Formula One Team Force India Technical Director Andy Green is livid over the penalty his team received over the size of their front-wing car numbers.
At first it was sort of funny, then it was a bit confusing, and now it has the potential to blow up into a very large and very nasty conversation. The team was handed a €25,000 penalty after the race, despite the cars passing the pre-race inspection with no issues. As such, the penalty was suspended for 12 months due to the fact that the team had not been called out during the pre-race inspection. Still, Force India’s technical director, Andy Green, is furious and worried over the incident.
Green was very vocal form the outset, saying that deeming the penalty as “unfair” is being far too lenient with the term. He believes that the whilly-nilly decision-making shown by the FIA has sparked a dangerous and worrisome example of how quickly a sense of security can be lost in Formula One, causing teams to wonder if their car is really legal or not:
“I was livid. Absolutely livid. Because that set a precedent that should never happen.
There is no way a car can go through scrutineering several times. We are not just talking about Barcelona, we are talking about the fifth time it had been through scrutineering with exactly the same [numbers] position, and [there had been] not one bit of feedback from the FIA up until that point.
Also, when we did revise the size of the numbering for that event, it was shown to the FIA prior to that event what we were going to do. So to then go through all those procedures and at the end of it say ‘you are not right’ and slap us on the wrist for it, it is just… [Green shakes his head in disbelief]
How do we know we are legal now? I’ve got no idea. We’ve gone through scrutineering but to me now scrutineering means nothing. The precedent that it has set is huge. Absolutely huge.”
All is not lost for Force India, however. Due to the suspended nature of the fee, the team will have plenty of opportunities to contest the penalty in the future – although Green warns that they may very well opt out of doing so:
“We could have done. But the other thing to consider here is it was just a number. If it was something else then maybe you are right.
But what we have tried to focus on doing was getting the number to be like they like it and we have achieved that. But the bigger question is, can this happen for something else?”
There is no easy answer to Green’s question. Any fan of Motorsports should know that if there is ever any group that is prone to make miscalculations or wrong calls, it seems to be the stewards and the governing body. The FIA has not yet responded to Green’s comments, but depending on how many waves this makes, they may very well double-down soon enough.