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Mercedes fined for incorrect use of tyres

NEWS STORY
06/12/2020

Mercedes has been fined but George Russell retains 9th position after stewards rule on incident which saw the incorrect tyres fitted to the Briton's car.

Noting that that this type of breach has not previously been experienced in Formula One, the stewards heard from the Mercedes representative, Ron Meadows and Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA's Technical Delegate.

As described in Tombazis' report, Russell's car was fitted with front tyres that were allocated to Bottas.

This was caused by a radio communications technical issue wherein the pit wall's communication to the pit crew that Russell was entering the pits prior to (and not after) Bottas, failed to be received by the Briton's crew because at the same time, the driver was transmitting over the top of that message.

This resulted in the front tyres to be used by Bottas accidentally going onto Russell's car at a time the drivers were double-stacked.

Clearly a breach of the regulations, this would normally involve a sporting penalty up to disqualification. However, in this case the stewards felt there were mitigating circumstances, additional to the radio issue.

Firstly, the team rectified the problem within 1 lap. This involved Russell making another pit stop, thus dropping him further down the classification.

Secondly, Bottas made a pit stop to change tyres only to find that the front tyres to be fitted to his car were on Russell's, so he was sent out after considerable delay, with the tyres that were on his car prior to the pit stop. This also impacted the final classification.

Thirdly, although this type of infringement is not catered for under the "3 lap tolerance" referred to in the second paragraph of Article 24.4 b) (which currently only refers to the use of tyres of differing specifications), the stewards considered it to be similar in nature.

However, the responsibility to fit tyres in compliance with the regulations, still rests with the team and consequently the stewards deemed that a penalty was required.

At the same time, they recommended that the FIA consider amending Article 24.4 b) to accommodate this type of breach when it is rectified without delay.

Consequently, the German team was fined €20,000.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by geordiemik, 11/12/2020 17:41

"Whoever came up with this rule obviously has far too much time on his hands. Would it really have given either driver an advantage if they had raced with each other's tyres? Presumably the tyres intended for Bottas must have been some kind of secret, special sticky things that Russell should not have known about. "

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2. Posted by bfairey, 08/12/2020 14:32

"Another stupid rule."

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3. Posted by nickybur, 07/12/2020 10:19

"....and what jolly for Jean & Michelle will that pay for?

Jarred of Norwich"

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