Mark Webber will have to serve a ten-place grid penalty at the next Grand Prix in South Korea in October, after stewards reprimanded him for the manner in which he picked up a lift back to pit lane from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Webber had been left sidelined when his engine blew up on the final lap of the race after it ran out of water. The Red Bull
had been briefly on fire, forcing Webber to pull over and park at turn 7 so that the flames could be put out by the car's extinguisher system and by the trackside workers.
That left Webber some distance from the pit lane, and as the rest of the cars that had completed the race passed by on their cool-down laps, Webber caught the attention of Fernando Alonso
who stopped and allowed the Australian to hitch a ride back to the start/finish line on the left hand sidepod of the Ferrari. Alonso was repaying a kindness that Webber showed him at the Nurburgring
However, the manner in which Webber returned to the track and got Alonso to pull up to allow him to climb on received a stern rebuke from the stewards, who pointed out that it had caused a dangerous obstruction on the track while other cars were still making their own way back to pit lane.
CCTV coverage released by the FIA showed how the two Mercedes cars of Nico Rosberg
and Lewis Hamilton
had to swerve out of the way to avoid running into Webber as he made his way to the Ferrari.
The race stewards made the decision that Webber "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," which was a breach of article 30.9(b) of the sporting regulations, and duly handed him an official reprimand.
Because it's his third such reprimand of the year this automatically invokes a ten-place grid penalty to serve at the next event. Webber's previous reprimands were at Bahrain (for contact with Nico Rosberg) and Canada (not slowing sufficiently while yellow flags were out.)
It's only the second time a driver has amassed sufficient reprimands in one season to invoke the penalty: Pastor Maldonado
did so at the Brazilian Grand Prix
The stewards also handed Alonso a reprimand for driving "in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person." However in his case there is no further penalty at this time as there are no other reprimands to contribute to the ruling and crucially his second place in Sunday's race is unaffected.
In a separate ruling from the stewards, the Lotus team was also reprimanded after a team member was observed working on Romain Grosjean's car without wearing the helmet that's been mandatory since the incident in Germany at which a FOM cameraman was struck by an errant tyre.