Singapore GP reprimand for post-race lift triggers Korea grid drop for Mark Webber
Webber and Alonso sanctioned, but Aussie reaches three-strike limit
By Mike Wise in Singapore and James Galloway. Last Updated: 23/09/13 7:59am
Mark Webber: Pays a hefty price for catching a lift with Alonso
Mark Webber will serve a ten-place grid penalty at the Korean GP after collecting a lift from Fernando Alonso during the Ferrari's warm-down lap after the race in Singapore.
Webber's pulled off the circuit on the final lap of the race after his RB9 suffered a water leak and Alonso, after taking the chequered flag in second place, then slowed down to pick the Australian up to take him back to the pitlane on the side of his Ferrari.
But race officials took a dim view of the incident and after summoning both drivers to the stewards' room found both to have contravened the Sporting Regulations.
Webber was duly sanctioned for having 'entered the track without the marshal's permission' while Alonso was punished for driving 'the car in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person. In this case, two cars had to take avoiding action as a result'.
Sunday's reprimand, however, has more serious knock-on consequences for Webber as it represents his third such sanction of the season - the point at which an automatic grid penalty is imposed under Article 18.2 of the Sporting Regulations.
"Any driver who receives three reprimands in the same Championship season will, upon the imposition of the third, be given a ten grid place penalty at that Event," the regulation reads.
"If the third reprimand is imposed following an Incident during a race the ten grid place penalty will be applied at the driver's next Event. The ten grid place penalty will only be imposed if at least two of the reprimands were imposed for a driving infringement."
Webber picked up his first reprimand at the Bahrain GP in April after a collision with Nico Rosberg during the race, while his second came in Practice One in Canada for failing to slow sufficiently for yellow flags.
While the penalty will likely be seen as harsh in many quarters, replays of video footage shown to the race stewards showed Webber walking away from his car at Turn 7. He then walked out on to the track and as Alonso's car stopped in the middle of the corner to pick him up, two other cars passed closely by at speed - one either side of the Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton was driving one of them. Speaking later, the Mercedes star said he liked the spectacle of such gestures but added that safety was paramount.
"In sport, I think it's cool, like Nigel and Ayrton (Mansell famously gave Senna a lift back to the pits after the 1991 British GP) and there's been times where I've driven past someone else and wished that I'd stopped," he said.
"Today, I was doing my in-lap and came round the corner and Fernando was there - I was really shocked.
"If Mark was walking across where I went, I would have run him over. Fortunately, that wasn't the case.
"I think it's good for fans to see but as long as it's done in a safe manner, where we don't stop on the racing line, maybe it should be allowed for the future."
They've just shown footage of the incident - cars pass either side of Alonso's as Webber hops on board at Turn 7 #Skyf1- Michael Wise (@SkySportsMike) September 22, 2013
Reflecting on what had already proved a frustrating day after he dropped out of fourth place in the closing laps, Webber said: "It's annoying but someone's had a tougher day than me somewhere and that's the way it goes."
The stewards' verdicts in full
No/Driver 3 - Fernando Alonso
Competitor Scuderia Ferrari
Fact The driver of car 3 stopped on the track before returning to parc ferme to pick up another driver.
Offence Breach of Article 30.13 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.
Reason The driver of car 3 drove the car in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person. In this case, two cars had to take avoiding action as a result.
No/Driver 2 - Mark Webber
Competitor Infiniti Red Bull Racing
Fact The driver of car 2 went on to the track without the permission of Marshals.
Offence Breach at Article 30.9 (b) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.
Reason The driver of car 2 entered the track without the marshal's permission between the commencement of the formation lap and the time when the last car enters parc ferme.