The McLaren team has received a fine of US$50,000 for releasing Heikki Kovalainen into the path of Kimi Räikkönen during first-lap pit-stops in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Not only did the former drag his fuel hose down the pit lane but the subsequent spilt fuel caused a large fireball for the Ferrari of his compatriot.
With Kovalainen having been spilling fuel along the pit lane, exhaust gases from the Ferrari immediately ignited the petrol as the unfortunate Räikkönen – with fuel in his eyes – considered retiring on the spot.
As well as the fine for the team, Kovalainen was handed a drive-through penalty, which converts to 25 seconds as the race is already over; the Finn is therefore classified 12th as opposed to his finishing position of 9th.
Frankly this is an academic penalty for Heikki; I’d hope McLaren deducts the fine from his salary if it was found he caused the incident.
Thank goodness we’ll avoid these types of incidents being repeated with the refuelling ban to kick in next year.
[Original image via ITV-F1]