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Disqualifications in Formula 1: The big cases of fraud

Disqualifications in Formula 1
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E It is in the DNA of Formula 1 that you drive, develop and work at the limit. Today, entire departments are occupied with tracking down loopholes in the regulations. If something is formulated ambiguously, the designer assumes that the technically better solution applies. Even if it is not in accordance with the regulations. The teams take it there until they get caught. Today the policy has prevailed at the FIA ​​that one taps the border crossings on the fingers and tells them: Next time please not anymore.

165 disqualifications in history

Only if Cars are too light, trim parts too big or too small, too much gasoline is consumed or the flow rate is exceeded, the authorities have no mercy. In 2018, three drivers were disqualified for these reasons. Romain Grosjean in Monza, Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen in Austin. Before that there was silence for three years. The last disqualification before that was Felipe Massa at the GP Brazil 2015 due to non-conforming tire temperatures on the grid.

In total there have been 165 disqualifications in the course of Formula 1 history. 104 times because of formal errors such as outside help on the car, starting from the wrong starting position, disregarding warning flags. 24 offenses fall into the category of oversight, 37 times one had to suspect intent. The exclusion of James Hunt from the Spanish GP in 1976 was a borderline case. His McLaren was 1.8 centimeters too wide. Hunt was disqualified. The sentence was later mitigated because it was too hearty for the small mistake, so the reasoning of the sports authority. McLaren was fined $ 3,000. There was criticism. As a result, the rulers were no longer involved in discussions. Half a kilogram too little was just as illegal as two kilograms underweight.

Water to cool the brakes

A car that was too light cost Alain Prost victory at the GP San Marino in 1985, Niki Lauda in 1982 3rd place at GP Belgium, Robert Kubica 2006 in Hungary the first World Championship points. The teams simply miscalculated before the race when calculating the weight loss during the race. The same applies to a non-compliant rear wing rounding on the two Sauber at the GP Australia 2011. Or too heavily sanded front wing end plates at David Coulthard 2000 in Brazil. The record counts 24 such cases in 997 Grand Prix.

Ferrari's attempt to send Gilles Villeneuve out with a rear wing in 1982 was even boldertwo conforming single wings was screwed together. The entire wing was wider than the entire car. Villeneuve lost his 3rd place. Ayrton Senna, 2nd place at the Australian GP was canceled because the brake ventilation was too big. For the same reason, four riders got out of the points in Montreal in 2004. Williams and Toyota had cheated with the ventilation shafts of the front brakes.

Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg were thrown out of the classification at the 1982 Brazilian GP because their cars weighed less than 580 kilograms. However, this shortfall was challenged by Brabham and Williams. A first protest by Renault and Ferrari was thrown off by the Brazilian association four hours after crossing the finish line. The FIA ​​Court of Appeal, on the other hand, disqualified Piquet and Rosberg four weeks after the Grand Prix.

The protest had ignited on water tanks in the side pods, which supposedly contained water to cool the brakes. In fact, there were lines to the brakes in the car, but water never flowed through them. The regulations did not require the vehicle to weigh 580 kilograms while driving, but rather on the scales. And liquids like oil and water could be refilled. When you filled the water tanks in the Brabham, Williams, Lotus, McLaren and ATS with water, they were above the minimum weight. In fact, however, they were traveling with at least 30 kilograms less. The trick was the response of the English garage owners against the turbo faction of the works. The FIA ​​set an example with the banishment of the winner and the runner-up. Piquet still says today: “For me, Brazil 1982 was my 24th GP victory. I never returned the trophy. ”

The trick with the lead bullets

If you use the wrong fuel, you always have doubts. In 1988 it was Benetton in Spa, in 1995 Williams and Benetton in Sao Paulo, and in 1997 McLaren in Spa. The defendants mostly excuse themselves from the fact that petrol barrels were wrongly mixed up. Red Bull's refusal to properly adjust the flow rate on Daniel Ricciardo's car in 2014 is also more like intent. The FIA ​​delegate gave Red Bull the chance to fix the mistake. But the team stubbornly relied on their own measurements. The vocation was lost with kettledrums and trumpets.

Wilhelm
GP Monaco 1984: Stefan Bellof in his Tyrrell.

The biggest villain in history so far was delivered by the otherwise correct Tyrrell team in the 1984 season. It was born out of desperation fighting the Turbos. Tyrrell's fight against windmills with the Model 012-2 and Cosworth engine seemed to work at first. Stefan Bellof and Martin Brundle brought a breath of fresh air to the team. Fast, cheeky, fearless, they jumped at the stars.

Bellof and Bundle struck where the naturally aspirated engine was the least disadvantageous. Bellof was third in Monte Carlo, Brundle second in Detroit. But then dark clouds were brewing over Tyrrell. The technical inspection in Detroit showed that the racing team had systematically cheated. Lead balls were found in a water tank. The alleged water content should be injected into the intake funnel of the Cosworth V8 to protect the engine. But that was just a facade. The Tyrrell were refueled with lead bullets shortly before the end to bring them to the required minimum weight.

