The Renault F1 Team has been authorised to participate in this weekend’s European Grand Prix at Valencia, its race ban having been suspended in favour of a $50,000 fine.
Following the incident of the Hungarian Grand Prix, where Fernando Alonso rejoined the track only to see a wheel cover fly off before the wheel itself rolled away, stewards issued a race ban against the team.
The French carmaker’s outfit quickly appealed the sanction, with lawyers from both Renault and the FIA arguing their cases before the Court today. A decision had previously been announced for Tuesday, but the court issued a judgment on Monday instead.
“Renault knowingly released car No.7 (driver Fernando Alonso) from the pit stop position without one of the retaining devices for the wheel-nuts being securely in position,” an FIA statement affirmed.
“Being aware of this, Renault failed to take any action to prevent the car from leaving the pit-lane” and “failed to inform the driver of this problem or to advise him to take appropriate action given the circumstances,” the press release continued. “This resulted in a car part detaching at turn 5 and the wheel itself detaching at turn 9.”
Renault admitted that errors were made in Hungary and that it failed to comply with safety regulations as it released Alonso’s car in an unsafe condition.
Although the team recognised the offense, it appealed on the basis that a race suspension was too severe a sanction, considering such harsh penalties should be reserved for cheaters.
The Court overturned the suspension and in its place issued a reprimand and a $50,000 fine to the team. The reasoning will be made public “in a full judgment in the coming days” the FIA indicated.
The forthcoming statement might also explain why the wheel tethers failed to accomplish their task of preventing the tyre from bouncing away.
Renault will therefore participate in this weekend’s Grand Prix, allowing Fernando Alonso to race before his home crowd. Romain Grosjean, fully expected to be confirmed for Nelson Piquet’s vacated seat, should make his F1 race debut as well.
Calling the reprimand and fine “fair and balanced”, Renault acknowledged “that sporting regulations were breached during the incident in the pit lane of the Hungarian Grand Prix, which compromised safety.”
The team “now looks forward to concentrating on preparations for racing this weekend in Valencia.”
© CAPSIS International via F1-Live