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Mercedes’ Brawn bothered by Hamilton penalty

Apr 20, 2013, 7:30 PM EDT

F1 Testing in Jerez - Day One Getty Images

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn believes that Lewis Hamilton was penalized five grid positions for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix because of reasons beyond his control and thus, shouldn’t be punished.

In FP3 before qualifying on Saturday morning, Hamilton’s left rear tire blew out and caused additional damage to the suspension in that area of his machine. The team opted to change the gearbox as part of repairs, triggering the penalty from the FIA; Hamilton qualified fourth this afternoon, but will have to start ninth from the grid in tomorrow’s race (7:30 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).

Afterwards, Brawn called for another look at that particular regulation, saying that Hamilton had also made the same point to him.

“The difficulty we have in the future is where we get marginal cases where you have a problem, perhaps aggravated by the driver, and you don’t get a gearbox failure as such, but it needs to be changed,” said Brawn to reporters in Bahrain. “Then you get into these long debates…It is frustrating to get a penalty when there has been an outside influence. It’s annoying.”

“Fortunately it doesn’t happen too often, but if it were to happen at a critical part of the season then it would be doubly frustrating, so it’s worth looking at again.”

According to Alan Baldwin of Reuters, Pirelli has said in a statement that the left-rear tire had not suffered any structural failure. As for Hamilton, he basically shrugged at the situation.

“It doesn’t really matter,” the former World Champion told Reuters. “The rules are the rules. I got a penalty and I’ve just got to suck it up and deal with it.”

  1. techmeister1 - Apr 20, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    It is what it is. It’s impossible to make a rule for all possible situations. If the teams want an excuse to change a trans or engine, they’ll find a means if the rules are not broad enough to prevent this. Some time the teams come out on the plus side of the rules and some times the negative side. Life isn’t fair but it’s what it is. Accept what you can’t change and move on.

    There is no evidence to support that the tire caused the suspension failure. With Mercedes having numerous chassis failures this year, this may just be another one from a design or other error. Mercedes should be more focused on not having a mechanical failure take their drivers out of the race.

    • apexassassin - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      Yeah, agreed tech.

      They could have not changed it and taken their chances, but they changed the gearbox, so the penalty should apply.

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