Belgian GP: Saturday morning news from Spa-Francorchamps
By Berthold Bouman
2,500 Euro fine for Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher has been fined 2,500 Euro by the FIA Stewards for entering the pit lane at the wrong side of the bollard that marks the entrance. The German passed the bollard on the right side which is not allowed according to a FIA statement.
According to the FIA this was a breach of Article Appendix L, Chapter IV, Article 4(b) of the FIA International Sporting Code. The statement read further, “The driver did not enter the Pit Lane via the Pit Entry as defined in the Race Director’s Notes to Team Managers. However as no other cars were in the vicinity, the offence is not regarded as dangerous and it did not impede another competitor.”
Schumacher also changed a gearbox but will not be punished because he did not finish the last race, the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Mark Webber gets five-place grid penalty
Red Bull driver Mark Webber is less lucky, he will drop five places on tomorrow’s start grid because of a gearbox change. A gearbox should last for five consecutive events, Webber’s gearbox was also changed during the German Grand Prix, which means this one only lasted two races. This is Webber’s second penalty for a gearbox change and will of course hamper his chances for tomorrow’s race.
A statement read, “Webber did finish the last race in Budapest and this gearbox change was before the five consecutive Events expired. Therefore this is not in compliance with Article 28.6a of the 2012 Formula One Sporting Regulations.”
Lotus decide not to run double DRS
Due to the rain yesterday, Lotus couldn’t properly evaluate the new double DRS system the team developed. The DDRS is actually a system introduced by Mercedes; when the DRS flap on the rear wing is opened to reduce drag, air is led though a hole in the rear wing endplate and is channelled all the way through the car to the front wing, where it stalls the front wing and thus delivers more drag reduction than the conventional system.
Lotus Technical Director James Allison said, “The forecast for the next two days is for dry and warmer weather so running today was not very useful in terms of preparing for qualifying or the race. Today’s rain also prevented us from seeing how the ‘Device’ would perform in the expected race conditions.
“With discretion being the better part of valour we will conduct P3 tomorrow with a conventional aero package rather than attempting to squeeze Friday’s intended evaluation into the precious final practice session.”
Eliseo Salazar makes driver Steward debut
The only thing anyone remembers about this Chilean former Formula One driver is his clash with Nelson Piquet during the 1982 German Grand Prix. Salazar collided with Piquet who was leading at that moment and both drivers had to abandon the race.
Piquet was so upset about this totally unnecessary collision that he started to punch and kick poor Salazar as soon as both drivers got out of their stricken cars, all this was aired live on TV. Months later Piquet apologized to Salazar, according to a BMW mechanic the BMW engine of his Brabham was about to expire anyway, and the Chilean had in fact saved BMW from an embarrassing engine failure on home soil.
The now 57-year old Salazar participated in 37 Grands Prix, of which he started 24, and coincidence or not, his last race was the 1983 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.