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Chinese GP stewards confirm no further action over alleged illegal DRS use

"Mitigating circumstances" mean eight drivers escape sanction

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 15/04/13 8:15am

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Eight drivers, including Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, have escaped retrospective penalties over the alleged illegal uses of DRS in the Chinese GP.

Mark Webber, Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Riccardo, Romain Grosjean, Max Chilton along with Raikkonen and Vettel were all put under investigation by the stewards in the wake of Sunday's 56-lap race following suggestions that they had incorrectly activated their DRS wing under yellow flag conditions.

The run to the hairpin at the end of the backstraight was one of two DRS zones on the track during the race but the passing aid was temporarily suspended following a collision at the corner, and subsequent littering of debris, between Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil.

Any time penalties could have thrown the race order behind dominant race winner Fernando Alonso on its head but stewards ultimately announced in the hours after the end of the race that no action would be taken against any of the eight drivers concerned owing to "mitigating circumstances".

Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle had explained during the channel's post-race show that problems with the usual telemetry link between Race Control and the cars on track had caused problems since the start of the season.

"I think that is normally an automatic system that hasn't worked so far this year, so it is up to the teams and the drivers to manage it," Martin said.

"I hadn't heard that much about it this weekend, but that was certainly the case at the first two grands prix.

"Where there is an incident, you are supposed to be prepared to slow down, but if you have your rear wing open, you are clearly not preparing very hard because you are trying to go faster."

The Stewards' decision in full

Fact: Enabled DRS when "DRS Disabled" message was displayed.

Offence: Alleged breach of Article 27.5 (b) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.

Decision: No Further Action.

Reason: The "Note to Teams" (document 35) point 6 refers

However the Stewards consider that mitigating circumstances existed, in that:

1) There was a delay of 1 minute from the display of the yellow flags until the message appeared on the official message system.
2) The electronic marshalling system DRS disable function was not operational, so drivers were relying on team communications and information conveyed to them in the "Note to Teams" which was issued prior to the Race, resulting in a degree of confusion.
3) The DRS use was on the main straight where a green light was displayed.

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