Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica have been classified in the points after both Alfa Romeos were penalised for clutch system infringements in the German Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen provisionally finished seventh and Antonio Giovinazzi eighth but each had 30 seconds added to their race times, the equivalent of 10-second stop-go penalties, which dropped them to 12th and 13th.
The issue was how the clutches in the Alfa Romeos operated at the start, which took place after three extra formation laps due to the wet conditions that led to a chaotic race.
Both cars were investigated for a potential breach of sporting regulation Article 27.1, which states that “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided” and/or technical regulation Article 9.3.
The latter states: “No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive torque demand by the driver.
“Any device or system which notifies the driver of the onset of wheel spin is not permitted.”
The stewards report stated that the engagement of the Alfa Romeo clutches was akin to a traction control application.
“The clutch is controlled electronically via the Common ECU. However, the teams have the option to tune some of the controlling parameters,” it read in part.
“In order to prevent the teams from using this tuning to affect the way in which the clutch engages at the start of the race in a way that could potentially mimic traction control or other advantageous schemes, the FIA requires that the torque in the clutch matches (within specified limits) the torque demand as the driver releases the clutch. This must occur within 70 milliseconds.
“In the case of both cars of Alfa Romeo Racing, the time that it took for the torque to align with the torque demand was close to 200 milliseconds (Raikkonen) and 300 milliseconds (Giovinazzi) respectively. This provided a more gradual application of the torque, which given the wet conditions was a potential advantage.
“Regardless of whether there was an actual advantage, the Stewards determined that this was a clear breach of the guidance given to the teams as to how this would be adjudicated.”
The team cited the “unusual weather conditions” as a reason for the discrepancy, but that was not deemed to have exonerated them.
Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur says that the team will appeal.
“It is extremely disappointing to have both cars penalised and pushed out of the points in what had been such an exciting race,” he noted.
“The situation arose during the laps we spent behind the Safety Car ahead of the standing start: we suffered a dysfunction of the clutch that was beyond our control and we will further investigate the issue.
“We respect the FIA’s process and the stewards’ work, but will appeal this decision as we believe we have the grounds and evidence to have it overturned.
“In this regard, we will be in touch with the FIA soon.”
For the time being, Hamilton leads the world drivers’ championship by 41 points over Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, having initially finished 11th following an in-race penalty for an improper pit entry after a wild spin.
The point for Kubica would be Williams’ first of the campaign.
Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, who were originally classified ninth and 10th, were the other beneficiaries.
Race results: German Grand Prix Updated
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||64||1:44:31.275|
|3||26||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||64||+8.305|
|4||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||64||+8.966|
|5||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||64||+9.583|
|6||23||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||64||+10.052|
|7||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||64||+16.838|
|8||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||64||+18.765|
|10||88||Robert Kubica||Williams Mercedes||64||+24.987|
|11||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||64||+26.404|
|12||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||64||+42.214|
|13||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||64||+43.849|
|14||10||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing Honda||61||DNF|
|NC||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||25||DNF|
|NC||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1||DNF|
Fastest lap: Max Verstappen
Drivers’ championship Updated
Constructors’ championship Updated
|3||Red Bull Racing Honda||217|
|5||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||42|
|7||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||31|
|9||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||26|