Force India fined over race numbers


While most teams have reacted positively to the revised rules regarding driver identification, from the start of the weekend it was clear that Force India was following its own interpretation.

While Mercedes clearly featured its drivers ids on the shark fin and Ferrari reverted to numbers in the same style as some of its iconic 1970s contenders, Force India merely placed its driver numbers on the engine covers in a place they could only be seen from certain angles, the Silverstone-based outfit also failing to make the colouring and font fully legible.

When it was suggested at the start of the weekend that some teams had made more of an effort than others to make identification of their drivers easy, deputy team principal Bob Fernley denied that his outfit had merely made lip service to the FIA's request.

"I think it's a good move from the FIA, probably overdue in all fairness," he said. "I think that perhaps some time out, when all the commercial agreements that we currently have, that's across all the teams, come to an end they should standardize where the numbers go and make sure everything is clear for everybody going forward.

"At this point I think you have to do the best you can with whatever you have from a commercial agreement and I think all of the teams have tried their very best to embrace it."

Indeed, with Force India having its drivers adopt similar helmet liveries to reflect the team's new sponsor, the Silverstone-based outfit's two drivers are harder to identify than any other pairing. Consequently, the move which saw the team place its race numbers in such a position that they could only be viewed from above appeared, at best, cynical.

Clearly the FIA agreed.

Following today's race representatives of the team were called before the stewards and having heard from the team and examined a number of photographs, the stewards subsequently decided that the team was in breach of Article 9.2 of the Sporting Regulations - in that its car numbers did not comply with the regulations and imposed fine of €25,000.

However, as the team was not challenged about the numbers prior to the race, the numbers (size, colour and location) were not changed during the event and the team has offered to work with the FIA and rectify the situation, the fine is suspended for 12 months pending no further infringements of this nature.

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Published: 14/05/2017
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