Both Alfa Romeo Racing drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi have been hit by 30-second post-race time penalties at the German Grand Prix after breaking race start rules over the team’s clutch usage.

The penalties see both drivers drop out of the points places, promoting Romain Grosjean to seventh place, Kevin Magnussen to eighth place, Lewis Hamilton to ninth place and Robert Kubica to 10th place – scoring Williams’ first point of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship.

George Russell has also been promoted to the best result of his rookie F1 campaign in 11th, with Raikkonen in 12th and Giovinazzi in 13th in the final race classification.

The FIA Stewards’ investigation focused around Article 27.1 of the F1 Sporting Regulations where “drivers must drive the car alone and unaided”.

With F1 clutch systems controlled by a common ECU, teams have set parameters to rule out the use of traction control during race starts.

“The FIA requires that the torque in the clutch matches (within specified limits) the torque demand as the driver releases the clutch. This must occur within 70 milliseconds,” the FIA investigation statement read.

“In the case of both cars of Alfa Romeo Racing, the time that it took for the torque to align with the torque demand was close to 200 milliseconds and 300 milliseconds respectively.

“This provided a more gradual application of the torque, which given the wet conditions was a potential advantage.

“Regardless of whether there was an actual advantage, the Stewards determined that this was a clear breach of the guidance given to the teams as to how this would be adjudicated.”

Alfa Romeo Racing representatives accepted the clutch system was not within the guidelines set out by the FIA and blamed the wet race start, which the team had not practiced so far this season, as the cause of the issue.

The FIA Stewards threw out the excuse stating the parameters must be obeyed regardless of conditions.

Both drivers were given 10-second stop-and-go time penalties which were applied after the race converting to a 30-second time penalty to duly drop both Raikkonen and Giovinazzi out of the points places.

 

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