FIA to look at changing unsafe release penalty

Red Bull Racing, Getty Images

16 July 2014 by TF1T Staff

The FIA is to look at changing the way it issues a penalty for an unsafe release after drivers expressed concern and campaigned Charlie Whiting for change.

At present, they believe they are harshly treated as not only do they incur a five-second stop/go penalty which hurts their race, but they are also dropped ten places at the next event which essentially ruins any chance of a decent points haul for something, they claim, is out of their control.

"I think it's too harsh," said Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez who was penalised at the British Grand Prix when his team failed to properly secure his wheel.

"You're already losing time by coming back for a five second stop-and go, and then you're ten places behind for the following race. It's way too much," he added.

Other drivers have been hit with the same penalty, whilst the team is hit with a fine for their part.

The issue was raised at the drivers' briefing recently and the FIA has promised to look at other ways of punishing the team, rather than the driver as long as they were innocent.

It could include larger fines for the team and the idea of deducting a constructors' championship point has even been suggested, but a formal announcement is expected within the next few weeks.

Should the teams unanimously agree to a change, the proposal will go before the World Motor Sport Council. If signed off, it could be implemented ahead of the Belgium GP.