Sao Paulo (Brazil), Nov 13 (MNN) Lewis Hamilton could be at risk of a further penalty at this weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix after his car was referred to the stewards for a technical infringement after qualifying.
Hamilton outqualified Max Verstappen by over four tenths on Friday to take P1 for Saturday’s Sprint, but he already has a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Grand Prix having taken a new Mercedes engine this weekend.
But his worries may be compounded after Jo Bauer, the FIA’s technical delegate, found something amiss with his Drag Reduction System on Friday afternoon at Interlagos.
“The uppermost rear wing element adjustable positions were checked on car number 44 for compliance with Article 3.6.3 of the 2021 Formula One Technical Regulations. The requirement for the minimum distance was fulfilled,” read Bauer’s report after qualifying.
“But the requirement for the maximum of 85mm, when the DRS system is deployed and tested in accordance with TD/011-19, were not fulfilled,” he added.
Bauer has now referred the matter for the stewards who will make a judgement and hand down a penalty if necessary. A Mercedes representative was called to see the stewards at 7.15pm local time in Brazil.
At just before 10pm local time the stewards announced there would be no decision until Saturday morning.
“The Stewards have adjourned the hearing relating to Document 18 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 São Paulo Grand Prix as they await further evidence that will not be available until the morning,” an FIA spokesman said.
They also confirmed the rear wing assembly of Hamilton’s car will be removed and impounded overnight.
The story then took another turn as at 10.30pm local time the stewards announced that they had summoned Max Verstappen and a Red Bull representative to appear before them at 9.30am local time on Saturday for an “alleged breach of Article 2.5.1 of the FIA International Sporting Code”.
That article states that “in the Parc Ferme, only the officials assigned may enter. No operation, checking, tuning or repair is allowed unless authorised by the same officials or by the applicable regulations.”
Verstappen was seen approaching Hamilton’s car in Parc Ferme after qualifying, with a video taken by a fan at the circuit apparently showing him touching the rear wing of the Mercedes – possibly the alleged breach for which he has been summoned.
It means both title contenders could face penalties this weekend, but no decisions will be made until Saturday.