Williams have been fined for the second race in succession after a wheel nut came loose on Pastor Maldonado’s car during FP2 for the Indian Grand Prix today.
The nut came loose on the Venezuelan’s front-right wheel during the second session on Friday afternoon, eventually falling off the car and causing a puncture on the tire. Despite trying to make his way back to the pits, Maldonado was instructed to pull over just before pit entry thus ending his practice running.
A similar incident occurred at the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago, but the FIA opted not to give a more severe penalty despite the repeat offence, instead fining Williams €60,000 ($83,000).
The team did not dwell on the matter, merely stating that they had not found the cause of the problem yet.
“Unfortunately we had to cut Pastor’s run short as we had a problem with the front-right wheel nut following a pitstop,” chief engineer Xevi Pujolar explained. “We are still investigating what happened.”
Despite the incident, Maldonado appeared to be upbeat following an otherwise-productive day in India.
“We had a good first session this morning completing all planned runs,” he said. “FP2 was also quite good as we were working on the car, trying to help the balance and improve the speed. We are not expecting things to be much different to the previous few races.”
Rumors surrounding the Venezuelan driver’s future have continued to circulate in India, with Lotus reportedly considering him as a replacement for the Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen.