The already cash-strapped Sauber F1 team will have to find an extra 20,000 euros this weekend, after being fined by the race stewards over an incident that took place in Suzuka on Saturday during the first part of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg had been reported to the race stewards for impeding a rival competitor, after he was seen to have blocked a flying lap for Marussia's Max Chilton at the exit to turn 9.

Hulkenberg went on to make it into the final round of qualifying and had provisionally claimed ninth place on the grid for the start of tomorrow's race, leaving him with a lot to lose in the event he was handed a grid penalty.

However, the race stewards' investigation determined that Hulkenberg had been told by his pit wall over the team radio that Chilton was on a cool-down lap and that therefore the Sauber did not have to get off the racing line in order to give way. That information turned out to be incorrect, and the stewards felt that this could have led to a potentially dangerous misunderstanding of the situation between the two drivers.

"The team of car 11 advised him by radio that car 23 was on a 'cool-down' lap," read the stewards' official ruling. "Car 11 was preparing for a fast lap when the driver realised car 23 was immediately behind him and tried his best to give car 23 the apex.

"The team of car 23 does not believe the incident amounted to illegitimately impeding," the notice added.

However, whilst the driver of car 11 is not found to be in breach of Article 16.1(g) [of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations], we determine the team to be responsible for the incident, which was potentially dangerous, by issuing an incorrect message."

As a result, the stewards levied the 20,000 euro fine on the Swiss team.

Meanwhile, no action was taken by the race stewards over a potential case of blocking by pole winner Mark Webber in Q2, when his Red Bull emerged from the pit exit right in front of the McLaren of Sergio Perez as the Mexican was just starting a flying lap attempt.

"He [Perez] backed off so the engineers told me that he had finished his lap so we could pull in front of him because he was going to pit," Webber explained. "If he was on a quick lap obviously I would have got out of the way."

Perez himself said that Webber had not impeded him or cost him time, which was sufficient for the stewards to decide there was no complaint to look into. As a result, Webber's first pole position of 2013 is unaffected and he will start from the front row alongside his team mate Sebastian Vettel.



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