Belgian GP: Caterham fined, Webber and Schumacher escape penalties, for pit incidents

Caterham has been given a €10,000 fine for releasing Heikki Kovalainen from the pits in an unsafe manner during the Belgian Grand Prix, but other pit incidents involving Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher were not punished

Belgian GP: Caterham fined, Webber and Schumacher escape penalties, for pit incidents

Kovalainen made contact with Narain Karthikeyan's HRT in the lap-14 incident. The clash damaged the Caterham's nose, prompting an additional pitstop and contributing to Kovalainen's disappointing 17th-place finish.

Caterham Group chief executive Riad Asmat admitted the team had made a mistake.

"This has been a tough race for the team and it is fair to say we have not helped ourselves with a number of avoidable errors costing us over the weekend," he said.

The stewards said Caterham had accepted responsibility: "The team admitted to the stewards that it considered itself at fault in causing the unsafe release and apologised to HRT accordingly. The stewards did not consider that any sporting advantage was gained."

Webber and Red Bull had also been investigated for an unsafe release after a near-miss with Felipe Massa's Ferrari on lap 27.

The Australian had been confident there was no transgression, and the stewards agreed.

"It was OK. I knew I had Felipe there," said Webber.

"I rolled out of it a little bit to let him merge back in, and then took the fast lane."

A stewards' statement backed Webber's view: "The stewards noted the evidence that indicated the driver of car #2 [Webber] was aware of the approach of car #6 [Massa] into the pitlane and deliberately, after being released, kept to the right and momentarily lifted throttle to allow car #6 to enter its pit unimpeded, before car #2 turned out into the fast lane."

The stewards also looked into a moment on lap 19 when Schumacher cut across Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull to dive into the pits while they were engaged in a wheel-to-wheel battle, but again felt no action was required.

"Red Bull Racing admitted to the stewards that their instruction to the driver of car #1 [Vettel] was to 'do the opposite of car #7 [Schumacher]'. Therefore when car #7 headed for the pit entry car #1 aborted its entry to the pits," said the officials' statement.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher
Teams Caterham F1
Author Jonathan Noble
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