Williams fined over Pastor Maldonado's loose wheel in Practice for Japanese GP

Day of misery for Maldonado after later P2 crash

By James Galloway.   Last Updated: 11/10/13 12:57pm

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Williams have been fined 60,000 euros after the left-rear wheel on Pastor Maldonado's FW35 worked its way loose during Practice One at Suzuka on Friday.

The opening day in Japan proved incident-filled throughout the field and Maldonado was involved in accidents in each of the two practice sessions, the Venezeulan sent into a spin at Spoon curve in P1 when his wheel detached and then crashing in the early stages of the afternoon session.

The team were subsequently fined for breaching Article 23.12 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Article 14.7 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations.

In a statement, the stewards revealed that an 'examination of the parts concerned revealed that the wheel fastener had not been completely fastened, thus not engaging the first retaining plunger.

'This is regarded as a serious safety issue. The team has assured the Stewards that the appropriate measures will be immediately implemented to ensure compliance.'

It was Maldonado's crash in Practice Two, when he ran wide over the second Degner and hit the barrier, that has increased Williams' workload overnight and also means the driver will go into Saturday's running without having completed any laps on the medium tyre or a race simulation.

Maldonado didn't attempt to hide his disappointment with how his Friday panned out and admits Practice Three will now be crucial for him to catch up.

"It was a frustrating day today as I didn't get the amount of time on track that I would have liked," he said.

"My FP1 session ended early after a problem with my left-rear tyre, and at the beginning of FP2 I was struggling for grip and lost the back end of the car and went off the circuit which ended my running.

"Tomorrow is another day though and FP3 will give us a chance to improve the set-up based on what we learnt today and get some low fuel running in to optimise our car for qualifying, which will be important as overtaking here can be difficult."

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