Renault suspended from European GP, but team appeals

By on

Renault has been suspended from participation to the European Grand Prix due to not fixing a wheel correctly on Fernando Alonso's car today. Alonso later lost the wheel and had to abandon the race with car damage.

The suspension is a major blow to the team and Fernando Alonso, as the event will be held at Valencia in his home country Spain.

Up to his pitstop in lap 12, Alonso was leading the race after starting from pole position. It appears that the team released him after the pitstop knowing that it had not fixed an obligatory pinion on the wheel nut that would prevent the wheel from coming loose.

Stewards talked to Renault representatives twice after the race.

The statement said that Renault "knowingly released car no. 7 from the pitstop position without one of the retaining devices for the wheel-nuts being securely in position, this being an indication that the wheel itself may not have been properly secured."

It added that Renault, "being aware of this, failed to take any action to prevent the car from leaving the pitlane....failed to inform the driver of this problem or to advise him to take appropriate action given the circumstances, even though the driver contacted the team by radio believing he had a puncture."

It said that the team's actions had compromised safety in breach of Article 3.2 of the Sporting Regulations, and in breach of Article 23.1.i had released the car from the pits before it was safe to do so.

Renault has however confirmed that it will appeal the FIA's decision. The team lodged its paperwork and a deposit for the 6000 Euros fee for the appeal, with a hearing now likely take place in the summer break before the European GP on August 23.