Formula 1 teams set for loose wheel grid drops

By on Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nurb wheelFormula 1 teams are set to be handed 10 place grid penalties if a car is allowed to leave a pit garage with a loose wheel.

The rule will be applied during all Formula 1 sessions.

If a team releases a car with an insecurely attached wheel during practice or qualifying, the 10 place grid drop will be applied to the driver for that weekend's race.

Should the team err during the race, the grid drop will be carried over to the following event.

The new penalty comes in after a cameraman was injured during the German Grand Prix.

As a result of the incident, the World Motor Sport Council also ratified plans for the pit lane speed limit to be lowered by 20km/h to 80km/h.

However, Ferrari's Felipe Massa thinks lowering the pit lane speed limit is not a solution.

"I don't think the problem came because of the speed. The problem came because somebody couldn't fix the tyres on the car. That's definitely dangerous," he said.

Four out of this season's nine races have featured loose wheels. As well as Webber's incident in Germany, Red Bull also sent the Australian out on track during the Chinese Grand Prix with a loose wheel.

Jenson Button (in Malaysia) and Giedo van der Garde (in Spain) also lost wheels, although McLaren stopped Button before the wheel detached from the car.

The FIA has also relaxed its rules on media in the pit lane.

Immediately after the German Grand Prix weekend, the FIA announced that only a select few 'approved media' would be permitted on the pit wall.

But on Thursday in Hungary, a statement said that 25 passes would be available for journalists and photographers, to be distributed for each session.

Loose wheels since 2010

Incidents where wheels have been insecurely fitted since refuelling was banned at the start of 2010:

  • Hungary 2010, Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
  • China 2011, Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso)
  • Britain 2011, Jenson Button (McLaren)
  • Belgium 2011, Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) - qualifying
  • Japan 2011, Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso)
  • China 2012, Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
  • Malaysia 2013, Jenson Button (McLaren)
  • China 2013, Mark Webber (Red Bull)
  • Spain 2013, Giedo van der Garde (Caterham)
  • Germany 2013, Mark Webber (Red Bull)

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