Ferrari avoids penalty for Raikkonen’s unsafe pit release

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Scuderia Ferrari has escaped a post-race penalty after unsafely releasing Kimi Raikkonen from the pits during today’s Australian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen had been set for a top five finish in Melbourne, only for his mechanics to fail to attach his left-rear tire at his final pit stop.

The Finn was forced to park his car up at the side of the track shortly after exiting the pit lane on lap 41, ending Ferrari’s chances of a double-points score.

The FIA stewards confirmed at the time that they would investigate the incident following the race, with stricter penalties being proposed for unsafe releases in the pit lane this year.

However, in a statement issued following the race, it was confirmed that Ferrari would face no penalty.

“The team explained that the system used to monitor pit stops gave no indication that the car was in an unsafe condition when released and the team caused the driver to stop the car immediately once the problem was apparent from the driver and the telemetry,” the stewards said.

“The team had paid close attention to the telemetry after the actions of the team members involved in the pit stop, and further that the FIA technical delegate accepted the car was not in an unsafe condition when released, the stewards took no further action.”

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was disappointed with how Raikkonen’s race ended after the Finn had enjoyed a strong display before the incident.

“I am sorry for Kimi, because everyone could see how strong he was in the race,” Arrivabene said. “But at the second pit stop, there was a problem with a wheelnut on which the threads had already been crossed during the first one.

“We realized there was a possible problem and we decided to stop the car immediately, because safety is the number one priority.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.