A new penalty has been announced for any team that lets their driver out of the pits with a loose wheel.
The new rule comes in the aftermath of the German Grand Prix which saw an FOM camerman hospitalised when he was hit by a loose wheel off Mark Webber’s Red Bull. In the immeadiete aftermath, it was also announced that FOM camermen would join their photographer colleagues on the pit wall, where previously they were given free roam in the paddock.
The new rule sees any team releasing a car in dangerous conditions, i.e. without a wheel attached, handed a ten-place grid penalty – the same penalty given for exceeding the allowed eight engines per season. If the penalty is awarded on Friday or Saturday, the driver of the offending car will start ten places back on Sunday. However, if the incident occurs mid-race, the penalty will be carried forward to the next round. For example, if the penalty existed before the German Grand Prix, Mark Webber would be starting ten places down from his Qualifying position this Sunday in Hungary.
After investigation, Red Bull discovered that a mechanic had laid down his wheel gun during the pit stop and accidentally triggered the ‘go’ signal for the lollipop man. As a result, Red Bull have changed their pitstop procedure.