Stewards fine Caterham over van der Garde failure

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Caterham F1 Team has been fined €10,000 ($13,000) for the unsafe release of Giedo van der Garde during today’s Spanish Grand Prix.

After pitting for a third time, van der Garde found that his left rear wheel had not been attached properly. He slowly completed the first sector in over double the time it would usually take, and told his team “it feels like my wheel is about to fall off!”

van der Garde completed the second sector before his wheel eventually came loose at the bottom of the hill, but it harmlessly meandered into the gravel trap. The Dutch driver continued the lap to return to the pits where the team opted to retire the car.

Since the death of Henry Surtees in 2009, motorsport has seen a tightening of rules regarding loose wheels, especially in single seater classes. Many drivers have been penalized with a similar fine because of this infringement; Michael Schumacher (China 2012) and Fernando Alonso (Hungary 2009) being just two of the notable examples.

The stewards also called Alonso to their office after he collected a Spanish flag from a marshal following his victory in the race, but no further action was taken.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.