Buxton’s blog: Consequences versus causes after Germany

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NBC Sports Network Formula One pit reporter and insider Will Buxton wrote a blog post in the wake of the recent changes issued by the FIA after the German Grand Prix pit incident where an errant tire struck an FIA cameraman. On Tuesday, the FIA instituted a ban on all personnel in the pit lane other than crewmembers, course marshals, and approved media, who will be confined to the pit wall.

The post, “Dealing with consequence, ignoring the cause,” notes that the changes issued by the FIA fail to actually deal with the problem of errant tires and rushed pit stops. Instead, the steps issued appear a reactionary move to the outcome of what happened to cameraman Paul Allen.

Buxton explains the difference between FOM and FIA regulations on the matter. Here’s an excerpt from the post:

Well, the only thing that has really changed from this perspective is that the FOM RF cameramen will now be limited to the pitwall and will not be roaming in the pits themselves. But this decision had already been announced by Bernie Ecclestone in the immediate aftermath of Paul Allen’s injury at the weekend. It was a smart move in the short term, made without fuss and fanfare.

The FIA release is quite the opposite. It screams of wanting to be seen to be doing something, whilst in reality doing very little.

It’s an important piece to view after the pit incident, with the changes issued now likely to make an impact on how news is relayed to viewers from pit reporters from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.