Jenson Button has escaped penalty for mis-using DRS during first practice for the Italian Grand Prix yesterday, with the FIA deciding to acquit McLaren after the error occurred due to a technical problem.
The Drag Reduction System (DRS) works by opening a flap on the rear wing of the car in order to make it faster in a straight line (via ‘drag reduction’), thus giving the driver an advantage. However, the system is only allowed to be used in the designated zones on track, which for this weekend are located between turn seven and turn eight and also along the main straight.
However, due to a technical problem, Button’s system became jammed open outside of the zone heading through the Ascari chicane during FP1, warranting an investigation by the stewards who cleared the team of any wrong-doing.
“The stewards accept the evidence tabled by the team that, despite the DRS being shown as deactivated at the end of the first DRS zone (braking area for Turn 8) the hydraulic activation arm jammed against its carbon fibre cover, preventing deactivation of the wing element,” a statement read.
The stewards did however fine Ferrari following an error in the pit lane during FP1.
Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.953 mph.
Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.
Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.
The practice was interrupted several times for incidents.
Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.
With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.
“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”
With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.
Dixon also had an off-road excursion.