Grosjean escapes penalty for failing floor test

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Hungaroring, 2013Romain Grosjean has avoided a penalty after his car failed a floor deflection test after qualifying at the Hungaroring.

Grosjean faced the threat of being demoted from third on the grid to the back of the field. But following an investigation the stewards decided to take no action.

The stewards were told the car failed to load test because the floor had been damaged on a kerb during the qualifying session and deemed it “a case of accidental damage, not a case of non-compliance”.

The stewards’ findings were as follows:

“Based on the telemetry it was apparent that the car suffered an impact during Q2 resulting in a vertical acceleration ranging from -7.3g to +11.1g. Video evidence verified the car bottomed at turn 11 consistent with the telemetry.

“It is considered reasonable that this impact caused a fracture in the floor stay of car eight. It was confirmed by physical examination that the floor stay on car eight was identical to that on car seven which was intact. Lifing documents (which show the history of each part) indicate the car eight part had been fitted for in excess of 600 km including a full race.

“It is the conclusion of the stewards that the failure of this part was due to the impact in Q2 and subsequently caused the car to fail to meet the requirements of Article 3.17.5. Accordingly this is deemed to be a case of accidental damage, not a case of non-compliance.”

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36 comments on Grosjean escapes penalty for failing floor test

  1. Sankalp Sharma (@sankalp88) said on 27th July 2013, 18:45

    So it’s the kerb’s fault? But this is bizarre really.

  2. Swindle94 (@swindle94) said on 27th July 2013, 18:45

    That’s lucky. It appears grosjean is the only one that might be able to catch vettel tomorrow. Probably not, but fingers crossed

  3. Shreyas Mohanty (@) said on 27th July 2013, 18:45

    Thank god :) the guy deserved his p3 :)

  4. Yosi (@yoshif8tures) said on 27th July 2013, 18:46

    This is good news. Hears hoping he can challenge for the win!

  5. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 27th July 2013, 18:54

    Thank God. :)

  6. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 27th July 2013, 18:59

    I’m thankful that was the case, for Grosjean and the team’s sake. Also, it means we can have a battle on our hands in the race!

  7. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 27th July 2013, 20:00

    The predictions-championship gods smile on me, as after his strong showing in FP3, I put in Grosjean for his first win tomorrow.

  8. JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 27th July 2013, 20:41

    What is the situation with replacing the floor? Are Lotus now allowed to replace it (or indeed required to replace it since it doesn’t comply) or do they need to run with the damaged part because of Parc Ferme restrictions?

    • Merv (@) said on 27th July 2013, 21:02

      The way i understand it is,
      they will have to replace the broken/damaged parts with items of identical specification. If identical parts are not available then a repair would constitute a change of specification requiring the car to start from the pit lane.

      I’m guessing the repair is mandatory having failed the test they would be intentionally fielding a non compliant car.

    • George (@george) said on 27th July 2013, 21:03

      @jerseyf1 If I remember correctly, they’re allowed to replace damaged components of the same specification

  9. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 27th July 2013, 22:09

    I’ve searched the FIA bible and nowere can I find any refrence that you can excape a penalty here, even if it was damaged during Q2. So that means in the future they beter let people off the hook in the same manor.

    • Ady (@ady) said on 27th July 2013, 22:47

      Think about the implications of your comment. If they gave penalties to teams for infringements due to damage, it would mean anyone sustaining a damaged front wing due to a collision could face a penalty for non compliance of the front wing regulations.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 27th July 2013, 22:53

        Yes I agree @ady, it’s common sense really. The only way they could’ve punished him would be to black and orange flag him during the session but since he posed no safety threat there was no problem. Good decision to the FIA and I hope they are consistent in that area.

    • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 28th July 2013, 10:06

      @ady and @vettel1 Just to be clear I was not hinting they should have given Grosjean a penalty here, I was only trying to explain that this was not a reglementary decision. If the same happens say in Belgium, the stewards there could give him a penalty and no one could blame them because they did it by the book. Like you said Max this was a decision based on common sense.

      My apologies if this wasn’t clear in my original post, you see English is not my native tongue ;-)

  10. stert said on 27th July 2013, 23:28

    purely hypothetical but what’s to stop a team running a bogus floor knowing that if you grind it too excess ( or gforce ) on the in laps your ok?

    • The Dag (@thedag) said on 28th July 2013, 11:10

      The stewards examined both telemetry and video evidence consistent with that telemetry, and verified the part was identical to that on the other car which does pass the test. To deliberately gain advantage and still get through those checks you’d have to basically mistreat the car hard enough to make it likely it would break, but not so hard that it really did break. That’d be difficult, and you’d be much better off directing your energy elsewhere.

      Besidres, even if this were some kind of loophole that might be exploited, there really is no alternative. Cars to get damaged all the time, and that results in states that are not conforming to regulations. Damage of course tends to *hurt* performance rather than improve it, and so we don’t want to regularly disqualify a lot of cars just because they lost a wing or incurred some other common damage – even though a car with a totally skewered front wing may violate both maximum and minimum height rules for front wings (at opposite ends of the wing).

  11. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 28th July 2013, 0:42

    I’m glad common sense prevailed. If the team can justify the damage with evidence that outside factors caused the car to become non-compliant.

  12. mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 28th July 2013, 1:12

    Imagine how different 1994 would have been if these stewarts were in Belgium that year? Schumacher would have won the championship in Japan.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 28th July 2013, 11:01

      Lol, Benetton tried some lame story about how it was because he spun off over a kerb. Yet that kerb damage was clearly visible and different from the wear pattern on which he was disqualified.

      You can’t fault them for trying, but people bringing that up as some sort of “wrong” can.

      • The Dag (@thedag) said on 28th July 2013, 11:15

        I don’t know the facts about Spa 94 are, but I take exception to your attitude “you can’t fault them for trying”. This is sport, and if they did try to cheat that is something you can and should fault them for.

        Of course, some middle way may also exist here, like they may have had good faith their car was ok and must have incurred damage when he spun on the kerb. But in sporting terms that’s night-and-day different from trying to cheat, i.e. make a car that you know is non-compliant for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage, then use a spin on a kerb as an excuse when the stewards discover your car isn’t legal (though they of course can’t be sure if that’s on purpose or not).

        • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 28th July 2013, 20:01

          You have got to be kidding me. You must not have been around for the 94 season at all. Benetton were the textbook example of cheating.

          They wouldn’t wear the plank too much on purpose hoping for a spin. Even for Benetton and Briatore/Brawn that would be too far fetched.

          The plank was obviously worn down by a wrong setup. Schumacher spun off. They tried to spin the plank being too thin as accidental damage when it obviously wasn’t (according to the stewards).

          In fact they showed pictures of it and it was pretty clear what was spin damage and what was normal wear.

          I guess in a way we could add this one to the long list of cheats Benetton perpetrated during the ’94 season. I didn’t see it as such before though. Thanks for pointing out that this really was akin to cheating also though.

  13. ching ho (@chingh) said on 28th July 2013, 3:43

    Would this mean that Grojean could’ve gone faster in Q3, had his floor not been “broken”?

    • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 28th July 2013, 10:07

      @chingh We’ll never know I guess but it sure didn’t help him.

      • The Dag (@thedag) said on 28th July 2013, 11:18

        It *probably* didn’t help him. A more flexible floor can increase downforce in parts of a circuit (by reducing effective ride height and forcing air to speed up as it flows under the car, creating suction), and the max-flex regulations originates from teams that engineered their floor to be flexible in order to exploit just this fact.

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