Red Bull Racing have been fined €30,000 ($38,000) for the unsafe release of Mark Webber during today’s German Grand Prix.
During Webber’s first stop, he was released before the right-rear tire had been properly attached which instead bounced along the pit lane, eventually striking FOM cameraman Paul Allen who is now under observation at a local hospital.
Webber was kept in the pits until the problem was resolved, losing a lap to the leaders but he managed to make a fight back through the field to eventually finish 7th, scoring six points.
The stewards’ statement reads:
“The team released car 2 [Webber] before all wheels were safely fitted and the right rear wheel came off as the car left the pit stop position. The wheel passed four teams and struck a camera operator causing injury.”
The fine follows the precedent set by the FIA for similar incidents, with Nico Rosberg’s tire also bouncing along the pit lane at the 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix, for which Mercedes were fined $50,000.
Additionally, Force India have been fined €5000 for the unsafe release of Paul di Resta during his first stop.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.