McLaren penalised for German refuelling kit

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarThursday, July 24th, 2008


Just when you were thinking that it’s been a while a while since McLaren were handed a penalty, Martin Whitmarsh has revealed that the team were called in by the stewards following German Grand Prix qualifying.

This time its offence was apparently to use standard refuelling equipment in an insufficiently standard way. In his Hockenheim debrief, Whitmarsh says the following:

During a busy qualifying session, if you want to accurately deliver a small amount of fuel to the car, it is easier to use a small churn of fuel rather than connecting the regular race refuelling rig.

Article 29.2 of the 2008 Sporting Regulations states that ‘a driver may remain in his car throughout refuelling but, unless an FIA-approved race refuelling system is used, the engine must be stopped’.

We refuelled Heikki’s car during the Q2 session using a churn while his engine was still running but we reasoned – incorrectly, as it happened – that we were operating within the regulations because we were using an approved Intertechnique nozzle to deliver the fuel.

Having discussed the matter with the stewards, we accepted that we were in breach of the Sporting Regulations. Clearly, though, we received no performance advantage from doing this and accepted the stewards’ judgment as totally fair.

(Whitmarsh had a fair bit to say on a number of subjects, including McLaren’s strategy during the race. You can read the whole interview on the team’s website here.)

Interestingly he doesn’t say what the penalty actually was – although the reference to ‘no performance advantage’ and the fact no reference has been made to this before today suggests that Heikki hasn’t had to pay the price on-track.

A fine, perhaps? Looks like it’s time to take that cashpoint card for another visit to the Bank of McLaren.

Or maybe it was a smacked bottom for all concerned…

5 responses to “McLaren penalised for German refuelling kit”:

  1. george Says:

    July 24th, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    The issue was discussed on ITV’s coverage of the race and the commentators did mention the refueling during qualy as being ‘unusual’

    As far as I can remember the penalty was a small fine (4 figures I think) so not really a trip to the Bank of McLaren.

    They (Big Macca) broke the rules, they were punished, get over it and get on with racing and entertaining the fans like they did in Germany and hmmm here’s a thought STOP BREAKING THE RULES and maybe they won’t get any more penalties…

    Just a thought like ;)

  2. ljh Says:

    July 24th, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Strangely enough, from a site with a brief to report on McLaren, you won’t find much editorial support for that view. Or any appetite to get into arguments over it – so you’ll have to seek those elsewhere as well.

  3. george Says:

    July 24th, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Fair enough then, I think it is possible to be pro Mclaren without being biased to the point of jepordising credability, thats the beauty of blogging I guess, everyone gets to voice there opinion, even commentors.

    Me, I’m an unashamed Massa fan and a Schumacher fan before, a Senna fan before that and there have been many others right back to the mid 70’s but most of all I’m a life long Formula 1 fan first.

    I’ve never considered myself to be anti-Mclaren TBH I think Hamilton will live up to expectations either this year or next and take the crown. What bugs me about Mclaren is the way they and their fans whinge when there penalised for something unlike the majority of other teams that make a comment and then just get on with the job at hand.

    I apologies if my comments have caused you or other readers offense, say the word and I’ll never comment here again if that’s what you would prefer, but I’ll still read if that’s ok with you.

  4. ljh Says:

    July 25th, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Well, as it happens, while not being particularly fond of Ferrari the team, we do rate Massa rather highly. And we would smile broadly if he does manage to nick the championship. His achievements at Ferrari, and his refusal to live in Raikkonen’s shadow, have been fantastic to watch.

    As to McLaren whinging when being penalised – let’s just say that we’re still subduing the ill-feeling caused by the 2007 season, and have our own opinions about Ferrari’s role in events, but would rather concentrate on 2008 and some cracking racing than re-open that nasty old can of worms.

    One of our ways of dealing with the absurdities that F1 throws up is to laugh at them – hence our cashpoint and smacked bottom jokes. After all, it’s a sport – one we all take very seriously at times, but a sport nonetheless.

    And, given the amount Ron’s forked out by now, I reckon a gold-plated life-size statue in the FIA lobby’s the very least they could do by way of thanks ;- ))

  5. George Says:

    July 25th, 2008 at 9:02 am

    I was in Nurberg when the Massa scored his first podium, it was my first GP (have done Monza and Spa since) and to top it off my boy Michael O’Schumacrechaun (I’ve decided to make him an honourary Irish Man:)) took the win I couldn’t have asked for a better first ‘Live’ GP experience.

    I would dearly love to see him take the championship this year, but after how easily he let Lewis past in Hock I’m starting to doubt his potential for the first time, I think Lewis has got his act together again and the form he has at the moment as well as the car is going to be very hard to catch.

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