and cause danger. Nothing changed IMHO, just races are more boring.

    1. I guess they sould bring back the old closed-pitlane rule – the one that closed the pitlane until a line had formed behind the safety car – or even ban pit-stops completely while the sc is out, except of course if there are safety reasons a car has to pit. With refuelling gone, it would not pose any problem at all.
      As we’ve seen time and time again this year, a safety car can create complete chaos in the race, ruin some drivers’ race completely and give unfair advantages to others. This may of course bring more drama ans spectacle in the race – I know I really enjoyed it during the last race – but if it brings unfair results – like what happened with the ferraris a couple of races before – then it needs to be revised. Races are supposed to be won by the fastest and the cleverest, not just the luckiest…

  8. I remember last year Renault got a race ban, which was over turned, for sending Alonso out with a wheel that wasn’t fixed on properly. I think it was more of a knee jerk reaction to Surtees death the week or so before, but i was half expecting something similar for Mercedes, especially after it hit someone.

  9. One thing I don’t understand was that stop-and-go for Kubica. Why penalize driver when the pit-crew was responsible for the incident? In this case it didn’t matter much because Kubica’s race was already destroyed by the very fact of the collision.

    Still 50k is just a slap, not a real penalty. Especially for Mercedes. I’m glad that the Williams pit-crew member didn’t suffer any serious injury from encounter with Rosberg’s wheel.

    1. Well, yes. It wasn’t Kubica’s fault that the lollipop man got a bit trigger-happy. But is $50K (half a front wing) the max that the FIA can fine the team per infraction?

    2. As last week proved, this is a team sport. His pit crew are part of his team.

  10. first of all i would connect the two incidents.

    rosberg’s wheel goes off and by the time it gets to the williams, cubica gets released and hits sutil. it’s almost instantaneus. cubica was released by the lollypop-guy,but from all the renault team he was the only one who could see everything i.e. what was going on around the renault as well as the pit lane which belongs to his responsability. thus he must have seen that wheel comming towards them (and instinctively got distracted). the only thing that stopped that loose missile was the williams. if the williams were not out to help their car than the wheel would probably have ended up by renault.

    i’d rather blame both incidents on the chaos in the pit lane caused by the Safety Car.It’s not the first time incidents happen in the pit during SC deployment.

  11. Seeming that there is now no refueling, I would say it is an excellent time to bring back the “no pitting” rule under the safety car. It isnt necessary and the only reason it was scrapped was because of fueling issues.

  12. I think the flying wheel distracted the Renault Lollypop man, besides its hard to tell where a car is going to stop when the pitlane is jammed as it was.

    1. You do have a point but will the Lollipop man be looking back in the Sauber pit box, I don’t think you have enough time.

  13. I have heard that the F1 pit lane is the third most dangerous place to work after the deck of ‘oil rig’ & ’ship that carry aircraft & flies them in mid sea. I think the modern F1 drivers knew that their car is bullet proof but the mechanics work in a very dangerous place.It looks funny but dangerous the way Roseberg’s wheel travelled in between the the Sauber pit box,hope the Williams mechanics is OK.

  14. Well, instead of just fining the teams involved and promptly forgetting that anything happened, if I was the FIA I would be calling all the Team Principles and whoever is in charge of the Pit Crew to a meeting over the break to see if the situation in crowded Pit Lanes cannot be improved to everyone’s benifit.
    As was mentioned during the BBC Forum, its not an easy situation to control, especially when something like 16 cars all come in to Box at once, but I am sure that something could be done, either with better training or using available technology.
    Of course, the changes couldn’t happen overnight, but if the FIA can announce changes to the wheel tethers, they should be able to prompt safer practices in the Pit Lane!
    I think in fact the answer is very simple, in that the teams don’t just rely on the ‘Lollipop Man’ to watch for cars, but have another person on the Pit Wall, who can look further down the Pit Lane and help spot whats happening.

    1. Accidental Mick
      3rd August 2010, 10:18

      Even easier than that!

      Do away with the safety car. Give the stewards remote control of the pit lane limiter in every car. Give all drivers a 10 second warning and then switch on everybodies limiter.

      Cheap, easy solution which solves lots of problems.

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