Haas cars penalised for formation lap pit instructions - The Race
Formula 1

Haas cars penalised for formation lap pit instructions

Jul 19 2020
By Edd Straw

Both Haas drivers have been given a 10-second time penalty for using radio transmissions during the Hungarian Grand Prix formation lap against the rules concerning driver aids, relegating Kevin Magnussen from ninth to 10th place.

Magnussen’s penalty drops him behind McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr, while Romain Grosjean drops to 16th place behind Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen.

The FIA stewards, which this weekend include former grand prix driver Derek Warwick, summoned the Haas team for potential breaches of Article 27.1 – a rule that states “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided”.

They subsequently ruled that Haas used radio transmissions aiding the driver during the formation lap by ordering both drivers to pit.

This is considered illegal communication that aids the driver under the provisions of a technical directive issued in 2017 that restricts team-to-driver messages on the formation lap.

Kevin Magnussen Haas Hungarian Grand Prix 2020

While it is legal to call your driver into the pits under race conditions, communication on the formation lap is far more tightly regulated and this was not considered to be among the exemptions.

“Having considered the matter extensively, the stewards determined that the team instructed the driver to pit,” said the stewards’ verdict.

“The team could not prove that one of the exemptions made under paragraph A. 2. a) to g) of the Technical Directive 011-17 was applicable.

“Therefore, the stewards consider there is breach of Art. 27.1 of the sporting regulations, that the driver must drive the car alone and unaided.”

Magnussen was told “OK Kevin, I think we’ll box now” on the run to Turn 12, an instruction he said he would agree with.

Grosjean radioed the team to say he was “tempted to box and put slicks” on the approach to Turn 12 and was then told to come in just before the pit entry.

Magnussen, who was on wets, and Grosjean, who was on intermediates, both switched to slicks.

This allowed them to climb to third and fourth places respectively as the rest of the field pitted over the first three laps.

Alex Albon Red Bull Romain Grosjean Haas Hungarian Grand Prix 2020

F1 race director Michael Masi explained the reasoning for the decision was rooted in the fact only communication from the pits to the car on safety matters is permitted on the formation lap.

While both Magnussen and Grosjean interacted with the pitwall, in both cases it was the team that gave the explicit instruction to pit – Magnussen then agreed with his call, while Grosjean had only indicated he was considering it.

“There was a technical directive that came out in 2017 clarifying what communications a team can make to the drivers on the formation lap, which relates to article 27.1 of the sporting regulations – which is that the driver must drive the car alone and unaided,” said Masi.

“The essence and part of that summons is that both drivers were called in by their engineers to change tyres on the formation lap, which is not permitted within that technical directive.

“In essential terms, the only communication that can be made to the driver – so from the pitwall to the driver – during the formation lap is to do with safety matters.

“So if it’s an issue of imminent safety then that communication can take place.”

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