Caterham F1 Team has been fined €10,000 ($13,000) for the unsafe release of Giedo van der Garde during today’s Spanish Grand Prix.
After pitting for a third time, van der Garde found that his left rear wheel had not been attached properly. He slowly completed the first sector in over double the time it would usually take, and told his team “it feels like my wheel is about to fall off!”
van der Garde completed the second sector before his wheel eventually came loose at the bottom of the hill, but it harmlessly meandered into the gravel trap. The Dutch driver continued the lap to return to the pits where the team opted to retire the car.
Since the death of Henry Surtees in 2009, motorsport has seen a tightening of rules regarding loose wheels, especially in single seater classes. Many drivers have been penalized with a similar fine because of this infringement; Michael Schumacher (China 2012) and Fernando Alonso (Hungary 2009) being just two of the notable examples.
The stewards also called Alonso to their office after he collected a Spanish flag from a marshal following his victory in the race, but no further action was taken.
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Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.