Lost wheel earns Vergne a ten-place penalty

2014 Spanish Grand Prix

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014Jean-Eric Vergne will be moved back ten places on the grid after a wheel came off his car during practice.

Toro Rosso have also been fined €30,000 (£24,500) for the incident in which the right-rear wheel came off Vergne’s car during the second practice session.

“This is regarded as a serious offence and the stewards are of the opinion that this was a significant breach of the safety requirements,” the stewards ruled.

“The stewards request the FIA technical delegate to satisfy himself as to the compliance of the two Toro Rosso cars with Article 14.7 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations and Technical
Directive TD/017­13 prior to their further participation in the event. The FIA technical delegate is also requested to examine all other cars in the Event to confirm compliance with Article 14.7 and TD/017­13.”

Toro Rosso’s head of vehicle performance Laurent Mekies said: “Unfortunately we had an issue with Jev’s pit stop at the end of his long run, when we lost a wheel as soon as he left the pit lane, but luckily no one was injured.”

“We have to understand exactly what went wrong and make sure we can correct that for tomorrow.”

2014 Spanish Grand Prix

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Image © Red Bull/Getty

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28 comments on Lost wheel earns Vergne a ten-place penalty

  1. Sharon H (@sharoncom) said on 9th May 2014, 19:02

    The unsafe release penalties are cruel this season.

    • mateuss (@mateuss) said on 9th May 2014, 19:18

      Seems fair. Loose wheel is among the most serious car failures there is, especially to other drivers, spectators, track marshals, and people in the pitlane.
      The occasional occurrence of loosing a wheel is a very small cost to a team, compered to making more robust safety systems, doing slower pitstops and so on. The problem is frankly trivial, but it will not be solved if the FIA doesn’t change the balance of cost vs. benefit to the teams.

      I think the penalties could be harsher still, 10 place grid penalty and the sandwich money is too lenient to ensure some kind of change in equipment and operations.

    • Dan said on 9th May 2014, 22:30


      Sure would have been really crule if Vergne’s tyre hit the cockpit of Nico Rosberg’s Merc. Im all for no penalties if car like Ric stops in pit that was a joke but a car n track with a loose wheel should be even worstfine straight to the back for me.

      • JoeToml1n (@joetoml1n) said on 9th May 2014, 23:23

        The Webber incident last year or Rosberg in Hungary 2010 were both in the pit lane but more dangerous! I don’t know how you can say that’s a joke

  2. Barry Miller (@bmk1586) said on 9th May 2014, 19:03

    Equal penalty as Ric’s and RBR’s

  3. me said on 9th May 2014, 19:28

    Personally I would do something against the team rather than the driver. Like loose 2 constructors points or something. It’s not Vergnes fault.

    • David said on 9th May 2014, 20:07

      That’s basically what they have done, but for the upcoming race. Say Vergne was in contention for 9th or 10th. Now he will have a much more difficult time achieving such a result.

    • the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 9th May 2014, 20:51

      Yes, but if Vergne makes a mistake, crashes with somebody, and earns a penalty, the team will also pay for it. It is always a penalty for both :)

  4. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 9th May 2014, 19:50


    • mark said on 9th May 2014, 21:18


    • Breno (@austus) said on 9th May 2014, 22:26

      Let me hit you with a 100kg round piece of rubber, carbon and steel at 100 kmph.

      • Gecko said on 10th May 2014, 7:58

        Aren’t the wheels on an F1 car still made of magnesium? Doesn’t change anything to your point though, and the fia are right to impose these sanctions.

      • anonymous coward said on 10th May 2014, 9:23

        100kg!!! I know the pit crew are fit but come on, the way they manouver the them on to the car in milliseconds must be more like 15-20kg tops.

        I will add that it doesn’t change the seriousness of the incident.

  5. Jack (@jmc200) said on 9th May 2014, 19:55

    JEV has NO luck at all does he!

    • John H (@john-h) said on 9th May 2014, 20:20

      True, but he also isn’t fast enough (there, I’ve said it).

      • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 9th May 2014, 20:31

        At the moment, he’s losing out on weight to Kvyat.. Same for Sutil and Ericsson. Not good for their reputations.. Hence we are hearing bad stories on their dieting attempts to save the weight cost.

  6. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 9th May 2014, 19:59

    I just really don’t agree with all of this. It stinks of ‘for the show’, to me. Just seems like a random incident waiting to happen, and something that’ll mix the grid up.

    Why can’t they just take 10/20 points off of the team in the constructors championship?

    I always hear how crucial it is to the teams, so why not punish the people that actually made the mistake?

    Seems ludicrous to me.

  7. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 9th May 2014, 20:00

    Just to get a sense of perception here:

    It’d be like Lotus being deducted points for Maldonado’s on-track stupidity in Bahrain.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 9th May 2014, 20:22

      But they are, the constructors championship is made up of driver points scored. That’s the whole idea.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 9th May 2014, 20:28

      They were. When Maldonardo got penalized, thereby scoring, theoretically, less points for the constructors as well.
      The drivers shouldn’t be protected from a penalty just because the team makes the mistake, likewise the team should not avoid a penalty when the driver does something stupid.
      The driver is a part of the team just like everyone else.
      Otherwise we could also split up the team as well, and ONLY punish the right-rear wheel mechanic. But was it his fault? Maybe it was a mechanical failure on the wheelnut. Then we have to punish the wheelnut designer. But then he pushes it onto a production error, and all of a sudden the 30.000 euro fine has to be paid by the cleaning lady.
      No. That sort of nonsense simply has to stop.
      The team and driver should be punished as one. If the team makes a mess of things. Bad luck for the driver. Vice versa. That is the only way to fairly handle penalties.

      • ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 9th May 2014, 20:34

        I’ll respectfully disagree there.

        Why don’t we just have one championship then if that’s the case?

        I can almost understand a driver being penalised for an engine change for example, because that partly comes down to driver management.

        • Mads (@mads) said on 9th May 2014, 20:46


          Why don’t we just have one championship then if that’s the case?

          A drivers performance is always linked to the teams performance and vice versa. So there really is no point trying to differentiate. The team gives him the tools, he goes out and does what he can with them.
          I guess we just see F1 differently.
          In my view it would ideally be like this:
          A team enters two cars for each race. Those cars are what are then being held “responsible” for any regulation breach. Be it driver or team.
          That would also include a race ban for a driver, so that would be a race ban for his car, rather then him. (of cause still excluding him from entering with another team, should that bizarre opportunity arise.)
          Which might also explain why I would have preferred the teams to pick two numbers to race with on their cars, rather then let the drivers pick their own numbers…. : )

  8. OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 9th May 2014, 22:54

    Why don’t both drivers get grid penalties since it’s the team that screwed up? That way the teams would really feel it, even if it would be their number 2 driver who’d loses a wheel.

    • Sergei Martyn said on 10th May 2014, 9:44

      Why don’t the whole grid and all F1 personel get penalties for one team’s fault?
      Don’t forget to jail Bernie!

  9. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 10th May 2014, 0:41

    There are quite a few people unhappy that JEV got penalised as well as the team. I think the penalty needs to hit both team and driver, because ultimately the team is penalised as well, as JEV will find it harder to get into the top 10 not only to get points for the Drivers Championship but also for the Constructors Championship. And lets face it, us fans love the WDC but Bernie pays out based on WCC points, so it is the team that really does have more to lose than the driver.

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