Force India avoids €85,000 F1 fine due to ownership change

Force India has escaped a potential €85,000 fine in Singapore because a suspended fine generated by an offence earlier in the season was deemed not to apply to the revamped team

Force India avoids €85,000 F1 fine due to ownership change

The case has highlighted how some sporting elements related to the original Force India have been carried over to the new Racing Point Force India by the FIA, and others have not.

In Singapore the team was found guilty of an unsafe release of Esteban Ocon's car in FP3, and received a €5,000 fine.

However, the stewards' decision made no mention of the fact that at the French GP the original team received a penalty of a €15,000 fine plus a further €85,000 suspended for 12 months when Sergio Perez was released with a loose wheel.

At Paul Ricard the stewards noted "that this is the third incident of this nature involving the team in the past two years and the second this year", adding "the team needs to investigate its assembly and quality control procedures to ensure this type of potentially dangerous incident does not occur again".

Although the Singapore incident was not as serious, in that it did not involve a loose wheel, the suspended fine applied to all forms of unsafe release.

However the FIA stewards decided that the French GP penalty was awarded to a different team, and was thus no longer valid.

In making that call they referred to the stewards' decision at Spa which explained the rationale behind the acceptance of Racing Point Force India as a new entry, which also confirmed that some sporting elements - such as gearbox and engine usage and tyre choices - would carry over.

"The stewards were obviously aware of the suspended fine," race director Charlie Whiting told Autosport.

"And we made them aware of the decision made in Spa. It was a good decision I think, because it set out why the drivers wouldn't get a fresh engine and gearbox allocation, for example.

"Based on that they felt it wasn't necessary to invoke that suspended fine."

In the Singapore incident Ocon left the pit box with the gantry red light on, and drove into the path of Kevin Magnussen.

The stewards noted: "Driver of car 31 was preparing for a burn out start from his pit stop position on the team's instructions.

"At the same time, car 20 [Magnussen] was approaching in the fast lane. Driver of car 31 started his burn out while the red light was still being displayed, the light was then changed to green by the team.

"The team failed to observe the arrival of car 20 and to therefore stop car 31 from proceeding with the burn out, resulting in an unsafe situation."

The stewards also took note of the fact that Ocon had come quite close to a Williams mechanic who was standing in the pitlane.

Whiting added: "For me there was no issue with Magnussen, but the thing that I felt was a little unnecessary was there was a Williams guy standing out there for a pit stop, and Ocon was asked to lay some rubber, and was a little bit over-exuberant, I would have thought."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Force India
Author Adam Cooper
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