Mercedes fined for tyre mix-up, George Russell keeps his points

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

The FIA has reached a verdict on the Mercedes tyre mix-up and fined Mercedes 20.000 Euros, while George Russell will keep his points.

After the Sakhir Grand Prix Mercedes was under investigation after they mistakenly fitted tyres meant for Valtteri Bottas on George Russell’s car. The young Briton had to be called back into the pits to fit new tyres. After the race Mercedes was investigated for breach of rules and Russell was facing a disqualification, which would result in him losing his first career points.

Ultimately the FIA reached a verdict that allows Russell to keep his three points (2 for ninth place and 1 for fastest lap). A popular decision indeed.

“The Stewards heard from the Mr Ron Meadows (team representative) and Mr Nikolas Tombazis (FIA Formula One Technical Delegate),” read the Stewards’ statement.

“As described in the latter’s report (document 34) Car 63 was fitted with front tyres that were allocated to Car 77.

“This was caused by a radio communications technical issue wherein the pit wall’s communication to the pit crew that Car 63 was entering the pits prior to (and not after) Car 77, failed to be received by the crew of Car 63 because at the same time, the driver of Car 63 transmitted over the top of that message.

“This resulted in the front tyres of Car 77 accidentally going onto Car 63. (The cars were “double stacked” at the time.)

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“This is clearly a breach of the regulations and would normally involve a sporting penalty up to Disqualification. However, in this case there are mitigating circumstances, additional to the radio issue referred to above.

“Firstly, the team rectified the problem within 1 lap. This involved Car 63 making another pit stop, thus dropping it further down the classification.

“Secondly, Car 77 made a pit stop to change tyres only to find that the front tyres to be fitted to it, were on Car 63, so was sent out after considerable delay, with the tyres that were on Car 77 prior to the pit stop. This also impacted the final classification of Car 77.

“Thirdly, although this type of infringement is not catered for under the “3 lap tolerance” referred to in the second paragraph of Article 24.4 b) (which currently only refers to the use of tyres of differing specifications), we consider it to be similar in nature.

“However, the responsibility to fit tyres in compliance with the regulations, still rests with any team and thus a penalty is considered as being required.

“It is recommended that the FIA consider amending Article 24.4 b) to accommodate this type of breach when it is rectified without delay.

“It is noted that this type of breach has not previously been experienced in Formula One.”

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