New McLaren junior driver suspended hours after confirmation for FIA rule breach

Jamie Woodhouse
Martinius Stenshorne celebrates his Formula 3 sprint race victory on the podium in Australia.

New McLaren driver programme star Martinius Stenshorne..

On the same day he was announced as a new addition to the McLaren driver development programme, Martinius Stenshorne has been suspended from the Silverstone Formula 3 round.

After McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown teased the arrivals of two young drivers to the programme, their identities were revealed ahead of the Imola GP as Formula 3 racers Martinius Stenshorne and Alex Dunne were officially unveiled, though what was a day to savour has turned sour in short order for Stenshorne.

McLaren junior Martinius Stenshorne out of Silverstone F3 round

With the stars of F3 also at Imola this weekend for round three of their campaign, the FIA has made the shock announcement that Hitech Pulse-Eight driver Stenshorne will not be allowed to compete at Silverstone – the seventh round of the season to be held in July – after participating in another championship without FIA approval.

The transgression from Stenshorne came via his participation in the GB3 Championship round at Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, with the FIA deciding that this would have later served as an “unfair advantage” for the 18-year-old, as they decided to bar him from competing there in F3.

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The verdict from the FIA reads: “The stewards examined the report received from the FIA and the Official Testing and Race classifications. They summoned and heard the driver and team representative and the FIA and F3 Promoter representatives.

“The FIA Head of F2 and F3 Sporting Matters reported that the driver of Car 15 (Stenshorne) took part in the GB3 Test in Silverstone on the 25th and 26th of April and he also participated in the GB3 event during the weekend.

“He also explained that neither the competitor nor the driver informed the FIA about the single seater testing, nor requested an authorisation to participate in the GB3 competition in Silverstone.

“The promoter representative confirmed that he was not informed of the single seater testing activity of the driver of Car 15. He also mentioned that neither the competitor nor the driver requested written approval from the promoter as requested in Article 10.4 e) of the Sporting Regulations.

“The driver of Car 15 explained that he was not aware of the requirements of Article 10.4 and that both activities, the test, and his participation in the GB3 Event, were organised by his management team.

“The team representative explained that he was unaware of the driver’s participation in the GB3 test and competition in Silverstone until he received the summons from the stewards but admitted that Hitech Pulse-Eight was present in the event as they run three cars in the GB3 Championship.

“Having considered the matter extensively, the stewards determined that the driver and the competitor failed to inform the FIA and the promoter about the single seater testing as requested by Article 10.4. They also failed to request written authorisation for the driver to take part in a standalone event in GB3, as requested in Article 10.4 e) of the Sporting Regulations.

“The stewards also noted that both FIA and promoter representative admitted that if they had received a request for Car 15 to be part of the standalone race in Silverstone, they would have denied the authorisation due to the similarities between the GB3 car and the F3 car and the sporting advantage gain for the driver.

“Therefore, the stewards determined that this is a serious breach of the testing regulations with a sporting advantage gain for the driver of Car 15 and decided to suspend the driver of Car 15 for the 2024 FIA Formula 3 Silverstone event. In addition, 4 penalty points are to be added to the driver’s record.”

Stenshorne won the sprint race in the most recent F3 round at Albert Park.

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