The stewards continue to be put through their paces in Turkey with an aborted engine change at AlphaTauri catching their attention.
After finishing bottom of the pile in Q2, AlphaTauri lodged a request to fit a brand new engine to Pierre Gasly’s car following the end of a bonkers qualifying session.
The obvious standard practice after the FIA accepted the request would be to go ahead and fit the new power unit to the car ahead of Sunday’s race.
However, on this occasion, AlphaTauri stripped the car down ready for a new engine to be fitted, but then completely aborted the operation.
This incident has not escaped the beady eye of Jo Bauer, the FIA’s technical delegate, and he reported the matter to the stewards.
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) November 15, 2020
A statement from Bauer read: ‘Yesterday the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team requested to change all PU elements on car number 10 for new ones.
‘This request was approved at 18:55 on 14 September 2020, following a written request from the team concerned, this being in accordance with Article 34.2 of the 2020 Formula One Sporting Regulations.
‘The team started to take the car apart and the car was on high stands over night due to the work already carried out (gearbox removed, ICE removed, radiators removed etc.). This morning the team has withdrawn the request which allows an assumption that the change was requested for strategic reasons and not for physical ones.
‘More importantly the car was already disassembled to a stage where it is impossible for the scrutineers and the other supervision means in place to guarantee that no modification to the car has been carried to any component by disassembling and refitting the original items.
‘For the above mentioned reasons I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.’
The stewards found that AlphaTauri were in breach of 23.3 a) of the Sporting Regulations and, as a result, demoted Gasly to the back of the grid for the Turkish Grand Prix.
The verdict read: ‘The Stewards heard from the FIA Technical Delegate and team representative.
‘After qualifying the team, based on a request from their engine supplier, asked to change all PU elements in Car 10 during pre-race parc ferme. Permission was granted by the F1 Technical Delegate. Such a change comes with a requirement to start the car from the back of the grid.
‘The team then carried out work in disassembling the car under parc ferme conditions. During that work the team ultimately decided not to change the PU and ultimately reassembled the car with the original PU.
‘Per the report of the Technical Delegate the car was disassembled to a stage where it is impossible for the scrutineers and other supervision means in place to guarantee that no modification to the car has been carried out to any component by disassembling and refitting the original items.
‘This is normally not an issue because of the mandated penalty for such a change. The stewards determine that the specified penalty for the authorized work in parc ferme is in effect from the time the change was started, notwithstanding whether or not the PU change was ultimately completed.
‘Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Article 10.1.1 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits.’