MAX VERSTAPPEN has been slapped with a €50,000 (£43,000)-fine for touching title rival Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes car after qualifying.
That article states: “Inside 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 called to see stewards on Saturday morning in Sao Paulo and was joined by Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley.
The meeting lasted less than half an hour and it was confirmed later that the Dutchman has been fined.
The stewards released the following statement: “The stewards heard from the driver of car 33 [Verstappen] and team representative. The stewards also examined a fan video taken from across the track, CCTV video footage taken from pit lane and in car footage from car 14, car 33, car 44 and car 77.
“In all, these videos gave a clear picture of what occurred in parc ferme following the qualifying session.
“Verstappen exits the car, then moves to the rear of his car. He then takes his gloves off and puts his right hand at the slot-gap of the rear wing of his car. He then moves to car 44 and repeats the exercise, touching the rear wing in two places, once on either side of the DRS actuation device, but on the bottom rear side of the wing, in the area of the slot gap and never near the actuator or the end fixation points.
“Clear, high definition video from the rear facing roll-hoop camera on car 44 shows that there is absolutely no movement of any of the wing elements on car 44 when Verstappen touches the back of the wing and the stewards are satisfied, from watching all the videos, his body position and the video of the wing, that there was insignificant force when Verstappen touched the wing.
“It is clear to the stewards that it has become a habit of the drivers to touch cars after qualifying and the races. This was also the explanation of Verstappen, that it was simply habit to touch this area of the car which has been a point of speculation in recent races between both teams.
“This general tendency has been seen as mostly harmless and so has not been uniformly policed. Nevertheless, it is a breach of the parc ferme regulation and has significant potential to cause harm.
“Considering the fact that no direct harm was caused in this case, in the opinion of the stewards, and that no earlier precedent of penalties for this exists – on the one hand; but that it is a breach of the regulation and has potential for serious consequences on the other, the stewards determine to take action in this case and order a fine of €50,000.”
But Verstappen wasn’t the only one dealing with troubles in Brazil as Hamilton has been DISQUALIFIED from Friday’s qualifying session due to an infringement found on the rear wing of his car.
That means the British superstar will now have to start last, in a major blow to his championship hopes.