Mark Webber’s torrid weekend in Singapore will have repercussions at the Korean Grand Prix in two weeks’ time after the Australian driver received his third reprimand of the season, earning himself a ten place grid drop.
After starting fourth in Singapore, Webber looked capable of finishing on the podium at one point, only for a safety car period to put paid to his hopes. However, with eight laps remaining, a gearbox problem meant that he had to short-shift, losing positions to Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton before eventually retiring on the last lap with the back of his car spewing smoke.
After pulling over, Webber was given a lift back to the pits by Fernando Alonso, who picked the Australian driver up on his in-lap after the checkered flag.
According to the stewards: “The driver of car 2 [Webber] entered the track without the marshal’s permission between the commencement of the formation lap and the time when the last car enters parc fermé.”
As a result, Webber has been reprimanded. In a new rule for 2013, a driver receives an automatic ten place grid penalty upon picking up three reprimands. Following incidents at the Bahrain and Canadian Grands Prix, this means that Webber is the first driver to be caught out by this regulation, and he will drop ten places from his qualifying position at the Korean Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.
Alonso was also reprimanded for his part in the incident, after he was deemed to have “drove the car in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.”
Video footage shown to the media in Singapore shows that Webber ran out onto the track and flagged Alonso down, forcing Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to take evasive action, justifying the penalty.
Regulations aside, Alonso’s gesture did hark back to the iconic image of Nigel Mansell giving Ayrton Senna a lift at the end of the 1991 British Grand Prix.