The suspicion was obvious: Tyrrell was underweight on the way. The FIA ​​found the team guilty on four counts. Unauthorized filling of liquids, non-compliant gasoline, moving ballast and irregular gasoline lines in action. Tyrrell appealed and was allowed to continue three races with reservations until the final verdict was pronounced. The association banned both cars from the entire World Championship.

Benetton under suspicion

1994 was a year of controversy, suspensions, penalties, suspicions and hidden fouls. The focus was on the world championship team Benetton-Ford. Because of suspiciously good starts, Benetton was placed under traction control. In two examinations of the software, a hidden program came to light at the second attempt, which was equivalent to an automatic start.

Benetton claimed that the software had been shut down, but could not convince everyone. The team was fined $ 100,000 for late delivering the software to the FIA. Head of Technology Ross Brawn is still annoyed today: “We were able to prove that the procedures were missing under the menu items complained of. The electronics boxes were confiscated in Imola. We got them back without any complaints. Then the FIA ​​inspectors collected the control units a second time six weeks later. So in the meantime we could have deleted anything that would have raised the suspicion that illegal systems are programmed into it. The fact that we didn't do it proves that we didn't even know which menu items were hidden in the software. “

After the pit fire at Hockenheim, FIA technicians examinedBenetton's tank system. It turned out that a filter had been illegally removed. This increased the flow rate, which was set to a maximum of 12 liters per second. Benetton fired the man who allegedly tampered with the filter without authorization. At the end of the year, more rumors about the world champion car surfaced. Fired mechanics spoke of an underbody that curved at the edges towards the road and thus formed a tunnel under the car. That should generate downforce. Here, too, there is no evidence.

The disqualification of Michael Schumacher at the Belgian GP in 1994 because the underbody was too worn was actually a chain of unfortunate circumstances, as Ross Brawn explains: “The training took place completely in the rain. The track was dry for the first time in the race. The car was set too low for that. Therefore, the wooden plate under the step in the floor has worn out a lot. Then Michael spun over a curb in the Pouhon bend. This further damaged the base plate. The rules back then said: If one of these plates was obviously damaged in an accident, it was weighed. If the weight was more than 90 percent of the initial weight, everything was fine. The plate was too thin in some places. Without the turner that would have been a plausible reason for disqualification. However, since the plank was damaged, it had to be weighed. And that would have been the decisive factor. It was found that it was well within the required 90 percent. But that was not recognized. ”

An additional tank for 12 liters of fuel

In the 2005 season, BAR-Honda caught the FIA ​​inspectors in the clutches. Jenson Button finished third in Imola. 5th place went to team-mate Takuma Sato. BAR-Honda celebrated a rebirth after three bad races at the start of the season. But not for long. 2.50 hours after the end of the race there was a nasty surprise. The car, which originally weighed 606.1 kilograms, weighed only 594.6 kilograms after deducting the gasoline in the car. So underweight.

The FIA ​​commissioners found 12 liters of fuel in a hidden carbon canister at the front end of the main tank, in which 3.2 liters of fuel sloshed. Both were only found by gauging. When pumping out, only 0.22 liters were initially revealed. BAR technical director Geoff Willis explained verbatim that the Honda V10 needs a remaining amount of 7.1 liters in the tank to run smoothly. The alleged secret container is a second catch tank. The FIA ​​commissioners did not believe the declaration and suspected deliberate fraud. They appealed against the classification, which in the end meant the disqualification of Button and Sato. The exclusion was upheld by the FIA ​​appeals court nine days later.

That was not the end of the affair for BAR and Honda. In theDuring the appeal hearing, suspicions that BAR had deliberately cheated grew. FIA President Max Mosley pushed for a harsh sentence. BAR was not allowed to compete in the next two races in Spain and Monaco. A bitter loss of face for engine partner Honda.

Finally, a story to make you smile. The strangest disqualification of all time was the Canadian Al Pease at his home Grand Prix in 1969. Already in practice he was 11.1 seconds short of pole position on the 3.957 kilometer long Mosport circuit. On the opening lap, the private driver pushed Silvio Moser off the track in an Egle. He later collided with Jean-Pierre Beltoise. When Jackie Stewart lapped the Canadian for the second time in the 12th lap and was almost taken on the horns by the overwhelmed debutant, the race director intervened. He got Pease out of the race with the black flag. Reason: The driver was too slow.

auto motor und sport is celebrating the 1,000th. Formula 1 races this season with a large series in 100 parts. In the daily countdown we provide you with an exciting story and interesting video features from the history of the premier class. All previous articles can be found on our >> Overview page for the big anniversary Grand Prix.

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