Bottas gets three-place grid penalty for pit-lane spin

Jamie Woodhouse
Valtteri Bottas

Three-place penalty for Valtteri Bottas after spinning in pit lane at Styrian GP.

Valtteri Bottas has been given a three-place grid penalty after spinning in the pit lane in FP2 at the Styrian Grand Prix.

The Finn has also been given two penalty points for his infringement, which was deemed as “dangerous driving in the pit lane” according to a statement from the FIA.

A part of the statement read: “During the hearing [Bottas] stated that in the past they had been losing time in the pit departure. So they tried something new, which was to leave the car in second gear.

“As a result, the wheelspin was much higher and the result unexpected. Therefore he didn’t manage to control the car properly in the fast lane.

“This has to be considered as dangerous driving, especially as personnel were around in the pit lane.”

In laying rubber down, Bottas lost the back end of his Mercedes W12 while exiting the pit box, causing him to spin in the fast lane and come to a stop very close to the McLaren crew.

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The McLaren mechanics helped Bottas to correct his stricken W12 in front of their garage, but there was anger on the pit wall with McLaren branding the issue “ridiculous” as they spoke with race director Michael Masi.

“Michael, that’s absolutely ridiculous,” McLaren said via the pit wall to FIA race director Michael Masi.

“They could have taken out one of the guys on the pit wall.”

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl had described the incident as “scary”, while making it clear that the drivers should be aware already of driving safely in the pit lane.

In his post-race interview Bottas had explained that he was trying a something different with wheelspin, an experiment which had directly led to the incident.

He was not expecting any punishment, believing the FIA just wanted to know what had happened.

But on this occasion, he was wrong.

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