Gutierrez given three-place grid penalty for German GP

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Esteban Gutierrez has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the German Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

The Sauber driver got caught up in an incident with Pastor Maldonado during the early stages of today’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Gutierrez tried making a move down the inside of Maldonado heading into Vale, but instead hit him and caused the Lotus car to jump up into the air.

Maldonado landed safely and was even able to continue in the race, but Gutierrez went off a few corners later due to the damage he received and retired from the race.

The stewards confirmed during the race that they would investigate the incident this evening, and they have blamed the Mexican driver for causing the crash.

“Having viewed all the video available and having hread from the drivers, the stewards determined that the driver of car 21 (Gutierrez) was predominantly at fault, causing a collision at turn 16 between him and car 13 (Maldonado),” a statement from the stewards read.

For the second race in a row, Gutierrez will head into the weekend with a penalty hanging over his head. The Sauber driver was docked ten grid spots at Silverstone for an unsafe release during the Austrian Grand Prix, and although the three place drop will be less harmful at Hockenheim, it will be frustrating nevertheless.

Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”